FESTIVE FOOD FINDS FOR A LESS ORDINARY CHRISTMAS
There are so many things that make me feel nostalgic at Christmas, but none more so than the food. There’s something about the smell of mulled wine wafting from my mum’s kitchen, or biting into my first mince pie of the season, that transports me right back to childhood to relive the excitement.
Every family will have their own foodie traditions at Christmas of course, but this year I’m planning to take ours and give them a ‘less ordinary’ twist to add some showstopper magic to my spread. Like these hand-painted holly and berry stems above, by the talented Amy Swann — brilliant for a more creative way to dress a Christmas pud.
Or for some truly delicious, can’t-find-this-in-the-supermarket fare, have a look at these small business ideas below. I think there are one or two new family favourites just waiting to happen.
An ode to the mince pie: oh, how I love thee! I like to think I’m a connoisseur of sorts and take the role of taste-testing them very seriously… so of course I’ve found the perfect banner to accompany ours. It’s something that will last much longer than the pies will too — especially as I’ve chosen these extra special ones by Blushing Cook this year. Each one is decorated with edible flowers and filled to the brim with brandy-laced fruits. Delicious and totally unique.
What if I told you that this turkey was actually made of chocolate? No, seriously it is. I’m constantly amazed by the incredible creations that The Edible Museum creates and this one made my jaw drop. Imagine turning up at the family get-together with this in tow — and the reaction you’d get when the surprise is revealed? Even better — the turkey is hollow too, so forget the giblets, the innards can be filled with lovely sweet treats instead.
I love sending treats by post to friends and family who, for whatever reason, I won’t be seeing at Christmas (and, yes, I might send a box to our household whilst I’m ordering too!). I can confidently say that these mulled plum jammy biscuits are totally delicious and just such a joy to open. Beautifully packaged and decorated, there’s no style over substance here.
If you subscribe to my newsletters, or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know by now how obsessed my sister and I are with veg (and if you are too, check out my creative gifts for veg lovers). So of course we couldn’t resist these gold-tipped carrot chocs the moment we saw them — another lovely little gift to take along to a festive gathering, or just disguise them amongst your Christmas lunch for a sweet surprise.
Well, why shouldn’t you have festive apothecary bottles on hand to decant your Christmas tipples into? Not only do they look fetching on a drinks cabinet, but they’re a sure conversation starter, too. And, if not for you, these make a great gift for the whiskey drinker in your life (or replace whiskey with their booze of choice, of course).
I love the idea of gifting a homemade mince pie alongside this clever card by Meticulous Ink. Not only is it just such a genius way to bring a little magic to the recipient, the card itself is a thing of beauty — each one is letterpressed in Christmas red ink and copper foil. Better make sure there’s not a soggy bottom in sight on those pies though…
These chocolate Brussels sprouts and I go way back. I’ve loved (and enjoyed) them for many years now — and they are a firm crowd-pleaser for a party table, too. Children in particular get a real kick out of these ‘greens in disguise’, so here’s another one that you could place amongst the ‘real thing’ to bring the fun to your festive spread. For the adults, they have gin and Baileys-infused sprouts too, which I plan to serve with the coffees at our annual Boxing Day feast.
Last, but by no means least, here’s one of my favourite companies, born in lockdown. Lottie Mayland’s embroidered napkins add the final touch to any tablescape, and I love these veg ones in particular, as they can be used all year round (a napkin is for life, not just for Christmas you know!). They’re well worth the investment when they can be loved and enjoyed over and over again.