Welcome to the second part of my Favourites trilogy for December 2019, following on from my Out & About post. This time I’m going to quickly show you some of the food my mother and I treated ourselves to over the festive period, as I don’t post about that kind of thing very often. Again I’ve not been sponsored or gifted by anybody mentioned here, and all opinions are my own. And don’t forget there’s a video to go with all of these posts too. So I hope you enjoy!
I didn’t go out to as many Christmas meals as last year, but I did enjoy a lovely meal with the Visually Impaired People of Newham (VIPON) at the Golden Fleece pub in Manor Park. And during my trip to Devon I had a great time eating and catching up with my colleagues at Bistrot Pierre in Torquay, and a few drinks in nearby bars afterwards. In both cases I had a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, of course, and they were both nice.
The staff at the Torquay Premier Inn were also wonderful as usual, including Rebecca and Paul who kindly helped to dish up breakfast for me each morning when I explained I was visually impaired. I always enjoy staying there.
And I came home from Devon with a bottle of McGuigan’s Black Label Chardonnay and a box of Fox’s Fabulously Collection chocolate biscuits, that I’d won in our raffle at work. Mum and I enjoyed having the Chardonnay with our big dinners on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and we kept happily nibbling at the biscuits right through to the New Year. There weren’t as many biscuits in the box as the size of it seemed to imply, but there was still a nice selection in there.
In the lead up to Christmas I had a Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles Advent Calendar this year. The numbering was quite hard to find and read, but it was worth the effort as the chunky chocolates behind each door were delicious! And there was a lovely big Lindor bar to enjoy on Christmas Eve.
Marks & Spencer
As is now traditional for us, because it makes things so much easier, we used the Marks & Spencer Food To Order service to get in our main Christmas food. This year we went for their Free-Range Turkey Crown with Pork, Chestnut, Bacon & Thyme Stuffing, along with stuffing balls and pigs in blankets in their Outdoor-Bred Garnish Selection, and their Turkey Gravy. Granted, we didn’t need the stuffing balls to eat with a turkey that was already stuffed, so we saved those to have with other meals later on. But it was all lovely in any case, as you’d expect from M&S.
We also got their Beef Wellington, but that didn’t work out quite so well. They only had one left when we got there, and the pastry was split across the top. In fairness to M&S though, the guy serving us pointed it out, explaining that they didn’t have another one, or anything remotely like it that they could exchange. So he offered us a bottle of champagne or a discount to compensate, and we went for the latter as my mother isn’t a fan of champagne. So it was classed as faulty stock and we only paid half price. And it was still nice when we did get around to eating it, as the pastry surrounds a lovely huge joint of beef. It just wasn’t quite as good as the turkey crown, so we probably won’t get it again. It was well worth a go though.
For treats and desserts, meanwhile, we got their Sticky Toffee Pudding Trifle, a Christmas Rainbow Cake (layers of different coloured sponge with buttercream between them), and a Woodland Yule Log. They were all really tasty, but the stand-out favourite was undoubtedly the Yule Log. It was so chocolatey, yet somehow avoided being too rich, so it was amazing. But the trifle and cake were wonderful as well, I can recommend all of them.
In addition, separately to that order, I had also popped into M&S during the month to have a look at their general festive offerings that you don’t have to order in advance. And I got a chocolate Yule Log then too. It was a different product to the one I mentioned above, but it was also really nice for the same reasons. Yule Logs seemed to be a real speciality of theirs this year. But I also picked up their lovely mince pies, naturally, along with a Big Selection Tub of chocolates, which we enjoyed over the holiday. My aunt gave us a tub of Quality Street as well, so we combined those with the contents of the M&S tub to give us a nice mixture.
Normally we do our regular grocery shopping in Sainsbury’s, so of course we picked up some Christmas treats from them too. Our weakness with them tends to be the pack of 4 Puff Pastry Mince Pies you can pick up in their bakery section. They’re always nice either warm or cold. We also got some Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing Balls and Pigs In Blankets to have with our meals leading up to Christmas too.
And for desserts, we enjoyed their Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream Log and Santa’s Raspberry Belly Cheesecake. The log wasn’t as good as the ones we got from M&S, but it was still very nice with the ice cream inside it. And the cheesecake had a lovely strong raspberry flavour.
Our new discovery this year was Walkers Shortbread in Scotland (a completely different company to the other Walkers who make crisps). A friend of mine told me that they had enjoyed Walkers Mince Pies, which prompted us to go and have a look at their website. And inevitably that led to us getting quite a few things to try.
We bought their Luxury Mince Pies, a Rich Fruit Christmas Pudding, a Chocolate Shortbread Selection box, and packs of Ginger Royals, All Butter Sultana Biscuits and Treacle Toffee Biscuits. And as we had spent over a certain amount, they threw in a free Salted Caramel Fruit Pudding as well.
And it was all very nice indeed. Their shortbread is lovely and buttery, the biscuits were delicious, and the Christmas puddings were nice and fruity. So we’re glad we gave them a go. M&S is still the best of the shops we’ve bought things from, but we may well buy from Walkers again in the future.
So that’s the end of my foodie post, I hope that didn’t make you too peckish! And I hope you were able to indulge in lots of tasty treats over Christmas too. Next up, in my final Favourites post for 2019, I’ll take you through the entertainment that kept me occupied during December. See you then!