Like any self-respecting person, I bloody love Christmas. I love getting to spend time with friends and family, I love giving (and yes, receiving!) presents and I really love the food. Let’s not beat about the bush, Christmas time has the best food. Big juicy turkeys, pigs wrapped in blankets and all those tubs of chocolates mmm… So when my local shopping centre Queensgate invited me along for a festive feast, you wouldn’t believe how quickly I confirmed my attendance.
Upon arriving at Queensgate with all my other fellow QBloggers, we were led into a room with quite the decadent spread. Many of the retailers from Queensgate had gathered together to introduce us to their foody offerings this Christmas. Everything looked so mouthwatering and it was hard to know where to begin! First things first, we all circled around the room to get all our photo. I’ll admit this took some serious patience on my part as I just wanted to dive in. Soon enough though we were able to get sampling the food and I thought I’d give you an insight into what you might just be munching this Christmas.
Lakeland is one of those types of places where I will always find things I never knew I needed – or existed! It was definitely one of my favourite shops to frequent when we moved into our house, searching out lovely bits and pieces to kit out our kitchen. At the festive feast, I made a beeline straight for the Peppermint Bark. Creamy white chocolate swirled with dark chocolate and combined with crushed candy canes, there was nothing not to like about this sweet treat. Presented in a retro-style box, this would make a lovely gift for any chocoholic in your life. I liked it that much that I’m even planning to recreate it next week! We were then introduced to Pop a Ball who specialise in making your beverages much more exciting. Pop the little bubble balls into a glass of something fizzy and when you burst them with your teeth, a lovely fruit flavour is released for a taste sensation. There are so many lovely flavours like Strawberry & Peach and Blueberry & Lemon. Take things one step further with the Raspberry Rose Gold shimmer which had a subtle raspberry flavour and will leave your drinks shimmering – perfect for all those festive parties.
With a variety of treats, M&S left us seriously licking our lips. What I wouldn’t do to eat their festive sandwich selection all week long! Choose from Turkey Feast, Brie and Grape, Prawn and Smoked Salmon and Ham Hock and Golden Beetroot Piccalilli – seriously delicious. You could, of course, opt for a traditional Mince Pie or why not the Turkey and Cranberry sausage roll?
The Pigs in Blanket flavoured crisps with pork crispies definitely made a change from your regular tub of pringles – so good! While not much of liqueur drinker, even I can appreciate the Instagram-worthy Gold Creme Brulee Liqueur which smells absolutely heavenly of rich vanilla and caramel.
There’s always an influx of Christmas meals at this time of year and I’m certainly not complaining! Going for a meal is generally nice but there’s so much more of a buzz at this time of year, especially when there’s a themed menu to get your teeth into. For my work meal, we’re actually going to Carluccio’s so I was pleased to see a sample of their dishes at the event with heavenly starters from Tomato Bruschetta to the festive Pere e Gorgonzola. The Coppa di Limoncello Mascarpone will definitely be a favourite for dessert, combining Mascarpone limoncello cream, limoncello syrup and served with raspberries, crumbled amaretto biscuits and mint.
Matt and I will often stop by the John Lewis cafe when we’re out shopping at Queensgate for a coffee and cake. If you haven’t sampled some of their baked good, I thoroughly recommend it! John Lewis were kind enough to provide a selection for us from the cafe including Chocolate and Orange, Lemon Drizzle Cake and Bakewell Cake, truly something for everyone.
What really piped my interest though was the rather incredible Unicorn Tears Gin. Now with unicorns being such a huge trend (for all ages, let’s be honest!) this year, I’ve no doubt this unique gift will be very popular. The sweet gin is also infused with iridescent glitter, making it even more magical. While it is rather pricey at £40 I think this might just be worth it for gin-lovers in your life and quite simply because, well, it’s Christmas!
Hotel Chocolat is the stuff of dreams for me and their Christmas Gift Box Luxe Classic is full of a whopping 20 different types of chocolates to dig into. This huge box is most definitely one to share around the table and I can confirm the Billionaire’s Shortbread is bloomin’ gorgeous. We dug into burgers from Handmade Burger Co, my favourite of which was the divine american cheese beef burger, made up onion rings, HBC sauce, peppered pastrami, Swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato & red onion. So indulgent and so worth unbuttoning the top of your jeans for.
Grasmere Farm is a lovely local family run farmers and artisan butchers who treated us to bacon ‘n’ egg scotch egg, hand raised pork pie and the best sausage rolls. Seriously the quality of the meat is amazing, I can’t believe I never knew they had a shop so close to me! Last but by no means least, Pret certainly won cutest edible snack of the night with Melvin the melted gingerbread snowman – so sweet!
Phew! And so concludes my epic festive feast! A huge thank you to Queensgate for inviting me to eat far more food than I ought to! I’d love to know what has caught your eye from our festive feast – let me know in the comments!