Let’s be honest, one of the best parts of Christmas in the plethora of incredible food available. Every year, retailers and restaurants go wild with new festive launches and this year, Queensgate Shopping Centre invited my fellow local bloggers and me to try out what they had to offer.
First up was everyone’s favourite department store, John Lewis. It’s safe to say a lot of us will be popping in for our Christmas shopping in the next few weeks and they have some great foody gifts on sale too. The Cottage Delight Tipsy Gin Mince Pies were a big hit as a spin on a festive favourite: all butter pastry filled with gin-infused mincemeat. The Holdsworth Dark Chocolate Christmas Pudding Truffles and Cottage Delight Sloe Gin Plum Cake could be great bring-alongs to a cosy evening with friends or what about the Savoury Christmas Trees? It’s worth popping into John Lewis’s cafe, A Place to Eat too as they have some gorgeous cakes and hot drinks on offer for an afternoon treat after a long day shopping including Creme Brulee Latte and Minty Hot Chocolate.
Hands up who is forever wishing their kitchen looking like a Lakeland catalogue? Now it might not be your first thought when thinking of food and drink but Lakeland is most definitely worth checking out. We had great fun with the Make Your Own Christmas Pudding Smash Cake Kit which is both great to make and eat! Inside the dome is chocolate sponge cake topped with jelly beans. If you fancy getting creative even more creative, the Traditional Gingerbread House Kit comes with everything you need to make an adorable centrepiece that kids will have lots of fun with. Or if you’re like my group of friends, get together one evening and have a competition against each other to build the best! There are lots of stocking filler ideas too like these After Dinner Mints and Vegan-friendly Vanilla Marshmallows.
Chocolate will always be well received in my stocking and every year Hotel Chocolat have some fab chocolate-based gifts on offer that are positively drool-worthy. Top of my list is the Chocolate Christmas Wreath which is made up of 19 different chocolatey treats to choose from including Burnt Caramel Praline and Mulled Wine truffles. And there has always been a special place in my heart for the Jolly Penguin Selector, adorable 40% milk penguins filled with gooey caramel. No sharing, soz.
Now, this was a particularly interesting one for me as When Polly Met Fergie (named after the husband and wife owners dogs) is a plant-based restaurant that has recently opened in Queensgate Arcade who are striving to make plant-based diets the way forward. As someone who is admittedly a big meat eater, I was very curious about trying dedicated vegan food for the first time ever. We started with the Pecan and Mushroom Ravioli with a Turmeric and cauliflower sauce. As someone who isn’t a mushroom fan, I gave the starter a miss but I know Laura absolutely loved it! The main course was a Nut Roast in a filo cup, Dauphinoise potatoes, and a Cranberry Sauce. Neither Laura nor I could believe how cheesy the Dauphinoise was (and delicious!) and while the Nut Roast wasn’t quite to my liking, it’s a brilliant alternative for vegans. We finished with a Christmas Crumble with Brandy and Vanilla cream, now what could be cosier at this time of year? Vegan or otherwise, When Polly Met Fergie is a gorgeous little restaurant and well worth adding to your list to try.
For our final stop – at which point we were starting to feel a bit stuffed! – we settled down at Turtle Bay. The Carribean restaurant has become a bit hit since opening in Peterborough so it was great to take a peek at their festive menu. After a round of drinks, we were brought the Vital Veggie Platter and Just Jerk Platter which was made up of marinated jerk wings, glazed pork ribs, Jamaican beef patty, chicken flatbread, sweetcorn fritters & super green salad. It’s worth warning you that the food at Turtle Bay is spicy but totally delicious. The festive platters are a really nice alternative to your traditional three-course Christmas meal and a really sociable way to catch up with friends.
The Queensgate Festive Feast was a Thursday evening well spent and I’ll definitely be stocking up on all the Christmas food before we head to New Zealand. What’s your favourite food to eat at this time of year? Let me know in the comments!
Huge thank you to the stores at Queensgate Shopping Centre for hosting our Festive Feast