Christmas Menu Planning
We're all creatures of custom and convention and the nature versus nurture discussion comes down exclusively on the side of nurture when it comes to our Christmas menu. It's born out of centuries of great tradition to be enjoyed by families and friends together over the festive period. The result is a gastronomic template that works brilliantly when well planned, well sourced and well delivered. Quite a lot to get right then! We can help, read on….
We’re also busy working with our customers on their own, and our, favourite alternatives all of which open up spectacular possibilities to this very special feast.
The very best way to do Tradition - from The Hampstead Butcher & Providore
Our Butchers prepare, speak to more customers and take more orders for Turkey, Hams and Goose right now than at any other time of year. And we can be absolutely certain that the traditional choice will bring all of the desired oooh’s and aaah’s when guests are served.
Our turkeys are free-range Bronze Turkeys. A slow growing, old fashioned breed, reared to full maturity and fed on a natural diet free from antibiotics and growth promoters which gives them a flavoursome, rich taste. Our birds come with cooking instructions and a neat little thermostat that tells chef when the turkey is ready to serve so even the most nervous of hosts can be sure of a well cooked, moist and succulent turkey to serve at the Christmas table. Top tip? Use a roasting bag for shortened cooking time, beautifully coloured bird, a more succulent result and retention of all of the cooking juices to add to your gravy.
Our hams (cooked and off the bone) are cured using the finest English free-range pork and our geese are traditionally reared and free-range from the English countryside. Making your own ham is a traditional part of the Christmas preparation in itself. Don't be nervous! Speak to one of our butchers about the right Gammon to use and with their help you’ll be able to make your own delicious ham.
Pheasants are another great alternative for Christmas. As we approach the end of the game season it's a great time to take on a bird that has so much more flavour than the more traditional choices. It’s succulent and has plenty of meat. Match with a fragrant jelly from our Ouse Valley range.
Gressingham Duck is another of our Christmas alternatives recommended by the Butchers. It’s a unique breed that came about when the small but flavourful wild Mallard was crossed with the larger Pekin duck giving a meaty, succulent duck with more breast meat, less fat and a rich gamey flavour.
We stock all of the traditional accompaniments for your roast meat including our own chipolatas and sausages, English free-range bacon and all of the necessary sauces & trimmings.
The Beef Alternative - A New Tradition?
For something a little different to serve on the 25th December that has real wow factor go for our Dry-Aged Rolled Rib of Beef or even Cote de Boeuf. Both are taken from the same part of the animal and prepared, ready for you to cook by our talented butchers. These cuts of beef, when sourced carefully and prepared with a little skill trump pretty much any other piece of meat that can be put on the table. A synch to roast, spectacular to present and just about the most tender and tasty cut available.
All of our beef is free range, British and dry-aged right before your own eyes in our specially designed ageing cabinets. Each week we source top grade free range British Beef for our customers at London's Smithfield Market and also directly from farms in the English countryside of Sussex, Kent and Oxfordshire. We use excellent breeds such as Limousin, Lincoln Red, Simmental and Angus.
The beef will work brilliantly with all the Christmas trimmings and provides the excuse to add some super-sized Yorkshire Puddings and a little horseradish too!
The Cheese Board
Every good festive feast features a top quality cheese board. Not only is it a proper indulgence for you and your guests, it’s also a pretty easy course to prepare and serve.
Our Christmas Cheese Classics just have to include a rich, creamy blue cheese and they don't come much better than our Colton Basset Stilton. This smooth textured cheese has a mellow taste without any sharp acidity from the blue. Quickes Mature Cheddar is another classic English cheese that not only works well on a cheese board but also as a great all-rounder throughout Christmas week – melted on toast with an Ouse Valley pickle for Boxing Day breakfast is just one of our suggestions!
Last but not least is Vacherin Mont d’Or. It’s fantastic at this time of year and available only over the winter. The exquisite soft centre is unlike anything else. The best way to eat Mont d’Or is heated in the oven until the cheese becomes runny, making a superb starter and centre piece for any festive meal.
The finest example of another festive classic is our London Smoked Salmon, smoked in London's East End; firmer and less salty than other smoked salmon. Served on blini or rye with a little lemon, pepper and dill, enjoyed with a chilled glass of Champagne or our Borgo Magredo Prosecco from Venice makes a perfectly light and delicious appetiser at any time of the day. Breakfast time bubbles anyone?
Our sweet treats for Christmas represent the finest Italian classics but are made a stone’s throw from Hampstead by our favourite local Italian artisan.
Beautiful handmade Plum Puddings made using free-range eggs and organic flour and butter are cooked in the traditional way by steaming them slowly.
Panforte is a firm, flat cake from Siena in Tuscany. Our Panforte is hand made in North London using the finest ingredients available. In recent times this spicy cake has become popular across Italy at Christmas but we think this is so good it should be eaten all year round!