It may seem strange to be talking about Christmas so early, but it is always good to be prepared I think! Last week, on one of the hottest days of the year, I took a trip to London to attend Iceland’s Christmas in July event at the swanky One Belgravia. It was a chance to take a peek at their upcoming Christmas range and to feast on an abundance of delectable festive goodies.
The building had been transformed into a veritable festive grotto; with snowy Christmas trees lining the entrance and stairway up to the main event, where we were greeted with a glass of bubbly (and some ice cold water to cool us down!) before checking out all of the food.
The centrepiece was a lavishly decorated table laden with everything you could possibly want for your Christmas dinner, including a luxurious gilded turkey, a boneless hand stuffed chicken cushion (that really did look like a cushion!) and a roast parsnip and portobello mushroom pithivier for the veggies as well as countless other things.
I’m a big fan of Iceland’s frozen fish and seafood and their festive selection looked truly amazing. From sushi to rock lobster thermidor to coconut leaf shrimp parcels parcels to salt baked seabass they had it all and I will definitely be stocking up on some of their fantastic products come Christmas time.
It is always the desserts that interest me the most and this time was no exception. The ones that caught my eye in particular were a beautiful raspberry and pistachio layered pavlova, and an amazing looking melt in the middle chocolate snowflake – you pour hot chocolate sauce over it to melt the top and reveal the chocolate mousse and honeycomb centre.
There was also a wonderful array of colourful macarons and mini eclairs, and of course the classic Christmas puddings and mince pies; though there were so many, many more sweet treats to choose from! Last year Iceland was number one for frozen desserts and their mince pies even beat Harrods ones in a blind taste test so you know that they are delicious!
The highlight of the dishes that we tried was an absolutely delicious smoked salmon terrine, which was also very impressively presented in a glass jar full of smoke which billowed out dramatically when you lifted the lid.
Some other delicious dishes that we tried were a wonderful extra mature vintage cheddar souflette, luxury smoked salmon that had been marinated in beetroot and orange meaning that it was a gorgeous colour as well as being incredibly tasty, the salt baked seabass served with Canadian lobster and a wonderful Christmas pudding with a melting brandy sauce centre (there was an entire Christmas pudding just for two of us! We made an admirable effort but didn’t quite manage to finish it…).
Although it was a slightly surreal experience eating festive foods and listening to Christmas music in 30° heat, I was extremely impressed with all of the dishes; they were all up to fine dining standard which is pretty mind blowing considering it is all cooked from frozen.
Iceland may not be the first place that you think of when it comes to doing your Christmas food shopping but it really should be. All of their products are such high quality and they have an amazing range – there is something for everyone and every occasion. There is also the fact that buying frozen can take some of the stress out of cooking at Christmas; all of the prep is done for you and you can concentrate on relaxing and enjoying yourself rather than stressing over getting the dinner perfect. After all, what matters at Christmas is spending quality time with friends and family and eating delicious food, not whether you have cooked every single thing yourself from scratch!
This post is sponsored by Iceland, thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to continue doing what I love – playing with food and making a mess of my kitchen.