Greeted by Christmas trees, snow and an awfully chill wind, Tesco’s Christmas in July event kicked off well. A warehouse recreated a series of events in the run up to and on Christmas Day, journalists swung through a series of doors and events that take place over the Christmas period; an Advent Calendar brought to life.
In ‘Preparing for Christmas’, there were lots of activities and things to make, including this Igloo Cake Kit (£3.99) which is something parents can make relatively quickly with their kids. Easy on the purse, it can be cooked in the microwave and comes with cut-out characters and a snow scene. The cake is incredibly moist as it’s an oil mix, again vegetable oil being cheaper than eggs in most cases.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the usual luxury and Tesco offer it in spades. From party food, generous seafood platters, British free range Bronze Turkeys, and the all-important smoked salmon.
The products that were worthy of note are on lit plinths and this Finest Reveal dessert earned its place. A chocolate lover’s dream, this dark Belgian chocolate dome is flecked with gold for an impressive finish and at £12 it was an impressive price point. It then reveals something of a surprise when the hot toffee sauce hits the crisp shell dome.
This year, the traditional Christmas cake has had a makeover regarding look. I chatted with Stephanie Bacon one of the food developers at Tesco who talked me through this dome cake. Whilst it looks contemporary, don’t be fooled, it has all the luxury of a traditional fruit cake. There may even be luxury truffles on the side and will come in under the £20 mark. I love coming to these shows to chat with the experts, finding out what’s new and how some of the products are still being developed right up to the wire. So much effort goes into making these events special, and the hard work paid off for Tesco this year.
No party is complete without fizz and this year their Finest pick is a DOP Valdobbiadene Brut from Treviso in Italy and at £10 it’s totally affordable. Flavours of apple, white flowers, citrus, grapefruit and a hint of honey, these bubbles, certainly for me, top Champagne any day of the week.
This year there’s Christmas Dinner in a box and for £25 there’s, you’ve guessed it, Christmas dinner for two which includes turkey, veg accompaniments, half a bottle of champagne and a Christmas Pudding.
Free From frozen desserts are pretty impressive, and the Berry Christmas Cheesecake is a steal at £4. Difficult to believe that the Chocolate Yule Cake is another bargain at £4.50.
I’m sure you’ve worked out that my sweet tooth overtakes my savoury.
However, I love cheese, so this finest dessert board selection caught my eye. The thing is, it’s a reinvention of the traditional cheese board, and it comes ready to serve on a slate-effect board. It’s not cheese at all but features a sweet passionfruit cheesecake, a coconut pannacotta coated with cocoa nibs, a light lemon mousse with a swirl of pistachio crumb and a white blondie studded with white chocolate and a fruit compote.
The Tesco Snowman Cake is a novelty for the kids in your life, young and old. Vanilla sponge is covered with soft buttercream, shaped like Mr Frosty and accessorised with fondant.
Plenty of inspiration and styling to help you organise your Christmas throughout the holidays.
I forgot to mention the Smoke at Home Ham. A dry-cured ham joint is popped on an Alder wood smoking board, which can be soaked in juice or beer prior to cooking, it’s served on the board with pickles. Impressive.