Its that time of the year again - cold weather, festive lights, snow, family, friends, gifts and lots of gorgeous looking delicious food. We are only couple of weeks away from Christmas but the festive celebrations have already begun. Most streets and houses have lit up with festive lights and Christmas trees. No need to mention that Christmas shopping is also going on at a frenzied pace.
I love festivals not only because they are a lot of fun but also because they create moments that I can fondly remember and relive many times during the year. They provide the warmth which is much needed when I am in real need of some family comfort. So I try to make these family get together moments as memorable as possible and one way to do that is by following an old saying that the way to reach someone's heart is through their stomach.
This year I have started to stock up for the holidays already and I have twice more reasons to celebrate. One, this will be my son’s first Christmas and two, my mum will be with me for this Christmas and the New year.
I always go to Sainsburys to do my shopping and for my this year’s Christmas food shopping I have already bought a lot of things. Many of which are already over but that just gives me another reason to go back to the store and buy more. I bought a lot of things and I love them all but the things I loved the most are from the Taste the Difference range, namely the festive cheese selection, mince pies, the Christmas pudding and the delectable range of wines that goes well with all of them.
Let me start with the Brandy-rich Mince Pies and Mini Tart Selection. The minced pies are just what it says on the box ‘Melt in the mouth’. As you bite into one of these delights, the first thing that reaches your taste buds are the sweet, smooth, rich, all butter pastry and then comes the punch of the brandy. The mince meat is so dense, rich and sweet that you definitely need a shot of espresso to go with. On the other hand the tarts are have a more subtle sweetness, yet have similar buttery base and topped with almonds or macadamias and are infused with either port or brandy.
The last but the all important pudding was the cognac laced matured Christmas pudding which is filled with almonds, pecans, walnuts, cherries, raisins with a blend of sherry, port and cider and then matured with cognac. Tastes divine with a dash with double cream. The wine I thought went well with the tarts and the Christmas pudding is the Sainsbury’s French Muscat wine. Absolutely brilliant dessert wine that’s an absolute bargain. Sweet with a note of apricot. Only thing the bottle is quite small, got over in one round of serving between four of us. I will have to buy at least couple more bottle of this one for my next dinner party.
For the Cheese platter we got the festive cheese selection by Sainsburys which is not from the Taste the difference range but are no less in depth of favour or sophistication. The selection has got four types of cheese Applewood smoke flavoured Cheddar, Double Gloucester Onion and Chives, Wensleydale and Cranberry and my favourite of the selection White Stilton with Apricot. Totally worth it.
Coming to the wine, I found Sainsburys Taste the Differemce Rosso Toscano 2009 or Tuscan Red to you and me as a good choice. It is a smooth Sangiovese red with distinct flavours of mulberry, black cherries and undertones of spices which goes ever so well with Indian and South East Asian dishes designed for Christmas. Another good one is the Taste the Primitivo del Salento 2010 coming from the Puglia region in Italy, made with Primitivo grapes. It has velvety soft tannins with fragrant berry flavours and an undertone of spicy oak. The wine goes down well with red meats and will be a delightful companion for that roast ham during Christmas day.
Happy holidays everyone!