As Christmas comes but once a year, this is no time to be cutting corners – especially when it comes to the food. The annual Christmas feast is a highlight of the year and deserves to be treated with great respect. The best way to ensure that the feast is as fine as possible is to choose very good ingredients that come from an impeccable source – which is what Fortnum’s does all year round.
Starting with the smoked salmon, we choose the freshest and most expertly cured salmon from Scotland and Ireland, smoked over oak for a subtle flavour and presented in the many different ways that our customers need, from a modest number of slices to an entire side of salmon. The very finest piece that you can buy is the royal fillet, which is the best part of the salmon, trimmed of fat and perfectly prepared – it will look wonderful on the table if you are feeding a larger gathering.
Next, the long-awaited Christmas bird – but will it be turkey or goose? If you simply must have turkey, our heritage breed Bourbon Red turkeys are a revelation. Unlike the bland white meat that too often passes for turkey, this is a fantastic bird, and is hung for 10 days to ensure it is gamey and full of flavour. It is a treat to taste turkey that is as good as this, and it’s even better if you prepare it with our own aromatic Turkey Rub. If turkey is not compulsory in your household, consider a goose instead. One of our plump free-range geese would make a fantastic centrepiece for the table – and, of course, goose fat makes unbeatable roast potatoes.
After the bird comes that other annual highlight – the Christmas pudding. With so much expectation, it really has to be good. Ours are made with plump dried fruits and full-strength Fortnum’s cognac and Pusser’s Navy Rum for a very decadent effect. This year we have a special Jubilee Christmas Pudding, made with double cream and port and a crown of gilded glacé fruits; and our Archangel’s Chocolate Christmas Pudding remains extremely popular, thanks to the dark chocolate and cider apple brandy, which give richness and depth without too much sweetness. It’s an interesting new tradition that we urge you to adopt. Of course all of these puddings taste even better with a spoonful of Fortnum’s Cognac or Rum Butter – they’re quite undressed without it.
As well as the main feast itself, there are many other meals to think about, as family and friends drop in for anything from a cup of tea to an impromptu lunch. Our handmade pies are an excellent standby for cold buffet lunches; from Duck & Venison to Game or Pork Pie, they are freshly made with crisp and crumbly pastry and packed with very high-quality meat. Serve them with any of our chutneys or mustards for a very hearty meal, along with a slice of one of our glazed and spiced Christmas Hams. For morning coffee, stock up on our extra-deep mince pies, filled with our own brandy-soaked mincemeat – these are divine served warm with a dollop of Cognac Butter. For teatime, we have traditional Christmas cake, hand-iced with snow-white icing and festive decorations, as well as tins full of delicious biscuits in many tempting flavours, including our outstanding Florentines, made with cranberries for a Christmas twist. So as Christmas approaches with gathering speed, stock up your pantry with Fortnum’s finest foods and let the feasting begin.