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Where to go for the GREAT British Christmas foods?

Where to go for the GREAT British Christmas foods?

Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 06:44 AM
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Where to go for the GREAT British Christmas foods?

What restaurants-stand alone or in hotels- have good Christmas menus? Can't wait to have some of their Christmas puddings, mince pies, and trifles. Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Sorry to be negative about this, but:

I've NEVER had a decent trifle, Xmas pud or mince pie in a hotel or restaurant. All of these (and bread sauce) are infinitely better home made.

If I were a tourist planning to be in Britain before Christmas, I'd:

- get the Delia Smith Christmas book from Amazon now
- Organise myself to make the Christmas pud on Stir Up Sunday (the last Sunday before Advent, November 24 this year) or if travel plans got in the way, beforehand
- Buy the ingredients for mince pies while in Britain, then make them back home from Delia's recipes
- Avoid any Christmas menu in a British hotel or restaurant at all costs while here.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I think you are being a bit negative here flanneruk. I agree however you do need to search.

Robertlee- can you give us some clue as to your budget? On the whole Christmas menus suffer from a bit of a mark-up in price, but there are good ones around.

PS: Not sure about trifle as a Christmas dish what have been missing all these years. The number of mince pies I have had to force down me. I would have far preferred trifle
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 09:47 AM
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In fact you can even make your own mincemeat for mince pies from Delia's recipe in her Christmas book. I managed to get my butcher here in France to provide suet -for 'le pudding' as he said, and made lots - it was great.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 09:53 AM
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ugh, why would anyone eat such stuff? Suet pudding, is this serious? That sounds like something only a bird should eat. Why would any person eat that, which is fat?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Just a friendly warning: My first few trips to London I brought back Christmas puds from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. Every single person I gifted with these treats told me they didn't care for it (family and good friends--I wasn't insulted--I'm not giving appropriate context here for space reasons). I enjoyed a small portion of warm CP with vanilla sauce, but it is very strong if you're not used to it.

Just don't want you to be disappointed. Now the sticky toffee pudding--THAT's good stuff
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:06 AM
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Where will you be over Christmas? Are you looking for something for Christmas day itself? Mass transit will be minimal so you'll be sticking to your immediate area.
Last Christmas we went out to the Marlow Donkey gastropub for our Christmas day lunch (we took a taxi there and back from Maidenhead). Very nice, but we didn't try any of the desserts mentioned above...I had the chocolate sampler and my husband had a blackcurrant cheesecake.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:07 AM
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If you cant get fat at Christmas, when can you

Seriously Christmas Pudding - figgy pudding if you know your old nursery rhymes - has not only suet and mincemeat, but even fruit so you can pretend its healthy.

See here for a recipe http://www.britainexpress.com/articl...as-pudding.htm
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:12 AM
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"Why would any person eat that, which is fat?"

Because it tastes terrific. Unlike muck stuffed with corn syrup that's sold to the gullible as "low fat".
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:17 AM
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We had a great Christmas lunch at Brown's Hotel. Also, most country-house hotels do excellent feasts.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Thank you all for your postings.We will be in London from Nov.24-Dec.4. Budget? Perhaps we could indulge ourselves! Sounds like "Christmas foods" are not really that special. With that in mind, any good restaurants besides Rules? Something in that price category.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 11:33 AM
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I doubt you'll even see Christmas puddings, et al in restaurants that far in advance of Christmas. But the shops will certainly be selling puddings and mince meat. We are ususally in London in November and I always bring home a few jars of the prepared mince meat. I can't remember the name of the brand I buy, I do recognize the black and white label. Partridge's on King's Rd will have a nice selection of either. They do have prepared mince pies but they taste yucky to me. I prefer to make my own at home along with my Christmas puddings.

I've never thought of trifle as a Christmas dish, my husband always requests a nice sherry trifle in place of a birthday cake!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Suet isn't an essential part of either CP or mincemeat. I make both without suet, partly because it is nearly unobtainable here. In fact I make a low fat CP which goes down better than my old recipe - maybe because I haven't told them it's healthy
You can also get vegetarian suet is you prefer.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 11:49 AM
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I use vegetarian suet now which I get in local British food stores. I never make my own mincemeat, although my sister does, because I just don't use that much. Bought mince pies are as good as homemade.

As jody said, the end of November is a little early to find Christmas foods. Restaurants may be just starting their Christmas menus.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 11:50 AM
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Oops! Should be "Bought mince pies are NOT as good as homemade"!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:38 PM
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My Christmas pudding recipe calls for Guinness, but as my husband has developed an allergy for beer (and similar), last year I dug up a different recipe which was almost as good (no suet for us either). I still have a tiny bit of it in the fridge, well sprinkled with brandy from time to time. I look forward to making this year's batch.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:53 PM
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I always thought the best part of Christmas pudding was the rum butter. The cake, now, that was another matter.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:50 AM
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Sorry, but I have to agree with flanner. The only restaurants which do traditional Christmas menus are hotel restaurants doing mass-catering, to a not very good standard - aimed at office parties, groups of OAPs, etc. Good restaurants won't do anything like that, except maybe a mince pie with your coffee if you're lucky.

If you are going to be in the UK for Christmas Day & you're not self-catering, your best bet would be to eat lunch at the top local hotel (e.g. the Balmoral in Edinburgh) - it will be a bit better, though still not as good as you could make at home, and they'll charge you an absolute fortune. And children will probably be present.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 03:26 AM
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The problem that you face is that those places who will have Christmas menus aren't really catering for fine dining. They are catering for office parties - ie tipsy secretaries in paper hats, and pervy bosses.

We eat Christmas dinner at home - it's a family time of the year. So instead of tipsy secretaries we have tipsy Aunts, in paper hats and pevy uncles.

This year I will be available for the roles of pervy boss and tispy uncle.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 04:26 AM
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If you have to go out on Christmas day you need to go to a Pub. I recommend The White Swan, Ampleforth,
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