It’s not often you leave the house wearing a sundress, sunblock, sunglasses and a hat and set off to experience… Christmas! But that’s exactly what I did last week when I set off to experience Iceland’s festive showcase at super swish One Belgravia.
Once I entered the building with its prettily decorated staircase, I was ready to put the 30-degree heat behind me and enter into the Christmas spirit – aided by a glass of wonderfully chilled bubbly. And, in the main room, the Iceland team had once again pulled out all the stops to show off their festive food.
There was a festive table literally heaving with food with a rather magnificent roast turkey as the centrepiece. I have no qualms buying a frozen turkey from Iceland for my Christmas dinner – it tastes delicious and is affordable as well. But this particular turkey is even more special and takes its inspiration from 15th century trend for ‘gilding’, literally applying gold leaf to the meat on special occasions!
The Iceland ‘gilded’ turkey is not, luckily, actually covered in gold leaf, instead it comes pre-basted with butter and covered with muslin ready for roasting and then you add the saffron, mustard and thyme ‘gild’ sauce to glaze it and give it a golden glow. I have used the muslin method for roasting a turkey in the past and it works really well but is very laborious – so it’s a good thing Iceland have taken most of the hard work away.
There were other delights as well – like this chicken ‘cushion’ (it really does look like a pincushion) which is stuffed and draped with bacon, ready to cook from frozen of course. Innovative dishes like the chicken ham and stuffing Wellington shared space with classics like porchetta – basically everything you would need for a big Christmas meal without having to slave in the kitchen for days.
And there was an endless selection of desserts, cakes, (award winning) mince pies and puddings as well. So you could definitely cook some of your Christmas meal from scratch, but supplement it with starters or desserts from Iceland, allowing you a bit more time with family and friends and a little less time frantically stressing out. Yes, I am talking about myself here.
Neil Nugent, chief developmental chef who joined Iceland last year, has worked very hard to make people aware that freezing is the best way to preserve, store and manage their food. He takes his mantra ‘frozen food is every chef’s best friend’ to heart and this was evident in the fantastic array of dishes presented to us.
A dreamy cheese soufflé was up first, an excellent way to warm up your guests during the festive season. This was followed by a creamy salmon terrine, presented with dramatic flair in a small jar filled with smoke which billowed out when the lid was lifted.
There was also salt baked sea bass served with the Canadian lobster and bacon – fancy! – tuna sashimi bites and macarons and mini fruity éclairs for dessert. Needless to say I felt very spoiled and, just when I thought I could not eat another bite, an entire full-size Christmas pudding landed on the table. Even though I am not ordinarily a huge fan, it was so delicious that I ate quite a few bites…
All these Christmas delights will be hitting Iceland around November and you should definitely be checking them out. There is still a bit of snobbery surrounding frozen food and I myself was certainly guilty of that in the past. But I have been continuously impressed with Iceland’s transformation and I am not the only one. They were recently named ‘Best Online Supermarket of 2017’ by Which? and The Grocer Gold Awards. This Christmas you should definitely be going to Iceland!
Post sponsored by Iceland all opinions are honest and my own.