The most unusual Christmas food specials of 2018
From Branston Picklebread Men to Christmas dinner pizza, here are the craziest and most delectable festive treats available this year
Restaurant chains and supermarkets have been busy conjuring up Christmas-themed menus and goods to satisfy customers, with brussels sprouts, turkey and cranberry sauce thrown together to create myriad new yuletide treats.
But every year, a handful of products come along that tweak the usual line-up of festive foodstuffs in weird and wonderful ways. Here are some of the best on offer:
Christmas dinner pizza - Asda
Asda is selling a pizza that comes topped with all the traditional trimmings, including turkey, two cheeses, pigs in blankets, and sage and stuffing balls. It also has its own sachet of cranberry sauce ready for drizzling once the pizza is out of the oven.
The Daily Mirror says the “festive alternative to the full roast dinner could be the answer to those seeking something a little unusual for Christmas lunch this year”.
Christmas Nugget - Hawksmoor
British steakhouse Hawksmoor is famed for its beef and cocktails, but this Christmas it has another delicacy: the Christmas Nugget. Minced, buttermilk-fried turkey thigh and Ginger Pig sausage meat and bacon are wrapped around a cheese sauce core, served with a cranberry ketchup. This is by no means your average nugget.
Branston Picklebread Men - Lily Vanilli
After the success of last year’s cheese and pickle mince pies, Lily Vanilli is offering Branston Picklebread Men for 2018. There are ten pickle men in a box - the perfect gift for Christmas drinks parties.
Xmas Shack - Shake Shack
A special seasonal burger has been added to the menu at this American fast food favourite, which has restaurants at locations across the UK. The Xmas Shack consists of crispy chicken breast topped with Gruyere cheese, pickled shallots, cranberry bacon chutney, sliced kale and gravy mayo.
Mince pie samosas - Kennington Tandoori
Many of the UK’s takeaways are offering festive takes on their regular offerings, such as the Scottish chip shop that is deep frying a Christmas dinner for their lucky customers. But in Kennington, south London, one Indian restaurant is serving up mince pie samosas. The dessert item “offers an Indian twist on the British Christmas favourite, and is served with mango kulfi (an Indian dairy dish similar to ice cream)”, says The Londonist.
Snowball Gnocchi - ASK Italian
On the theme of puddings, ASK Italian has launched Snowball Gnocchi, a festive twist on its baked chocolate gnocchi. The pasta is filled with Nutella, with white chocolate sauce and coconut for dipping and dunking.
Baileys marshmallow - The Marshmallowist
The Marshmallowist has teamed up with the famous Irish cream liqueur for this exclusive collaboration. Each marshmallow contains a generous glug of Baileys and has been whipped to make it light and creamy.
Three-course Christmas pasty - Morrisons
Taking its cues from the traditional pasties that miners would take to work, this three-course pasty features savoury and sweet flavours. According to Morrisons the new recipe took chefs three months to perfect. So what exactly is inside? Ardennes paté, sweet apple chutney and Melba toast for starters; British turkey with sage and onion stuffing, potatoes, pigs in blankets, cranberries and a creamy sauce for the main; and a rich Christmas pudding with brandy sauce for dessert.
It also comes with a helpful arrow telling you which end to start on.
Turkey gin - Portobello Road Gin
Taking the flavoured gin craze a step further this limited edition £35 Director's Cut No 3 gin is from Portobello Road Gin and really is turkey-flavoured.
Distilled in a similar way to the Mexican favourite Mezcal Master distiller Jake Burger suspends a turkey breast in the still during the distillation process, which then cooks in the slowly emanating vapours.
“The result is a subtle but distinct flavoured gin that also contains the flavours of dried fruits and spices for a truly festive tipple,” says the Daily Mail.
Yorkshire Pudding Burrito - Aldi
Burritos are one of the trendiest and tastiest street foods to explode on the UK’s culinary scene in the last few years. Many have wondered if they could ever be improved and yet Aldi have done just that by launching a festive version which replaces the humble tortilla wrap with a Yorkshire pudding.
The pudding wrap is filled with beef brisket and a rich red wine and onion gravy, and is big enough to feed five people. Perfect for that Christmas Eve dinner ahead of the big day.
Tesco Finest Limited Edition Pigs In Blankets crisps - Tesco
Tesco have taken that fine Christmas Day tradition of pigs in blankets and turned it into a crisp flavour.
Gone are the days clearly, when the UK would be happy with a simple packet of salt and vinegar or cheese and onion. Now their heads have been turned by the thai sweet chilis of this world and the supermarket giant is ready to tap into that market under the guise of festive gluttony.
“Whether you put out a bowlful at your upcoming Christmas party or save them for the hangover the next day, the salty snacks could become a staple for the season,” says The Independent.
The website tried the crisps, saying “they were nice. Not mind-blowing, but tasty enough.”
“Rather than tasting like a full-blown pig in a blanket, they're more like smoky bacon crisps with a hint of sausage.”
Mulled wine cheesecake - Oslo Hackney
There are few greater pleasures at this time of year than settling down with a mince pie and some mulled wine - so why not take it that one step further and combine the two in a dessert?
Oslo bar, located in a unique redeveloped space of a railway station in London’s fashionable Hackney has done just that creating the perfect dessert collaboration - the aptly named mulled wine cheesecake.
The result is a delicious combination of sweetness and tanginess that satisfies all those Christmas cravings for rich luxurious food.
Mulled wine cheesecake isn’t the only exciting offering at Oslo which also has a full Christmas menu that ticks all the festive food boxes ahead of the big day.
Oslo bar - 1A Amhurst Road, Hackney, London E8 1LL
Rudie’s - Festive Jamaican feast
If you’re bored with traditional fare this festive season, Rudie’s in Dalston has your back. The team behind the popular caribbean restaurant has come up with two distinctive Jamaican Christmas menus.
One of the meal's begins with spicy Appleton Rum pork ribs and tasty Jamaican cocktail patties. These are followed by the festive 'Yeah mon!' platter which includes stuffed jerk turkey, rolled jerk pork belly and roast yam, none of which disappoints in this seasonal feast with a twist.
The other menu includes Rudie’s famous curry goat while vegetarian options (doubling up on the different types of yams) are also available. While the flavours are unusual for this time of year the appeal is very similar to a traditional Christmas dinner with Rudie’s doubling down on the home-cooked feel.
Make sure you leave room for dessert as no festive meal at Rudie’s is complete without some rum cake served with nutmeg and rum Chantilly cake.
Available throughout December, both menus offer an excellent alternative if you tire of the usual festive fare.
Rudie’s - 50 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB