Craig spends the day with frozen food giant Iceland and samples some of their Luxury Christmas food range
Christmas, as we know, is a time when we pull out all the stops. It’s a time for giving and for sharing, and food is a massive part of that. It’s a time when we spend a lot of money on food, the type of foods that we love, but don’t have during the rest of the year. We treat ourselves and our loved ones to luxury items. This year Iceland are offering a wide range of luxury foods for Christmas, but is it luxury? and how does it compare to other brands? Why should we buy from Iceland this year? And will our guests know?
For this sponsored post I want to share my experience and my thoughts on the food that is on offer from Iceland this Christmas.
Arriving at the Iceland head office just outside Chester, we were immediately greeted with a warm welcome, a drink and wonderful aroma of cooking turkey. Not being cooked in a conventional oven I hasten to add but on a barbecue! This is apparently a great way to free up oven space on the big day to ensure that you get those perfect roast potatoes! Who knew!
We were then ushered in to the kitchen where we were treated to a lesson in cooking lobster tails. I have to admit to never having eaten lobster but I have to tell you it was incredible! Cooked on the griddle and then placed on a bed of hay before being set alight to give a smokey taste and then placed in a taco, with guacamole and other delicious accompaniments. The tails cost £11 for two.
After this it was time for some cocktails! We all enjoy a drink at Christmas and Iceland also stock a good range of festive drinks including Irish Cream, Prosecco and port along with a wide selection of wines and soft drinks. We had our cocktails with their luxury mince pies. These were great. Full of fruit and encased in crumbly shortcrust pastry. And at just £1.89 for six they’re going in my basket!
Next up was a true turkey treat. We were shown the best ways to cook one of these traditionally festive birds. One was baked in a salt crust, another barbecued and another was lovingly decorated with edible gold leaf for a truly decadent touch. We were told about their ‘gilded’ turkey, which was something I wasn’t familiar with. If you’re also not overly familiar with the concept, take a look at the video below.
After sampling some wonderful turkey and a vegetarian festive pie (which by the way was really tasty) it was time for deserts! Now, for me the deserts on offer rivalled any other luxury brand out there. M&S and Waitrose need to watch out. I want you to know right now that I’m not just saying this because I’ve been paid to write this post. If they were dreadful I’d tell you and I will always be honest with you. I was most excited to sample the Melting Chocolate Snowflake and dear lord it didn’t disappoint! I’m pretty confident that the nearer we get to Christmas the less you’ll be able to get one so get one today and stick it in your freezer, don’t wait.
Using this super chocolatey desert with it’s brownie base, dark chocolate mouse and bronzed chocolate shell, one of the chefs presented a showstopping masterpiece directly onto the table. Using crumbled cookies, sauces and blackcurrant dust before pouring hot chocolate sauce (included with the Chocolate Snowflake) into the centre of each star.
We all watched with anticipation as the centre melted away and had to restrain ourselves from leaping off our seats to grab a piece.
This is another item that is on my wish list and I cannot wait to share it with my family on Christmas day. Other items that I was impressed with and which are either just great additions to the table or are a little different are the fruity eclairs with their blackcurrant, lemon, raspberry and apricot fillings (£3 for 8 or two boxes for £5)
The luxury raspberry tart is another winner for me. Super tangy with an all butter pastry and a compote filling and heritage raspberries. At just £3 it’s a nice items for the price.
Below are the Macaron and the Luxury Creme Brulee Deserts. The Macaron come to you in a box on 12, with lemon, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla and praline flavoured fillings for £3.
The Creme Brulee Deserts are domed shaped chocolate mousse with a vanilla custard cream centre on an almond & chocolate base, decorated with cocoa jelly and gold coloured powder. £5 for 4.
If meringue is your thing take a look at the Luxury Raspberry and Pistachio Pavlova. Layers of meringue, sweetened whipped lemon cream and raspberry sauce, finished with raspberries and salted pistachio nut pieces.
Under that is the Luxury Chocolate & Choux Garland. for £6 you’re getting a chocolate choux pastry ring filled with whipped cream and a chocolate and orange flavoured fudge icing, topped with a chocolate and orange flavoured ganache, sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings and a coloured dusting. Delicious!
Iceland are serious about offering a range of luxury foods that rival the big hitters at Christmas. For me they’ve done that. I went with an open mind and a common misconception that Iceland’s foods are cheap and cheerful. That you get what you pay for, and that they cater for those of us on lower incomes. I think that’s what a few of us feel about Iceland.
However I was greatly surprised by the foods presented during my day with them, and their passion for providing luxury quality products. My perception of the brand has been changed and I will not think twice about adding some of their deserts to my table this Christmas.
Don’t be afraid to give their foods a try. What is your perception of Iceland? Have you sampled some of their luxury range? What did you and your guests think of it? Were you surprised like I have been? Please feel free to drop me a line to let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.