A few weeks ago on a warm, very “un Christmassy” October evening, I had the pleasure of heading to Booths St Annes to attend their VIP Christmas Preview evening. I’m not going to lie, getting festive when it’s neither cold or dark at 5pm was a little strange, but the Booths team did a great job of getting me in the mood, welcoming me with a slice of yummy Christmas cake and bucks fizz, yum!
Booths plays a big part in our family Christmas traditions, each year the annual preparations always includes at least one shopping trip to our local Booths to see what yummy treats (usually of a boozy or sweet variety) are on offer.
This year Chairman Edwin Booth said
“When I was a child I used to wish that Christmas Day would last forever, and I still feel like that about Christmas dinner! Our Christmas selection is brimming with time-saving, regional delicacies to help you put your feet up, pause and enjoy time with friends and family.”
And I for one couldn’t WAIT to see what his team had in store for us, judging by the queue to get in, neither could everyone else!
I decided to start with the savoury offerings and headed straight for the pies, you can’t have a “Northern” Christmas without pies can you eh!
I sampled the rich Blue Cow Pie and the Carrot, Parsnip and Swede Crush first, followed by the creamy Cumbrian Chicken, Dry Cured Ham and Leek Pie. I have to say the Chicken was my favourite, retailing at £12 – £15 per pie, which would serve between 4-6 people I thought that was pretty good going and a great quick and easy option to feed visiting guests over the festive period. You were right Edwin, they are certainly time-saving, bravo!
Next I decided to cleanse my palette with some booze and made a beeline for the Cuckoo Gin stand. Gin is my drink of choice these days and I don’t need the excuse of Christmas in order to enjoy bottles of the stuff, just the fact that there’s a bottle of tonic going flat in the fridge is usually all the encouragement I need!
Cuckoo Gin was a new one for me though, and I love the passion shown by the team as they explained about the locally sourced ingredients they use and about their distillery in Brindle. It’s a relatively new Gin and I liked the spicy kick it had to it.
Next I sampled a few more savoury options… including a little more of the yummy chicken pie. Two stand out dishes from this were the Gin & Tonic Salmon (£10) and the Peter’s Yard crispbreads.
Now I get that the salmon, along with the Bucks Fizz variation, is a bit of a gimmick, but it’s Christmas, and I guess it’s a little bit of fun and a great talking point. I didn’t get an overwhelming taste of Gin, maybe because I’d just been drinking it! But there is a nice lemon/citrus taste to it which I liked.
The crispbreads, the Charcoal and Rye ones in particular, were VERY nice. They made a great accompaniment to the Cornish Yarg I was sampling. Again the team here were so enthusiastic about them it was difficult not to get excited over a simple crispbread after listening to their story.
It wasn’t all about the food though. The Booths team had done a great job of the displays to, giving the whole restaurant area a lovely festive feel.
I loved the flower bouquets and the veg displays in particular. I should also mention that throughout the evening a saxophonist and singer were belting out some great Christmas tunes to get everyone in the mood.
I decided to finish the evening with something sweet and went in search of my beloved stollen bites. If you haven’t had a Booths stollen bite where have you been! They are melt in your mouth HEAVEN and alongside a Starbucks Egg Nog Latte are my festive staples that I mourn the loss of every January *sighs*
This year the stollen bites were joined by a few new options. Caramel & Pretzel Shortbread Bites & Salted Caramel Brownie Bites (both £3.25 for a pack of 12), how cute are these!
Now I didn’t love them as much as my beloved stollen BUT, they were still both pretty good. The golden sugar glitter on the top of the brownie bites would look great as a centrepiece.
Thanks again Booths for inviting me, I now have plenty of fabulous ideas for my Christmas celebrations.