I've had this post sitting in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now, biding my time until mention of the dreaded C word becomes *slightly* more acceptable.
The thing is, I can't deny the fact that I have already started to put together my traditional Christmas dinner spreadsheet. A mammoth task which involves collating all pertinant culinary information for the big day.
Whilst Christmas held little religious significance in my mostly atheist upbringing, it was undoubtedly an occasion to celebrate all the good things in life; food being top of the list.
As the years have gone on, I have come to see Christmas as a time to experiment with new recipes/dishes. Each year I try and do something different for the main event, such as the goose we roasted a couple of years back.
For the past few years, Booths has become our Christmas supplier of choice, despite the closest store being about 20 miles away from York. Usefully there is one in Hale Barns in Manchester, near to where I have spent Christmas day for the past few years.
I have a lot of respect for Booths, as I have spoken to many of their suppliers, who in turn speak extremely highly of the chain (something which is quite rare in my experience of taking to people who deal with supermarkets).
Booths also seem to genuinely care about their supply chain and staff, something which came across very strongly when I actually met with the CEO a couple of months back.
As an adopted Northerner, the first time I actually came across the Booths brand was during a trip to Ilkley.
This must have been during the Christmas period, as I distinctly remember seeing lots of these rather good looking Christmas catalogues about.
The Booths Christmas Book has become a staple ever since, it is now my first and last stop when choosing my Christmas menu!
This year we have decided to try something experimental using the Game Box, though I'm still working out what exactly to do with it all! (All suggestions very welcome in the comments!)
As Booths card holders, Des and I jumped on the invitation to go and see the Christmas book come to life in Ripon.
Complete with live Christmas music and decorations, we walked our way round a number of stands showcasing some of the stand out items from the book.
Salmon is always a standard choice when it comes to breakfast on Christmas day.
We tried a number of the Booth's offerings, but my choice from the selection had to be the Mulled Port Smoked Scottish Salmon Side (far left) - not too sweet, but full of depth.
Another stand out selection from the evening came from TRUEfoods, a company based over in Harrogate who supply Booths with a range of pates and terrines.
After basically having a bit of an OTT fan girl moment over the Duck Liver Parfait with Cranberry Jelly (so. damn. good.), the guys from TRUEFoods gave me a whole pot to take home!
Far too kind and far too indulgent when spread on a hearty piece of sourdough eaten in bed later that evening...
There was also a range of alcoholic beverages to try, as one would expect. Christmas after all is the one period where it's acceptable to spend more than 2 days drunk in a row... right....
My top picks go to Hepple Gin (crisp and packed full of natural flavour) and Masons Yorkshire Gin (the dry Yorkshire Tea version was actually delicious, if not a bit off the wall!)
We finished the evening off in style with cheese and crackers, my excuse being that charcoal crackers are good for an overindulged stomach!
As soon as I get my Christmas menu organised, I might do a little post on it. Because a. I am sad, b. I am nosy and like to see what other people eat, I suspect a few of you are like this too!
Want to find out more?