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Festive Foods

CHRISTMAS DAY TIPPLES
Altano Douro Branco 2017, £10.99.
Wonderfully characterful, fresh aromatic dry white wine from the sunbaked slopes of Portugal’s Douro valley. The white grapes here are grown at higher altitude to preserve their freshness, and delicate tropical flavours, making it a perfect match for smoked salmon or seafood canapes.

Le Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine Chanson 2016, £16.49.
Christmas turkey with all the trimmings - there are a lot of flavours at play, white and dark meats, stuffing, gravy, bread sauce, cranberry. Go too heavy on the wine and you risk overpowering the food. Try a flavourful but slightly lighter red, like this fabulous Pinot Noir from the Cote d’Or, Burgundy. Bright, vibrant crunchy red fruit with a touch of spice.

Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez 50cl, £28.
A truly unique wine, made from PX grapes dried in the sun for two days, and then aged in a 20 to 30 year old solera system. The resulting wine is truly remarkable - intense, almost black in colour and with a raisiny, richness and complexity which makes it a perfect stand alone dessert in its own right, but pair it with Christmas pudding, chocolate or strong cheese for extra festive decadence! 
Suggested by Taylor’s Fine Wine, Ham Parade www.taylorsfinewine.co.uk

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS CHEESE BOARD
We asked Tony Chuck at The Teddington Cheese how it’s done...

1. Go for four or five different cheeses, covering hard, soft and blue and aim for a variety of different milk types. We also like to include a ‘show-stopper’ that gets everyone talking – this might be a particularly smelly cheese, or one with an interesting back story.

2. Our top cheese recommendations for Christmas 2018 are:
• Vintage Lincolnshire Poacher – a specially selected 30-month-old cheddar style cheese, which is sure to be popular with all the family 
• Cirone – a three-and-a-half year-old Swiss gruyere style cheese, that has a sophisticated, nutty flavour that develops in the mouth.
• Cremet – a delicate goat’s cheese from Devon enriched with double cream, a real Christmassy indulgence.
• Bufala affinato al Glera – a hard buffalo cheese, with a subtle flavour, marinated in the marc of the Italian glera grape, which is used to make prosecco.
• Lanark Blue – a full flavoured ewe’s milk blue cheese from the Errington family in Scotland. 3. And the perfect accompaniments...
• Honey - to go with blue cheese, especially our famous scooping gorgonzola – providing a sweetness to contrast with the saltiness of the blue cheese.
• Biscuits – we always prefer biscuits which don’t try to be the star of the show. Favourites include: wheat wafers, oatcakes, charcoal wafers (their dark colour provide an interesting contrast to the cheese).
• Figs – like honey, they provide a sweetness to complement the cheese. 
The Teddington Cheese www.teddingtoncheese.co.uk

A CHANGE TO TURKEY?
For some, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without turkey. But if it’s not your thing, we got the lowdown from Bevan’s Butchers on the alternatives…
Large Three-bird roast: free-range goose, stuffed with a chicken and a pheasant. Boneless and easy to carve, it also has sage and caramelised onion stuffing with sausage meat between each layer.
Goose is a festive favourite with its delicious dark meat. Lightly score the breast and leg skin in a criss-cross to help the fat render down ensuring a delicious crispy skin.
Haunch or saddle of venison: for a Christmas Day dinner with a difference, venison is the perfect luxury roast with its rich flavour.
www.bevansbutchers.com

NEW YEAR’S EVE
Champagne Bruno Paillard, Premiere Cuvee
(300cl, £238 Hedonism. hedonism.co.uk/)
Look like the ultimate generous host with a double magnum! Champagne Bruno Paillard is an independent family-owned house. Crisp, citrus notes with hints of brioche.
Jamaica Cove Black Ginger Rum £26, Amazon, Masters of Malt Inspired by tales of smugglers landing on Cornwall’s beaches, this full-bodied rum is perfect in a Jamaican Mule – simply top with ginger beer, add ice and lime wedges, and brown sugar to taste.
Gin Lane 1751 “Victoria” Pink £20, Selfridges, Aldi, Amazon, Co-op Distilled in London, this Victorian style pink gin makes the perfect base for an Insta-ready cocktail.