Cracker Pack 2019

An Alternative Christmas Menu

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat… but you don’t have to eat him!

Make Christmas a ruby murray one or go all out and create a magical veggie version. Take Stock looks at alternative Christmas dinners for your diners. Turkey with all the trimmings will always be synonymous with Christmas but customers are opting for different dishes for their Christmas meal. A recent survey of pub owners and restaurateurs identified a 22 per cent increase in orders for alternative Christmas dinners and top of the list was a curry, followed by fish and chips and beef wellington.

Despite the rise in alternative festive spreads, turkey was still the biggest seller but the message is clear: customers want choice and some untraditional options. Most customers will eat several ‘Christmas dinners’ in December and they don’t want turkey with all the trimmings for each and every one. Think outside of box and try to offer an exciting array – with plenty of options. There is nothing worse than seeing three boring options for starter, main course and pudding. Soup, pate and melon followed by turkey, salmon and nut roast and then trifle, cheese and Christmas pudding are many diners’ worst nightmare. Such choices are limited, predictable and suggest apathy.

It is also important to offer vegetarians appetising and exciting options and to remember that many meat eaters often go for the vegetarian option as it’s lighter. Says The Vegetarian Society’s Su Taylor: “Caterers should remember that it’s not just veggies that choose vegetarian dishes in restaurants – people looking for a lighter dish, those reducing their meat intake and customers who are simply bored with turkey will o™en opt for a non-meat option, especially if there is a choice. Even more important, we know that mixed groups frequently pick the restaurants with the best choice for veggies. At Christmas that could mean a big group walking away if you don’t have the right choice available.”

For Christmas 2012 the society’s cookery school, Cordon Vert, has created two brand new main courses to add to its delicious and extensive Christmas recipe database – a Festive Filo Pillow and a Christmas Pie. Far more exciting than a nut roast, the Christmas Pie is a hearty pie perfect to grace any table packed with mushrooms, cranberries, chestnuts, hazelnuts, butter beans, leeks and a smidgen of mustard. It’s dairy-free, vegan and is accompanied by sumptuous homemade gravy.

Alternatively, The Filo Christmas Pillow is teeming with texture from walnuts and pumpkin seeds, while Wensleydale with cranberries, mushrooms, port and parsley all make a delicious dish. Have a look at some of our alternative Christmas dinners to expand your offering and grow your clientele this festive season.

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