blog Christmas review
Christmas Foodie Heaven12/10/2012
Scrooges can't deny it any longer, Christmas is coming, and with it, a ton of festive cheer. No matter what your reason behind...
Scrooges can't deny it any longer, Christmas is coming, and with it, a ton of festive cheer. No matter what your reason behind the season, there is a definite tinge of the holidays coming up. Excitement is every where, I just came back from a week in York, and it goes all out there. Nothing better than walking down a street, exactly the same as it was hundreds of years ago, all dressed up fancy for Christmas.
So you may be wondering why, instead of the fancy feast of food I promised you taken with my new camera set up, I've got a nice big selection of Harrods stuff there instead.
Quite simple, Some lovely fellows at Harrods sent me a delicious Christmas Hamper to sample, and in return, I'll give a few words on how it was. Well it arrived, and the joy it has given already is well worth it's weight in the words I'm about to write.
For those not in the know, Harrods is a gorgeous shop/store in London. It's hard to miss. Whenever I'm there, I always try to pop in, mostly for the food hall, and ALWAYS at Christmas time.
Ironically, and as always, It came the day I left for York, so it's been sitting in my office, tempting the others for the past few days, in it's big cardboard box with Harrods scribbled on the side. I finally got to take it home Friday.
First thing I noticed once I pulled the hamper out of the box was how nice the "hamper" was. I was expecting some flimsy wicker contraption, but this was a sturdy type trunk. It's now sitting nicely next to my Christmas tree, containing secret christmassy things.
So the food IN the lovely hamper. The big one. How was it?
The first thing I went for, being a big tea lover and quite frankly, British through and through, was the tea and biscuits. We snapped some pictures and then opened the biscuits, and brewed up a few cups of Assam whilst we worked on the other items. It made for a pleasant picture taking time.
The tea was surprisingly nice, I've had some bad batches of "posh" tea from expensive tea rooms in my time, but this one straight from the box was lovely and refreshing. I wouldn't quite get on the level of describing it the way they have on their packaging. It was nice, and I really liked the packaging. But I'm not sure I'd know what a rounded or bright tea tasted like. I know what I do like though, and whilst I may not have tasted light bulbs (bright), pennies (coppery liquor) or circles (rounded), it was fabulous.
The other teas were English Breakfast and Darjeeling. Kris is the big Darjeeling fan in our household, so I do believe it got a big thumbs up. The smell that came from his cup was lovely. I've yet to try the English breakfast, but on the basis of the other two, we can be assured it's nice.
I'm always very wary of companies that use "family run" companies or "homemade recipes" as this can mean anything. A quick look at the ingredients on this had me smiling. I could understand every ingredient. A thumbs up in my book. The date & fig biscuits looked and smelt a lot nicer than they sound to me. I'm going to be honest, possibly too honest, Dates and Figs take me back to being younger and being force fed some fig syrup as a old style remedy for an illness. So these are going straight to a family member, who are already licking their lips in anticipation.
These buttery crunch ones? They do exactly as they say on the tin. They are buttery, and crunchy. You can see the little sugar & salt crystals as you bite into them. That's if you take the time to take a bite, or you can shove the whole thing in your mouth at once, like my darling fiancee did between shots. My only complaint is that they are small. I've never been a fan of small biscuits.
Next on the foodie agenda was the preserves. Strawberry jam is my favourite, and I was impressed with the amount of fruit in this one. It disappoints me to look on the back of popular Jam brands and see about 8 different types of sugar and preservatives in there, most of them have e numbers too! It's not needed. My Nan makes fantastic jams that last ages, and the only thing that goes in, is fruit, sugar and her "magic ingredient". I highly doubt that my grandma is shoving E numbers into our jam, and it's the best.
Sorry Harrods. I like your lack of preservatives, but homemade is still best here.
Don't tell my Nan .. but it was still pretty nice. I've got some Jam tarts that are about to be strawberried up!
Amongst the homemade/bought debate, I have to say that the jars are pretty, and I love the sound of "all stars strawberries". It brings some fantastic imagery to mind of basketball playing strawberries, or Christmas twinkling strawberries. The marmalade is gorgeous too, hold the glass jar up to the light and you can see the strands of rind floating about. Yum.
I gave the fudge to my Dad, it was a difficult handover, but I like to share and I knew he'd like this the most. I can only assume they get the thumbs up, but since they've been taken to his den (A place where no food ever sees the light of day again) I can assume success. If it's in hiding, it means he doesn't want anyone else to have any, which equals good food. I did have a good sniff with my confectioners nose, and it smelt like good fudge. So many places sell gritty, manky fudge. I can smell a bad batch a mile off (after having made so many bad ones myself). It should be a law to make all fudge fantastic!
Let's be clear here. I've mentioned this before. I will eat most foods. Except a few things; Beef, Lobster, Lamb, Veal, Olives & Mustard. So then...ahh. I have two things from that list here. The olives have gone to my gorgeous mum, and the mustard to my Nan I knew she'd like it. She once spent a good 20 minutes describing to me why English Mustard was the best. I'm sorry to say it fell on deaf ears. French or English, it's all blergh to me. Unless I'm using it in cooking, but I'd rather it was enjoyed. The jars are pretty again though.
Then, in the finale, the crackers & the wine. The wine I'm saving for my Christmas party. Waste not, want not, eh? The crackers were really nice, though I am a crackers girl. It's what I head for first at the buffet.
So ended my evening of Harrods hamper testing.
I sat in my pyjamas, with these posh crackers, and a posh cup of tea. The tea was in a mug with crazy cows on it, the crackers, I slathered on some cheese and pickle and went to town. Kris sat next to me, shoving biscuits whole into his mouth. I like to think it's the perfect mash up of the so-called classes.
So whilst pricey, I have to say, the hamper has provided a lot of smiles. Especially as we pulled each item out from the packaging. It's not just for the high end, I would genuinely recommend taking a gander at some of the stuff they have to offer. I'm already gathering up some more biscuits as Christmas presents!
Right, so now you've seen what our new camera set up can do. I thought I'd share this little picture of it all in action. Problem solved of our low lighting situation - Light box, reflectors, difusers & lamps! Expect some better quality photos from now on. No more camera phone!
Anyone else ever get this messy whilst taking photos? The stuff is everywhere. I'm almost ashamed to post my dining room in this state. Almost.
Also some Christmas decorating that's been happening, we're nearly done, I've just got to get some tak and throw tinsel at everything to complete the festive feel:
I've always wanted a fireplace to decorate.
Hope your countdown to Christmas is going awesome guys, I'll be back in the week with some fab new recipes.
Harrods sent me the hamper, but the opinions, pictures and words are my own. I was not paid for this review.