Working on a magazine is a varied lifestyle. In the Channel Islands the areas of interest and interaction are usually defined by our coastline as we strive to maintain a Glocal standpoint, inward looking but with a global philosophy.
Occasionally we get to engage in subject matter that is not only relevant to you lot, our beloved readers, on a local level but also take in elements of the real world. Earlier this year we were invited to see what Waitrose has in store for us this Christmas. But the event wasn’t in a local store… Waitrose flew a gaggle of local journalists to London and transferred us to the beautiful buildings of the Royal Academy of Engineering to learn about their fantabulous Christmas goodness, straight from Heston’s mouth.
Normally there’s opposition to UK brands and companies moving in to our beloved islands as some perceive that they negatively impact on our local producers. However, Waitrose have done it the right way. Shopping at Waitrose is a combination of picking up your locally grown produce whilst still being able to grab a jar of something you’ve only heard on on cooking programmes. Many such things were evident as we were ushered through the entrance by Waitrose partners (it’s a co-op, so I guess that’s appropriate rather than ‘staff’) and guided us into the event’s press room. Tables with multiple tiers of delicious food were in every direction. We’d heard a rumour that he of liquid-nitrogen-in-the-kitchen fame would be making a guest appearance to tell us about his relationship with Waitrose and their premium ‘Heston from Waitrose’ (HfW) Range.
When Heston first turned his attention to Waitrose’s Christmas product range in 2010 it resulted in the ‘Hidden Orange’ Christmas Pudding selling for 15 times its face value on eBay. It was clear that this union was a happy one. The application of Heston’s unique approach to Waitrose’s premuim product is a match made in culinary heaven. We eagerly sampled a smorgasbord of delicious morcels. The HfW ham hock & piccalilli terrine was a particular favourite. We talked about the traditional turkey and alternatives to consider. Waitrose have a variety of options that make for an alternative selection of afternoon sandwiches this year. Perhaps an Oak-soaked, Stout and Molasses Matured Gammon? or a Highland Forerib of Beef? Heston was quick to point out that potatoes are an important constituent. We’re obviously pre-disposed to Jersey Royals but, considering Christmas the inconvenient time of year, Waitrose Ready to Roast Goose Fat Potatoes will have to do!
The event spanned several rooms. The second allowed us to meet the Waitrose producers, the men that rear the best of the best in terms of walking Christmas dinners, and also trial the sweet stuff. This Christmas is all about the salted caramel, an ingredient of choice for an self respecting premium sweet snack food. Millionaire shortbread squares with salted caramel anyone? To further engage with the younger shopper or recipient of such items, a ‘build your own cupcake’ station was set up allowing us to experiment with a myriad of products that can be used to build and decorate your own perfect Christmas cake. Chocolate coated popping candy anyone? We all had a go, and I even managed to get my cupcake efforts back to Jersey. There are certainly a myriad of choices for those with a sweet tooth. I mentioned the fabled ‘Hidden Orange’ Christmas pudding earlier. This year the range will include a ‘hidden chocolate’ variety of Christmas pudding, inspired by a trip Heston took to Italy.
By the time we’d passed through the beauty area and sampled some cocktails we were a little overwhelmed as we entered a room full of flowers… The extent of the Christmas range products from Waitrose is incredible and if your Christmas is to be a decedant one, I’d suggest you make some room in your larder and home for the wonders on offer. Have a merry one.