How foodies can enjoy London during Christmas time
Guest blog post by Joana Reis from Yummy Food – part of the Festive Tube Map series
As a lover of all things delicious and edible it’s no surprise that I chose to look at London through the Foodie line. When thinking about the ultimate Christmas foodie tour through this fair city I came up with a combination of present ideas for foodie friends and family and also foodie destinations around London that will make you feel all Christmassy.
So firstly, let’s talk presents.
It’s now December and the retail giants have relentlessly been making us feel like we have to buy our presents right now or dare to miss out on all the good deals. I’ll admit to being brainwashed every year – I may have bought all my Christmas presents already!
For something a bit different, if you have any food or cake lovers in the family, why not treat them to an Afternoon Tea? It’s a wonderfully quirky present and has had a bit of a revival in recent years, despite the fact that the price often makes it a bit of a luxury. Don’t let that put you off though, there is a pot of steaming tea out there for every budget:
The Traditional Bloomsbury Afternoon Tea , priced at £18 per person, is reasonably priced but still offers a sense of occasion. In the elegant surroundings of the Lutyens Lounge of the Bloomsbury Hotel in Covent Garden you are served a delicious variety of daily finger sandwiches, fragrant fruit scones, a selection of cakes and freshly brewed tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Located on the fourth floor of the luxurious Georgian Hotel, Harrods Afternoon Tea is priced at £30 per person and makes for a lovely treat for any cake lover. Serving afternoon teas since the Edwardian times, this is a special place to treat someone to the traditional British ritual. The menu includes a selection of pastries and teas, delicious sandwiches including ham and grain mustard, smoked salmon, tomato and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and watercress, and cucumber. Finally, you’ll also get to try home-baked raisin scones served with rose petal jelly, strawberry preserve and clotted cream.
I’d also highly recommend looking into Anna’s Afternoon Tea set in the luxurious Mayfair setting at Grosvenor House. Priced at £35.50 per person this delicious menu includes warm buttermilk scones, a selection of finger sandwiches and French pastries. The hotel was also awarded ‘The Tea Guild special Award of Excellence 2013’ in recognition of its outstanding quality and consistently high standards in Afternoon Tea service. Convenient for the mums out there, Anna’s also do a child’s afternoon tea – something I’ve never come across before.
“It’s Christmas so let’s treat mum to something special”
Priced at £46 per person, Fortnum and Mason Afternoon Tea is set in the historic and luxurious central London department store. The delicious menu includes classic blend tea, plain and fruit scones served with clotted cream and preserve (you can select from lemon curd, apricot, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry flavours). You’ll also be able to indulge in a selection of finger sandwiches including coronation chicken, smoked salmon with lemon butter, cucumber and cream cheese, mango and chilli, roast beef and horseradish. And if that’s still not enough, you’ll be offered a selection of mouth-watering cakes too.
Places to visit
There are several Christmas markets in London. Two of my favourites are Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park Corner and the Southbank Christmas market. Both markets will allow you to stuff yourself with amazing traditional German food like bratwurst sausages alongside chocolate covered strawberries, continental beers, delicious hot chocolate, Nutella crepes and lots of mulled wine and cider.
You will also find stalls with lovely gift ideas from jewelry and clothes to hand crafted leather satchels – I got one last year from the Southbank market. Both of these markets offer lovely afternoons full of Christmas cheer. For those of you who are looking for an activity suitable for the whole family, Winter Wonderland also has an ice rink and lots of rides the kids will love.
Other Christmas markets worth a visit include the Chocolate Festival, also at the Southbank Centre. Taking place from the 7th to the 9th of December you will find several stalls selling artisan chocolates, workshops that teach you how to create your perfect chocolate bar, yummy hot chocolate and lots of chocolaty gifts to buy for your chocoholic friends (or you).
The Real Food Christmas Market is set in the courtyard behind the Royal Festival Hall. Here you will find a selection of fine foods like cheeses, chutneys and pickles, charcuterie, seasonal mince pies and mulled wine.
Whatever Christmas market you choose, the big and famous or even the less well-known ones (hidden gems), make sure you eat plenty of German sausages, mince pies and drink lots of delicious mulled wine!
About the author
Joana Reis is a foodie and lover of all things food based in Dalston, London. She owns Yummy Food Blog, where she posts about all things cooking and baking