Brandy-soaked fruitcake lit on fire and sweet dates wrapped in smoky bacon may sound unusual, but for Britons, that’s just the taste of Christmas. From the savory to the sweet, we’re rounding up all of the amazing things to eat during the holiday season in London. Bring your holiday spirit and your appetite!
Things to Eat During the Holiday Season in London
Devils On Horseback
Though the name is more befitting of Halloween than Christmas, devils on horseback, or bacon-wrapped dates, are a typical holiday appetizer. This festive canapé is usually served hot and speared on toothpicks. Variations include swapping the dates out for any number of dried fruits like prunes or apricots. There’s also a variation called angles on horseback, which swaps the dates out for oysters.
Pigs In Blanket
Pigs in blankets are another classic Christmas hors d’oeuvre. But in the United Kingdom, instead of getting mini hot dogs wrapped in pastry, pigs in blankets are mini sausages wrapped in bacon. This meat-on-meat version is typically served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to the standard roasted turkey or goose Christmas dinner.
It’s simply not Christmas without mince pies! These little pastry pies stuffed with dried fruit compote are one of the traditional things to eat during the holiday season in London. For a rustic farm version, stop by Daylesford in Notting Hill. This organic Gloucestershire farm shop sells the most lovely mince pies in the holiday season. They also have some of the best coffee and teas in Notting Hill as well. And, the Daylesford shop and cafe is just a short brisk walk from the one bedroom, one bathroom Leicester apartment.
Hot Mulled Wine
Hot wine with warming spices? Yes, please! As soon as there is a nip in the air, the mulled wine starts to pour. Try sipping a hot mug in a cozy pub or grab a cup to go at one of London’s many Christmas markets, like the Belgravia Christmas Market. It’s hosted on the lovely Elizabeth Street, which is very close to the charming, three-bedroom Belgravia apartment.
Christmas pudding is the typical dessert on Christmas day. It follows the main course of roasted turkey or goose with all the trimmings. This dessert has medieval roots, and it’s basically a boiled fruitcake infused with spices and dried fruit and often brandy. To cook it, it’s usually steamed for several hours, then once ready, it’s sometimes “fired,” which is when it’s dosed with a bit more Christmas spirit then lit on fire for a few moments to caramelize the exterior. It is often accompanied with custard or cream.
Don’t confuse Christmas pudding with Christmas cake. They are two separate holiday desserts, though Christmas cake another one of the most common things to eat during the holiday season in London. It can be described as a fruitcake wrapped in white fondant icing and ornamented with seasonal decorations. Biscuiteers in Notting Hill even makes a personalized Christmas cake where you can get a message of your choosing added to your Christmas cake. It makes an ideal gift or souvenir if you’re planning on returning home for the holidays, as the cake travels well.
It was once traditional for children in England to get oranges in their stockings on Christmas morning. Nowadays, orange is still a prominent flavor of Christmas. (For example, both mulled wine and Christmas pudding often feature orange flavors or slices of orange.) Orange chocolate is especially popular this time of year. Terry’s Chocolate Orange, in particular, is a Christmas favorite in many British households.
The Christmas tree became a staple in the British home largely because of Queen Victoria. (Read about other Victorian Christmas traditions here.) In those days, Christmas trees were often bedecked in candles, sweets and fruits. Christmas biscuits (or cookies) were also used to decorate the tree as well. And though we condone the eating of cookies all year round, Christmas is an excellent time to indulge in all of the festive varieties like this adorably decorated batch from Notting Hill’s Biscuiteers.
The festive food is only one of the many reasons to visit London in the winter. Contact London Perfect and we can help find the best apartment for you and your whole family to celebrate the season together.