A Very Cornish Christmas: Festive Food, Gifts and Shopping

Whether you intend to celebrate in style with us or cook up your own Christmas feast this year, we hope you are looking forward to the festive period. Perhaps it is our Cornish heritage or location on the Atlantic coast, but we certainly like to do things a little differently in the holiday season. Here are some Cornish twists and Christmas food ideas to spice things up this year, along with news of our current offers and Christmas parties in Newquay for 2016!

Cornwall’s Answer to Mulled Wine

We make vats of gluhwine every year here in the South West, but for a more traditional taste of home why not make a different winter warmer this year? Mulled cider is excellent stuff and easy to make; and if you are scrumpy fan you may well prefer it to gluhwine. Image title

Any sweet, quality cider will do, while other ingredients can vary. A dash of cinnamon and a drop of spirit such as apple brandy or Calvados rarely go amiss though. Why not start with a classic mulled cider recipe and tinker away as you please?

Christmas Starters, from Seafood to Salads

When you live right on the Cornish coast, the year’s biggest feast just wouldn’t be complete without something from the sea. Oysters are a particular favourite for seafood lovers, particularly when served with a zesty and warming winter flavours (try Jamie Oliver’s recipe with Chilli and Ginger for a simple solution). Of course, you could also go with a classic prawn cocktail, but go fresh and local with the produce if you can.

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Hearty salads make great Xmas starters that still leave room for the main event (Above: Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad)

For those less keen on fish, a winter salads can also make fine festive starters that are perfect for those who don't want to feel too full before the main event. Our chefs love rich winter flavours to lift these dishes- and our Pear Salad with Cornish Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Pomegranate is a great example from this year’s Christmas Menu. Delicious!

Alternative Meats vs Traditional Turkey

These days we treat turkey as part and parcel of British Christmas food. But in the grand scheme of things, this is quite a recent trend. Indeed, before the latter half of the 20th Century, traditional game meats and fish dishes would have been a far more obvious choice for most Cornish families, for whom turkey would have been a strange and expensive luxury. To this day, many would also argue that beef, venison or local game remain the tastier choice.

Image titleGoose or duck (above) won't feed lots of guests, but offer a flavoursome alternative to turkey.

In our own Christmas menus you will certainly find the classic roast with all the trimmings. However, slow cooked beef or fresh cod are superb alternatives for those teed off with turkey. Or alternatively, for a home cooked treat worthy of any celebration, you could get a duck or goose in for Christmas. You might struggle to feed more than six with the typical bird but in terms of taste there is only one winner here  (click here for Rick Stein’s top Christmas goose recipe).

Christmas Dessert Ideas& Tips

Are you a traditionalist when it comes to desserts, or does the thought of yet another Christmas pudding fill you with dread (many of us who remember the school canteen version would often eat the custard and leave the black lump!). Perhaps this isn’t entirely fair, because a well crafted Christmas pud can be delicious. The trick is all in the preparation; and Head Chef Pam at Hotel Bristol always recommends that you soak your fruit ingredients in alcohol for at least a week before the big day!

Mince pies are another all time classic- but can be time consuming to make. Indeed, if you don't have time to make your own mincemeat, a good dash of sherry and a couple of handfuls of your favourite dried fruits can be combined in a jar and left overnight for a potent pie filling. Just like the Christmas Pudding though, true Nirvana can only be achieved with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream!

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All good and traditional, but there are so many alternatives to Christmas pudding should you fancy a change. Citrus flavours are always great with the regular Christmas staples ingredients of chocolate and booze. Chocolate Orange Cheesecake with Clementine Syrup takes some beating we think; with its winning combination of rich cocoa and real fruit zest it is guaranteed to be a favourite on our 2016 Christmas Party Nights.

Festive Food, Gifts and Christmas Shopping in Cornwall

Of course, the other advantage of taking winter breaks in Cornwall is the choice of things to take home or give as gifts to others. For obvious reasons, things that keep well tend to be first choice; although our previous Cornish food treats blog has some handy tips and recommendations with dairy products.

Image titleOtherwise, 2016 is looking like a great year for Christmas shopping and markets in Cornwall. There should be plenty of gift ideas to ponder as Newquay gets ready for Christmas, with a special Newquay Lantern Parade and Light Switch On (November 25th) getting the town in festive mood. Alternatively, if it's food you want, Padstow Christmas Festival (1st to 4th Dec) will have a top Christmas market packed with edibles and entertainment.

Christmas Dining & Winter Breaks in Cornwall: Newquay Hotel Deals and Special Offers

We hope you can join us for the best of the season and a warm welcome here at Hotel Bristol this Christmas. Our Christmas Party Nights promise an excellent menu and plenty of good cheer for any group of professionals or friends. Or alternatively, why not recharge your batteries with a quick break in Cornwall? Whether you are looking for family fun, food and gift shopping or just a welcome break away from the crowds, it can be a magical time to get away. Availability for our Christmas, Twixmas and New Year's Eve Breaks is limited and subject to availability, so do book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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