Bringing Christmas dinner home
PUBLISHED: 10:24 16 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:19 20 February 2013
It's one of the high points of the festive season. Everyone around the table at home for a real feast of delicious food and drink to celebrate the holiday – what could be more enjoyable?
This year you can make your Christmas Dinner even more special with produce from farms, breweries and vineyards in your home counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
Fresh food from the counties farm shops, farmers markets, delis, local butchers, bakers and fishmongers has unbeatable flavours. Many producers sell online too, so you can shop when it suits you.
Crayfish are plentiful in Berkshires rivers Kennet and Lambourn.
On sale at farmers markets throughout Berkshire and many fishmongers, signal crayfish make delicious soup, or mix in garlic mayonnaise and spread on toasted baguette slices for a tasty appetiser.
We all want a spectacular dish to be the centrepiece of the dinner table and amaze family and friends.
Turkey and goose are traditional Christmas fare, but in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire you can also choose excellent venison and wild boar.
Copas turkeys spend most of their lives free range in Cookham cherry orchards, and are game-hung for two weeks so they have great flavour.
Rivalling them are Kelly Bronze turkeys reared on the Chilterns farm of Bruce & Deradour at Prestwood near Great Missenden.
Geese from Horridge Meadows at Dinton near Aylesbury are pasture-fed and hung for a week to increase the flavour.
For venison, wild boar and other game, consider Vicars Game at Ashampstead near Reading, and Manor Farm Game at Chesham. Both these businesses sell from the farm gate, so you can pick your own roasting joint and get advice on how to cook it.
Vegetables and extras
Vegetables and additional side dishes such as crunchy smoky bacon rolls, meaty chipolatas and spoonfuls of cranberry sauce are what make Christmas Dinner a truly tasty meal.
Vegetable stalls at farmers markets and in farm shops are full of harvest-fresh produce right now. Buy sprouts on the stalk to keep outside and fresh for days.
Chipolatas, bacon and gammons are available at all Thames Valley Farmers Markets and good
quality butchers throughout Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. They are popular, so order them or buy in advance and freeze.
Award-winning cheese from the dairies of Village Maid in Riseley and Two Hoots in Barkham are deliciously creamy. Wigmore and Barkham Blue cheeses on sale in farm shops and delis.
Goats cheese from Homefield House Dairy in Bray and Rowan Tree Goats in Chesham are sold at many farmers markets.
Quince fruit cheese is an attractive and tasty addition. Try Quince and Cranberry or Quince and Damson they also rival the cranberry sauce!
Hand-made Christmas puddings crammed full of fruit and flavour can be ordered from Samantha Alexander, who is well-known to customers at farmers markets in Berkshire and now High Wycombe for her exquisite pastries and cakes.
The fruity Christmas cake is now rivalled by aromatic spice-laden Stollen. Youll find this delicious Christmas fruit bread at several independent artisan bakers including Burgers of Marlow.
Buckinghamshires chocolatiers Burgers of Marlow and Rumseys in Wendover have created gorgeous Christmas treats for all the family.
For a very special chocolate experience try Melt and Dip
from Mortimer Chocolate Company in Berkshire, made with pure
cocoa powders from West Africa
and South America.
Santas Reserve from Ascot Ales with fresh aromas of ginger and cinnamon is a dark brown ale. Marlows Rebellion Brewery has Roasted Nuts on draught. The Chiltern Brewery near Aylesbury brings Glad Tidings Winter Stout, its award-winning bottle-conditioned beer. Oatmeal Stout is the brewerys draught Christmas beer.
English wine is truly centre stage now with excellent sparkling such as Heritage Brut, an ideal drink before Christmas Dinner, from Stanlake Park Wine Estate near Twyford. Kings Fum, a robust white wine or Ruscombe, a medium-bodied wine, both drink well with turkey or goose.
Where to Buy
Crayfish, also smoked and fresh trout
Brookleas Fish Farm at farmers markets in Beaconsfield
Copas Traditional Turkeys www.copasturkeys.co.uk
Bruce & Deradour www.bruceandderadour.co.uk
Goose and turkey
Horridge Meadows, Oxford Rd, Dinton, Bucks HP17 8TU.
Vicars Game www.vicarsgame.co.uk
Manor Farm Game www.manorfarmgame.co.uk
Farmers markets listed on www.tvfmc.org.uk and www.local-food.net
Farm shops including Cobbs Farm Shop, Hungerford, Berks Vitality Farm Shop, Theale, Berks, Lockeys Farm Shop, Arborfield, Berks, Peterley Manor Farm Shop, Prestwood, Bucks, Boycott Farm Shop, Stowe, Bucks, Rockwell End Farm Shop, Hambleden, Bucks, Emmetts Farm Shop, Little Marlow, Bucks
Susies Preserves www.susiespreserves.co.uk
The Good Chutney Company www.goodchutneycompany.co.uk
From Ranis Kitchen 01844 274009
Two Hoots Cheese, Barkham, Berks www.twohootscheese.co.uk
Village Maid Cheese, Riseley, Berks 0118 988 4564
Homefield House Dairy Goats, Bray, Berks 01628 623619
Rowan Tree Goats www.rowantreegoats.co.uk
Quince Products www.quinceproducts.com
Samantha Alexander email: heavenlycakesbysamantha1
Country Deli 01869 350205
Cakes and Chocolates
Burgers of Marlow www.burgersofmarlow.co.uk
Rumseys Hand-made Chocolates www.rumseys.co.uk
Mortimer Chocolate Company www.mortimerchocolate.co.uk
Ascot Ales www.ascot-ales.co.uk
Butts Brewery www.buttsbrewery.com
West Berkshire Brewery www.wbbrew.com
Rebellion Brewery www.rebellionbeer.co.uk
The Chiltern Brewery www.chilternbrewery.co.uk
Stanlake Park Wine Estate www.stanlakepark.com