Locally Sourced Christmas Meal

We all have our own Christmas traditions but here is one worth starting; locally sourcing as much of your Christmas food as possible.

Locally Sourced Christmas Meal
Photo by Keenan Loo on Unsplash

We all have our own Christmas traditions but here is one worth starting; locally sourcing as much of your Christmas food as possible.

As with my Secret Santa suggestions, I have linked to Somerset based companies in this article, but this ethos can be applied wherever you’re based. Shop in farm shops and markets before heading to the supermarket, and ask about to see if there are small batch producers living near by that you can get to know and support directly. I know this year might be tougher than others and what I describe below is nothing short of gluttonous, but make every penny you do spend count by shopping locally.

So here is a little run down of my perfect Christmas...

First things first, my Dad has always made us bacon butties after opening stockings together in bed. Now I have my own home and children I would love to continue this tradition and to do so locally I'd opt for a large loaf of bread from Rye Bakery and salty bacon from Penleigh Butchers (I've been told Own raises his own pigs), which are just around the corner from each other in Frome.

After bacon butties my family would have gone to church to blast out some carols and wish our friends and neighbours a Happy Christmas. It was then home again to prep for lunch before wrapping up for a long dog walk. Someone usually had a hip flask of homemade sloe gin in their pocket and (pre-covid!) we would pass it around, each taking a warming sip. Not a gin infuser? No worries Friary will sort you out.

Home again we would stick the fire on and start getting things in the oven. Someone would open a bottle of bubbles (why not try English Sparkling wine from local vineyards Wraxall or Fenny Castle) and we would start the present opening. We would take turns to open presents one at a time which means we can see what others have given and received. This is certainly a tradition I want to continue as I abhor the frenzy of simultaneous gift opening; it leaves me feeling hollow. Slow opening with the chance to enjoy both the art of giving and receiving and to feel connection with those around you. It also makes the whole thing last a while so obviously more food is needed. In our family there is always smoked salmon (maybe this year from Wiltshire Smoke House... which is confusingly in Somerset) and usually cocktail sausages cooked in honey and mustard, all of which can be found at White Row Farm.

Dad is very meticulous about laying the perfect table with our best cutlery and crockery, and over the year's it became my responsibility to finish it off with some Christmas flair. I absolutely love these biscuits from Patisserie May, they would make a great gift but she also does personalised ones so if you're a table plan sort of family, you could put one at each place setting.

And then it’s Turkey time. We have fairly traditional fare so let's have a look at how you could source all of that locally. Beech Ridge Farm produce free range poultry and are selling turkey this year although when I last looked they were sold out. Instead you could opt for a goose which in actual fact is more traditional or with Avian Flu wreaking havoc with the poultry supply why not head on over to Meadowsweet Farming Co. for a nice piece of beef?

Then there is the vegetables of course; roast potatoes, roast carrots & parsnips, and sprouts (usually done alla Jamie O with lardons). We aren't a red cabbage family but I think it needs to be introduced, I like it. But where to source it all? You could try Vallis Veg or for a charitable bonus check out Root Connections. Both do seasonal veg boxes and looking a little further ahead signing up for a subscription could be a great New Year's resolution.

Cranberries aren't commonly grown in the UK - except apparently on one farm in Kent - so maybe try an alternative condiment this year? Hejgro's Apple and Hawthorn Jelly goes well with Turkey or how about Bay Tree's Christmassy Pickle (they are based in Devon now but originally Somerset).  

At this point we all feel stuffed but things are about to get sweet so we joke about second stomachs and soldier on! Historically I've enjoyed Christmas pudding more for the theatrics of setting it alight, than the pud itself. However my maturing pallet is now rather partial to the pud (try Plum Duff and Stuff), and this year I'll be contributing a pot of Ivy House Farm Brandy cream to smother it in. I can't find the brandy cream on Ivy House Farm's website but I noticed it is available via Frome Food Hub where you can order many of the products I've mentioned in this article, and then conveniently collect them all from one place!

Oh and there is usually a second dessert like a chocolate log or profiteroles.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Nope, we are not done yet, it's onwards into the next course, the cheese board. In Somerset we are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to cheese and I plan to enjoy further research before Christmas. In the meantime I can certainly recommend Godminster (ooh the Black Truffle), Westcombe Dairy and Whitelake. A friend recommended Bath Soft Cheese company. Oh and The Fine Cheese Company make some excellent crackers.

Having spent the best part of the afternoon eating, dinner is off the table (pun intended) but I never say no to leftovers or a warm mince pie (try Hobbs House Bakery) in front of the Dr Who Christmas special. With a box of chocs and maybe a baileys.

I know there are things I've missed - stuffing and bread sauce just sprung to mind - but hopefully this gives you loads of ideas about how to make your Christmas menu more local. By buying locally you support small businesses who generally look after their employees, their environment and they often support other small local businesses. The power of your pound can have a real impact on the lives of the people around you. And that alone feels like a rather lovely Christmas gift.  

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