Christmas comes but once a year – and the person responsible for all the cooking might say that’s enough. This yuletide, however, Tesco has the gift of being a one-stop-shop for all your Christmas day staples, as well as some extra special treats, making it easier to have your best ever Christmas feast.
On the big day, Santa’s overnight arrival might mean an early start, and Tesco Finest has everything you need for a festive fry-up, all produced in Ireland.
Barra McFeely, buying manager for Tesco Ireland, is quick to recommend Tesco Finest Traditional 10 Hand tied Irish Pork Sausages, winner of a silver at the 2021 Blas na h’Eireann awards, as well as the Tesco Finest Black Pudding, which won a gold award.
In contrast, a light, continental-style breakfast might be in order for those willing to save their appetite for the main event later on. For this, McFeely recommends fruit and yogurt – for example Tesco Full Fat Greek Style Yogurt, which won a Gold at 2021 Blas na h’Eireann, or Tesco Finest Yogurt Sicilian Lemon Curd, which is produced in Wexford and won a silver at Blas na hEireann.
Porridge is also a healthy start to a day of indulgence – Tesco Apple and Cinnamon instant porridge oats have won numerous taste awards. McFeely, who has a French wife, adds that the Tesco Finest croissants are as good as the ones he buys in France.
But even a decent breakfast might not get you all the way to dinner, particularly if you prefer to sit down to eat in the late afternoon or evening.
To keep family and guests happy, Tesco has a wide range of their Finest party food, including Caramelised Red Onion And Camembert Sharing Bread and tempura prawns.
McFeely says the beauty of this range is that they all have roughly the same cooking time; “you can pop it all in the oven together and dish it up at the same time.” These also work well as “tapas style” starters. “This is the broadest range on the market and is iconic for Tesco,” he notes.
This year Tesco Finest free range bronze turkeys look set to fly out the door, while their newly-launched Tesco Finest Irish dry cured ham fillet with mulling spices and a honey glaze looks set to become an annual favourite.
But as an alternative to turkey and ham – or an extra joint for a big crowd – try beef or chicken, McFeely says.
“Turkey is still the mainstay of the Irish Christmas, but people are increasingly eager to try an alternative on Christmas day, so we strongly recommend our Finest Carvery Rib Roast, winner of 3 Stars at the 2021 Great Taste awards,” he suggests.
A smaller gathering might prefer to try the Finest Corn Fed Whole Chicken, a silver winner at Blas, or “we are particularly proud of our Finest Irish Free Range Bronze Turkey Breast with Winter Fruit Stuffing”, McFeely notes.
But for some people, Christmas dinner is all about the side dishes. Stuffing fans will love the Tesco Finest Cranberry, Apricot and Clementine Loose Stuffing, a gold winner at this year’s Blas awards. “This is a nice way to bring something a little bit different into the Christmas day meal,” McFeely says.
As part of its endeavours to take the legwork out of Christmas dinner, Tesco has an expanded range of delicious vegetable sides, prepped and ready to simply heat.
“These are all produced in Lusk, Co Dublin – there is our Finest rooster potato mash, Finest red cabbage with port and cranberries, and our Finest roast potatoes with goose fat,” McFeely explains.
No matter how full you are after all that, Christmas dinner is not complete without dessert. This year Tesco are launching a number of ice creams and cakes, which not only look impressive but are impossible to resist.
“We have our Finest ice cream, made in Fermoy, and flavours include Dulce de Leche, Madagascan Vanilla, Lemon Cheesecake, and Chocolate Orange. We also have our Finest Profiteroles, which we are famous for, in addition to our usual range of puddings and cakes.”
In addition, Tesco has a broad range of plant-based desserts, such as the Wicked Kitchen Spiced Rum Christmas Pudding, while its extensive Free From range has all the usual favourites including mince pies, meaning no one will be left out when it comes to something sweet after dinner.
Classic cheese board
“The Irish cheese revolution over the past half century has been amazing and we have over 50 different Irish farmhouse cheeses that we are really proud to be selling. Many of the Irish artisan cheese available at your local farmer’s market are also available in your local Tesco.”
He adds that all these are €4 each or included in the three cheeses for €10 offer. “A really nice cheese board of six different cheeses could be pulled together for just €20 using that offer, and it works for both the Irish cheeses and the continental cheeses, making it great value.”
People are always looking forward to a traditional Christmas, McFeely says. “They find that reassuring, particularly at the moment. They appreciate the traditions.”
Discover more delicious Christmas options in store and online at Tesco.ie