This week, I headed to Tesco's Christmas in July showcase for a first look at all the vegan-friendly, speciality Christmas food items that Tesco will be offering this festive season.
Before we get into the food, can I just share how lovely these animal illustrations are? The illustrator was at the showcase dreaming up new designs for next year's Christmas cards.
One of the big themes for Christmas at Tesco this year is the Cotswolds, so the team take photos of the area, an artist paints it, and then it gets transformed into a Christmas card.
I received a pack of the Cotswolds Christmas cards in the goodie bag for this event, but when I got home I noticed they contain glitter which can't be recycled - making only the back half of the card recyclable. I don't want to be a killjoy, but the thought of glitter ending up in the oceans isn't celebratable (just made up a word), so I'd really love to see these beautiful cards glitter-free! It's #plasticfreejuly at the moment, so I couldn't let this one pass without mentioning it, even though my five-year-old self would hate me.
Although most of the food at this event wasn't labelled with dietary information, one of the ladies manning the food stations let me know what was vegan-friendly. For starters/nibbles/buffet food, there are bubble & squeak bites and Thai-inspired butternut, coconut & lemongrass rolls.
Both of these look delicious. While there were loads of tasters dotted around the event, there was only one vegan-friendly item available to taste - a mini sausage roll, which I enjoyed - I just won't come to one of these events hungry next time :')
There are two options for vegan mains this year: the cauliflower Wellington and the stuffed squash. The Wellington is a whole cauliflower head, surrounded by a succulent mushroom pâté, encased in flaky pastry. I would have loved to try this - cauliflower steaks are great, and this is one level above that!
And here's the stuffed butternut squash. It's filled with a bunch of herbs & spices plus pumpkin seeds, and I think beetroot (I didn't manage to catch a team member to talk me through this one). I like how they've gone for a bed of raw kale under the squash for that extra-keen extra-vegan vibe 🙈.
And here's what I was able to taste - one of the mini sausage rolls. The crumbs went all over Zara while she slept on me, but other than that it was an enjoyable experience and the pastry is spot on.
The final speciality vegan options in the range are the dairy-free cheeses. These are made with coconut oil, and my assumption is that they're the Bute Island Foods cheeses ('Sheese') that Tesco usually repackages as its own-brand vegan cheese range. I've not seen the seed-topped peppercorn soft cheese before; this looks like it'd go nicely with crackers!
So that's everything. I love that there's a healthier plant-based mains option plus a veg-based comfort food option - I was expecting fake meats, but there's such an abundance of these available in supermarkets nowadays anyway that this is really refreshing.
Pictured below is Zara, who loved her first Christmas but is super confused that it's 30 degrees outside and snowing indoors. I'm sorry baby - you are a child of 2018 😅.
The frozen stuff will be out in late September, and the chilled stuff a bit closer to Christmas. Let me know what takes your fancy from Tesco's festive food range!
Thanks for reading!