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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Christmas Comes Early

One of the most surreal things that has happened to me so far this year happened on Thursday.

Let me set the scene. Last Thursday I was drinking champagne on a balcony in Somerset House in an exceptionally balmy 28C. Yes, very pleasant but nothing particularly odd about this scenario, but it gets bizarre when I tell you that I was also eating mince pies to the sound track of Bing Crosby's 'I'm Dreaming of White Christmas'

What is this I hear you ask? Well, Sainsbury's kindly invited me to view samples of their upcoming food and drinks range for Christmas. July seems pretty early for such an event, but the guys at Sainsbury's are super organised and want us talking about their products way before they're being sold in shops.

It was such a day of two halves for me. The first half was spent in my day job - teaching. It was the year 9 sports day on Thursday so I'd actually spent the whole day refereeing football matches and umpiring volley ball. I then nipped home, showered, changed out of my sports clothes and rushed back out to Somerset House.

My goodness, Somerset House you looked beautiful that night. The main court was full of people sat around, drinking wine and relaxing, and the water fountains were sparkling under the evening sun. We got sidetracked playing in the water. My new leather sandals got very wet indeed.

Anyhow, I digress. We went to join the press show which was in full swing. We were handed a welcome glass of champagne on arrival and told to make ourselves at home. Each room was laid out to show off a different range of products. We started by examining the Christmas interiors.

My eyes were caught by these stunning cloches and scented candles which I'm reliably informed will be £20 for the entire product which seems exceptional value. My favourite scent was the white fig and patchouli.

Then it was onto my real interest - food. We started at the sea food room - full of smoked salmon as you would expect. I'm hopeless with fish so avoided all of it (Sorry, Sainsbury's) but M was a real fan of the spinach blinis. 

The next room was filled with my absolute favourite - cheese. A couple of years ago if you'd suggested cheese for dessert I would have scoffed in disgust, but times have changed and I am literally obsessed with the stuff. Coupled with quince jelly and a selection of crackers, I'm in heaven. Luckily there was more than enough cheese to keep me occupied.

A very knowledgeable lady showed us the cheese gift packs they will be selling around Christmas. I have no patience for cheese boards which contain Red Leicester (in my view the most pointless cheese imaginable), but I was very interested in some of their other ranges, particularly their premium gift set which apparently they'll be selling for a reasonable £20.

There were also counters full of displays of meat and vegetables.

It was then time for a quick pit stop in the form of more champagne on the balcony. 

I fancied a little dessert so sampled the raspberry pots complete with gold leaf which were yummy (please ignore the sunburn - I always forget to apply it somewhere!).

Onto more confectionary in the form of the chocolate room. I have my eye on the Swiss Praline Assortment for Christmas time as they were absolutely delicious. Excitingly, I also got to decorate some of my own chocolate and take them home with me afterwards.

It was a surreal evening in the most wonderful settling. Thanks for having me Sainsbury's, you've certainly given me much food for thought. Your ranges look fantastic and I can't wait to hunt them out come Christmas time.

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