Cook at Home Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner: You might be pondering over your options for this Christmas. Adding cooking stress into the mix is one thing we can all do without. The Boy and I were fortunate to be gifted the Geese & Fountain cook at home Christmas Dinner to take for a spin this week. Receive all of your courses ready portioned and partially prepared. You do the final cooking stages as and when it suits you. But you don’t have to worry about shopping or food waste. Plus it means supporting an epic local business (who you all know from previous posts I love).
Christmas Dinner in a Box
Everything is delivered in a big box, from the sauce to your starter to the cream for your pudding. Plus there are some nice festive napkins and a couple of Christmas crackers! Make sure that when you decide which meals you fancy you also put in your drinks order. They always have a cask on that you can get a couple of pints in a growler, . Or pick from their massive beer list. There are also lots of spirits and other goodies to choose from. You can look for yourself. We had a couple of pints of the Pro Aqua from Marble Brewery, which is something of a masterpiece of an easy drinking bitter. Happily that was a great match for our meals too!
Now I will be 100% honest. Even with a lot of the preparation done for us, there was still quite a lot of assembly involved. Because we’d ordered totally different dishes this pretty much involved every pan in the house. So if you don’t have a dishwasher there is still a bit of work. I would add 30-45 minutes to the prep time just for unpacking everything, getting your head around the instructions and getting yourself ready to go.
If it’s just you then this is super easy. If you have a hungry 7 month old screaming at you, it is less fun. On that basis we would order the ready cooked version next time. Tthe whole menu is also available as a takeaway so you can do just that. Of course they won’t be open on actual Christmas Day I would guess. So if you want this menu for your actual Christmas dinner then bear that in mind.
What’s in the Box?
Everything comes extremely well labelled, with a neat set of instructions for every dish telling you what equipment you need to prepare it, what you need to do and how long it will take. It’s properly idiot proof, which you can tell as we managed it even with a screaming baby in the mix. It is a real gourmet menu to choose from and while there are vegetarian options on the list, many of the dishes can be made without dairy too so do ask if you want a vegan version. It is £25 for three courses (2 course options and kids version available) which is absolutely stonking value if you ask me, because of the real wealth of fresh local produce that you get.
I think you would make life easier if you all ordered the same dishes, and you might well want to if you all have the traditional Christmas dinner, but even ordering separate dishes for everyone in the house it is eminently manageable because the instructions are so good. I had the three cheese starter with cranberry and The Boy went for the goose liver pate which was served with a black pudding crumb and port wine jelly. These were great dishes that were ready in 10-15 minutes, including battering and frying one of the cheeses! The cheese was served with a big wedge of brioche which I think would have been nicer toasted in retrospect, but it didn’t say it on the instructions so we didn’t do it!! The black pudding crumb was the real triumph though as you would expect, pairing so well with those rich local goose livers.
The Christmas Goose
For mains the Boy had the traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. He chose the breast of local goose. How could you not when the goose and turkey are from the village and run up and down the lane outside the pub all year!!? Served with literally everything you could imagine. Hence why you will use every pan in the house. Pigs in blankets, roasties and brussels. Cranberry sauce, roast parsnips, mashed swede. Bread sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and chestnut stuffing. The Boy could not move for about 3 hours after he ate this. Pudding had to be deferred until the next day!
I had the beef wellington which was beautifully made with a crisp, flaky pastry and excellent wrapping skills keeping the mushroom duxelle and moist beef contained within. This was served with the most delicious parsnip puree (I need to know what they add to it because it was so decadent and creamy) and a charred hispi cabbage with a breadcrumb crust plus a red wine gravy. The gravy was just a little sweet for my taste, but I think that was balanced out by the savouriness of the parsnips and beef so it worked as a whole dish. Not your ordinary takeaway pub grub, is it??!
Then when we were able to return for pudding I had Jake’s chocolate tart. It was served with a giant hunk of homemade honeycomb and a hazelnut cream. It was just the right combination of smooth and crunchy to balance out the heavy and rich dark chocolate in the tart filling. The Boy opted for a smooth parfait with a brandy snap garnish. The Geese & Fountain’s homemade desserts are the stuff of legend, so this was a real treat to enjoy at home. There is of course a traditional Christmas pudding if that’s more your scene. Neither of us are that bothered about it!
In all, I think this is a wonderful treat to enjoy any time in December. In fact the menu is so varied you could order it every weekend through the month and still not get bored. Plus the price is right! And who doesn’t wish it could be Christmas every day! Remember, our pubs need us more than ever right now. By buying one of these cook at home Christmas Dinner boxes you are not just supporting the family that run the pub and making sure their staff have a job to go back to when the Tier restrictions are relaxed. You are also supporting all the amazing local producers that supply absolutely unmatched ingredients like the Croxton Kerrial goose.
Once these businesses disappear they will never be replaced. This is our food heritage, here in Leicestershire, and I hope that you are able to make the ultimate sacrifice (eating an incredible three course meal) to support them through the pandemic.
Thank you to the Geese & Fountain who gifted us our meals, we paid for our drinks. This review is an honest reflection of our experience.