The temperature is dropping and the supermarkets have started stocking shelves with mince pies, which can mean only one thing – Christmas is coming.
The latest round of grocers – including Morrisons and Marks & Spencer – unveiled their festive fare recently with a host of sweet and savoury bakery items among the line-ups. A number of bakery brands and manufacturers have also revealed their plans for the festive season.
Notably, there are a number of core trends playing out in bakery this Christmas. Some have already been explored – British Baker subscribers can read about them here.
Here are five more of the hottest trends hitting bakery this Christmas:
Walking in a winter woodland
From wreaths to mistletoe and, of course, Christmas trees – nature has long been a part of yuletide celebrations. The theme, in particular woodlands, is extending to bakery with iconic items appearing atop cakes in edible forms. And we’re not just talking about chocolate logs.
Take Tesco’s Finest Sticky Toffee Wreath Torte or its Woodland Cake, which is topped with chocolate mushrooms, pinecones and acorns. The duo are part of the retailer’s ‘Cotswolds at Christmas’ theme, which extends across its portfolio.
Marks & Spencer is also tapping the woodland theme with its Hand Decorated Festive Acorn Red Velvet Cake, filled and topped with cream cheese frosting and finished with chocolate and soft icing decorations in the shape of pinecones, holly leaves and acorns.
Just the tipple
Brits love a boozy pud at Christmas. From grandma’s sherry trifle to the brandy-laden Christmas cakes, alcohol is an essential flavouring throughout the festive season.
But things are getting fancy in the bakery aisles, with some taking inspiration from cocktails and more unusual tipples, rather than those found in granny’s drinks cabinet. Morrisons has really gone to town with this, from its Espresso Martini Cheesecakes to Salted Caramel & Irish Cream Mini Tarts while Iceland has added Gin and Tonic Cookies to its range.
Both Tesco and The Co-op have added a hearty glug of rum to classic festive fare with the likes of Tesco’s Finest Spiced Rum Lattice Mince Pies and The Co-op’s Irresistible Spiced Salted Caramel & Rum Mince Pies hitting shelves soon. Asda, meanwhile, pimped its mince pies with gin to create the Extra Special Rhubarb Gin Mince Pies.
Elsewhere, Country Range created a Raspberry, Prosecco and Milk Chocolate Roulade featuring meringue with prosecco raspberry jam, fresh cream and raspberries with milk chocolate.
Tear ‘n’ sharing in caring
Christmas is a time for sharing and what’s better to share than a wreath-shaped loaf with an entire camembert in the middle? Aldi and Morrisons have that covered with the Specially Selected Tear & Share Bread Wreath with Camembert and The Best Camembert Tear and Share, respectively.
The tear and share trend isn’t exclusive to festive loaves either, however many of the innovations are wreath-shaped. For example, Tesco’s Pigs in Duvets tear and share wreath as well as the Mark & Spencer’s Christmas Choux Wreath filled with salted caramel cream.
Festive bakery favourites expand their horizons
Brits love a mince pie and Christmas pud, so much so that they want a hit of their favourite flavours in new formats. In bakery, this has led to Warrens Bakery creating the Christmas Pudding Pasty, following on from the success of its Mince Pie Pasty last year.
But the likes of gingerbread and mince pies are extending far beyond the bakery aisles. Aldi, for example, has created Specially Selected Mince Pie & Brandy Butter Ice Cream, while Iceland is rolling out Mince Pie Ice Cream Cones. The Co-op, meanwhile, has taken a bold step with the creation of its Irresistible Gingerbread & Apricot Stuffing Balls.
As with many on-trend flavours, gingerbread has also ended up in gin courtesy of Asda’s Extra Special Gingerbread Gin Liqueur. M&S has gone one step further by adding a Mince Pie Martini, boasting all the flavours of the festive favourite, as well as Mince Pie Flavour Cream and a Spiced Apple Pie Martini to its boozy line-up.
Around the world at Christmas
Like Father Christmas, the supermarkets have been trawling the globe as they seek inspiration for their festive party food portfolio.
There are a lot of Eastern influences in this year’s line-up, including Chicken Laksa Roses from Asda, steamed Hirata Buns filled with Oriental Pork or Korean Beef from Aldi and Thai Vegetable Filo Tarts as well as Hoisin Duck Christmas Pudding Steamed Buns from Morrisons.
While the ranges feature meat, the strong flavours and spices naturally lend themselves to vegan and vegetarian options, something which many retailers are focusing on this year.
Others have taken inspiration from the other side of the pond, with Mexican and American influences featuring heavily in the range from Waitrose’s vegan Pulled Jackfruit Tacos to Iceland’s Mini Corn Dogs with American Mustard Style Dip. Aldi also tapped into this with Mini Gammon Waffles with Maple Sauce & Cinnamon Crumb as consumers seek a sweet and savoury hit in one.