Holidays are coming. No, not the summer holidays… Christmas! In fact, a handful of retailers have already offered a peek at what they’ve got planned for the festive season.
Asda, Tesco and Ocado are among the first to reveal their new product line-up. Aside from the horde of turkeys, salmon and pigs in blankets lies a host of innovation on the bakery side.
There are sweet treats galore, from espresso martini roulades to salted caramel cheesecakes, sloe gin mince pies and rum & raisin panettones. They’ve also gone big on party food, expanding ranges to be more inclusive with more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free lines, while tapping demand for more impressive spreads and desserts with the wow factor.
Here’s what is in store:
Gin is in at Asda, featuring in a number of its sweet festive treats. First up is the Extra Special Gin-ger Bread Roulade (main image, left). Described as “sweet and spicy”, it is filled with gingerbread, spiced caramel sauce, gingerbread- and gin-flavoured cream in a hand-rolled meringue topped with gold lustre. It’s joined by the booze-infused Extra Special Sloe Gin Mince Pies which are designed to be enjoyed with Extra Special Pink Gin Cream. It’s also getting boozy with an Extra Special Rum & Raisin Panettone.
The retailer has made sure to tap into other burgeoning trends with an extended vegan range for Christmas, including the Festive Vegan Wellington (main image, right) which features puff pastry filled with chickpeas, apricots and cranberries blended with festive spices and topped with a sweet cranberry sauce. Vegan Rainbow Vegetable Filo Tarts filled with spiralised courgettes, peppers and carrots in a Thai-style coconut and chilli dressing are also being added to the range.
For the meat eaters, Asda is serving up Extra Special King Prawn and Chorizo in a Prosecco Sauce Puff Pastry (bottom right), which are designed to be enjoyed as a starter, and an Extra Special Pork and Turkey Fruit-Topped Pie with Port Jelly.
Offering a twist on the classic turkey sandwich is Asda’s Christmas Turkey Tower. The filled brioche roll consists of smoked and pulled turkey, pork sage & onion stuffing topped with a bubble & squeak fritter, spinach and cranberry ketchup.
Elsewhere, it is embracing the winter theme with cute new character Pip the Penguin Cake (top right) – a sponge cake filled with frosting and raspberry jam, covered in fondant icing. Pine cones and winter villages are also popular themes. Asda embraces this with Extra Special White Chocolate and Lemon Pine Cones (main image, centre) made up on a lemon brownie sponge base, lemon curd and a white chocolate mousse encased in a white chocolate pine cone.
Cheesecake is the name of the game when it comes to Ocado’s desserts range. The online retailer is to stock a selection of goods from Pleesecakes, which appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2018, including individual desserts and a giant sharing cheesecake (pictured below). Flavours include Sticky Toffee Pudding, Pomegranate & Pistachio, Clementine & Orange Blossom, Ginger & Black Treacle and Black Forest (above left). They don’t look like run-of-the-mill cheesecakes either – the Black Forest variant is shaped like a pine cone, while the clementine one resembles the fruit it is flavoured with.
Elsewhere, Ocado will stock a Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake from Propermaid (above centre), a Waldrons Chocolate Swiss Roll, which is vegan, and a gluten-free Chocolate Meringue Roulade. A Clementine & Almond Cake from Meg Rivers, which has a clementine syrup poured over the sponge while it’s still warm, will also make an appearance (above right).
For an interesting addition to the party food spread there’s Cream Cheese & Salmon Macarons from Labeyrie. And for breakfast, or gifting, Ocado has a 1kg Panettone al Mandarino which is made using a 72-hour process and a Pandora Classico, both made by Loison.
Traditional with a twist sums up Tesco’s festive range. The motif certainly applies to its Christmas sandwich range which has a number of new additions, including the Finest Beef Sandwich, with beef, mushroom duxelles, red cabbage slaw, spinach and mustard mayo served in a brioche bun, as well as a Gammon & Piccalilli Sandwich and a Wicked Kitchen Vegan Turkey Sandwich, which includes pea protein “turkey”, cranberry sauce, stuffing and cabbage slaw.
Notably, the retailer will also be bringing back hot food for the first time in around four years thanks to the addition of the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap, filled with turkey, stuffing, mayo and cranberry, as well as a Brie & Cranberry Panini. Hot units will be installed in select stores to accommodate this.
In party food, Tesco has drawn inspiration from around the globe with Tesco Finest Prawn Roses filled with sustainably-sourced king prawns in a chilli and sesame sauce and Tesco Finest Barbacoa Beef Tacos, which feature mini maize tacos filled with pulled beef cooked in a spicy sauce.
Like other retailers, Tesco has also increased its range of vegetarian and vegan party food. There’s the vegan centrepiece in the form of the Finest Butternut Squash, Mushroom & Chestnut Wreath and the Finest Carrot & Thyme Tarte Tatin (main image, left) topped with a sherry and rosemary glaze. To cater for vegetarians, Tesco is also launching a Brie & Cranberry Garland topped with pumpkin seeds and a Spiced Vegetable Roll Selection (main image, right), including Moroccan cauliflower spiced rolls, roasted butternut squash rolls and katsu curry vegetable rolls.
The traditional with a twist theme continues into its cakes and desserts in the form of the Finest Belgian Chocolate & Clementine Cake (top right) – a twist on the classic chocolate and orange combination. There’s also Crumble-Topped Mince Pies. Tesco has also revamped its returning mince pies by removing nuts from all recipes.
One of the most impressive desserts in Tesco’s portfolio is the Finest Christmas Tree Pots (main image, centre) comprising individual edible chocolate plant pots filled with black cherry compote, Belgian chocolate mousse and a cookie crumb, decorated with a chocolate Christmas tree. Rudolph also makes several appearances in the form of a Smash Nose Reindeer Cake – a chocolate cake shaped like a reindeer cake complete with a chocolate nose that is smashed to reveal treats inside. Reindeer also appear on the Finest Passionfruit Sleigh (bottom right) which is made of a baked orange cheesecake with vanilla sponge base, topped with a passion fruit glaze. It’s topped with passion fruit mousse, gold lustred chocolate cubes, chocolate triangles and a duo of reindeers.
For a grab-and-go treat, Tesco will be rolling out a range of festive options via its in-store bakeries. A Winter Berries & Custard Pastry will be available alongside a Spiced Apple & Custard Danish.
See what other retailers have planned for bakery this Christmas by visiting the pages below:
- Aldi and Booths
- Co-op, Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose
- Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons
- Bakery brands including Biscuiteers, Central Foods and Mindful Bites
- Bakery brands including Aryzta, Burton’s Biscuits and McVitie’s
- Food-to-go specialists including Pret A Manger, Costa and Starbucks
- Bakery brands including Paul UK, Maître Choux, Hummingbird Bakery and Paul Rhodes