Arriving at Asda’s food and decorations festive event, we headed through a tunnel filled with fairy lights to be greeted by a grand display of festive trees, gifts and treats. The supermarket giant has teamed up once more with the renowned Leith’s cookery school to create a delicious Extra Special food collection. With an emphasis on quality combined with ease of cooking, the selection of Christmas themed vegetables is fantastic. Using all British varieties, the stars of the collection are the Christmas Clementine Roasting Vegetable selection, Rudolph Roasting Potatoes, exclusive to Asda, Braised Red Cabbage with apples and cranberries and Roast Parsnips topped with Parmesan.
Gifting has been overhauled for the whole family this year, with a big push on creating a feeling of nostalgia. All gifts are priced at £10 and under over all departments. This includes beauty, which has a great selection of NSpa, a Hertfordshire based spa, gift sets and exclusive, glossy Andrew Barton haircare sets.
There is also an emphasis on Asda own brand gifts rather than big brand names. The own brand products come with no Asda branding. We particularly liked the single decorations, which had been designed in glass, wood or ceramic and all priced at just £2. These fit in with the homely red and white decorative theme that was prominent at the show; think traditional Christmas with a Scandinavian twist – Fair Isle print stockings, heart shaped wreaths with red berries and mini stocking garlands.
Craft was a recurring theme for some of the children’s gifts, which there wasn’t a very big preview of. For young girls, there is a Little Miss Creation range. Priced at under £5 there are gift packs including to decorate a hairband, design jewellery and decorate a journal. There is a gorgeous reindeer shaped, wooden drawer advent calendar, which looks handcrafted and much more expensive than its under £10 price tag.
Although not groundbreaking, there was a nice selection of Christmas cakes and confectionery with a few new additions. The Santa cake that was a hit last year, made a return to the shelves alongside a rather plump looking Madiera iced Rudolph design. Lollipops in the shape of Christmas trees have been handcrafted in Scarborough and giant Jazzies, white chocolate buttons with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top, are welcome additions to the collection.
Another returning favourite was the Extra Special Christmas cake, renowned for being the only cake on the market, which has been matured for three months. This year, you can buy festive themed stencils and decorative toppers to make your cake individual. The Asda Asti Spumante is described as ‘a gorgeously grapey sparkler’. It is light and drinkable and perfect to team with dessert. A milk chocolate wrapped in the guise of a mini Christmas pudding, belies a popping candy interior. Perhaps popping candy, and the return to retro themed sweets, could be this year’s salted caramel.