Christmas and New Year is a time to pull out all the stops and throw a dazzling festive spread for friends and family. At DukesHill, we spend all year carefully selecting small-batch artisanal producers to work with, and we're positive you'll love their products as much as we do. Here's our curated assortment of elegant canapés, festive party food and treats to impress your guests this Christmas.
Planning your Christmas menu
First things first, take time to think about the overall theme and structure of your Christmas menu. Here are some steps to consider to get you started:
Visualise your gathering - are guests sitting down at a beautifully presented dinner table for a series of courses? Or perhaps you’d prefer to serve a buffet spread for guests to mingle and help themselves?
Know your guests - start with a list of attendees, then note any dietary requirements next to their name. Whether guests have allergies or not, it’s always good to have plenty of choice. If children are attending - it’s always handy to have a platter of sausages at the ready to ensure all the kids eat well.
Plan your menu - list each course, not forgetting canapes and drinks.
Create a shopping list - under the heading of each course, list everything you’ll need to buy. Don’t forget the essentials such as cooking oil, kitchen foil, cling film, baking parchment and you’ll probably need kitchen roll too!
Tablescape and decor - ensure you’ve got enough glasses and crockery for all guests. Then, consider your theme colours for linen, candles and perhaps foliage or floral arrangements.
Prepare a cooking schedule - work backwards to plan your time. Large joints of meat and poultry take a long time to defrost so will need to be moved to the fridge well in advance. Does meat need to be brined or marinated overnight? Some festive party food such as jellies, mousses or cheesecakes need to be set in advance.
Get ahead - to spend as much time with your guests as possible and to keep your time as stress free as possible - get ahead! Can dishes be made ahead of schedule and reheated? Soups cooked and chilled or frozen?
Take the load off with pre-prepared dishes - to save any worry about dishes not going to plan, look at our range of fuss-free pre-prepared dishes. All you need to do is cook and serve them to delighted guests.
For a well-rounded spread of festive party food that caters for all tastes and preferences, start by serving a variety of dishes - finger foods, dips and spreads, cheese, charcuterie and seafood. Our top picks include:
DukesHill Luxury Smoked Salmon Pâté (200g) - £6.95
Oak smoked salmon combined with lemon juice, herbs and orange zest make the most delectable smooth pâté. Serve with french toast or crusty bread.
DukesHill Charcuterie Selection - £25.50
We produce our own range of continental style air dried meats, perfect for a festive charcuterie board. This selection contains Italian influenced sliced porchetta (175g) and Lomo (150g) - pork loin air dried with paprika to Spanish tradition. It also includes Bresola (80g), produced from the finest beef leg cuts that have been sea-salted and allowed to rest, and Pastrami (175g), made from lean British beef and spices. Serve with cornichons, pickled onions and olives.
DukesHill Cranberry Topped Pork Pies (4 x 120g) - £13.50
The bejewelled festive pork pies are a showstopping addition to a party food feast. Prime British quality assured pork encased in a traditional hot water pastry crust, topped with cranberry sauce, finished with cranberries.
Chutneys, pickles and condiments - 3 standard jars for £11.50 or £4.50 each
DukesHill Sarah's Pickled Oranges (pictured) - Pickled fruits laced with cloves, cinnamon and mace.
DukesHill Boxing Day Chutney - Deep, dark and rich with plump dried fruits, Christmas spices and ale.
Damson Fruit Cheese - This intense fruit cheese is made by hand using British damsons, sugar, and lemon juice to give a rich, jewel-like preserve.
Proper Piccalilli - This is a return to Piccalilli of old; crunchy garden vegetables in a sweet, tangy mustard sauce spiced with turmeric.
The main event
With your appetisers out of the way, the main event will be the next item to consider when choosing your festive party food for Christmas and New Years Eve. Whether you want to stay traditional or try something new this year, we can help you cater for your guests in style.
Cranberry Glazed Ham with Pork & Cranberry Stuffing - Half ham, £80 (min 2kg), Whole ham, £125 (min 4.5kg)
This season, our special-edition Christmas ham is the Cranberry Glazed Ham, generously stuffed with Pork & Cranberry Stuffing. Using our traditional Wiltshire Cure, hams spend time maturing in our own-recipe brine to which a touch of unrefined brown sugar is added for a subtle sweet flavour. The hams are then air dried for a further week, stuffed by hand with pork & cranberry stuffing and steam cooked for 12 hours, allowing the fat to render and soften, giving a delicious buttery texture. Once cooked the hams are trimmed, coated in a cranberry glaze and finished off in glazing ovens, producing hams with a moist texture and mild flavour with a hint of cranberry. This special festive ham will make for a fine centrepiece for your Christmas table.
DukesHill Free Range Bronze Turkey - Prices from £95 (various sizes available)
The traditional choice for a Christmas Day feast, our free range bronze turkeys taste outstanding. Reared especially for us in Kent by highly experienced third-generation farmers who have been rearing turkeys for forty years, their turkeys roam freely in grassy paddocks and meadows and are fed a natural cereal-based diet.
Pigs in Blankets Kit (750g) - £12
With plenty of dry-cured streaky bacon and traditional pork cocktail sausages, this easy kit will make 24 tasty ‘piggies’. A Christmas must-have.
Cranberry Sauce with Port (198g) - £4.50
Combines cranberries and port with a hint of citrus fruit and tastes delicious with turkey, roast goose or baked ham.
If you want to cook ham at home with all of the flavour but maximum convenience, try one of our delectable cook-in-the-bag gammon range. Simply pop them into the oven to cook for a perfectly succulent joint with no preparation or washing up sticky trays afterwards. The cooking method retains all the moisture and gives a delicious, developed flavour and texture.
Each premium silverside cut is cured in our famous Wiltshire style before being deboned, and trimmed to ensure the right balance of fat to lean, ready to cook-in-the-bag for the most tender, succulent, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Muscovado Sugar Gammon Joint (1kg) - £20
Coated in premium dark muscovado sugar and matured for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop, this succulent joint delivers a rich and complex flavour driven by the natural molasses of the sugar.
Black Pepper Gammon Joint (1kg) - £19
Cured using our popular Wiltshire style and coated in coarse black pepper, this tender, succulent joint delivers a hint of black pepper and provides hassle-free cooking.
Christmas desserts and puddings
Don't forget dessert! For many, pudding is the best part of a festive feast so consider choosing a couple of options with suitable accompaniments to cater for all tastes.
Handmade for over 30 years as part of an annual tradition, our rich Christmas Pudding uses butter instead of suet for a much cleaner finish on the palate and combines the rich flavours of the finest French Brandy, succulent vine fruits, cherries, fresh free-range eggs, carrot, mixed spice and candied orange for a wonderfully moist pudding whose secret family recipe has been passed down through the generations.
St Clements Mince Pies (6 x 80g) - £13.50
Created following customer requests and incorporating classic Christmas flavours, our handmade all-butter pastry St Clements Mince Pies are full of mincemeat soaked in a rich, warming brandy and balanced with a delicate citrus edge from extra St Clements orange and lemon peel.
Brandy Butter - from £4.50
Serve a spoonful of this creamy, warming brandy butter onto DukesHill’s Christmas Pudding or a St Clement’s Mince Pie and indulge yourself.
DukesHill Chocolate Mendiants (150g) - £10
Made exclusively for us, these bite-sized puddles of chocolate are the perfect finish to a festive celebration. Crafted with Valrhona chocolate - a premium, B Corp manufacturer based in the French wine-growing region of Hermitage. Traditionally, mendiant toppings represent the four Roman Catholic monastic orders with each ingredient having a special significance.
Christmas party drinks
Each dinner can be taken to the next level with a carefully considered drinks selection. We’ve got you covered - whether you’re looking for a special bottle of Champagne to set the tone for an unforgettable evening, or a robust Bordeaux to complement the rib of beef. Not forgetting port and sherry to round off the meal beautifully.
Based on the heralded 2017 vintage, this blend has slightly more Chardonnay in it, lending its creamy texture with a hint of vanilla before a clean citrus fresh finish and a wonderful persistence.
Port & Stilton Gift Box - £50
A classic combination, this elegant package has the finest handmade Blue Stilton Cheese from Cropwell Bishop Creamery, potted in a striking cream and red ceramic jar. It’s paired with a 75ml bottle of Tanners Patrono Fine Ruby Port Fonesca.
For further festive party food inspiration, explore our recipes for all kinds of sublime culinary creations.