When planning the show some cheeky Asda gremlins had decided to put the chocolate and sweets table by the entrance door, so we were all instantly struck by firstly the aroma of delicious, high quality chocolate, but then the cuteness of these little critters.
Wouldn't the mini versions be perfect for scattering on the table at a children's Christmas party? So cute. And of course one of the larger models is the perfect thing for Father Christmas to leave poking out of the top of a stocking on the 25th.
There were plenty of treats for the grown-ups too, both for the eyes and the taste buds. These Extra Special Chocolate Bauble Slabs will be top of my wish list, and the gold lustre trees and baubles will make perfect hostess and standby gifts throughout the season. (Yes, I will be secretly hoping we don't need a standby gift so I can keep it for myself come January!)
Beautiful melt-in-the-mouth macarons...
Having torn myself away from the sweet treats, next stop was the starters and party food area. Being veggie this is never the best area for sampling, but I can still appreciate how good the food looks. These mini burgers with their New York-style pickle topping are fantastic and would look great being passed round at your Christmas or New Year party or family gathering. They look really professional and are so easy to assemble.
This three tier pork pie with delectable pastry is the perfect buffet centrepiece, right at the heart of that groaning Boxing Day buffet table. A few simple decorations, such as those shown here, and it will be a big talking piece and taste delicious too.
Having said there isn't usually much for vegetarians in the usual party food selections, full marks to Asda for coming up with not one but two fantastic new meat-free options. First up, the Extra Special Mini Savoury Cheesecakes which look just like mini sweet cheesecakes but are actually savoury cheese bites. Think Wensleydale with cranberries type of flavour. Sure to be a big hit this Christmas.
The second innovation actually won one of the coveted 'Thumbs up from Mum' awards I was clutching, a new take on the Christmas veg: Sprout & Cauliflower Baubles. Now before you have some anti-sprout moment, bear with me. This is like sprout-au-gratin, and quite delicious. Honestly, give them a try this Christmas - a definite thumbs up from me!
If your taste is more for the cheese part than the sprout, have a look at this selection of award-winning cheeses from Asda. They will be joined by some ready-assembled delicious antipasti selections too, keep an eye out in store from November.
Now on to those desserts... Whether you want meringue, fruit, spice, chocolate, cheesecake or a combination of any or all of the above, Asda has it.
I don't know if we bloggers just have a sweet tooth, or if it's because we know what will please the family most at Christmas time (hint: sugar), but three of us went for desserts as one of our two 'Thumbs up from Mum' choices. Don't Karen's cherry meringue choice and Vicky's chocolate gateau look fabulous? I can't believe these are frozen desserts.
Here at Attachment Towers meringue, cream and berries is always a winning combination with the smalls and I was a bit tempted by this delicious-looking Raspberry & Amaretti Roulade, but decided to go for the Extra Special Raspberry Meringue Wreath instead as it would appeal more to the girls on the Christmas desserts table, especially with that cute bow!
I could go on all day about the desserts to be honest, but my last mention is for the multi-layered Praline Opera Cake, developed in association with celebrity chef James Martin. With marsala, praline, chocolate mousse, dulce de leche and more layers, he proudly handed round samples - and it is delicious!
You can hear and see more of the delectable chilled desserts and cakes in this short video:
When we met, celebrity chef James Martin was just 7½ weeks into his new role at Asda. He told us that as soon as he hung up his Saturday Kitchen apron, the phone started ringing, but Asda was his first choice of supermarket to partner with for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it was the first supermarket that opened near his childhood home in a village just outside York; secondly, because of the opportunities to reach people and develop new products they were offering, but primarily because of their approach to ingredients and provenance.
Asda's focus on fresh ingredients from field to plate, knowing their provenance and who grew them, and paying fair prices to farmers are all important to this farmer's son, and he is proud to represent a supermarket which values them too. With the kind of ingredient-led cookery James Martin is known for, and Asda's approach to making production fair for farms by investing and paying good prices, this is a match made in heaven.
Speaking of heaven, here's a quick reminder of all the lush foods coming up from Asda this Christmas. Enjoy! (Please note: Attachment Mummy and its employees are not responsible for any salivation or feelings of hunger created by this video.)
Away from the food, Asda has everything you need for decorating the home, the table and your tree, what to wear, and those all-important presents. Here's a sneak peek, but look out for more features in the run up to Christmas.