It’s official – the best part of the Christmas dinner is crispy roast potatoes, with turkey only coming in a paltry (or poultry) third place, according to a report on festive flavours. A poll by the UK’s leading Herbs and Spice experts, Schwartz, found pigs in blankets came second, followed by stuffing, with gravy completing the top five.
Surprisingly, Brussels sprouts made it into sixth place in the poll, ahead of parsnips, carrots and the festive staple cranberry sauce.
It also emerged 75% consider Christmas dinner to be one of their favourite meals of the year, although over half of cooks admit they feel under pressure to make it perfect.
And although Christmas dinner can be a tradition in its own right, an adventurous three in 10 of those surveyed admitted they give their Christmas foods extra wow by adding different ingredients like Schwartz herbs, spices or perhaps an unexpected ingredient. The top five herbs and spices used to put a certain twist on Christmas food are; Garlic, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Sage and Thyme.
Nic Yates, Head of UK Marketing at Schwartz, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s great to see that along with the traditional favourites we all look forward to, cooks across the nation are also using quick tricks and hacks to add extra flavours and aromas, making good food, into great food. A simple sprinkle of Schwartz Parsley onto your carrots, Nutmeg on sprouts or Chilli in your mince pies can make your Christmas dinner even more memorable.”
There are some of us however, that admit they only have turkey because it’s a tradition (15 per cent), confessing they don’t really like the taste – and the same number forego turkey entirely.
A tenth of people from the West Midlands have even piped up to complain to their festive host because their favourite part wasn’t represented at the Christmas dinner.
As a result, we’re also more likely to prefer being a guest at someone else’s Christmas dinner than making one ourselves.
But, despite being wedded to our favourite parts of the Christmas meal, 50 per cent of adults prefer attending a meal or party where the festive food was slightly different to traditional fare and look for that distinctive twist on the classics.
A fifth have a secret trick to jazz up their Christmas food, with one respondent admitting they add a half-teaspoon of Curry Powder in to festive gravy to add depth without making it overly spicy.
Another suggested adding Nutmeg to sprouts and a dusting of Cinnamon and a sprinkling of Cumin to seasonal roasted veg.
The study also found people from the West Midlands are still most likely to call on mum for tips on how to elevate their Christmas cooking, and rely more on cookbooks than the internet for festive cooking advice.
But with all that glorious food around over the festive period, it’s no surprise a huge 84 per cent of respondents admit to over-indulging on food and drink.
Even then there’s still plenty left over – three quarters of Brits find themselves making meals out of Christmas leftovers long after the big day has come and gone – a perfect time to create new and delicious recipes.
Nic Yates added: “Christmas can be stressful, with so many meals to cook, people to entertain, presents to buy. This year we want to help with simple and easy ways to make your food even more special. Adding a simple twist to traditional meals, treats and snacks will impress your friends and family and create new traditions the whole family can enjoy.”