It seems many of us are already thinking about our Christmas spreads and hoping to be "hosts with the mosts" this year, as searches on Waitrose.com for "Christmas entertaining" are up 74% when compared to 2022.
For those wanting to fill their festive table with standout starters, sensational centrepieces and scrumptious sides, Waitrose has lots to offer. But our favourite dishes are the show-stopping desserts.
We couldn't help but chuckle at the pleasingly named Deerl-licious Sticky Toffee Pudding, a super-sweet alternative to traditional Christmas pudding that currently has 25% off and is just £7.50. And who wants a run-of-the-mill chocolate log, when you could have a Jolly Jack Russell Cake instead.
All of Waitrose's festive cakes are handmade by the Fiona Cairns bakery in Leicestershire. We're particularly impressed by the Festive Trio of Cakes, which features a jolly Santa and a red-nosed Rudolph.
At the heart of the store's new Christmas food offering, there is, of course, a turkey crown (with a tasty pork and jewelled fruit stuffing), but if you fancy trying something a little different for your main course this year, the Douglas Fir Smoked Venison has caught our eye, as has the Vegan Festive Sharing Wellington, which is filled with mushroom duxelle and a plant-based beef-alternative braised in a shallot, garlic and thyme vegetable stock.
The main course may be the star of the show, but that doesn't mean Christmas chefs are forgoing entrées. Searches on Waitrose.com for 'Christmas starter’ are up 82% compared to last year, and we've been tickled pink by one particular dish: the Shimmering Salmon Mousse, which is designed to look like it was made in a vintage copper moulds.
The Entertaining range is available to order online now through Waitrose. Orders must have a minimum value of £40 and need to be placed by 15 December for delivery or collection on 20-24 December.
Our 2023 Waitrose Christmas food favourites
Shimmering Salmon Mousse | £15
This Scottish smoked and poached salmon mousse has been shaped into a design inspired by vintage copper moulds and has a shimmering bronze lustre to match.
"Serve it as a showpiece starter at your Christmas table," advises Sam Cooke, Waitrose product developer. "Or just scoop onto crusty bread or a cracker for a delicious breakfast celebratory bite."
These rich vol au vents are hearty enough to serve as a starter, or even a main with some crisp salad leaves.
Filled with portobello mushrooms in a creamy wine and brandy sauce, they are topped with extra mature cheddar and encased in delicate puff pastry.
This turkey crown is big enough to serve six hungry guests, or four if you want plenty of leftovers.
It comes with a pork and jewelled fruit stuffing, dry-cured smoked streaky bacon, maple butter glaze, star-shaped salted butter and a rosemary sprig.
The earthy flavour of this venison has been enhanced by cold smoking in the wood of Douglas fir trees.
Venison is set to be a popular choice this year as pre-orders on Waitrose Entertaining are up 26% versus 2022 and searches for ‘Christmas venison’ on waitrose.com are up 50% compared to last year.
Waitrose's venison comes from grass and forage fed deer, reared by a small group of specialist producers who have been chosen for their high standards of animal welfare and husbandry, and their commitment to sustainability.
For those looking for a meat-free alternative to the traditional roast, this luxurious Wellington is a cut above your standard nut roast.
Packed full of flavour, with moreish mushroom duxelle and plant-based "no beef" braised in a fragrant shallot, garlic and thyme vegetable stock, all wrapped up in a pastry parcel with a hand-finished pastry holly decoration.
Decorated with candied oranges and bay leaves this stuffing wreath is too pretty to hide inside your turkey.
The stuffing is studded with cranberries, candied clementine and blood orange, making it a good choice for those who like a little sweet with their savoury.
You may need to remind yourself that these sweet little buns should be served with the starters, or main course... but certainly not the desserts!
The mini choux pastry éclairs are filled with smoked and poached salmon, crème fraîche, soft cheese, single cream and butter. The creamy topping is soft cheese with a shimmering sprinkling of bronze lustre.
Vegetarian and vegan diners often get left out of side dishes, such as pigs in blankets and sausage rolls, but not this year as Waitrose has put together this bumper platter of plant-based cocktail sausages, sweet maple, date and chestnut cocktail sausages and juicy, spiced mushroom chorizo sausages swaddled in crisp puff pastry.
Deer-Licious Sticky Toffee Pudding | £7.50 (Was £10)
This playful alternative to a traditional Christmas pudding is sure to go down a treat with anyone with a sweet tooth.
Made with dates and festive gingerbread spices, top it with a drizzle of the toffee sauce before adding the gingerbread antlers.
Jolly Jack the Jack Russell Cake | £8.50
We are a nation who love our pets, and this terrific terrier is sure to delight both dog lovers and chocolate fiends alike.
A fun alternative to the traditional chocolate log, it is made from chocolate cake rolled with chocolate buttercream, with a milk chocolate "coat".
If you're feeding a crowd this Christmas this pretty platter is big enough to serves 18 - 20 people.
With one golden sponge filled with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream; one chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream; and a rich fruit cake, laced with brandy; there is sure to be something that everybody fancies.