Thursday 17 October 2019

How to do food and wine this Christmas without breaking the bank

With a bit of clever planning, it’s easy to fill your table for less this Christmas without cutting back on quality and flavour.

The pressure to spend a fortune at Christmas increases every year. If you’re the one entertaining this year, you’re probably already in a panic, fretting about all the things you have to buy and tick off the list. But a traditional Christmas celebration filled with fine food, wine and festive treats doesn’t have to cost the earth.

With some planning and clever cooking, you can ensure that your table will be a triumph and your guests will leave satisfied and full of seasonal cheer. Aldi have some amazing festive products to save you money on all your festive treats but we’ve also come up with a few simple tips to take the sting out of Christmas.

Check your cupboards

Before you make your list or even step foot in a supermarket, do a proper inventory of your kitchen. It might seem like your cupboards are full of jars and condiments or random bits and pieces - nothing that you could use for Christmas entertaining - but you’d be surprised.

You might have forgotten packets of nuts and dried fruit that could be used in a Christmas pudding or cake. Maybe there are jars of olives, roasted peppers or sun-dried tomatoes that could be used in canapes? That bread at the back of the cupboard would make great breadcrumbs. Some of those preserves and chutneys you bought at Easter might still be in date.

The thing is, you don’t need to start from scratch when getting your Christmas food list together. Be clever with the ingredients you already have and shop from there. It also gives you an excuse to clean out your fridge and cupboard to make extra space for your Christmas haul.

Use your leftovers

Instead of buying extra bits for St Stephen’s Day, be clever with the main ingredients you buy for Christmas Day and see what can be utilised the next day. You can really make a feast from leftovers. Some of our favourite recipes include:

Bubble and Squeak St Stephen’s Day fritters
Brussels Sprout Hash
The Ultimate Leftover Christmas Sandwich
Christmas Nut Satay Turkey

One of the biggest causes of overspending is panic buying. Shoppers fret that supermarkets will be closed for a couple of days and fall into the trap of spending on items they don’t really need. There are only so many boxes of chocolate and cuts of ham that people can eat. Nobody will turn their nose up at leftovers - just think of all that extra flavour.


Make a list, check it twice

Without a list, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice in supermarkets and overspend so plan ahead and get a list together. Start by writing down exactly how many people you will be entertaining over the festive period, so you are clear how much food you need.

Maybe you will have five for Christmas Eve and 12 for dinner on Christmas Day. If any visitor has particular dietary needs, find out in advance so that you’re less likely to waste food. Once it’s all written down, you’re less likely to feel panic-stricken. Having a detailed list of ingredients stops you going off the rails.

Sync your list to supermarket savings

Lots of shops and supermarkets offer discounts in the run up to Christmas so check online to see what deals you can get and build your list around them.

Aldi has a handy online Christmas calendar which lists what products are in across their Irish supermarkets in the lead up to Christmas. Each week there’s great value on Christmas gins, wine, cheese, trimmings, mouth-watering roasts, party food, cakes and dessert. There’s even a vegetarian range with lots of tasty options.

Keep track of the Christmas calendar and most importantly their Fresh Irish turkeys are in store from €8.99 on the 20th December.

With amazing products at great value appearing each week, you can spread the cost and bag yourself some great bargains. You’d easily get a slap-up family dinner for less than €30.

Steer clear of novelty nibbles

Sure, you need a cheeseboard as much as the next person but it might be more cost effective to just purchase individual cheese and make your own cheese board at home. An additional perk to doing so is that you can select the cheeses you like instead of making do with whatever comes in the pre-packaged box.

The same goes with nibbles. Buy what you need and think about what you can make at home.


Share the cost

If you’re hosting a festive party or having family over for the big day, suggest that everyone puts in an agreed amount of money towards the food and drink. Or even allocate each guest with a dish that they can provide and bring to the party.

Buying, preparing and hosting Christmas dinner is exhausting and costly. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Sharing is caring.

Think about post-Christmas Day spending

You don’t need to buy all your bits and pieces for festive entertaining ahead of Christmas Day. It sounds obvious, but the best way to save money is not to over-buy. Most supermarkets open from St Stephen’s Day and you can pick up party food for New Year’s Eve at reduced prices.

Hams and turkeys are usually reduced even further at this time. Most of these items can go into the freezer and spread out over time at family meals.

You’ll also find that supermarkets are less hectic and it’s easier to get your bearings, meaning you won’t fall into the trap of panic buying and overspending.

You can fill your table for less with Aldi this Christmas. With great value on their range of Christmas meats, drinks and party food, and groceries, your Christmas celebrations will be bigger and better than ever.

Check out Aldi’s Christmas Calendar to see what is appearing on the shelves each week in December.


Sponsored by: Aldi

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