While the British summer attempts fitfully to get into gear, the length of magazine production schedules means that London is currently playing host to a series of Christmas events from companies looking for column inches come December. Which is why Hot Dinners ended up tucking into turkey yesterday at the Waitrose Christmas event.
Given the success of Heston Blumenthal's Christmas puddings, we weren't too surprised to find Heston there, surveying the latest addition to his festive range - a Christmas cake that looks for all the world to be a pudding. As Heston explained to us, appearances can be deceptive.
"I'm not the world's greatest Christmas pudding lover but the first pudding that I really, really liked was [the Waitrose] one. And it was a case of if I liked it hopefully other people will do the same. So this Christmas cake is the same thing. We've taken a Christmas cake and it's a combination of Christmas cake with chocolate brownie so you've got this more chocolatey fruit loaf type texture." The fruit in question is also macerated in mulled wine, so we reckon it'll be another runaway success and Heston seemed quietly confident that it would follow previous years in being sold out.
As for his Christmas puddings, Heston's been working on those too. "We're not resting on our laurels, so we've tweaked it so it's got more richness, more depth, more moisture to it. It's the same appearance wise."
Other new Heston products to look out for included cranberry sauce with vodka, bread sauce with truffle oil, a gammon baked in his spiced, mulled cider and a baked Alaska yule log with raspberry and banana parfait centre and meringue you could brulee without having to bake. And from the other non-Heston range we rather liked the Icelandic vodka and Iceland bitters and the mini beef shin pies in the party food range. Look out for most of these from November in Waitrose stores.