Welcome to the final stretch of the strangest year imaginable. Hopefully I’ve managed to bring you a few treats among the gloom this year!
Here are my recommendations for what you should be munching and boozing on in December.
Enjoy at home
With restaurants remaining closed for the moment, many of Bristol’s finest establishments are doing at-home meal boxes and ready-to-eat feasts. Offerings include pasta dishes from Pasta Loco/La Sorella (who are also doing gift bags and wine boxes), three courses of French delights from little french, sharing menu boxes from Root, tapas feats from Gambas or Bravas, a Chef’s Menu box from Paco Tapas, or a Christmas Day meal box from Adelina Yard.
Or if you want to do something from scratch, you could go for a pizza kit from Pizzarova, burger kit from Wild & Rustic, fondue for two from Two Belly, spice kits from The Spicery, pasta kits from Little Hollows or a falafel meal box from Yossi.
In addition to their new at-home meal and wine deliveries, Harbour House are also doing festive party pack for you to enjoy remotely with friends, colleagues or family. The pack includes a three-course Christmas menu, an individual bottle of prosecco or wine, a Harbour House signature cocktail, Christmas crackers and lots of extras you can add on.
The menu is £29.95 per person which includes delivery around the Bristol area to each person in your group, or collection is also available. £1 from every pack sold will go straight to StreetSmart, a charity providing comfort and hope to people in crisis. Order via email@example.com.
Pieminister are doing a Virtual Christmas Party Box for your online get-togethers, featuring a Mothership (pie, mash, gravy, mushy peas, cheddar cheese, crispy onions) with your choice of pie (they’ve got a great festive range as well as plenty of meat-free options), a beer or soft drink, a festive hat, and some activities to get your team in the party mood. Boxes are £19.95 including delivery.
The busy team at KASK have added monthly wine subscription kits to their offering, alongside virtual wine tastings and DIY wine tasting kits. Subscriptions are available in three, six or twelve month packages and give you the chance to try four new minimal intervention wines every month.
They’re also doing Christmas wine cases as well as the usual goodies in their online shop. Make sure you order by 18th Dec if you want to receive stuff in time for Christmas!
Good Chemistry recently celebrated five years of brewing delicious beers and have released a couple of special edition beers including the dark cherry Belgian ale Morello Theory and Rum DMC, a rum porter made in collaboration with Arbor Ales. See their full range here.
As a side tip, many of Bristol’s breweries are doing gift sets and beer boxes this Christmas so take a look on their websites, swing by their brewery tap rooms to browse, or visit some great local booze shops such as Bottles & Books, Corks, Brewer’s Droop, Coffee + Beer and Beer Necessities). Highlights include:
- Cases of Wiper & True’s amazing mixed fermentation range and mini kegs of Kaleidoscope
- Mixed cases from Arbor Ales
- Gift packs, beer-in-a-bag, mixed cases and beer subscriptions from Bristol Beer Factory
- Hazy pale packs and other mixed boxes from Left Handed Giant
- Mixed brew boxes and mini kegs from Tapestry Brewery in Totterdown
- Mini kegs, gift boxes and merch from Moor Beer
- Mixed beer packs, Keller Pils mini kegs and merch from Lost & Grounded
Happy 10th birthday to Bishopston Supper Club – purveyor of some seriously good roasts as well as a great range of spreads and preserves. To celebrate, they’re doing a special Birthday Set Menu for collection or delivery on Fri11th/Sat12th December. For just £25 per person you can select from a choice of three courses, including provençal style fish soup with croutons, roast haunch of venison with salsify and celeriac, wild mushroom, celeriac & chestnut gratin and sherry trifle! See the full menu.
The team from Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Filthy XIII have launched Fresh to Death, a made-to-order cocktail service. Rather than ordering some pre-made or bottled cocktails, you place your drinks order online or over the phone, and they’ll put it all together including ice and garnishes ready to be picked up, or delivered to your door.
Last minute gifts
Looking for some quickfire food & drink gift recommendations? I’ve got tons on my Bristol Foodie Gift Guide from booze gift sets to hampers and vouchers, but here are a few of my favourites that I’ve shelled out on for loved ones this Christmas…
- Gin and glass set from Bristol Distilling Co. (order online or visit their distillery bottle shop in Bedminster)
- Postable brownies, blondies and cookie bars from Ahh Toots, including several vegan options
- Sauce gift boxes from Gingerbeard Preserves (my faves are The Mexicano and The Curry Lover’s Gift Box)
- Christmas infused spirits and cocktail kits from Espensen Spirit
- A wine gift box from Avery’s Wine Merchants
- Chocolate hampers and gift sets from Zara’s Chocolates
- Cider gift sets from Bristol Cider Shop
- Locally-themed gift boxes or build your own with Box Local
- Vouchers for The Bristol Food Tour or Bristol Hoppers beer tours
- Buy One, Give One Christmas hampers from Bristol Food Union
- Gorgeous Portuguese wine gift boxes from Port’O Bristol
Get these in your diary!
- Thu 10th – 91 Ways Festive Cookalong with Adrian Kirikmaa (Suggested £5 donation), join this Zoom cookalong and get tips on how to cook dishes such as pan fried chicken with mushroom sauce and fondant potatoes.
- Thu 10th – Virtual Belgian beer & cheese night with Two Belly (£48 for two people’s worth of booze and food)
- Thu 10th – All About Malbec virtual wine tasting with Vina Loca (£22)
- Sat 12th – Sun 13th – VegFest UK Online
- Sat 12th – Sun 13th – Bianchi’s Christmas Market
- Wed 16th – Avery’s virtual wine tasting (£60, including a case of four wines)
- Wed 16th – Box-E Christmas Pop-up Shop
- Fri 18th – Gin Cocktail Masterclass with Milk Thistle (£22, including ingredients for 2 cocktails and a recipe card)
- Fri 18th – Christmas Cocktail Class from Psychopomp (£44, including a bottle of gin and shopping list for additional ingredients)
- Sat 19th – Sun 20th – Bianchi’s Christmas Market
- Sat 19th – The Absolut Martini Masterclass with Milk Thistle (£22 including ingredients for 2 cocktails, notes and a cocktail shaker)
- Wed 23rd – Modern France virtual wine tasting with Vina Loca (£22)
- Wed 23rd – Box-E Christmas Pop-up Shop
First up, Bristol is at the cutting edge of tech once again – we’ve got our very own pizza vending machine in Bedminster! But here’s some other new stuff to be aware of….
Nadu is new restaurant coming soon to Stokes Croft in what was formerly Masa + Mezcal. It’s run by the team behind the award-winning Nutmeg, drawing on influences from both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India
Other businesses coming soon to the city include a new Boston Tea Party on Whiteladies Road (they recently closed their other Whiteladies branch and Clifton cafe in order to move to a larger premises) and The Pony & Trap are opening a new restaurant next door to Bristol Beer Factory’s tap room in Southville.
The Public Market is now open in Easton, replacing Dela at Mivart Studios. This food store and deli stocks products from over 80 local farms & businesses, including fruit & veg, dairy, meat & booze. There are lots of refill options too from milk to cereals and grains, and you can even grind your own coffee and make your own peanut butter!
If you’re a fan of peri-peri chicken and grilled meats Brazilan restaurant Tio Joao is now open on St Michaels Hill, or if falafel is more your vibe, visit the brand new fifth branch of Eat a Pitta in Clifton. Whisky fans should also pay a visit to the new West Highland Distillers shop in Clifton.
Normally I’d end the year with a highlights package from various folk but that seems a bit ridiculous this year, so if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can see the round-ups from years gone by here.
You can see more food & drink updates by following A Life Less Organised on Facebook, or you can chat to me on Twitter or see what I’m eating on Instagram. I love hearing about it if you’ve booked or bought something off the back of one of my guides or recommendations too, so do let me know, we all need an ego boost sometimes!
Thanks for reading, see you in 2021.