Fashion, food, lifestyle and culture in St Albans
I am honored and thrilled to have the incomparable Ren Behan guest blog for me this fine Christmassey season. This beautiful, bright and brilliant woman started her own food blog, Fabulicious Food, back in 2010, which has now become a phenomenal success attracting 10’s of 1000’s of readers per month. Her blog was named one of the 100 Best Food Blogs by Woman&Home and Ren’s work has also been featured in ‘delicious’ magazine and on Channel 4’s 4food, to name but a few. This upcoming year will see Ren embrace her beloved Polish roots as she further develops her new enterprise ‘My Polish Kitchen.’
As St Albans’ premier food blogger she is best placed to unearth and share with you the foodie treats and delights available to you this Christmas.
This two-parter begins with Pudding and Panetonne, enjoy!
To learn more about Ren or to indulge in some of her delicious recipes take a look at http://www.renbehan.com/
Ever-keen to support local and to buy local, here are my recommendations for the best foodie finds in St Albans. From top turkeys to brandy soaked puddings, alongside local produce-filled hampers to baking experiences with 1,000 years of milling history – it’s all on offer locally!
1. Christmas Pudding & other treats
If you missed Stir Up Sunday and are looking for a homemade alternative treat for your festive table, look no further than The Pudding Stop. Owned and run by Johnny Sheppard in St Albans, The Pudding Stop use local and seasonal ingredients in their puds, all made by hand and stone baked at the nearby Redbournbury Watermill.
There are two sizes of Christmas puddings available, a large pudding (2lbs) for £25 or a smaller pudding (1lb) for £12.50. You’ll need to order your puddings in advance (by phone or email) and they will then be ready for collection at St Albans Farmer’s Market on 9th
or 16th December. Johnny’s Christmas puddings are made to his grandmother’s six month matured recipe. They are rich and fruity with lashings of brandy!
During the festive period, The Pudding Stop will also be baking and selling Mince Pies made with six months matured mincemeat, Black Forest Buche and Stollen as well as many of their award-winning puddings and tarts.
2. Buongiorno Italia’s Artisanal Panettone & Pandorro
My favourite delicatessen in St Albans is Buongiorno Italia on Lattimore Road. Owned by the Picciuto family since 1978, the deli has recently undergone an extension and refurbishment.
If you visit the deli at Christmas time, you’ll notice it is piled high with specially sourced and selected Italian Christmas cakes. In fact, they boast the largest selection of Panettone and Pandorro in Hertfordshire. Look out for the really special flavours or ask Tony for his recommendations.
This year I’ve chosen as gifts a Panbriacone; a drunken cake laced with Vin Santo, a hand-wrapped Loison Panettone Limone, made with lemon cream and lemon peel and a peach and pear hand finished Bonifante Panettone Perapesca. The prices vary, but a large artisan Panettone suitable as a gift for the whole family is around £20.
Tony also has a range of Italian hampers ready to go, or he can put together a bespoke hamper on request. Tony’s top tip is to keep your Panettone by the radiator a little while before you eat it to let the essential oils and flavours seep out! My top tip is to use any leftover Italian Christmas cakes to make Nutella bread and butter pudding (link below) or quick Italian trifles!
68 Lattimore Road, St Albans, AL1 3XR.
Open daily and also open every Sunday before Christmas from 10am-3pm