How do you make people reconsider a budget supermarket, particularly over Christmas – one of the biggest times of the year for food shopping? Easy, you get a AA Rosette and multi Michelin Star award winning celebrity chef to do a pop-up dining event in the kitchen of an award-winning restaurant in Birmingham. And that’s exactly what Aldi did when their Aldi Festive Feast came to Birmingham last week; they offered a lucky few Brummies the chance to enjoy a five course meal prepared by Jean-Christophe Novelli, in the plush setting of Adam’s restaurant on Bennets Hill.
The evening started with a glass of prosecco, whilst we waited for all the diners to arrive, followed by a starter of a collection of sun-dried vine tomato, king crab and caviar points. Aldi was somewhere we used to shop at quite regularly when I was growing up (I have distinct memories of a friend’s family buying crates of orange juice from there), but there isn’t one nearby me so I haven’t been for a while, though it was interesting to see they sold crab – although I did feel the dehydrated tomato garnish was cheating a little.
For main we had turkey wellington with garlic, parsnip and sweet turnip mashed potato and stuffed cabbage. The sweet mash was a nice idea and a clever way to get reluctant eaters to enjoy some vegetables. We enjoyed this with Aldi’s 2014 Clare Valley Realising, which is recommended for those who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc and for someone who is more of a spirits/cocktail drinker, I found this very easy to drink.
For pudding it was a 12 month mature Christmas pudding with Cornish clotted cream. I’m not normally a fan of Christmas pudding, but this was gloriously boozy and paired with the Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu 2012, which complimented the cherries and dark fruits, it felt rather indulgent. The others had a cheeseboard, which they seemed to enjoy, but I was feel rather full (and trying to avoid too much dairy). To finish the evening there was tea or coffee and a mince pie which had a nice buttery pastry.
Whilst we were all letting our dinner settle, Jean-Christophe Novelli escaped the kitchen and spoke to each of the tables, talking about his connection with Aldi and how passionate he felt that it was possible to cook a good Christmas dinner with ingredients which didn’t need to break the bank. And with that the evening drew to a close, but before we did we were presented with a mock bill, informing us that the Aldi Festive Feast would only have cost just over £20 a head, if purchased at Aldi. I don’t do the Christmas dinner shop (I’m on dessert duty), but even I know that’s an excellent bargain! An impressive night, well done Aldi.
Disclosure: I was invited to the Aldi Festive Feast free of charge, as part of their Aldi Christmas UK tour, which no one dining paid for. I wasn’t to write anything about it, but it was such an ingenious PR idea that I was happy to do so – seriously genius idea, PR team.