Christmas dinner cooked by Jean-Christophe Novelli… for £20?
I have to admit to being a bit of a food snob and like most foodies this includes my choice of supermarket as well as eateries. For years I’ve faithfully rocked up at my local Marks and Spencer in Prestwich, Manchester, to do my weekly shop as the variety and quality is always spot on.
For my ‘posh shop’ I head to the farmers’ markets in Lancashire and Cheshire – amazing cheeses and artisan goods.
However, everyone’s talking about Aldi these days and so I was intrigued and excited to get invited along to the Aldi ‘Festive Feast’ recently in Manchester.
Very cleverly, using the powerful reach of social media – namely Twitter – the brains at Aldi have been offering lucky followers the opportunity to come along for a five course luxury Christmas dinner cooked by multi-Michelin starred, award-winning (and rather dishy) Jean-Christophe Novelli. Ooh la la!
All the produce would be from Aldi and to enter, foodies up and down the UK have to ‘tweet to eat’ by using the hashtag #AldiFestiveFeast. In keeping with the luxury theme, the venues for the pop up restaurant ‘tour’ are all seriously high-end, five star quality too.
So, along with around 50 other lucky diners, I went along to the Manchester event, hosted at the very elegant Great John Street Hotel in the city centre. My companion Angela, a nutritionist, and I arrived with open minds and were greeted to a glass of excellent Prosecco (Aldi’s Superiore bubbly). Great start.
The atmosphere was fantastic – chatting to fellow dinner winners, some had come as far as north Yorkshire to sample dinner cooked by a culinary legend. But would the food be any good I wondered? We had a starter of Meli Melo made up of delicious crab and caviar – light, fresh and surprisingly tasty for what would have been originally frozen.
This was followed by a turkey Wellington and luxury veg, with a selection of the supermarket’s Exquisite Collection award-winning wines. Everyone seems to go on about Aldi wine and I have to say we were impressed. When the man himself, Jean-Christophe, said hello to us, he also had to agree that the wines were indeed “very, very good –
the Reisling is great.” Well, if you say so JC!
Pudding was a mouth-watering ‘Specially Selected 12 month matured Christmas pudding’ with Cornish clotted cream.
I’d expect to pay about £70-£100 a head for a five course meal like that and for it to be cooked and prepared by Novelli – double, treble that.
And, to my temporary shock, a bill did land on our table. However, it was a mock receipt and it brought lots of smiles. The total? £20.35.Aldi had made their point well – you really can shop cleverly for good quality produce at a discounted supermarket and achieve as good if not better results than one of the very top supermarkets or luxury grocers.
The experience certainly gave me food for thought and alerted me to the fact that at this time of year we do pay overinflated prices for what we deem as luxury festive foods. By shopping around and showing some flair, we can all probably do a “Novelli” too.
The #AldiFestiveFeast tour continues on to Birmingham’s Michelin star Adam’s Restaurant on 10 December. ‘Tweet to eat’ as they say.
For more information, go to www.aldi.co.uk