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Can you hear the sleigh bells? Can you smell the cozy scents of cinnamon and peppermint? Does your tummy rumble with the thought of savory stuffing and holiday sweets? Then you likely have caught holiday fever, just as I have! This time of year, my thoughts are filled with holiday buffets and baking lists. I can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends and host the most magical celebrations ever. Thanks to ALDI, I’ll be impressing my guests this year with new food trends, seasonal favorites, refreshing cocktails and even some old world traditions – all on a budget!
ALDI’s holiday catalog theme this year is “Create a Holiday to Remember,” and when I want to create holiday memories at our celebrations, that’s exactly what I do – head to ALDI for all the goodies I need to feed friends, family and even Santa! And I won’t even need to check my list twice, because I know I’ll find all the seasonal favorites I need, plus I’m sure to discover new flavors and treat to enjoy. It’s not hype or anything anyone has encouraged me to say, the truth is I’m a huge fan of ALDI and have been for over twenty years! It’s my first go-to for holiday celebrations, particularly because I know I’ll find both European and American holiday favorites all at a significantly reduced price than other grocers.
Chocolate is always in season for the holidays, so you’ll want to have plenty of this celebration staple on hand to serve to guests! If you want to add a little extra festive flair and truly impress your guests, the hot food trends for the holidays also include:
European Traditions – To embrace the future, we often take a step back and 2015 is definitely a year where families are turning to old world traditions to set the tone for their holiday celebrations. We’re looking to revive the European traditions in the US that many of us grew up on and ALDI is a fabulous place to find some of your family’s favorites like Stollen. As I’m from a traditional Irish background, you’ll always find a sweets table in our home at the holidays. I love to fill it with holiday goodies from around the globe and my guests love sampling items they’ve never tried before and adding them as new holiday favorites for their celebrations.
Coffee Bars – Holiday gatherings are no longer just evening celebrations. Small gathering during the day are now standard and ushering in the festivities with a fun coffee bar filled with gourmet treats is a great way to celebrate! Brew up some Specially Selected German Roasted Mild Coffee, set up your standard mix-ins (like sweetners and cream) along with season favorites like chocolate and candy cane bits, then add some special treat pairings and viola! You’ll have an easy-to-maintain, inexpensive set-up for a planned or impromptu holiday coffee gathering, perfect for the office, for your book club meeting, or just a fun celebration with your neighbors.
Goodies in Jars – It’s great to send your guests home with a taste of the holidays from your celebration, even better when you can dress it up as a gift! You know everyone is going to love the cookies you put out for an after-dinner treat, so why not grab a few extras and put them in a goody bag or jar ahead of time to gift your guests with as they leave your party? You’ll be sure to put a smile on every guest’s face and they’ll have a lovely keepsake to keep the memories of the festivities going long after the party is over. Jars are all the rage as a container for good reason, they are inexpensive (generally under a $1 each) and are truly practical as they can be put to good reuse after the treats are consumed.
Beer and Cheese Pairings – This season craft beer and cheese pairings are wildly popular. Treat your guests to this unexpected and delicious treat and they’ll be sure to be chatting up your celebration year ’round! My favorite pairing so far that I matched up from ALDI products is the Boot Tread Belgian Amber Ale with Happy Farms Preffered Cranberry White Cheddar. The touch of roasted caramel in the finish of the ale is a terrific match with the hint of cranberry in the cheddar, truly divine! You’ll find a ton of other options, too, as ALDI carries a wide variety of cheeses and beers (varies by location) and if you want to go the traditional route, you’ll find plenty of wine varieties, too.
Homemade Gourmet – Pairing beers (or wines) with cheese is always a hit with guests, but adding your own gourmet touch will truly wow your guests and have them clamoring for your recipe, too (so be sure to write out a few copies or be ready with a URL ahead of time!) This year, I put together a delicious Bacon Pecan Herb Cheese Ball that’s super simple to create. I found all of the ingredients at ALDI and spent less than $10 for this delightful showpiece. You can find oodles of inspiration and amazing holiday recipes from the ALDI kitchen, too at https://www.aldi.us/en/recipes/featured/
Seasonal Wines – No matter what cocktail is “all the rage” during the holiday season, wine remains on the must-have list for holiday celebration. You’ll find plenty of terrific wines to choose from (varies by location) at ALDI including seasonal varieties. During this time of year, a festive, seasonal variety is well appreciated and mulled wine is an old favorite that simply captures the essence of the holiday season.
Shareable punches are becoming more and more popular, too, using wine as the base. To create a mulled wine variety that all of my guests could enjoy, I used Nature’s Nectar Sparkling Juice to create a Non-Alcoholic Mulled Red Wine that can easily be served in a punch bowl or warmed for individual cups. Paired with a rich chocolate treat like liveGfree Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Brownie Soft Baked Cookies, and you’ll have a match made in holiday heaven!
How do you impress your guests during the holidays? What seasonal trends will you be serving up at your celebrations?