The weather outside was not frightful, there was no snow to be seen and not a Reindeer’s bell to be heard. However, that didn’t stop our Secret Foodies from having a festive Christmas in July Feast Event.

Starting our journey at the Vintage Cellars in Ultimo, our foodies were presented with a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne – their one way ticket to a tremendous Christmas dinner. Excitement could be felt in the air and with bottles in hand and cold, red noses in tow, we hopped on our Christmas party bus which took us to The Toxteth Hotel in Glebe.

Guests made their way upstairs where two long, crisp, white tablecloths were covered in an array of flower decorations, Piper-Heidseick Champagne bottles and Christmas crackers. The room was cozy and dimly light, fairy-lights lining the wall with a bright Christmas tree in the corner of the room. Santa even made an appearance especially for the occasion.

Bailey’s with cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg eggnog was served first, topped with king island vanilla bean double cream and shaved chocolate. On the table was a mixture of roasted nuts, mini mince pies and  Scottish short bread.

The Champagne flowed and the atmosphere was aptly merry, everyone excited for the feast that lay ahead. Some took the opportunity to take some cheeky Christmas cheer photos in the Piper-Heidsieck photo booth.

Then, entrees arrived: double smoked honey glazed pork belly and turkey roulade with a pomegranate and baby herb salad on the side. Mains followed with an alternate serve of lamb shank mingnon wrapped in pancetta and red wine and seeded mustard jus or a confit pineapple duck with a sweet plum sauce. The smiles on the secret foodies’ faces and the glint in their eyes showed they were excited for the mains. That, or they’d already drunk their fair share of champagne.

It didn’t stop there, with sides of roasted winter veggies, potato and prosciutto salad, pickled red and white cabbage and pork crackling set on the table.

More champagne was drunk, the noise of the chatter increased, and just as our bellies were about to burst, dessert was served; a winter fruit and berry trifle with fresh double wiped vanilla bean cream and strawberry and vanilla custard sweet pastry tartlets. Many foodies just chose one, but the braver amongst us went for both desserts.

And to finish off the night, we did our Kris Kringle swap. There was a catch, however. The gift had to be homemade or re-gifted – no store bought presents allowed! This proved to be a extremely comical event with some gifts well received (like a set of tea from T2), whilst others were stuck with a Christmas puzzle, a key-chain and ceramic cat full of cats even a homemade Christmas tree made of dyed macaroni.

Thank you to The Toxteth for hosting and Chef Andrew Gillard for the great food. Of course were were very grateful to be partnering once again with our friends at French friends at Piper-Heidsieck Champagne who ensured the bubbles flowed all night.