How to create the ultimate Christmas buffet

A Christmas buffet is a serious affair. There’s more to it than canapés and crisps (although they definitely play a crucial part). Yes, a festive buffet must involve centrepiece mains, big, bold salads, dips and bits, showstopping desserts and, of course, an extensive cheese selection. Below, we show you how to create the ultimate Christmas buffet along with plenty of recipes to impress.

How to create the ultimate Christmas buffet

The nibbles…

It wouldn’t be a buffet without something to nibble on. Before the main meal, hand around a selection of cracking canapés (think cheese straws, smoked salmon latkes, sausage rolls and mini croque-monsieurs) to whet the appetite. Any leftovers will make their way on to your plate anyway – the more eclectic the combo, the better!

Discover all of our starters, canapés and feed-a-crowd recipes.

The main event…

Your festive array must include a centrepiece main and, preferably, there’d be more than one. We recommend something for carnivores, veggies and vegans, to satisfy all eaters (we see you flexitarians…).

For meat-eaters: a sticky glazed gammon makes a knockout main and is easy to slice and share. This brown-sugar glazed recipe always goes down a treat or, for something a little different, give our tamarind and pomegranate caramel version a go. If you’ve got the time, then salmon en croûte is well worth the effort while a game pie tastes great served hot or cold.

Take a hint from all our festive make-ahead dinner recipes.

For veggies: we often find that vegetarian dishes attract attention from both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. And we can see why…

Use the opportunity to make something really different and creative, like a spectacular butternut squash roulade, a halloumi nut roast or this maple-glazed parsnip and chestnut roast. The trick is to choose a recipe that can be made in advance, so you have plenty of time to think about the other elements.

Take a leaf through all our vegetarian Christmas dinner recipes

For vegans: whether you’re vegan or not, we highly recommend you try this miso mushroom, squash and chestnut wellington. It makes an incredible main (all those soft and nutty textures wrapped up in flaky pastry) and can easily be sliced and served to guests. Other good options are this sweet caramelised onion tart or a big beetroot pithivier.  Find all our vegan Christmas recipes, here.

The sides…

Oh, the sides! How we love them! They are the glue that hold the meal together and come in many different shapes and forms. We’re talking potato dishes cooked multiple ways, (try hasselback, smashed. in gratins or as a rosti), stuffing balls wrapped in prosciutto, pigs in blankets, a crisp salad topped with smoked salmon and a pile of roasted sprouts (they’re non negotiable).

Check out our collection of Christmas side dishes.

The desserts…

As full as you might feel at the end of all that, it’s always possible to find room for something sweet. Especially when you see what’s on the dessert menu…

For the ultimate make-ahead crowd-pleaser, take inspiration from our collection of tremendous trifles. Think panettone with zabaglione, mulled apple cider and espresso martini variations.

And to satisfy chocoholics, we recommend this white Russian roulade: it’s boozy, rich and not too faffy to make. Or check out all our Christmas chocolate recipes – you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy.

Then, for the people who ‘couldn’t possible squeeze in another morsel of food’, trust us – they can. Enter Baileys brandy snaps…

The cheese course…

Remember to leave out a selection of cheeses and crackers for nibbling later on.

Check out our guide on how to make a Christmas cheeseboard, from the best cheeses to choose to perfect drinks pairings.

Oh, and we’ll just leave this cheeseboard cheesecake right here…

Did you know we have lots of unbeatable Christmas menus, too, including traditional, make-ahead, vegetarian and last-minute feasts?

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