Whilst Christmas is absolutely the most magical time of the year, surely one of the best things is the delicious food and drink. There’s cheese boards galore, decadent sweet treats, and it is acceptable to drink mulled wine at any time of the day because, hey it’s Christmas. But what exactly do you eat on Christmas Day to set it apart from all of the other days if you have a chef to hand all year round? What does the queen eat at Christmas time? Taking a nosey at the royal Christmas table is important because we all deserve to feel like Queens on Dec. 25.
Whilst the most we usually get of the Queen on Christmas day is her 3 p.m. speech, her dining secrets were revealed in a recent Good Housekeeping interview with former royal chef, Darren McGrady. It was reported that in his time in the royal kitchen McGrady had catered for both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as well as the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William. Whilst the whole Christmas affair sounds very grand, as you would imagine, I can’t help but thinking that the focus on family reminds me of my own Christmas Day. And making the Queen totally relatable McGrady said, “the queen is a major chocoholic, particularly dark chocolate, so she always has a chocolate treat on Christmas. She also loves mint.” Oh Queeny, me too! If you can’t at Christmas, when can you?
It is reported that the Queen heads to her Sandringham residence in Norfolk before being joined by the rest of the Royals. McGrady revealed that the family enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out to church and then when they get back the real eating begins. He said, “after church, that's when they have a big lunch that includes a salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert.” My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
By the sounds of things, that Christmas lunch is enough to knock you out and put you in a bit of a food coma for the rest of the afternoon. McGrady revealed that the family gather round at 3 p.m. with the rest of the nation to watch the Queen's address. A spot of afternoon tea doesn’t go a miss and then if they have space there is a buffet. McGrady said, “then they gather again in the evening, where a buffet dinner with 15-20 different items awaits them. It's always a buffet with the chefs at the table carving.” It all sounds completely delicious.
Most families have little Christmas traditions and McGrady revealed that the royals are not without their own. Being of Germanic decent the family gathers around on Christmas Eve to open their presents. He said, “after afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.” Another tradition which may be a bit more removed from Christmas in your house, is that before the Christmas buffet in the evening the chef comes through to the dining room and the Queen pours them a drink and toasts to them. McGrady revealed “that's the only time the chef goes into the dining room and has a glass of whiskey with the royal family. It's one of the chef's favourite traditions."
Christmas at the Sandringham Estate with the Royal family sounds every bit as fabulous as what I imagined. With no shortage of delicious treats, and important traditions I can’t help but think that whilst they might be one of the most famous families in the world their Christmas day is completely focused around family time, great food, and gift giving. I know where I want to go for my dinner on Dec. 25.