Christmas with Bettys
Let's be honest, if you ask most people what the best thing about Christmas is they're likely to say presents, but we all know what the real answer is: FOOD.
All the food. Christmas is a time to indulge and not give a care about the immense number of calories you're going to consume in a matter of days (and let's face it, at Christmas you can justify ANY sort of gluttony thanks to January's promise of resolutions that of course you-absolutely-won't-break-at-12:01pm-on-1st-Jan...)
Food also happens to be a great gift to give at Christmas. We're not just talking any old food, obviously. I'm talking fancy food; the treat yourself kind. Beautifully packaged and deliciously indulgent, the kind of food that you only open on Christmas Day because it's the "special stuff". Now I know you're not short of options as to where to buy this fancy kind, but I have the best to share with you and they're from my home county of Yorkshire which makes them even better.
For all you non-Northern dwellers (or those that god forbid, have never visited Yorkshire!) then you've probably not heard of Bettys.
The institution that we know today began in 1919. When a Swiss Confectioner named Frederick Belmont got on a train intended to go to the south coast and instead ended up in Yorkshire (as you do). He fell in love with the county (as you do) and decided to open his first Café Tea Room in the spa town of Harrogate and named it ‘Bettys’ - the reason why remains a mystery to this day but it couldn't be a more perfectly charming fit for the business that attracts people from around the world to sample their Afternoon Teas and Fat Rascals (FYI - they're the best things EVER).
Ask anyone that's ever been to a Bettys tea room - or tried any of their delights - and I guarantee you'll only hear wonderful things. And they're a fantastic present to receive too. A Bettys delivery in my house always goes down a treat.
So when the lovely people at Bettys sent me over a little Christmas package, I was indeed very excited. It used to be a tradition of ours around Christmas - usually on the 23rd/24th when my brother would come home - that we'd go straight to Bettys in Ilkley for an afternoon treat; starting the festivities in the finest of ways. However as we've moved to the south of England, this will be the first Christmas in a long time that this won't happen - so it couldn't be a more perfectly timed present in the post! I was thrilled to received their Iced Christmas Cake (which looks far too pretty to cut into but undoubtedly will taste too divine not to!) and the Christmas Chocolate Selection (just look at the box!) that may or may not have already been opened by... umm... the elves.
Deliciously tasty, reasonably priced and perfectly presented, a gift from Bettys is a real treat. The best bit? Non-Northerners, you can still order from Bettys online (Northerners, you can too - but pay their shops a visit instead please as that's part of the magic I miss!) and get your goodies delivered in time for Christmas! Last festive orders are Wednesday 21st - so hurry, visit the link below.
And just incase you're in charge of the most important job this Christmas (aside from Chief Present Opener that is) here are some exclusive tips from Robyn Cox, Head of Beautiful (what a title!) at Bettys on how to curate the picture-perfect Christmas table...
1. Think of a theme and stick to it
Christmas is my favourite time of year as I get to create beautiful window displays. Crazy as it sounds, I start to think about Christmas in January. I get my inspiration from markets, trips to London, and online sites like Pinterest. Like the Bettys window I would say you need to pick a theme which will run throughout your table and even the room itself.
2. Do your maths
It’s vital you don’t miss a table setting for your Great Aunt Betty. Ensure you have enough chairs, plates, champagne flutes etc. for all your guests.
3. Get organised
Organisation is key to a stress-free Christmas Day, so make a list. You can even dress the room before the big day to ensure your Christmas morning is’t so hectic.
4. Lay your table to fit your menu
Think of the order in which you serve, how you will present and serve your Christmas feast. Start with your dinner plate, cheese plate and then your dessert bowl. I always like to match my crockery but you could mix it up with different patterns or colours.
5. The essential background
Ensure you measure your table before purchasing the cloth, so that it definitely covers the entire surface. A white table cloth is a perfect backdrop for your festive table. Lay your table cloth onto your table and iron on top to ensure you get all the little creases out.
6. The personal touch
In all the beautiful displays I create at Bettys, there is a little bit of my personality in each one. To create an enchanting Christmas table add in your personality; hand-make your place names or napkin rings.