Nationwide reports earlier in the year of a potential seasonal shortage of festive favourite “pigs in blankets” could not have proved further from the truth at one popular Cumbria gastropub.
A whopping 2lb “pig in a blanket” served on top of a giant 12-inch Yorkshire pudding piled high with a full Christmas dinner is the unique December dish being served up for the hungriest of diners – and all in aid of a good cause.
The Commodore Inn at Grange-Over-Sands is laying down the gauntlet to all-comers to see if they can conquer this colossal culinary Christmas challenge – while at the same time raising vital funds for a local food bank.
Commodore general manager Charlotte Hargan has organised a special event to find the country’s champion Christmas Diner Of The Year.
“Our customers love the quality of our food, and we are incredibly proud of all our dishes. We thought this would be a unique way of celebrating Christmas here at the Commodore and having fun with our customers old and new.
“And it’s all in aid of a good cause with all profits from the dish going to raise money to spend on food for the local food bank to help those less fortunate this Christmas.
“The charity challenge has really captured everyone’s imaginations. There’s a real buzz about it already. Everyone is talking about it,” said Charlotte.
The timed festive feast challenge will take place on Sunday, December 15, at 4 pm in the Commodore’s restaurant.
Usually, diners at the Commodore enjoy the restaurant’s stunning, panoramic views of Morecambe Bay.
But on Christmas Diner Of The Year Charity Challenge day, they will only have eyes for their food if they are serious about taking away the festive inaugural title.
Everyone who manages to finish their 2lb pig in blanket Christmas meal with a clean plate will receive a special seasonal certificate.
And the person to finish the fastest will receive their money back and a £50 prize to be spent at The Commodore or any of Lakeland Inns’ other restaurants including the Sun Inn at Ulverston, and the Black Cock Inn at Broughton-in-Furness.
Having been on the food review circuit in south Cumbria, former journalist Jonathan Lee went along for a pre-taster.
Commodore chef Terence Shields was happy to serve up a trial version complete with 2lb pig in a blanket from nearby multi-award-winning butcher Higginsons of Grange.
“It was a unique and memorable experience. All the food – the turkey, the two types of potato, the four types of veg, the Yorkshire pudding, the gravy, and of course, the whopping pig in a blanket were all delicious. I can heartily recommend it to anyone. And the location of the Commodore’s restaurant, looking out over Morecambe Bay, is amazing,” said Jonathan.
“Did I finish it? Yes!
“I finished every last mouthful at 9 pm on Tuesday, December 3 in front of Philip Schofield’s ‘How To Spend It Well at Christmas’ on the TV at home.
“The only problem was I started it shortly after 1 pm in the Commodore Inn restaurant on Friday, November 29!
“It actually lasted me a further three dinners after the challenge – thanks to Charlotte and Terence packaging any leftovers for me to take away to make sure not a morsel was wasted – which also shows what fantastic value the meal is.
“Sadly, I was no Vicar of Dibley when it came to conquering the festive eating competition. I challenge anyone to beat my time of four days, seven hours, and 49 minutes!
“I am sure there are plenty of people out there who, unlike me, have got what it takes to be crowned the country’s Christmas Diner of The Year while supporting the local food bank at the same time.”
All those up for the Christmas Diner of The Year Charity Challenge are invited to register on The Commodore Inn’s Facebook page or by emailing [email protected] to take part in the December 15 event and pay a £10 deposit.
Deadline for entries is noon on Friday, December 13.