I’ve been feeling possibly a little too festive this year, after many visits to the Manchester Christmas Markets, my first party in October and far too many mulled wines I feel that perhaps this Sunday just gone I maybe peaked a little too soon. I was invited to go on a festive barge cruise with Greggs the bakery, cakes, pasties and Christmas, how could I resist?
I’m really not a fan of boats however psyched myself up after I realised that the canal could in no way shape or form involve choppy water. I invited my friend Helen from Wandering albatross to come along with me and we went to catch the boat from the Canal Basin in Castlefield.
We set sail on the barge and I was pleasantly surprised at how roomy and warm the boats were. It was particularly cold in Manchester on Sunday and wasn’t really expecting it to be warm but in fact I had to take my coat and cape off as soon as I was on board. Perhaps the warmth was coming from all the festive bakes I could spy in the corner of the room.
We were welcomed by the Greggs team as we set sail up the ship canal. There were four Manchester bloggers there to taste the Greggs Christmas menu of which smelt amazing.
The first thing I tried was the festive bake. Having told a few people at work what I was doing that weekend there was a few shocked faces to discover that I didn’t know about the festive bake. A hugely popular product it would seem and from the taste of it there is no surprise why, a golden lattice puff pastry with chicken breast, bacon, pork stuffing, cranberry and onions all encased in a white sage sauce. Its seasonal goodness like this that makes me wish that Christmas menus like hot cross buns were available all year.
The steak and cheese roll is a new addition to the Christmas menu for Greggs and from the opinion on the boat there was a fairly mixed marmite reaction, some people loved it and some people didn’t seem too keen. The steak and cheese role is essentially a sausage roll with a shredded beef and stilton middle which is covered in gravy. For me the steak was lovely but the after-taste of the Stilton was a little too much. If you however are a big fan of strong cheeses I think this is a fantastic new addition to the menu.
A favourite sweet item from the Christmas menu at Greggs was the gingerbread tree. I can’t say gingerbread would be a go to flavour for me however the intensity of the ginger mixed with the chocolate coating was really tasty. The ginger wasn’t overpowering and like all good biscuits there was a good crunch.
The boat journey we had took us up the canal from Castlefield up past media city and past old Trafford. Whilst it was a bitterly cold day, the sun was shining and it was a beautifully pleasant day. Having lived in Manchester for four years now I haven’t once thought about exploring the city in this way so to get the opportunity was a lovely experience and a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I feel I got a different taste of Manchester from the water. Speaking to my parents about the event we’ve agreed that going on a barge would be a lovely thing to the next time they are up for a weekend.
I’d like to say thank you to Greggs for inviting me and Helen along to the event, however all thought and opinions are my own.