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Xmas Party Food

Gregg Wallace is in Nottingham at an enormous party food factory where they produce 200,000 canapes every 24 hours.

Gregg Wallace heads to Nottingham to a factory that makes 200,000 canapes every 24 hours. He discovers the secrets of creating party food on a grand scale as he follows production of mini-quiche bites and vol-au-vents. It begins with a tonne of egg - 20,000 individual eggs - which are whisked into a custardy filling. 283kg of bacon and 800kg of cheese transform this mix into quiche lorraine. This round-the-clock operation requires 600 staff in the run-up to Christmas, since 85% of their annual production is made and dispatched in December.

Meanwhile, Cherry Healey discovers failsafe scientific methods for cooking the perfect turkey. This year she is turning her oven into a turkey sauna by popping ice cubes into a baking tray. The hot steam keeps her bird succulent, and a coating of alkaline baking powder speeds up the browning reaction, ensuring a beautifully bronzed bird. She also heads to Wiltshire to a traditional candle makers. She learns the ancient technique of hand-dipping, laying down a 0.7mm thick layer of wax around a wick. It takes 16 dips to create a half-inch-wide candle.

Historian Ruth Goodman finds that, while bringing mistletoe inside at Christmas time goes right back to Pagan times, the tradition of kissing beneath it is much more recent. The earliest record she finds is a song from 1784, where it seems it began in the servants’ hall, making the most of the topsy-turvy norms of the festive period. Ruth also investigates how the period of Advent, traditionally associated with fasting, came to be connected with chocolate-packed calendars.

58 minutes

Last on

Boxing Day 2019 05:50

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01


    Merry Xmas Everybody

  • 00:01


    Merry Xmas Everybody

  • 00:02

    Leona Lewis

    I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

  • 00:03

    Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters

    Here Comes Santa Claus

  • 00:05

    The Black Eyed Peas

    Let's Get It Started

  • 00:06

    Years & Years

    Take Shelter

  • 00:07

    The Darkness

    I Am Santa

  • 00:08

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Troika (from Lieutenant Kijé)

  • 00:14

    Andy Williams

    It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

  • 00:15

    The Darkness

    Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)

  • 00:18

    The Pretenders

    2000 Miles

  • 00:24

    Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra

    Sleigh Ride

  • 00:25

    Kelly Clarkson

    Underneath The Tree

  • 00:27

    CeeLo Green

    What Christmas Means To Me

  • 00:28

    Kool & The Gang


  • 00:29

    Ellie Goulding


  • 00:35

    Of Monsters and Men

    Little Talks

  • 00:35

    Rizzle Kicks

    Happy That You're Here

  • 00:38

    Shakin’ Stevens

    Merry Christmas Everyone

  • 00:40

    Taylor Swift

    Wildest Dreams

  • 00:41

    Gwen Stefani

    Santa Baby

  • 00:42

    The Ronettes

    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

  • 00:46


    Puppies Are Forever

  • 00:47

    The Pogues

    Fairytale Of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)

  • 00:49

    Little Mix

    Love Me Like You

  • 00:53

    Lemon Jelly

    Homage to Patagonia

  • 00:59

    Brenda Lee

    Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree


Role Contributor
Presenter Gregg Wallace
Presenter Cherry Healey
Presenter Ruth Goodman
Executive Producer Amanda Lyon
Executive Producer Sanjay Singhal
Producer Sam Bailey
Director Sam Bailey
Series Producer Michael Rees


  • Thu 12 Dec 2019 20:55
  • Thu 12 Dec 2019 21:00
  • Tue 17 Dec 2019 19:00
  • Christmas Day 2019 10:00
  • Boxing Day 2019 05:50

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