Hap-pie new year! Britons are moving on from big New Year’s bashes and baking vegan and vegetarian pies for ‘intimate dinner parties’
New Year’s Eve celebrations are going ahead around the UK tonight, but nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, expect small gatherings rather than booze-filled parties.
A Waitrose Food and Drink report published this week shows more Britons are choosing to host intimate dinner parties to ring in 2022 with ‘healthy’ recipes taking centre stage.
Searches for dinner parties recipes have gone up to 400 per cent in the past two weeks, while searches for ‘New Year’s Eve recipes’ specifically have also gone up by 160 per cent on the supermarket’s website.
When it comes to alcohol, revellers are turning to no or low alcohol options with more than half people saying they’ll take it easy on the drink this year.
Meanwhile, vegan and vegetarian recipes are proving popular, with dishes like a Waitrose-recommended vegan roasted vegetable tart enjoying a 351 per cent surge in clicks this year.
Brits are moving on from big New Year’s Eve bashes and preferring to have smaller, more intimate gathering this year, Waitrose has revealed. Stock picture
A quarter of people have told Waitrose they are looking forward to hosting a dinner party tonight, and a third have admitted they’re hosting smaller groups than they did before the pandemic, after the Omicron variant has threatened to put a damper on end of year celebrations.
And after two years lounging at home, revellers are watching what they’re putting in their bodies tonight, picking healthy recipes and drinks in low alcohol, to get a head start on Dry January.
Some are still buying champagne and sparkling ahead of tonight, with interest in champagne cocktails on the rise as well.
For these intimate gatherings, hearty, comforting foods such as Beef Wellington, Mushroom and Stilton pie, French onion soup and Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable lasagne are proving to be hits.
Vegetarian dishes like this grilled vegetable lasagne have enjoyed a surge of popularity online ahead of tonight’s celebrations
Delicacies like mushroom caviar and watermelon, mozzarella & aperol bites are also on the radar of the fanciest of hosts.
Will Torrent, Senior Brand Development Chef at Waitrose said: ‘It’s clear our customers are hosting intimate dinner parties for New Year’s Eve this year.
‘And findings show that just over a third of shoppers are treating themselves and their guests to high-end, quality products such as more premium wine and specialty ingredients,’ he added.
‘From what they’re serving as the main centrepiece to the fizz they’re bringing in the new year with, we’re seeing people upgrading their menus to kick off 2022,’ he went on.
Brits are looking to strike a balance between indulging and keeping this healthy, with dishes like this mushroom and Stilton cheese pie
This comes as so restrictions have been put in place in Scotland and in Wales ahead of the New Year’s celebrations.
There are no such curbs in England, with people simply being encouraged to take a Covid test before they head to a party.
Environment Secretary George Eustice insisted on Wednesday that the Government is keeping close tabs on Covid admissions and refused to rule out adopting further restrictions in January.
But critics have slammed No10’s decision to keep nightclubs and other hospitality venues open for New Year’s festivities, with one medical union chief claiming it ‘speaks volumes’ about the PM’s approach.
Vegan treats are proving extremely popular this year, with searches for these vegan roasted vegetable tarts going up by 351 per cent
Professor Danny Altmann, an immunologist based at Imperial College London, said the move seems to show the ‘greatest divergence between expert clinical/scientific advice and legislation’.
And University of Brighton virologist Dr Sarah Pitt said having different rules in England will just lead to people in Wales and Scotland travelling across the border to celebrate NYE, before returning home and potentially taking the virus with them.
However, Tory MPs have backed Mr Johnson for holding firm against calls to impose tougher sanctions, arguing it is better to trust in the ‘good sense of the British people’.
Waitrose also offers a recipe for mushroom caviar, right, as hosts let food take centre stage at this year’s celebration