This past Wednesday I was invited to my local Columbia Whole Foods to partake in a holiday menu tasting. Little did I know, that the folks over at Whole Foods would pull out all the stops in putting on quite the impressive holiday dinner.
I’ve written about Whole Foods in the past, I wasn’t exactly glowing when I first embarked on my adventure. But, they’ve turned the tide since that time. It seemed like either by coincidence or by reading my article, many of my complaints have been since resolved.
I have frequented the store many times since then, I can’t help it! They have so many good staples and it’s so convenient. On top of all that their prepared meals are really good and are prepared with quality ingredients.
So all this leads to the holiday tasting. I was contacted by the Whole Foods folks to attend a private food blogger event at the store. I was so excited and it actually went beyond my expectations. The whole point of this event was for Whole Foods to unveil their Holiday Menu for Thanksgiving.
Here were my observations:
- We met with one of the main chefs at the Whole Foods, we asked him how the recipes and dishes are created. He said that many of the recipes are a combination of what they have in the store, what they think of, and recipes sent down from Whole Foods corporate.
- He stated that everything cooked in the Whole Foods kitchen is made with high quality ingredients that is free of artificial preservatives, HFC’s, flavors, coloring, and hydrogenated oils. For a local grocery store with quick pre-made meals that’s pretty ideal.
- The meal started off with some impressive surprise appetizers. Coconut Shrimp & Shrimp Dumplings. The shrimp had a subtle sweet crunch with a nice mild coconut flavor. The dumpling had a nice shrimp filling with a delicate dumpling wrapper
- During our time at the dinner we got to meet with the regional PR rep for Whole Foods. The Mid Atlantic Region is comprised of 44 Whole Foods stretching all the way to Kentucky. She revealed to us that at each Whole Foods, they have artists within their staff to create all the signs and placards you see throughout the store.
- She mentioned that one of the biggest PR challenges for a place like Whole Foods is talking about all the various back-stories that so many of their products have. She went on to say that many of the local Whole Foods have a lot of say in how their stores are operated.
- The Menu for the evening was Butternut Squash Soup, Mushroom Soup, Turkey with Gravy, Cranberry Orange Relish, Biscuit Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Brussel Sprouts, Butternut Sweet Potato Casserole, and Pumpkin Pie.
- Out of everything we had the Biscuit Stuffing was by far the best. That’s not to say that everything else wasn’t good. It was. The Biscuit Stuffing though was something that turned stuffing haters (my Fiancee) into stuffing lovers.
- Overall their holiday menu is jam packed with awesome options that are pretty reasonable if you don’t feel like making Thanksgiving.
- You can get everything from Whole Goose, Duck, Duck Breast, Duck legs, Guinea Hen, Cornish Hen, Whole Pheasant, Semi-Boneless Quail, Free Range Turkey, Kosher Turkey, Brined Turkey, Heirloom Turkey, Bone-in Turkey Breast, and Boneless Turkey Breast.
- The birds can be ordered uncooked or cooked depending on your choice. The turkey they served us was delicious and tender.
- You can basically order any sides you want, the one nice thing is if you have someone who has dietary concerns you can order special (gluten free, vegan, whatever) sides for your guests.
- This was all fairly impressive, if I didn’t cook or didn’t like to cook I would just buy this.
The Whole Foods folks put on a great event. They did a great job making everyone feel welcome. If you’re in the hunt for a delicious meal for Thanksgiving and want to put in minimal effort this is the menu for you.