Essential Winter Warmers
As winter draws in and the Month of Celebrating approaches, the sight of Neopians shuffling along busy streets with frozen hands and paws clutching heavy bags of gifts will become increasingly common. The weather forecast will be seemingly stuck on 'blizzards and strong winds', and the temperature will creep ever lower. Even if you and your pets are bundled up beyond recognition, no amount of clothing will protect you entirely from the biting chill of winter. However, there is one thing you can do to get yourselves warm again after a long day of shopping and exploring Neopia – and it involves food. Everybody knows that one of the most pleasant sensations in the world is eating or drinking something delicious and hot, and feeling it warm you slowly from the inside out. Therefore, this is a list compiling the top twelve most effective 'Winter Warmers', essential for cosy nights in once you have closed the door firmly on the rain, snow and wind outside – these foods and beverages are guaranteed to give you the warm belly feeling that is exactly what is missing from your evenings. It is the time for thick, wholesome, filling foods, with traditional flavours brimming with spice and heat. The denser the food and the more seasonal the taste, the better – this is a list as much about nostalgia and the spirit of winter as it is about culinary excellence.
12) Flaming Hot Custard
Diving straight in with number twelve on the list, this heaping dessert promises you a full stomach and a feeling of total satisfaction. Brimming with enough custard to feed the entire family, this sweet yet spicy pudding makes a great supper for those with a sweet tooth, craving sugar at the end of a draining day. Piping hot throughout and flavoured delicately with seasonal nutmeg and cinnamon, the custard also has a beautifully browned top, made expertly using a blow torch by the experts at Neopian Fresh Foods.
11) Cheese Onion Pasty
The Bakery stocks many flavours of Pasty, from Seafood to Pizza, but the stand-out option for me is the humble combination of fresh onion and thick, melting cheese. The flavours complement one another wonderfully, creating an explosion of taste in your mouth. The pastry is buttery, crumbly, and cooked to perfection. And, as an added bonus, the crimped edge creates a useful handle, meaning you can eat your Pasty without getting the filling all over your hands!
10) Roast Chestnut Pizza Slice
No scent better represents the holiday season than chestnuts roasting, whether on your fire at home or in the busy streets. The intense flavour and unusual texture makes them perfectly suited to be used as a pizza topping. The tomato sauce and cheese act as a delicious base, giving a nice flavour of their own without overpowering the true stars of the dish – the chestnuts. Roasted to perfection, the chestnuts are laid evenly across the pizza and make for a truly unforgettable winter eating experience.
9) Cheery Tomato Soup Bowl
It is impossible not to smile when you see this cute, happy little bowl! Even without tasting the delicious soup inside, the sight of the steaming bowl alone is enough to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Soup, of course, is the natural choice when it comes to getting warm after a cold day, and the excellent presentation of this tasty tomato soup sets it apart from all the other yummy soups Neopia has to offer. Close contenders were Apple Soup and Chunky Mushroom Soup.
8) Mocha Smore
This is no ordinary smore; firstly, the biscuits are star shaped, making the smore much more appealing, and secondly, the chocolate customary in smores is infused into the marshmallow, making for an altogether more sophisticated flavour experience. Whether you buy these or make them yourself, they are a fabulous sweet treat, particularly enjoyable after a day spent buying gifts for others. The sumptuous flavours and the pleasing combination of textures make these smores the perfect Winter Warmer if you are in need of some pampering!
7) Fig Muffin
This pretty muffin tastes as good as it looks, and is served warm for extra comfort. The muffin itself is soft and sweet, with a hint of fig flavouring throughout, but what makes this dish extra special is the sauce drizzled over the top. Sticky, sugary, and incredibly indulgent, it is impossible to resist, and you will find yourself buying it again and again. Interestingly, this dish originates in Altador, famed for its sunny cuisine, and this certainly makes sense – not only does the muffin look like a beautiful sunset on its plate, it tastes like sunshine too.
6) Pumpkin Mocha
The first beverage on this list, slipping in at exactly halfway, is certainly a showstopper. Rather than an ordinary, boring mocha, this one is infused with the wintery flavour of pumpkin, and as the description reads, You won't mistake this mocha for any other with this adorable mug. Though the mug adds nothing to the flavour of the drink, it is undeniable that drinking from something so evidently festive and seasonal will raise your spirits and get you in the holiday mood.
5) Fire Faerie Fondue
Another aesthetically pleasing choice, this fondue would be great for a gathering of friends or family, placed in the centre of the table for everyone to admire and enjoy as they wished. The fondue inside is deliciously thick and creamy, and the little forks provided to spear your bread or other accompaniments are adorable. The taste is wonderful, and the scent constantly given off by the bubbling contents will make any house feel like Home.
4) Cinnamon Oatmeal
Oatmeal is one of those wonderfully versatile foods that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, supper, or just as a snack. And with this one, you'll certainly want to eat it all day! The oatmeal itself is cooked to a nice consistency that will suit even the fussiest of Neopians, and the subtle yet warming use of cinnamon really brings this meal into the spotlight. Seasonal and tasty, it also has the added benefit of being healthy, which can be a real struggle in a season famed for indulgence.
3) Apple Lantern Pie
Apple Lantern Pie is placed highly on this list not only because of its satisfying deliciousness, but because it's a practical choice too. In the time after All Hallows' Eve, there are so many apple lanterns that would otherwise go to waste, but this pie presents a great alternative to throwing them away! The flavours are balanced extremely well, and the thick crust is filling and tasty. A great treat for those who are environmentally conscious!
2) Hot Buttered Baguette
Sometimes, even the most complex and sophisticated dishes cannot beat the simple classics. On a cold winter's evening, nothing is more comforting than the scent of freshly baked bread filling your home. Well, apart from the taste of freshly baked bread, smothered in melting butter…
1) Spiced Pomegranate Tea
Finally, we reach number one on the list – the absolute best Winter Warmer that is essential for your inventory as the cold draws in. Not only does this tea have the seasonal spices that will warm you from within and make you feel toasty and content, but the fruity flavour of the pomegranate offsets these tastes and ensures the tea isn't too overpowering. This is a beverage that you could literally drink gallons of, savouring the wonderful feeling of fuzzy warmth and making you believe you actually like winter – until you step outside again, of course!