Turkey is still the undisputed queen of the Christmas dinner – well, if the crown fits.
At first, in Medieval England, the main course for December 25 was either a peacock or a boar, but turkey became the main course in the 18th Century after the French brought it over.
And it has been the crowning glory on Christmas tables across the country ever since.
And this year is no exception, although butchers have reported a distinct rise in turkey crowns and a fall in the sales of whole birds.
Nick Brown, from Nick Brown’s Butchers in Longlevens, said: “We are selling loads more crown than whole birds because they are easier to cook.
“People also like their roast beef on Christmas day and sausages and bacon too, so we have shifted a fair bit. Sales of geese are up too.
“People want good stuff, especially at Christmas, so they go to their butchers rather than the supermarket.”
Keith Richards, from Chris Duberley butchers in Alvin Street, said: “This year we have sold 91 whole turkeys so far which isn’t bad, probably down a bit on last year, but we’ve sold 500lbs of turkey crown. You get no waste from a crown you see so people seem to be preferring it.
“We also get quite a few requests for birds within birds and every year we get one customer who ask us to put together a 10-bird roast. It takes us hours and includes turkey, geese, duck, pheasant, chicken, partridge, guinea fowl, quail – I can’t remember the rest!
“We have seen a decrease in the sale of geese, probably half as many as last year. I think that is due to expense more than anything else.”
Mr Richards also said that more people seem to be shopping at their local butchers rather than in supermarkets for their Christmas feeds.
“You hear these chefs on television advising people to go to their butchers, so that helps,” he added. “We can tell people how to prepare the bird, how to cook it etc. We offer that personal touch a supermarket can’t give you. We have seen an increase year-on-year in people coming to us so it’s looking good for the butcher.”
Meanwhile the fishmonger at the Eastgate Market has reported a dramatic spike in the sale of carp due to the rise in the Eastern European population, who favour the fish for their festive feasts.
Owner Malcolm Smith said: “In the last five years we have sold more and more carp, all to Eastern Europeans. It works in the same way as Brits have their turkey, they come in in advance, order the fish and we get it in for them.
“We also get a lot of Italian and Portuguese people in buying squid and octopus.”
Jason Mansell, fresh trading manager at Asda Gloucester, said: “We are well prepared for the busy last minute Christmas shopping rush and have made lots of extra deliveries in order to cope with the high demand we are anticipating at Asda stores across Gloucestershire.”