Lancaster Lunch: Winter Special

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Cold weather? That’snow’ problem. If you’re in a particularly ‘frosty’ mood, then sit back and ‘chill’, this one’s for you. The team is back, this time armed with Christmas spirit and various festive jumpers, to visit not one, not two, but three different coffee shops for you: sampling the winter menu from each. It’s a hard life, I know, navigating through various flavours of hot chocolate and snaffling gingerbread, but don’t worry, they’ve managed it. I’ve compiled a list of their findings here in this handy article, so you can get the lowdown on the best of the winter menus. Hot chocolate in the cold after all, is ‘snow’ joke.

Caffé Nero

This Italian-style coffee shop is situated in the Marketgate Shopping Centre, in town.

“As coffee shops go, Cafe Nero is perhaps considered a lesser or secondary one. However, I have to say that their winter spice hot chocolate was delightful and a pleasant change from those usual Christmas flavours of mint or cherry which seem to dominate the market. As picky as it sounds, I also always like that at Cafe Nero they give you proper chocolate sprinkles on top of everything rather than the powder that tastelessly coats most commercial coffee shop drinks elsewhere.

I also tried a piece of their Salted Caramel cake since it was so festively dressed in gold and sprinkles. While lovely, my main comment would be it was a tad too sweet, and that’s coming from the sweetest tooth in town (seriously, I can eat insane amounts of sugar).

Overall, the underdog takes it for me on this one. A change from your standard Christmas menus, decent quality chocolate, coffee, and cake, but best of all enough sugar to keep you awake through even the longest of days.”

Ruth Walbank

“Good work, Nero. ‘Tis the season for limited time menus and this place certainly delivered for me in that regard.

Caffé Nero is offering a range of seasonal hot drinks for customers, as well as a small extension to their cake menu. I went for a Winter Spiced hot chocolate and one of the cafe’s mince pies, and I was very impressed. I could actually have them for a start, which was a pleasant surprise; and I’m very glad I could.

My family have trained me as a mince pie connoisseur since before I could spell ‘Christmas’, but Nero’s were up to par for me. The drink, too, was very enjoyable, and most welcome in the weather we’re having. My one quibble is that the things I had were incredibly sweet; I was barely able to finish them. But as food problems go, that’s hardly the worst one to have.”

Isaac Rolfe

Costa Coffee

There are numerous Costa’s dotted around. You’ll find one in the Marketplace, Alexandra Square and County Bar.

Image Courtesy of beautique.cornwall via Instagram.

“As always, Costa’s Christmas delights never fail to liven up an otherwise typical coffee shop roster. The festive spirit begins on November 1st, and a trip to Costa is always well worth it. It’s perhaps a little expensive to go regularly, but with the range of coffees and hot chocolates on offer, you’ll wish it was always the festive season. I particularly enjoyed the Black Forest Hot Chocolate.

Costa’s real selling point is their drinks, but don’t discount the excellent selection of baked goods; whether it’s a quick in-and-out trip before your lecture, or time spent catching up with an old friend, Costa always has the exact drink and snack you need – and with extremely quick service to boot.”

Benjamin O’Rourke

“When I found out that I’d be reviewing Costa, I could not have been more excited! The perfect autumn day includes a nice jumper, a good book and a Costa hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. Costa has a wide range of Christmas themed flavours: Hazelnut praline and cream, gingerbread and cream, caramelised orange and cream and luxury caramel. I quite liked the idea of a hazelnut hot chocolate; I mean Nutella is made out of hazelnuts, right? Oh, how wrong I was. Much like many things in my life it was disappointing, short-lived and left a bad taste in my mouth. My friends and I barely managed one gulp before mirroring the same look of disgust. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Costa, but I really wish I’d have just stuck with my go-to…”

Sarah Pennington


Much like the previous, there are a few Starbucks’ in Lancaster, including Marketgate Shopping Centre and Barker House Farm.

By Michael Hoi Ki Chan

“The time for Christmas coffees has arrived! Huzzah! Christmas coffees are arguably one of the many things that make Christmas epic. Recently I went to Starbucks to try out their new Christmas menu; I chose the Christmas Brule Latte along with the turkey feast sandwich. Other options were a Salted caramel brownie hot chocolate or a gingerbread latte.

I have to say as with most syrupy coffees from Starbucks, it was pretty tasty. it didn’t necessarily taste of Christmas but hey I’m not too bothered. Unfortunately, the Turkey sandwich was a little dry and bland, but my budding Christmas spirit was willing to forgive them for that. So, if you’re fancying a Christmas drink this term Starbucks is well worth a visit but maybe don’t bother with the food. “

Joe Thomas

“As I always say, there is no better way to start the day with a salted caramel brownie Frappuccino. Well, I don’t say that, but I’m going to now. Sat on a comfy sofa on a cold November morning, I relished this beverage. Starbucks can be relied on delivering quality. As can be expected, the frap is a very sweet drink. However, fortunately, it is not so sweet that it becomes sickening. They’ve developed a good balance there. Unfortunately, as with many coffee shop chains, the drink is somewhat pricey, standing at £3.25. Not something to be indulging in on a regular basis, I think you’ll agree. However, for an occasional treat, it is definitely worth the price.”

Michael Hoi Ki Chan

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