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Food & Drink

Gobble gobble: 10 best turkeys

Turkey gets bad press, but if you buy from the right place, you’ll discover well looked-after birds produce succulent, flavoursome meat

1. Copas

Copas advertise their turkeys as Very Very Special and it’s true they produce meat that makes for a tasty Christmas dinner. The turkeys are free-range and raised to the highest welfare standards on a family farm.

From £83, copasturkeys.co.uk

2. Donald Russell

These free-range turkeys are slow-grown in the Loué region of France exclusively for Donald Russell. It comes frozen, so allow 72 hours to defrost it, but it’s worth the wait as it is plump, succulent and full-flavoured. They sell some fabulous accompaniments too.

£49, donaldrussell.com

3. Marks & Spencer

This easy-to-carve roulade is handy if you want no bones or something a bit different. It’s made up of flattened turkey breast, layered with leaf spinach and a pork, mushroom and Parmesan stuffing, then wrapped in thin and crispy smoked bacon.

£25,  christmasfood.marksandspencer.com

4. BEST BUY: Grove Smith

Winner of this year’s British Turkey Awards, these turkeys come from a farm in north Essex which has been producing turkeys for over 40 years. Their secret lies in producing high-quality cereal feed and they only deal with English Rose turkeys, a slower growing bird.

From £45.60, sales@grovesmith.co.uk (there is no website)

5. Kelly Bronze

These slow-growing turkeys roam free in the woodlands around Derek Kelly’s Essex farm in their natural habitat. And when it gets closer to Christmas, the birds are processed in a unique way, which involves dry-plucking and hanging to gain maximum depth of flavour.

From £60, kellyturkeys.co.uk

6. Rhug Estate

With a moist flavour and finely grained meat, these organic hand-reared turkeys are produced in a natural way – living outdoors on rich fertile pastures and sleeping indoors in spacious barns. No wonder this farm claims it rears Britain’s most pampered turkeys.

From £65.25, rhug.co.uk

7. Turner & George

These Yorkshire turkeys, which live outside in the day foraging and feeding on fresh herbs, are a minimum of 20 weeks old when killed. They’re then dry-plucked, waxed and hung for at least 10 days. Don’t miss their pigs-in-blankets either – they are out of this world.

From £72, turnerandgeorge.co.uk

8. Farmison

Farmison has a great selection of turkeys, boasting variety in size and breed, but all of them are flavoursome and memorable. They sell a wide range of other yuletide goodies too, very nearly making this a one-stop for Christmas dinner.

From £49.95, farmison.com

9. Fieldshire

Ordering a turkey online from here is a lovely experience. There’s a great picture gallery, you get to know the farmers and their outdoor rearing methods and then use the handy online calculator to work out what size bird you need before paying and finally receiving it delivered to your door in time for Christmas.

From £56, fieldshires.com

10. Capestone

The Scale Family have been producing Christmas turkeys since 1920. Today, their award-winning, organic  free-range Pembrokeshire poultry farm is still going strong, with their slow-grown turkeys boasting outstanding texture and taste. Buy them direct from the farm or from M&S.

From £30, capestone.co.uk