Techie Xmas: Who's getting the best Christmas lunch?

'We will be flying all our employees to Rome this year... '
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

'We will be flying all our employees to Rome this year... '

Not everyone will be seated around the family dinner table for a meal this Christmas. For some techies on call over the festive period, Christmas dinner will be eaten with colleagues in the office canteen. silicon.com takes a look at what staff at some of the biggest tech companies can expect for their corporate Christmas meal this year.

Google's canteen might be famous for its three free meals a day and for serving more flavours of smoothie than there are colours in the rainbow, but employees at other tech companies won't be going short either this Christmas.

Enterprise software maker Autonomy is planning to treat its entire workforce to a trip to Rome for a special Italian Christmas dinner.

The lucky few will get to chow down on a multiple-course Christmas feast, starting with an antipasti of spinach tart with crispy bacon drops, followed by maccheroni pasta with Sicilian pachino tomatoes in mild basil pesto.

For the secondo - the main course - techies will get to tuck into sea bass fillet served on roast sliced potatoes, accompanied by a lemon sorbet sauce, and veal noisettes in aromatic herbs with carrots, zucchini, potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

For the dolche – should Autonomy employees find any corners left to fill – they can look forward to traditional Italian Christmas dessert from Verona and Milan: pandoro and panettone cakes, served with warm zabaglione cream with its trademark dash of Sicilian Marsala wine. Delizioso!


Autonomy employees can look forward to tucking into some real Italian Panettone this Christmas
(Photo credit: Francisco Antunes via Flickr.com under the following Creative Commons licence)

Meanwhile software giant Microsoft will be holding Christmas lunch for employees at its UK offices, with special festive menus offering seasonal fare at subsidised canteen rates.

Microsoft employees can tuck into a variety of starters off the Christmas menu, starting at £1.05, including mini prawn cocktail - prawns in Marie rose sauce with cherry tomatoes on iceberg lettuce, served with lemon wedges and granary bread - or toasted walnut, blue cheese and roquette salad with a maple syrup dressing.

Microsoft mains start at £2.35 and include traditional roast turkey carved by the chef with chipolatas wrapped in streaky bacon served with sage and apricot stuffing, and traditional roast gravy; honey-roast gammon with roast gravy; or beef wellington with a mushroom and spinach duxelle wrapped in puff pastry with fondant potatoes and sauté bacon and cabbage served with a pan jus.

Vegetarians haven't been forgotten with a choice of either butternut squash, feta and sage filo parcel with a cumin cream, or winter vegetable stew served with root vegetable dauphinoise and crusty bread.

For any Microsoft staffer still hungry for more savoury festive fare, there's a sides from £0.50 per portion, including roast potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, sticky red cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

For dessert, Microsoft's workforce has got its work cut out...

...making a decision. There's traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, mince pies with brandy butter, Bailey's chocolate mousse dome or caramelised lemon tart. Decisions, decisions. Prices start at £0.50.

Business software maker Sage will also be putting the usual festive suspects on the menu at its UK head office in Newcastle: turkey, ham, stuffing - presumably sage-flavoured - winter vegetables, cranberry sauce and Christmas pudding.

By contrast, mobile maker Nokia has a few Scandinavian delicacies on the canteen menu at its Salo campus, where Christmas lunch will be free. The Finnish feast will include herring caviar, smoked rainbow trout, Finnish beetroot salad, home-brewed beer and a lingonberry-based dessert. Mighty Finns can also get a more traditional fix of smoked turkey fillet and Christmas loaf. See below for Nokia's festive menu in full.

Staff at the Moscow headquarters of security software company Kaspersky Lab will be dining on hearty fare to mark the New Year, a more important celebration for Russians than the country's Orthodox Christmas. Russian tradition is to have plenty of food on offer at all times, so tables will be laden with starter courses including cheese, sausages, ox tongue and winter salad - a mix of potatoes carrots, eggs, cucumbers, meat, peas and onion with a mayonnaise dressing. This collection of smaller dishes will be followed by a main course of goose with apples and prunes.

Of course Google employees shouldn't feel too hard done by – not only is the food in their canteen free but a company spokesman assured silicon.com that the search behemoth will be offering themed Christmas menus to help staff get into the seasonal spirit.

What will Apple be doing for its UK employees this year? Can workers at its Bond Street offices expect iPod Nano-stuffed crackers and individual Christmas puddings served atop a brand new iPad apiece?

We can but speculate. Declining to divulge details of what, if anything, is on Apple's festive menu, a company spokesman said: "We only PR our products, not people."

Nokia Christmas lunch menu

Nokia's Christmas lunch menu - featuring herring, beetroot and lingonberries
(Image credit: Nokia)

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