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The festive season is a period of overindulgence, making it a difficult time for digestive systems and bank balances alike. This year, while revellers across the country are preparing for their office parties, family visits and gatherings with friends, one of London’s most well-known homes in the area has been featured in a fictional event – supposedly opening its doors for an evening of cheese, wine and all night dancing.

A tongue-in-cheek Facebook event named ‘CHRISTMAS RAVE – 10 Downing Street’ has attracted almost 525,000 attendees at the time of writing*. It comes after news hit the headlines of an alleged Christmas party at Downing Street last year – a time when the rest of the country was advised to follow Covid-19 restrictions.

While we all know this year’s party is fake news, and the event states it’s “not real and all just for humour”, it made us think – how many tipples and nibbles would Boris need to order in, if he were to host an event of such huge proportions?

The online invite suggested people should bring their own snacks – but in the spirit of good etiquette, every host should provide at least some basics to ensure each guest is satisfied at a christmas soiree.

So, we filled our virtual shopping baskets in Waitrose to work out the numbers.

What would be on the shopping list?

Based on 525,000 RSVPs, we would need:

252,500 bottles of red wine – the best accompaniment to a festive cheese. With one bottle between two, it should be plenty to start the party, before the BOYOB brandy gets opened.

A further 252,500 bottles of prosecco – enough to offer a glass of fizz on arrival, with more leftover for those who prefer to sip on bubbles all night.

105,000 bottles of Shloer – red berry variety. For the designated drivers.

509,250 cheeseboard selection boxes – buying a pack of three for each non-vegan guest, including the classic cheddar, stilton and brie, we might have overcompensated. But hey, it’s christmas.

15,750 vegan cheeseboard selection boxes – to ensure the 3% of the nation that are vegan can also join in the fun.

131,250 packs of crackers – sharing a portion of water crackers between four friends will soak up the wine and cheese perfectly.

131,250 baguettes – a party classic, of the stonebaked variety.

87,500 packs of sausage rolls – with six porky treats in each package, it’s just enough to offer a savoury alternative.

131,250 packs of celery – not quite a whole crudite platter, but a chance to cleanse the palette.

131,250 boxes of After Eights – it’s not the first choice dessert for every guest, but people are bound to be upset if they’re not there.

How much would the fictional Downing Street party cost?

Altogether, it would cost over £7 million to cater for this party. £7,326,255 in fact.

£4,526,225 of that would be spent on the drinks, with £2,525,000 alone going towards the red wine – but Waitrose has a great offer on, at £10 a bottle, making things easier to swallow.

For the cheese and crackers, including the vegan boxes, it would cost £1,942,500, while the other savoury snacks accumulate to £463,570. A whopping £175,000 of that would be spent on sausage rolls, with an extra £393,750 to cover the obligatory After Eights.

ItemPrice per unitGuests consumingCostNotes
Red wine£10.00252,500£2,525,000This is based on half of guests having wine and half prosecco.
Prosecco£6.99252,500£1,764,975This is based on half of guests having wine and half prosecco.
Shloer£2.25105,000£236,250Based on a fifth of guests driving and opting for a non-alcoholic alternative throughout the evening.
Three piece cheeseboard selection£3.50509,250£1,782,375Based on 97% of guests (non-vegans) opting to get involved in the cheese selection.
Vegan cheese£6.0015,750£94,500Based on the remaining 3% of guests being vegan.
Crackers£0.50131,250£65,625Based on sharing one pack between four guests.
Baguette£1.50131,250£196,875Based on sharing one pack between four guests.
Sausage rolls£2.0087,500£175,000Based on sharing one pack between six guests.
Celery£0.70131,250£91,875Based on sharing one pack between four guests.
After Eights£3.00131,250£393,750Based on sharing one pack between four guests.

More than just a hangover

A spokesperson at food intolerance test provider YorkTest, said, “This is obviously a fun fictional event created as a reaction to a serious ongoing news story. Even so, many people across the UK are likely to be enjoying lots of festive food and drink in the coming weeks, but perhaps in smaller coronavirus-conscious gatherings.

“Unfortunately, these rich foods can often cause digestive discomfort. Beyond an upset stomach, everything from skin irritation to brain fog can be the result of food intolerances. Things like dairy and gluten are commonly known allergens, but almost any ingredient can cause you to experience these adverse effects – you might be surprised about what does and doesn’t work for your body.

“Ultimately, the best way to avoid needing to reach for the medicine cabinet is to understand yourself before pouring another glass, taking another bite, or blowing your Christmas budget on your problem foods. Taking a YorkTest food intolerance test, which comes with a 30-minute nutritional therapist consultation, is an ideal way to start your nutrition and wellbeing journey.”

How did we work this all out?

All calculations were made on the basis of 500,000 guests attending the party. Costs were gathered from www.waitrose.com, and multiplied according to a representative portion of guests that might be consuming each item.

Items that were used as a base for this research were as follows:

Red wine: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/shop/featured/groceries/beer-wine-spirits/wine/fine-wines

Prosecco: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/waitrose-nv-glera-italian-prosecco/718427-224720-224721

Shloer: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/shloer-sparkling-drink-red-grape/018691-9029-9030

Cheeseboard: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/waitrose-3-cheese-selection/587383-743811-743811

Vegan cheese: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/ilchester-vegan-festive-selection/726791-743916-743916

Crackers: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/essential-cream-crackers/002124-580-581

Baguette: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/stonebaked-baguette/714403-382108-382109

Sausage rolls: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/essential-6-sausage-rolls/611777-525690-525691

Celery: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/essential-green-celery/086445-44146-44147

After Eights: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/nestle-after-eight-dark-chocolate-thins/009734-4817-4818

*Based on attendance figures according to the ‘CHRISTMAS RAVE – 10 Downing Street’ Facebook page on Monday 13 December.


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