‘Tis now the season to eat, drink and be merry

December 7, 2023 BY

Cam O'Keefe on where to buy your food for Christmas Day and more.


People like December for many reasons, but my favourite two (and by a long way) are the sunshine, and being able to eat and drink whatever I want.

And no, this isn’t limited to just the last week of the month, but rather its entirety, spent festively celebrating summer, completion of work commitments, and friendships.

Here’s a few things I like to consider though before the end of this month comes around too quickly…

  • Shopping

Christmas Day for many (and me) is about simplicity – seafood, sunshine, champagne, pudding, done. I’d spend a fortune if I could shop for the sunshine, but alas, let’s focus on the rest. Seafood is an easy one, with White Fisheries (Drysdale) catering for anything under the sea your heart desires, from crayfish to clams, sand crabs to scampi, here’s your one-stop shop for great fruit de mer.

Pudding is always a highly contested choice, but Two Tins Patisserie along Pakington Street (Geelong West) has always delivered. Mince pies, fruit tarts, brownie slabs, cheesecakes and more: order ahead, everything is always in high demand around this time of year.

Champagne is a different kettle of fish when it comes to shopping, as you have two basic options available depending on your preference. If big brands, convenience and sharp discounting is your thing, somewhere like Dan Murphy’s always have many of the famous French labels on sale through December, but if you’re like me and love supporting our local liquor merchants, head to Corks Crew Cellars (Torquay) and chat with their staff about what’s new, exciting and drinking great this Christmas.

  • Or should we eat out this Christmas Day?

To cook or not at home this Christmas, that is the question.

Every year I think in depth about this answer around this time. Let’s explore a couple of the best options for those considering the former. Tucked away behind the main drag of Little Malop Street, Mavs Greek Restaurant is offering a 15-course Hellenic feasting menu and welcomes large tables of families, friends, in-laws and out-laws.

While for some waterfront action, Tempo (Novotel’s recent restaurant addition) will feature buffet style seafood towers and classic roasts, with choices for the younger eaters aplenty.

For a real treat this Christmas Day though, La Cachette is also serving a five-course menu for both lunch and dinner. You’ll be given a lovely glass of champagne as you’re seated to kick off a memorable Christmas meal. Fantastic choice made here.

  • Sparkling Shiraz

Yes, you read that right! It’s not a style of wine most of us enjoy often (or, if at all) but if there ever was a time of year to drink this, Christmas is it.

For decades, it was a loved and recognised Australian tradition to crack a bottle of chilled fizzy red with turkey or leg ham at lunch. Perhaps more recently though, this custom may have been looked at as too old fashioned. Not this little black duck! Besides being one of our nation’s most unique vinous products, it screams red Christmas cheer and pairs superbly with many of our standard Christmas meat options.

If you’re curious, try Seppelt’s Original Show Sparkling for its value, or Teusner’s MC Sparkling Shiraz for a more luxury experience.

  • Anything missing?

Perhaps some decent bread to soak up those turkey juices. I recently tried some brilliant artisan ciabatta from a tiny new bakery in Inverleigh, called Grant’s Bakery. This is one of those cheery husband and wife stories following their passion to craft some serious results out of their purpose built backyard baking oven. If you find yourself out their way, call past Sonny Wholefoods, one of their few stockists, to grab some (just past the pub and bakehouse along the town’s main drag). Otherwise check The Produce Corner (Lara) or contact them direct through their insta @grants.bakery. Same goes if you’re a restaurant, café or grocer looking source: this is definitely doughy goodness worth seeking out.

Hopefully some of the above is of use. If not, then get those skates on and start your own planning – it’s now only weeks away until the big day.

So please, let’s all eat, drink and pray for some sunshine this December.

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