How sweet it is
to have so many Xmas treats
Teena Kearney- Wise and Alistair Wise’s much- anticipated recipe book won’t be out until next Christmas. But you can get a taste of some of what will be between the covers this Christmas with a sampling of Sweet Envy’s delicious and colourful seasonal fare.
Along with their fun cookies, chocolate family freckles, truffles, nougats, fudges, macaroons and macarons, shortbreads and a whole heap of new jams and preserves, they get into the English Christmas tradition with their selection of fruit mince tarts, fruit cakes and, the real thing, proper suet puddings.
Norman and Dann
With their promo board saying “a balanced diet is a chocolate in both hands”, they have Belgian and Swiss chocolates galore, even chocolate pizzas topped with figs, berries and merengue.
But, the hottest celebratory seller this year might well be the stunning boxes of Coco Chocolates made in Sydney from 99 per cent organic black chocolate with fillings of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Christmas pudding spice and cranberry, cinnamon and nutmeg, the face of each piece pictorially decorated with handmade cocao butter artwork.
Then, among piles of cookbooks, coffee machines and a wide array of culinary knick- knacks, including an unusually designed but very effective garlic crusher, there is some beautifully decorated Japanese ceramic tableware and, a rarity, Australian- made ceramic cookware that is well designed, as practical and durable as the better- known ones from France, is more reasonably priced and carries a 10- year guarantee.
Bottega Rotolo and the Italian Pantry
Both have a huge selection of that quintessential Italian Christmas treat, panettone, the double- rise, soft- crumbed cake that originated in Milan and, with the Italian diaspora, has become a Christmas must as far afield as the US, South America and now Hobart.
Ranging from simple pan d’oro to elaborately filled and beautifully packaged ones, variously flavoured with chocolate, balsamic cream, figs, marron glace, amaretti and, at the luxury end, pistachio paste and zabaioni. They range in price from $ 11 to $ 69.
Both also have a good selection of panettone’s perfect accompaniment and Italy’s most popular wine, the fruity, light, bright and bubbly Prosecco, the Pantry even serving it by the glass from a 20 litre keg to sip as you make your Christmas selection in a way that has become very fashionable in the wine bars of Rome.
And, on Tuesday of this week, Bottega is holding its Christmas tasting night, spoiling you for choice among their Christmas specials, running from limoncello from the Amalfi Coast through Sienna’s famous pan forte to delicious cheese and Christmas hampers.
Books for Christmas
GREEN PICKLED PEACHES A COLLECTION OF RECIPES AND MEMORIES
Chui Lee Luk; Hardie Grant Books; $ 59.95 Chef for nearly a decade at Sydney’s wonderful Claude’s restaurant, the author evokes the culinary memories of her childhood in Malaysia in this beautifully illustrated collection of recipes.
She explains how the sense of smell, sight, sound, touch and taste should be central guides in the creation, cooking and assembly of every dish.
HOLY FOOL ARTWORKS Michael Leunig; Allen and Unwin; $ 49.99 Nothing all to do with food but everything to do with putting a smile on your face for Christmas.
SIMPLY GOOD FOOD
Neil Perry; Murdoch Books; $ 42.99
A celebrity chef presenting beautiful, ego- free, non- celebrity food. As Perry writes in his introduction, “My hopes are that having simple, produce- driven recipes at your fingertips will inspire you to cook more at home for friends and loved ones”.
Moodily photographed and stylishly produced, the 105 easy- to- follow recipes running from the Mediterranean to Mexico via Asia should provide inspiration and be readily doable for home cooks, whatever their level of experience.
TOM SAMEK 2014 CALENDAR $ 13
His annual collection of whimsical and witty sketches to help you through another year.