How sweet it is

to have so many Xmas treats

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

Sweet Envy

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.

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