Food lovers are easy people to buy Christmas presents for. If they find a bottle of special wine under the tree, or a handcrafted plate wrapped cleverly in a tea towel, or even just a cookbook they've been after, they are happy.
Foodie people are usually happy anyway, well aware of the idea that food brings people together. And while Christmas gatherings can sometimes be fraught with danger - how are you uncle Gordon? - if there's something we should all take from 2020 is that we need to forget all of that and be grateful for every meal together.
May this Christmas be a special one for all our readers. Just pass this story on to friends and family and drop a few hints. Or treat them to some treats of their own.
A very Pilot Christmas
If you've been coveting the wine decanters at Pilot Restaurant in Ainslie here's your opportunity to grab one. Made by acclaimed glass artist Scott Chaseling at the Canberra Glassworks, in collaboration with Pilot co-owner Dash Rumble, the decanters are now available for sale just in time for Christmas.
The organic shapes are surprisingly light, and easy to pour, each holds a bottle of wine. We think they'd work well as vases too.
In a year where restaurants have looked for ways to diversify, Rumble says they came up with a few ideas that went down well with regular clients. They had Pilot candles made just to use in their toilet but people loved them so much they made more to sell. A collaboration with Song of Oya, a Canberra-based company run by designer Bec Cuzzillo, the candles are a mix of vanilla and sandal wood.
There is also a reed diffuser available, with lemon myrtle, pine and sea salt aromas, made in collaboration with local company Lucian Candles.
As well there are two blends of tea, made by Tea Garden & Co: a winter and summer blend.
Even the dinner plates are for sale, made by local ceramicist Georgie Bryant from Linburn Homemade.
Last year Pilot created an exclusive Christmas menu for The Canberra Times. You can find it here.
Treats to eat
Pialligo Market Grocer: Xmas on the table hamper contains smokehouse double smoked lean ham, smokehouse free range smoked turkey breast, ham glaze, traditional pudding, brandy and white chocolate sauce and cranberry with a splash of muscat sauce. $129. pialligomarketgrocer.com.au
Three Mills Bakery: Christmas hamper available in sweet or savoury. Each hamper also contains a tote bag and a sourdough voucher. $75. threemillsbakery.com.au
Jasper + Myrtle chocolate: Christmas pack contains three bars of beautiful dark chocolate, full of delicate and seasonal flavours, all wrapped in a specially designed box. Flavours include dark spiced rum, ginger and coconut and brandy and orange. $20 . jasperandmyrtle.com.au
Gewurzhaus: Epicurean mini tin set: black truffle salt, vintage merlot salt and shichimi togarashi. $35. gewurzhaus.com.au
Nick O'Leary rose: One more bottle for 2020 won't hurt anyone. Dry and fresh with aromas of strawberry and cherry, a delightful seasonal drink suitable for any occasion. $20. nickolearywines.com.au
Saintly Hard Seltzers: These naturally-flavoured alcoholic sparkling waters are low cal, no carb and no sugar options in a variety of flavours. Less guilt, we like it. $19.99 for 4 x 250ml. saintlyhardseltzer.com
Lark Hill Roxanne pet nat: Looking for an unusual sparkling for Christmas lunch. Find this little bottle of bubbles in the Petillant Naturel style. Dry, crisp and refreshing. $30. larkhill.wine
Canberra Distillery: The Gin Cube is the perfect gift, with four 200ml bottles of the most popular gins: Signature Gin, Blood Orange and Gin, French Earl Grey Gin and Sloe Gin. $100 thecanberradistillery.com.au
Kids in the kitchen
Ikea: A dream come true for small chefs, the Duktig kitchen inspires kids to cook, bake and wash up, just like the master chefs on TV. $129. ikea.com
Hill St Kids: this baking kit includes themed cupcake cases and cupcake toppers, a mini whisk and colouring in scene, along with creative ways to reuse packaging. Made for little bakers with big imaginations. $39.99. hillst.co
Melissa and Doug: This 24-piece wooden sushi set includes sliceable sushi rolls, prawns, tuna, easy-use chopsticks, a cleaver and more. Sushi rolls make realistic chopping sounds when sliced. $49. target.com.au
The Little Cook: This apron and double oven mitt set is made specifically for little people. Both fun and functional and available in a selection of patterns. $26.95. thelittlecook.com.au
Home sweet home
Bev Hogg: These unique ceramic takeaway cups are made by local Canberra artist Bev Hogg. They are perfect for your morning cuppa and save the environment. Win! Win! $44. craftact.org.au
Alison Jackson: Stainless steel Big Spoons from local artist Alison Jackson's come in a set of two. Very versatile too, use them two ways depending which side you choose. $165. craftact.org.au
Jeremy Brown: Each wooden serving boards from artist Jeremy Brown is unique and features a clean, minimal aesthetic. Handmade in Canberra, from Tasmanian Oak and Blackwood. Available in small ($120) and large ($160). craftact.org.au
Bison: It wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't treat myself to a piece from Brian Tunks. I think this melon coloured Cucina platter would look wonderful on the Christmas table. $142 bisonhome.com
Cooking the books
Cook, Eat, Repeat: a delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella Lawson's engaging and insightful prose. You'll cook from it, you'll just enjoy reading it. $49.99. penguin.com.au
Australian Food: In the 20 years since Bill Granger published his first book of recipes, Sydney Food, the world has fallen in love with the joyfully casual Australian way of eating. Now you can too. $49.99. murdochbooks.com.au
Use it All: The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen: Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards have put together this practical handbook, an invitation to reduce food waste while eating generously. My favourite book of the year. $39.99. murdochbooks.com.au
In Praise of Veg: A modern kitchen companion: Alice Zaslavsky's comprehensive and fully illustrated kitchen companion, profiles 50 favourite vegetable varieties, offering 150+ recipes reflective of both tradition and modernity. $59.99. murdochbooks.com.au.
Budgy Smuggler: You'll be hoping there'll be no smashed avo if you're wearing these swimmers. Available in mens and womens. From $50. budgysmuggler.com.au
The Sockery: Great range of tasty socks at this site. From beer and burgers to these taco socks perfect to wear on taco Tuesday. $23.50. thesockery.com.au
Peter Alexander: There's a whole range of Vegemite sleepwear, for men, women and children, but we love these cute slides. $49.95. peteralexander.com.au
Threadheads: End of argument. Pizza and pineapple belong together. We love this t-shirt available in men's and women's sizes. $34.99. threadheads.com.au
Don't forget about COVID
Nat's What I Reckon: A lockdown favourite who became the champion of iso cooking with his no-bullshit filter. Here's his recipe for life. $32.99. penguin.com.au
Game night: Here's one foodies will love. Foodie Fight Revised is a trivia game, with more than 1000 questions to challenge your culinary expertise. $33.95 booktopia.com.au
Baking bread: were you one of the three people world-wide who didn't get into baking their own bread during lockdown. Never too late to start with this starter kit. $69. amazon.com.au
Waste not: We all started paying more attention to our footprint. Anita Vandyke's A Zero Waste Family is full of tips and tricks to reduce it even further. $19.99. penguin.com.au