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‘Tis the season to visit the markets

Emma Macdonald

So you’ve got the big-ticket food items of hams, turkey, and prawns ordered for Christmas day.

But how do you elevate these dishes to really mark the joyous season?

Perhaps a large jar of goose fat in which to roast your potatoes? Or a gourmet cranberry sauce for the turkey? And what is a Christmas spread without an enormous panettone sitting in the middle of the table?

Yes, Canberra foodies are in overdrive this month as they go the extra mile to make their Christmas feasts extra special.

And Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets has you covered with virtually every bespoke, unusual and Christmas-y ingredient required for a sumptuous festive season. It’s already doing a frenetic trade as organised types prepare for the countdown to 25 December and will be open from Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 December, from 6am to 5.30pm, for the less organised among us who will be shopping and prepping at the last minute.

It’s the one time of year when love for friends and family is expressed through a table laden with dishes, where it is OK to spend an entire day eating, where left-overs will always find a home, and traditional meal choices give way to more adventurous and extravagant options – hence the goose fat.

According to the Deli Planet’s Catherine Worsley there are plenty of easy and fuss-free options that can bring a bit of pizazz to any Christmas spread.

For instance, their handmade fudge is a big seller at this time of year. Did you know it can be matched to your favourite wine and is gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan? Sounds intriguing at any time of year.

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Deli Planet Hampers are a popular Christmas gift.

Their most popular Christmas foods tend to have a dessert focus and include handmade cakes, puddings, and a range of sauces – many of them gluten-free.

To top off your Christmas pudding or dessert don’t miss their festive ice-creams – including plum pudding flavour with brandy soaked sultanas, raisins, currants, glace cherries and toasted almonds, or the brandy custard ice-cream.

Meanwhile, Zlata Novakovic and her husband Milan are gearing up for their busiest time of year, when their roast lamb and pig on a spit are the go-to Christmas options for less competent chefs – or those of us who simply don’t have the time to prep for a massive culinary event but still want to lay out a feast.

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Euro Deli prepares antipasto platters and cooked meats ready to go.

The owners of the Euro Deli are also doing a roaring trade in hams – this year using Barossa pigs.

Zlata said many people were excited to see the deli stock included distinctly European brands and foodstuffs including German biscuits and chocolate.

“Christmas is a time for tradition and people want to eat what they ate as a child, so some people see these things and it brings back their childhood memories.”

This was particularly the case with their large range of home-made European delicacies, including chevapi, pljeskavica, meat patties and gluten free smoked sausages, as well as cured meats.

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Cured meats from Euro Deli.

They were also taking a number of orders for their antipasto platters, which take the stress out of catering for large groups.

The Mart Delicatessen, which has been operating out of Fyshwick Markets for over 40 years, and has forged a reputation for its cheese selection.

Owner Michael Kennedy said cheeses and cured meats made for some of the easiest communal Christmas dishes of all.

“No preparation required, just lay it out on the plate – it looks amazing and tastes great!

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Mart Deli has all your Christmas cheese requirement.

From Australian cheeses such as Woodside, Udder Delights and Pyengana to the French classics Delice De Bourgogne, Epoisses, Clarines and of course, Roquefort, Michael said the deli offered expert cheese guidance to its customers and could advise which varieties would make a perfect platter.

At this time of year, Mart Deli was doing a huge trade it Christmas meats – namely fresh and pre-cooked turkeys and hams.

If starting from scratch with an entire turkey sounds too much like hard work, you can buy one already cooked, deboned and rolled, such as the pistachio and fig rolled turkey.

And if you aspire to Christmas greatness, you can purchase a pre-cooked turducken (a chicken encased in a duck encased in a turkey). Just throw it in the oven to heat it through before you bask in the festive glory.

Michael said the deli was stocked to the brim with meat options so that people could come in in the lead up to Christmas and take their pick.

“We are here to talk to, to offer advice on how to cook and prepare things and to match the best foods and cheeses.”

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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