Melbourne’s Best Festive Foods (and an Apple Pie Gin) to Order for Christmas

Originally published on Broadsheet.

There’s Cannoleria’s GIY (garnish-it-yourself) panettones; a four-tiered cheese tower; Piccolina’s gelato-filled or Four Pillars’ gin-spiked Christmas puddings; a next-level chook with black truffles; Mörk’s decadent, chocolatey take on the mince pie; and more.

‘Tis the season to stuff your face. And with Christmas Day fast approaching, save yourself a bit of time in the kitchen by ordering some of Melbourne’s best festive foods in advance. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best options in town, plus a spiced apple pie gin.

Mörk’s Christmas pies, $26 for a sixpack

Mince pies can be divisive. So North Melbourne’s Mörk does them a little differently – and little more decadently. Encased in handmade cocoa shortcrust pastry is a mix of sour cherries, golden sultanas, currants and prunes spiced with organic Ceylon (aka real-deal) cinnamon. Plus, chunks of Venezuelan chocolate and candied orange peel. Order by December 24 for North Melbourne pick-up.

Cannoleria’s GIY (garnish it yourself) panettones, $55

Cannoleria, the cannoli-centric offshoot of Thomastown cheese factory and shop That’s Amore, is letting your garnish your own ricotta-filled panettone (traditional Italian Christmas cake) this festive season. There are three flavours to choose from: strawberry and honey-ricotta, pistachio and lemon-ricotta, and peanut butter and hazelnut. Each comes with its own drizzling sauce and crunchy toppings – so you can add as little or as much as you like. Order by December 18 for pick-up or delivery.

Cookes Food’s Christmas grazing boxes, from $120

Don’t feel like spending half of Christmas Day in the kitchen? Topnotch Melbourne events caterer Cookes Food has two jam-packed grazing boxes to choose from. One includes tarts (with leg ham, aged cheddar, ricotta, lemon and onion marmalade), champagne-poached prawns, and vanilla panna cotta with fresh berries and finger lime. The other – a more substantial option – has roasted turkey breast with parsley sauce and pickles; heirloom tomatoes with burrata, basil oil and toasted-pine-nut crumble; and a herby sauteed potato salad. Order by 12pm on December 15 for pick-up or delivery.

Piccolina’s Budino di Natale, $90

Of course Piccolina’s Christmas pudding takes an inventive, gelato-filled approach. It’s a mash-up of torrone (Italian nougat) and “Better Than Nutella” gelato; caramel cream; chocolate sponge; and crisp layers of 70 per cent dark chocolate and hazelnuts. Plus, a hefty drizzle of caramel sauce on top. This centrepiece-worthy creation will serve 12 to 14 people. Order now for pick-up at Piccolina’s Collingwood, Hawthorn or St Kilda locations.

Ripe’s four-tiered cheese tower, $170

It’s stacks on at one of Queen Victoria Market’s favourite fromageries this Christmas. Championing Victorian producers, this cheesy tower (that looks like a literal cheesecake) is grounded by a 1.1-kilo wheel of cloth-aged cheddar. Then comes a triple-cream cheese, and a fresh and (comparatively) light buffalo cheese. It’s crowned with what Ripe claims is “the best goat’s cheese in the country” from Holy Goat Cheese in Sutton Grange. Order now for CBD pick-up or delivery before Christmas.

Raya’s holiday box, $149

Malaysian-inspired CBD bakery Raya, by Insta-famous baker Raymond Tan, has teamed up with Yarra Valley Cherries and new bottled-cocktail company Numero IX for this holiday box. It includes one of Raya’s cherry pies, three Christmas-themed spiced chocolate cake pops, and 500 grams of glossy cherries. Plus, a limited-edition festive-season cocktail and another one of your choice. Order now for CBD pick-up or delivery.

Burn City Smokers’ A Very Burn City Christmas Feast, $180 for five people or $350 for 10 people

The Southern-style barbeque specialists at Burn City Smokers are doing meaty, ready-to-eat hampers this Christmas. Start with a Batch & Co wine spritzer, then dive into it. There’s turkey breast marinated in a secret brine for 24 hours, then smoked with a juniper and native pepper berry rub; 14-hour smoky beef brisket to go with a just-as-smoky plum sauce; salads and buttery potatoes on the side; and pecan pies to finish. Order by December 18 for delivery to most Melbourne suburbs.

Ishizuka’s chicken with black truffles, $98

Japanese fine diner Ishizuka doesn’t do things by halves, and this year it’s offering what might just be the most extravagant chook to ever grace your Christmas table. Two words: black truffles. A whole organic bird is sous vide with teriyaki sauce, rosemary and garlic. It comes with roast and confit seasonal vegetables, Ishizuka’s house-made barbeque sauce and – for an extra $60 – a bunch of fresh flowers. Order now for CBD pick-up.

Brunetti’s DIY cannoli packs, $25

There are few things less festive than soggy cannoli. And the best way to avoid that is to pipe them fresh yourself. This year, longstanding Italian cafe Brunetti has joined forces with online retailer iPantry to deliver its popular cannoli in DIY form. Each pack comes with 12 cannoli shells and your choice of the shop’s signature chocolate or Sicilian-style ricotta filling (with candied orange, cinnamon and honey). Order by 2pm for next-day delivery Monday to Saturday.

Four Pillars’ Christmas gin pudding, $25

Healesville distillery Four Pillars releases a limited-edition Christmas gin every year. It’s got spice, fruit and juniper, and it’s the star ingredient in this traditional fruit pudding, along with gin-steamed oranges left over from the distilling process. Order by December 9 for delivery before Christmas.

The Craft & Co’s apple pie gin, $65

Last year, Collingwood distillery The Craft & Co came out with a much-loved gingerbread gin (which is still available). But there’s a new contender on the shelf this year: an apple pie gin, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Sure, you can sip it neat or with soda, but it’s more versatile than that; put a glug of it in Christmas cakes, or even use it as a glaze on roast pork. Order online for delivery or pick up at the Collingwood distillery.

Image: courtesy of Cannoleria.

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