Alarmingly, 70 cents of every dollar spent in Australia ends up in the pockets of Coles and Woolworths. We’re under the impression that we need to shop in supermarkets and their affiliate stores for reasons of convenience, variety and price.
The thing is, it’s not true.
We’ve compiled a list of Australians who make incredible products, that deserve a place in your holiday festivities. Many are conveniently available online, none are prohibitively expensive, and there’s something for everyone. Supporting independent producers has never been more important, more affordable or more delicious. From what to give, what to serve and what to serve it on, here’s twelve ways to support local Australian businesses this holiday season.
1. Serve things up
Cracking out the fine porcelain at holiday times can be risky at best (and catastrophic at worst). At the same time, it’s Christmas, so you don’t want to be passing the roast around on paper plates. Sydney couple Nia and Johan’s brainchild, The Assembly, provides the ultimate happy medium; acacia serveware that is as strikingly beautiful as it is robust. Available Australia wide from their swish new online store. Unsurprisingly, they also make for very well received gifts.
2. Stocking Stuffers
Christmas; a time of raging disappointment. There’s nothing like opening a particularly lackluster present and having to scramble for faux excitement. We’ve found the best ways to avoid such awkwardness is giving gifts that can be eaten. Everyone likes food. Or at least, everyone worth being friends with likes food. Our favourite stocking stuffers include The Jam Bandits (Grapefruit and Bourbon Marmalade! Pear and Wasabi Paste! Berry and Lavender Jam!), Maya Sunny Honey (Macadamia Crunch Raw Honey!) and the Orange Blossom Marshmallows and Passionfruit Cordial from local online provisions store The Floury Baker. All lovingly and independently made on Australian soil.
3. Presents For People You Really, Really Like
If you’re looking for a gift a bit more substantial (read: bigger), here’s our top three picks for seasonal hampers. Aforementioned The Assembly has put together a special edition Holiday Box, filled to the brim with goodies from the Jam Bandits, Fog Linen and ChuChu ceramics, for a sweet $70 (worth over $150!) to sort out your gift giving dilemmas once and for all.
The Sydney Hamper Co. has put together a number of (surprise!) fancy hampers, filled with anything from Falcon enamelware to local Sydney goodies from The Westmont Picklery, The Urban Beehive and Lark Hill Wines. Hampers are priced between $185 and $195 and make for an impressive gesture.
4. Entertaining Made Easy
We’ve talked about gifts. You can’t eat flowers. Or socks. Or decorative soaps, for that matter. That’s why Pie Society also encourages a more practical approach to gift-giving; food. This Christmas, they’ve branched out to a whole variety of festive treats that are perfect for both gifting and catering events. Seasonal goodies include Turkey and Cranberry Pies made with shallots, white wine, onion, parsley, orange zest and cranberries as well as traditional handmade mince pies; studded with ginger, cranberries and cherries, enrobed in an all butter pastry. Available in different sized boxes containing from 6 to 40 pies, they’ve got any event covered and will even pop a personalized message on for you.
5. Cookies for Santa
‘We Make ‘Em, You Bake Em’, is The Frozen Dough Co’s motto, which means you get the best of both worlds; beautiful homemade cookies with real high quality ingredients fresh from your oven, and no mess or preparation time. The Bondi company has two delicious Christmas specials on offer this year; Ginger Choc Chunk – a ginger molasses cookie, with fresh ginger and spices studded with chunks of dark chocolate; and a fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Crunch cookie sprinkled with candy cane.
6. With Milk, of course
What is the point of leaving freshly baked cookies out for the big jolly man without something creamy to dunk them in? In true millennial style, we’ve expanded our view on milk to include the non-dairy variety. Our pick? Inside Out Nutritious Goods. Made fresh in Sydney and available in over 200 locations nationwide, Inside Out Almond milk contains a whopping 12% almonds, making it absurdly rich and creamy. Recent flavour additions Spiced Vanilla and Salted Caramel make for the ultimate cookie-pairing treat.
7. Christmas Breakfast
Christmas breakfast needs to tick a few boxes. Firstly, it needs to be simple enough to be prepared amid the frenzy of unwrapping, it also needs to be light enough not to spoil a big lunch ahead, and lastly, it still needs to have an element of decadence. It is Christmas, after all. Brookfarm’s Toasted Macadamia Muesli with Cranberries is our pick; an obscenely delicious blend of eighteen premium ingredients, including macadamias from the Brook’s farm and Australian bush honey. Serve with fresh fruit and yogurt. And if you’re catering for intolerances on Christmas morning, there’s also a gluten free version that rivals the original in popularity.
8. The Roast
The Stock Merchant was born from a passion for free-range, sustainable meat products, whose provenance can be easily traced. Aside from the obvious benefit of supporting your local economy, by sourcing your Christmas meat at a high quality butcher as opposed to a supermarket, you’re guaranteed to not only have a better cut of meat, but you’re also more be able to trace it’s origin and avoid antibiotic-laden factory farmed animals. What’s more, is a local butcher will be able to advise you on the best type of meat to suit your Christmas celebrations based on your budget, family size and time to prepare. We love Canning’s Free Range Butchers in Hawthorn and Kew, Victoria, who make all their own Christmas hams in store. They are home smoked, low nitrate and 100% free range Berkshire or Valenca pork. Their free range turkey comes boneless, whole or as a breast roll seasoned with cranberry and roasted chestnut and is all sourced from Judy Leadoux in Bairnsdale. Their range also includes top-notch Australian seafood including crayfish, prawns, whole salmon and smoked salmon, that is delivered to their door the very morning of your order pick up day.
9. All the Sides
Unless you happen to particularly enjoy braving furious crowds, being violently rammed by shopping trolleys and enduring the piercing shriek of screaming infants; there’s a good you’re already open to the idea of avoiding supermarkets this holiday season. Aside from this blatant hell, when we consider that 70 cents of every dollar spend in Australia ends up in the pockets of Colesworth, all signs point to spreading the love around and shopping independently for your veggies this Christmas. Venture beyond the duopoly and embrace the little guys; your local greengrocers, farmers markets and produce delivery schemes to tuck into the best locally sourced produce. Not only will you be helping make Christmas easier on fellow Australian families and farmers (as opposed to the CEO’s of Coles and Woolies), you’ll also get fresher, better quality goods. If you’re in Sydney, take a gander at Collective Harvest , who deliver spectacularly fresh produce (includng Brickfield’s sourdough, flowers and pasture raised eggs) to your door. Their Green Wonderland Box ($110) is jam packed with enough seasonal goodness to throw together a stellar Christmas feast.
10. The Trimmings
Our Old Fashioned Gravy. Are we above a shameless plug? Not at all. But in all seriousness Christmas day is busy enough as it is. You’ve probably already got your hands full roasting things, diffusing family bickering and pretending to like pointless gifts. Let us take care of the gravy. The perfect accompaniment to Christmas lunch, we slowly reduce our Free Range Chicken Stock down with fresh vegetables and herbs to make our Old Fashioned Gravy. The result is an all-natural gravy, free of all additives with remarkable depth of flavour. Best of all? It’s gluten free, which means everyone can enjoy and you don’t need to worry about making two separate gravies.
For all the other trimmings, Canning’s sell an excellent range of condiments such as cranberry relish, apple sauce and onion jam.
11. The Pudding
The best kind of pudding is a homemade one. And an even better type of pudding as a homemade one that you don’t actually have to make yourself. PUDinc makes all fo their puddings in Sydney to a secret formula adapted from a 60 year old traditional English recipe. The puddings are chock-full or organic dried fruits, French brandy, Coopers “Extra” Stout and contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Choose between a 4 and 10 person pudding, wrapped in your choice of 100% linen tea towels. You can also request specific sized puddings as well as a vegan, gluten free version. They ship nationwide, so again you get to avoid running around the supermarket like a lunatic in search of a million different types of dried fruit. The gift that keeps on giving.
12. Boxing Day treats
Boxing Day in the southern hemisphere typically involves a body of water and a well deserved break. Take a moment to cool down from all the festivities with Sydney made Pat and Stick’s ice cream sandwiches. Our pick of flavours for the summer? Their newly released special edition anniversary sandwich; roasted banana ice cream with swirls of dulce de leche squished between Belgian chocolate fudge cookies.