Tips on how to be "the host with the most" this Christmas

TOP TIPS: Leonie Young, owner of The Essential Ingredient at The Junction, has her finger on the "foodie" pulse. Picture: Simone De Peak
TOP TIPS: Leonie Young, owner of The Essential Ingredient at The Junction, has her finger on the "foodie" pulse. Picture: Simone De Peak

Native spices are still on trend but Moroccan influences are in hot pursuit when it comes to Christmas flavours this holiday season.

Edible glitter is on the wish list, too.

Christmas is Leonie Young’s busiest time of year. The owner of The Essential Ingredient at The Junction has her finger on the pulse when it comes to food trends and how you can impress friends and family on Christmas Day.

But first, edible glitter?

“It’s the bomb,” Young told Food & Wine. “It comes in silver and gold and is non-melting so you can use it on pretty much anything. It is incredibly fine so you can use a paintbrush to apply or put into a fine sieve and dust fruit, chocolate, icing, fondant – anything you want to have shine and glitter. 

“You can also add it to icing or fondant if you want to colour it gold or silver.”

Last year’s trend – native Australian ingredients – has carried on into 2017. 

“It is interesting as we are still seeing interest in native spices this year, particularly wattle seed and lemon myrtle, but the Moroccan influence is strong,” Young said.

“We can’t keep up with Ras El Hanout, pomegranate and date molasses and harissa. We are also selling a lot of glace fruits and freeze-dried fruit. 

“I think this has something to do with the increased interest in baking – a trend we have seen on the rise for a few years.”

If you are hosting family or friends this Christmas, Young has this tip to share – do what you’re good at.

“If you are a great baker, bake. Get other people involved and find products that allow you to take shortcuts,” she said. 

“If you are not confident with something, cheat. Less is more so buy better quality and don’t buy as much.  Let’s face it, we tend to over-cater Christmas and by New Year you will want to kill the next person who offers you ham.”

As for grazing tables, which is basically the humble cheese platter on steroids, Young predicts it will be a popular option this Christmas.

“I definitely think it will make its mark. It is a perfect way to cater and is much less formal,” she explained. 

“It isn’t less work though, but the work is mostly pre-done. You can mix and match cold and hot – it just takes preparation and a good plan and lots of serving ware. Use different colours, textures and heights to create a really inviting and interesting display.”

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