When it comes to Christmas, Australians really do have their own unique way of doing things. Given snow and ice are tools we'll be using to chill our favourite microbrewery craft beer or a bottle of King Valley Pinot Grigio, it makes sense that the foods we prepare are a little more suited to our summer weather.
While we have many similarities with the traditional white Christmas in Europe and America, Christmas south of the equator is unique, particularly in Australia. And while many of our favourite foods mirror those of our northern friends, what would Christmas lunch or dinner in Australia be without pavlova or the quintessential favourite, fresh, locally caught prawns? It’s safe to say that we do things a little differently down under.
So if you had to pick your top 10 favourite Australian Christmas foods, what would they be? We had a think to ourselves about that very same question, so have a read of our list below because some of your favourites are bound to turn up on the dinner table come Christmas Day.
1. Christmas Ham
Everyone's favourite on Christmas Day and loved by many, no matter whether there's snow falling outside or sand coming inside from the beach.
Of course, if it's going to be a hot day, preparing the ham a few days in advance means not slaving over a hot oven. Then again, you may prefer a beautifully warm ham, mouth-wateringly prepared with a maple glaze and seasonal spices - with a bit of cranberry sauce on the side, of course. If you’ve had trouble slicing ham off the bone before, you may want to consider the Stainless Steel Carving Tray with Spikes from Avanti for a slip-free Christmas Day.
With plenty always leftover well into the New Year, the ham is sure to end up at the beach house, spread across crusty bread from that favourite artisan bakery down the coast… I wonder if there’s any more of that cranberry sauce...
Seafood at Christmas is such an Australian 'thing' that we've become synonymous worldwide with it. Even if Paul Hogan said throw another shrimp on the barbie, we Aussies know that we mean business when it comes to prawns.
Quite simply, nothing beats fresh, plump prawns on the festive table spread. From a 70s favourite that has had somewhat of a revival - the prawn cocktail - to platters and big bowls of tiger prawns with an assortment of dipping sauces, they are a must-have for Christmas lunch dinner, and if there’s any left, a late-night snack.
Love them or loathe them, oysters are hugely popular at Christmas, and luckily for us, Australia has some of the finest oysters in the world. From Coffin Bay to Moonlight Flat and Australia's own native, the plump Sydney Rock Oyster. Freshly shucked on a bed of rock salt with a bit of Chardonnay dressing or cocktail sauce, and you're in heaven.
But remember to order early to avoid missing out, and leave the pick-up or delivery until as late as possible to ensure maximum freshness. If you like to get creative with your oysters, check out the 12-piece oyster tray from Pyrolux. While we’re partial to enjoying them fresh, there’s plenty that can be done in this heavy-duty cast iron tray.
4. Potato Bake
Bake or Gratin? Maybe even scalloped? Whatever you call it, you can't go past a baking dish filled with golden scalloped potatoes cooked in cream, butter, (lots of) cheese and even a hint of fresh thyme just to finish it off.
It's a Christmas table favourite and makes a wonderfully decadent alternative to traditional roast potatoes. Our Maxwell & Williams Feast Set of 3 Grey Baking Dishes is perfect for your bake, gratin or scalloped potatoes, with three perfect sizes to choose from.
It’s very European and always popular in the US. It’s also one that kids just love helping prepare, particularly if you're going to build a gingerbread house. Here’s a kit from TKK Confectionary to get you started.
The great thing about gingerbread is that it can be prepared days or weeks before Christmas. That is if the kids don’t start nibbling on it first. To make sure you’ve got enough gingerbread, we’ve got some fantastic gingerbread kits in-store this Christmas. There are gingerbread houses, gingerbread reindeer, hanging decorations made out of gingerbread and even a gingerbread candle! Isn’t gastronomy just incredible?
Without wanting to start a pre-Christmas, cross-Tasman war of words, let's just be done with it and say it's Australia's. After all, the classic meringue dessert has graced Christmas tables across this country for who knows how long. While New Zealand gets to hold the Bledisloe, we’ll take care of the Pav.
And why shouldn't we? With that melt in your mouth, crisp outer shell, airy centre and of course seasonal Australian fruits perched in a whipped cream crowing this festive glory. Especially when it’s sitting atop a Pavlova Platter from Maxwell & Williams. . But before we display our Christmas desserts, we say thank you to Anna Pavlova, for your contribution to the classic Australian Christmas. Now, can I have another serving, please?
7. Christmas Pudding
It's about as traditional as you can get. Harking back to medieval England, no Christmas feast is complete unless there's a heavily fruit-laden Christmas pudding begging to be savoured.
Of course, the trick to the perfect pudding is letting the fruit soak - like really soak - in a quality rum or brandy before creating your masterpiece. If you want to take your pudding one step further, try soaking the fruit in something like a sweet, dark, sticky sherry for a beautifully moist, meltingly rich texture and flavour.
Another fabulous dessert that dates back to our English forefathers, the Trifle, is perfect for an Australian Christmas table. Especially given our oversupply of delicious fruits towards the end of the year, particularly cherries.
However, your trifle must be prepared with love and care to find the right balance between flavour and texture to do it justice. One layer upon another - the sponge, the fruit, the cream, jelly, custard and a healthy shot of sherry or liqueur, and whatever else nana said made for the perfect dessert. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect Made for Minimax Footed Trifle Bowl ready for your nana’s secret recipe.
As Christmas as ham and prawns, the turkey is a central part of the family get together at Christmas.
But like ham, if it's going to be a hot day or you don't want the added stress of trying to cook the perfect bird on Christmas day, pre-cook it and have it cold. Nothing beats slices of plump, chilled turkey breast on a hot day. And if you want to warm it up, some freshly made gravy over the top is the perfect accompaniment for a memorable festive spread. Just remember to have a carving knife sharp enough to get the job done. If not. We’ve got a recommendation from Global for their classic 21cm carving knife. Or, you could go with the Ezy Carve Electric Knife from Breville.
10. Mince Pies
While they might date back to the 13th century, there’s nothing old fashioned about this old favourite, with a slightly more imaginative mix of fillings to those of their British counterparts.
Under its festive little star bonnet, the Australian mince pie contains a lot of fruit and mixed spices and includes citric fruits such as orange and lemon to give the pastries a little more zing. So if you like your mince pies with just a bit more flavour, look for Australian recipes. You and your family won't be disappointed.
Minimax and Christmas
So there you have it, our picks for the top 10 favourite Australian Christmas foods. Did they match up to your selection? What exciting and unique dishes do you serve up for Christmas? Whatever it is that you’re cooking for Christmas Day, Minimax is bound to have the tools to get the job done.
Find top-quality blades that slice through ham and turkey like butter in our Kitchenware section, alongside plates and cutlery for the extended Christmas tabletop. If you’re the Christmas chef, you can’t miss out on our Cookware for a superb range of top-quality pots, pans, dishes and appliances from leading European brands. And if you feel like adding to your Christmas decorations, then Minimax has you covered there too.