Still scratching your head over Christmas presents? The Good Food team have come up with a gift (guide) that keeps on giving.
Autumn in Piemonte
Sydney-based food stylist to the stars (Jamie Oliver, Matt Moran, Heston Blumenthal) Nicola Sinclair fell in love with Piemonte in north-western Italy while researching the region for a foodieTV series. Now she's putting her contacts to work with a small-group, "slow food" gastronomic tour of the region, slated for September 17, 2020. "We will cook traditional dishes, taste local cheeses, hunt for truffles, explore the art and culture, and stay in a fabulous palazzo," she says. JD
$3500pp for 3 days, 4 nights, including accommodation, all meals and guided explorations, nicolasinclairstylist.com
Cornersmith pickling intensive workshop
So you want to learn to pickle but don't know where to start? The pickling legends behind Cornersmith will remove all your fears. They show you why there's no need for fancy equipment but just clean jars, clean hands and a can-do attitude. You'll learn to pickle fruit and vegetables and the difference between the rainbow of fruit flavours when it comes to pickling liqueurs. At the end, there's wine and cheese. MR
Bittersweet types live for the next exciting vermouth to come along. Ta-da!! Contratto is an historic Italian brand that has been reinvigorated for the new age of aperitifs, either as Bitter, Aperitivo, and Rosso or Bianco vermouth. Infused with more than 30 organic herbs, spices, roots and seeds, then fortified with Italian brandy, this vermouth is intense and complex over ice or celebratory with a dash of bubbles. JD
$47, Annandale Cellars, 91 Booth Street, Annandale, NSW and Magnum & Queens, South Melbourne, Vic, magnumandqueenswine.com
I always buy myself a box of cherries as a Christmas treat, and a couple more for the family, which I eat as well. Everyone loves cherries, from kids to oldies. They're just so rich, red and Christmassy, like edible baubles. In fact, I think I'll forget the baubles and hang cherries on the tree this year. JD
$70 ($1.8kg) from Parisi Sydney, parisisydney.com
$30 (1kg) from Pino's Fine Produce, prahranmarket.com.au
Project B Mead
Sweet Christmas, this Sparrow and Vine mead is a beautiful drop. Made with raw honey sourced from Sydney bees, each bottling has slightly different floral notes, depending on the provenance of its pollen and nectars. There's nothing I would rather drink more with crema catalana, and the natural mead's fresh acidity lends itself to a long seafood lunch. CB
The whole fish
Why should you dry-age fish? Why do you need a fish weight when you pan-fry? Are fish scales edible? The answer to these and many more questions you don't even know to ask are in this game-changing fish cookbook from Saint Peter's Josh Niland. If you love catching or cooking fish, don't let this be the one that got away. TD
$55 from good book-sellers and hardiegrant.com.au
Fly-in, fly-out crayfish lunch on Flinders Island
Crayfish season has begun, and until April, Flinders Wharf on the turquoise water-ringed Flinders Island is giving punters unprecedented access to its southern rock lobsters. The restaurant and provedore has partnered with local fishers to sell crustaceans from their tanks to visitors. If you've got (serious) cash, they will arrange a premium fly-in, fly-out package that includes private charters from Melbourne or Launceston, where you can catch your own, take a joy flight and finish with a lobster feast with Tasmanian gins and wines. GC
The fly-in experience costs from $1000pp (min. six), while a Flinders Island cray is $150 per kilo, theflinderswharf.com.au
The days of buying sparkling bottled water have fizzled and gone. But it could not be easier to make your own. This beautiful sparkling water maker carbonates with one push of a lever. It's compatible with 60L CO2 cylinders of major brands and is benchtop-worthy (especially in brass and copper) in even the slickest kitchens. AB
This is stunning cutlery, made in Melbourne, designed with input from a restaurateur, in brushed gold and matte black and silver. Give your drawers full of mismatched cutlery the fork, and put this on your Santa list.
Cannot leave the desk frequently enough for a coffee hit? Install this. Crema in seconds from a light prod of the pod machine's panel. Keep your cafe queuing to a minimum.