The Hot List: Hokkaido cheese tarts, bacon plates, festive beers and naughty Christmas cookies

A fun gift for pork lovers: Nani Puspasari's ceramic bacon plates.
A fun gift for pork lovers: Nani Puspasari's ceramic bacon plates. Photo: Supplied


Growing up in Indonesia, Nani Puspasari had never heard of bacon before she moved to Australia eight years ago. But it didn't take her long to fall in love with the stuff. A self-confessed "bacon addict", she not only eats it whenever she can but creates ceramic tributes as well. Our favourite are her bacon plates – the kind of present you end up keeping when Christmas shopping. Nani suggests serving bacon and eggs on the bacon plates every morning to feel "a double rainbow of happiness".


Forget minced pies, this Christmas we're switching to Hokkaido cheese tarts. Already big in Asia, they're baked fresh each day to a Japanese recipe using three secret cheeses. The velvety filling balances sweet and savoury the same way cream cheesed-based desserts do – worth trying at $3.80 each. The Melbourne Central store is already open, with QV opening this week and three more stores (Chadstone and Box Hill in Melbourne, World Square in Sydney) launching before the end of the year. Follow @hokkaidoau for updates.
Big in Japan: Hokkaido cheese tarts balance sweet and savoury.

Big in Japan: Hokkaido cheese tarts balance sweet and savoury. Photo: Supplied


In a stroke of hoppy genius, 4 Pines Brewing has released The Before, During & After Christmas Beer Pack for a true Aussie celebration. It includes four 500-millilitre bottles of beer packaged up in a jolly box. There's a crisp Kolsch, a Christmas Saison with hints of Christmas pudding spices, their Pale Ale and a West Coast Red Rye – one of the most popular Keller Door small batch beer releases of 2016. At RRP $29.99, it makes a great gift for the thirsty.


Until last week, we'd never met a vegetable spiralizer we liked. But Kenwood has released the first electric model available at Aussie retailers. It's easy to make "zoodles" (zucchini noodles) and "sweet patoodles" (that's sweet potato noodles, not a designer dog) and even easier to clean. It comes with four blades that churn out pappardelle, linguine, tagliatelle or spaghetti-shaped vegetables into a 0.5L bowl. Good for gluten-free diets, great for healthy New Year's resolutions.


Gelato Messina is poking a candy cane at Mike Baird this year with their "Lock Out Claus" Christmas cake. Available to order at (pick up from Melbourne and Sydney stores), it's a spherical, salted caramel gelato Santa wedged in a chimney and accompanied by a bottle of vanilla brandy custard. Sydney's Cow and the Moon also has six gelato Chrissy cakes ranging from traditional Christmas pudding to festive logs, while Pidapipo in Melbourne has introduced three new gelato flavours for December, including Christmas pudding with chocolate chip, eggnog with fried panettone and ginger gelato with gingerbread (available in store or via UberEats).

Pidapipo gelato has gone all out with it's new festive flavours.

Pidapipo gelato has gone all out with it's new festive flavours. Photo: Max Kruse

We're obsessed with… WATERMELON KEG TAP

In this week's addition of kitchen novelties we want but don't need, this Winex tap attachment shoves into a hollowed-out watermelon and turns it into a keg. Fill a hollow watermelon with your punch or summer cocktail of choice (try fresh mint, soda, vodka and watermelon juice), then attach the shank and faucet. The kit also comes with a coring tool and faucet handle. Get them from kitchen and homeware retailers, or online at, in time to entertain at Christmas or to stuff some stockings.


The original quote cookies have stepped it up in time for Christmas, offering two gift boxes depending on whether the recipient has been naughty or nice. Naughty cookies are stamped with phrases like, "SLAY LIKE SANTA" and "I'VE BEEN BAD", while the nice cookies wish eaters a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and instruct you to "TREAT YO ELF". Packs of six are available online for $29.95 plus shipping (Australia wide), or contact Emma at for where to buy them loose.

Quite quotable: Try some Sweet Mickie cookies this Christmas.

Quite quotable: Try some Sweet Mickie cookies this Christmas. Photo: Supplied


We're reading… KNIVES & INK

We've found the ultimate picture story cookbook. Knives & Ink by BuzzFeed books editor Isaac Fitzgerald and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton tells the tales behind the tattoos of 65 chefs from all over the world, alongside some of their signature recipes. Whether it's Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food remembering his mother with angel wings on his forearms or Dominique Crenn (two Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn) reminding herself to do "anything in life that you put your heart into" – ink always has a story.