Let the world get misty-eyed at the thought of a white Christmas – Ruth Roxburgh reckons a summer festive season is where it’s at.
“How lucky are we that this special time, where so many of us get to gather with family and friends, falls on a time of year that’s so fantastic in so many ways?” the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets co-owner says.
“At the end of the day, Christmas is just one day and possibly a day that gets too much pressure. This period is about entertaining, being on holiday, having the time to shop and make amazing meals for the people we love.
“Here in Australia, that happens at the best time of year for fresh produce. Our continent isn’t frozen. If you want a turkey and roast potatoes, you can, but you can equally enjoy prawns, sashimi, locally grown sweet stone fruits, cherries, lychees, mangoes – just about anything we could want.”
While Ruth says Christmas has its own “in-built excitement”, the markets always find ways to lean into the festive cheer – and this year, they’re kicking things up a notch.
“The Fyshwick Markets is a really special place at Christmas. You have generations of Canberrans, some of whom shop there every week and others who come special to get their turkey, fruit and seafood at Christmas time,” she says.
“The Christmas meal is one of the most memorable parts of Christmas. It’s not necessarily about spending money and material possessions; it’s about sharing a meal with your loved ones. Christmas really is about those kind of traditions.
“We’ve found a few individuals and local businesses to partner with and create even more fun around this time.”
Already kicked off and running until Sunday, 24 December, from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, Book Lovers Lane at the Niche Markets is offering a gift-wrapping service supporting Lifeline Canberra.
Nearby, on Sunday, 17 December, from 11 am to 2 pm, there will be a free Christmas Wreaths workshop for kids. Using baubles, flowers, ribbons and sparkles in traditional and soft pastels, kids will have a blast winding pretty flowers and greenery through a wreath base before decorating with their favourite lollies and coloured baubles.
And on Saturday, 16 December, and Sunday, 17 December, from 3 pm to 4 pm, Phillip Jones (AKA the Martini Whisperer) will be running a yuletide cocktail masterclass.
The intimate ticketed event is billed as an informal, fun and engaging masterclass using Phillip’s personal collection of craft spirits.
“Needless to say, I get the good stuff from all around the world,” he says.
Participants will enjoy a flight of three spirits, hear the backstories behind the labels and get pro tips on creating easy but delicious festive cocktails and mocktails.
“We have fantastic bars and talented mixologists who do amazing work in Canberra. This masterclass will focus more on cocktail recipes that are approachable for anyone to make at home,” he says.
“Bearing in mind the festive season in Australia is a hot time of year, you want something not too boozy so people stay healthy and feel good. We’ll be looking at lovely refreshing flavours that are easy to compose, using techniques and equipment that are accessible for people.”
While on the other side of the world, mulled wine, eggnog and warming spiced infusions dominate the beverage scene at this time of the year, Phillip will be handing down his wisdom on how to select ingredients for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that’ll elevate any occasion in a country spoiled for choice that celebrates the festive season under the sunshine.
“There are over 620 gin distilleries in Australia, each making a range of flavoured and seasonal gins. There’s lots to choose from,” he says.
“In terms of mocktails, I take my cues from what’s in season, and there are some lovely non-alcoholic cordials you can make infusions and refreshing spritzers with.
“We’ll be learning that a good cocktail – or mocktail – is greater than the sum of its parts.”
The Martini Whisperer Workshop costs $10 – limited tickets for Saturday, 16 December, and Sunday, 17 December, are available online. The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are located at 36 Mildura Street, Fyshwick, and are open Thursday to Sunday from 7 am to 5:30 pm.
Original Article published by Dione David on Riotact.