An Australian Christmas Lunch

To many people around the world, celebrating Christmas in the heat of summer is a foreign concept. I am often asked if Australians partake in the same traditions as those of the Northern hemisphere, slaving over a hot oven, stuffing, cooking and basting a large turkey, carving up legs of ham, tucking into rich food and feasting on steamy hot puddings when outside the kitchen, the mercury is rising to levels more akin to basting on the beach.

In short, we do.

We also like to indulge in a lighter version of Christmas food, a marriage of the best seafood and fresh produce, keeping it simple, festive and elegant.

The first of the family Christmas lunches was an exercise in seafood decadence. The elegant menu was jointly planned, prepared and executed by my young foodie nephew, MasterGabe of the cherry clafoutis fame, and his talented cook of a dad. Clearly in this family, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The first course was an assortment of bouchées and light morsels that seduced the eye and whetted the palate. Toasted sourdough bread rounds were topped with smoked salmon with thinly sliced Spanish onion and capers.

These were accompanied by succulent fig halves adorned with a dollop of fresh goat’s cheese sprinkled with cracked pepper.

Next, segmented avocados with black fish roe caviar were presented, a mouth watering combination of contrasting colours and textures.

We were asked to retire to the lounge room with a glass of Australian bubbly in hand. In the meantime, the aroma of the sea wafted through from the kitchen like an ocean breeze in mid summer. Lobster tails were skilfully cooked on a grill pan to give that slightly charred taste and dressed in a herb butter sauce with chopped parsley and basil.

The delicious main course was accompanied by a vegetable platter of asparagus, green beans, broccolini and roasted pears, humbly dressed in olive oil. Whilst the combination of cooked fruit with vegetables isn’t often to my taste, it worked rather well here.

We were too busy dividing up the home-made chat potatoes, painstakingly scooped with a melon baller, parboiled then oven-baked that I forgot to take a photograph. A small price to pay that scored me a few more crunchy taters.

Throughout the meal, the excitement for the dessert was palpable. When the time came to serve it, amongst much secrecy and fanfare, we were asked to remain seated at the table and keep our eyes closed. We heard the sound of plates being placed in front of us as we kept our end of the bargain. Finally, permission was given for our eyes to feast on the plates below.

Pyramids of white chocolate ice cream over a square bed of Christmas pudding ice cream rose to a peak, accompanied by two squares of fine chocolate. Surprisingly, the white chocolate ice cream wasn’t overly sweet but the base with its richly spiced brandy ice cream packed with rum-soaked fruits and toasted almonds elicited enough ooh and aahs that pushed our hosts to finally revealed the source*. Dessert went down very easily with copious amounts of Pommery Champagne.

After the obligatory flop on the couch which invariably aids digestion, black coffee and tea were served with a piece of heaven on earth. With their rich, moist and alcoholic filling, Adriano Zumbo’s fruit mince tarts had an unparalleled taste. My only gripe was that I would not be able to stop at one.

Merry Christmas to all our readers from us here at Gourmantic.

You might also like: Australian Christmas Cocktail Recipes


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.