We’ve done it – we’ve gotten to December in one piece (kind of). And now we just have to get through the mayhem known as the festive season. We can make it a little easier with events to attend, dinners to eat and gifts to buy. Catch you on the other side.
Try a famous New York pizza without leaving Sydney
Brooklyn’s Roberta’s is bringing its trademark Neapolitan-style pizzas to Firedoor in Surry Hills on Sunday December 9, with head chef and owner Carlo Mirarchi working his “mother” dough starter from 1pm.
Roberta’s pizzas were described by the New Yorker as “chewy and perfectly enticing”. “It comes from a wood-burning oven up front, and features highbrow ingredients (speck and sopressata) and lowbrow names (the Cheesus Christ),” the publication said in 2011.
Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie will be lending a hand at the fire-only restaurant’s final collaborative dinner event of the year. Gelato Messina will be creating a tricolour Neapolitan dessert for the event, too.
Buy Sydney’s best Christmas ham (or fish)
If you need some advice on where to purchase (and pre-order) your December 25 star ingredient, we’ve pulled together this handy list, which features some of the city’s best hams.
You can’t really go wrong with any of these but I’ve placed my order for a Berkshire pork shoulder from Chippendale’s LP’s Quality Meats. It’s boned out and cured in a brine of salt, maple syrup and spices for two weeks, before being rolled into a neat football shape. It’s then dried for a few days and smoked for 10 hours over flaming logs of apple wood sourced from the Blue Mountains.
Alternatively, if you’re putting on a seafood spread, you might want to consider the Fish Butchery’s cobia-tail “hams”. The high-fat fish, chosen for its dense texture and meaty flavour, is pin-boned and scored, then cured, smoked and dried slightly, before a shimmering glaze is brushed over the clove-studded skin. Delicious.
Drink some fizzy natural wine
While What a Fizzer, the festival of all things fizzy – pet-nats (pétillant-naturels), grower champagne, lambrusco, small-batch sparkling wines, cider and wild-ferment beers – is sold out, the organisers have organised a pop-up bottle shop for the day, with a selection of more than 100 bottles of fizz.
The day is all about expanding Sydney's taste horizons and will see more than 40 producers take punters through their terroir-driven drinks made with minimal intervention. It's organised by the purveyors of good times and delicious drinks, Enmore's P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants, Paddington's Unicorn Hotel and Newtown's Mary's, and is at the Unicorn on Saturday December 8.
The bottle shop, which will run 11am to 7pm, will feature the wines of those producers and every bottle is 15 per cent off the usual retail price. When the ticketed What A Fizzer tasting wraps at 5pm, the winemakers and importers are available for chats around the venue too.
From 5pm the team at the Unicorn is also running a not-so-secret 60-strong wine list in the public bar, with bottles culled from the P&V and Mary’s collections. It includes wines from legendary – and often, hard to find – producers such as Frank Cornelissen, Jean-François Ganevat, Saša Radikon Radikon and Josko Gravner – also at reduced prices.
Get your Christmas shopping organised
If you’re looking for a gift that’s bespoke, comes with a story or has been created by a local artisan, hit up the Summer Design Fair at Precinct 75 on Saturday December 8. Along with the hub’s permanent retailers – The Society Inc, Design Twins, Quercus & Co, Burgg, and Kitty Choy Knits, among others – the seasonal St Peters market includes a stall by the Sydney Vegan Market, coffee by Sample and beer by Willie the Boatman.
There’s also the giant Big Design Market at Moore Park’s Royal Hall of Industries from Friday December 7 to Sunday December 9. Punters can scope out more than 250 stalls, with everything from homewares, textiles, fashion, jewellery, ceramics to stationery and tech accessories.
And if you need any produce for Christmas Day, Carriageworks is hosting a festive market on Saturday December 22. As well as the regular stallholders, there will be 20 additional purveyors such as Archie Rose, Seedlip and tinned-goods enthusiasts Continental Deli.
Five new Japanese restaurants to try in Sydney
Ramen made with a top-secret recipe in Redfern (Ra Ra Ramen), a neon-lit diner that transports you to the backstreets of Tokyo (Bang Bang) and a moody izakaya hidden behind a poke bar (Izy Izakaya) – Sydney has scored some seriously great Japanese of late, five of which you should try now.
Included in that list is tonkotsu by a ramen master who gave us what is considered Sydney’s thickest version of the unctuous soup. His Ramen O-San in Dixon House Food Court has pulled a crowd for years, and we’re sure his Tontaro Ramen Honten will do the same. He told Broadsheet that for a food-court stall O-San does great stuff, but it’s not the best he can do. This is.
And then there’s Goryon-San. The famous-in-Japan diner serves Hakata-style kushiyaki – which is meat marinated, skewered and grilled over charcoal. “It's kind of [like] yakitori, but in Hakata it’s not just chicken, you have everything on skewers,” says Goryon-San’s head chef Akihito Marui.
Learn a skill: Cornersmith Christmas workshops
Upskill this month at the very excellent Cornersmith cafe in Marrickville. It’s hosting Christmas workshops that reflect its philosophy of cooking from scratch, seasonal eating, and teaching traditional skills for modern cooks. Learn to make fruit-mince tarts, brioche plaits or puddings with native Australian flavours, as well as how to make preserves and condiments. They run until December 16.