National Post

Shelf Life: Introducing five holiday snacks that deserve to be on your guest list this season

November 22, 2013

Bix Bakery Pizzelle Cookies
130g, 3 pack $17.95; available at Ontario fine food stores, to order online

A pizzella is a traditional Italian waffle cookie made of flour, eggs, sugar and butter, and it is related to pizza only via nomenclature (“pizze” means round and flat). They are prepared at Christmas and Easter using a waffle press with a snowflake design. Toronto’s own Bix Bakery makes six flavours, including this lemon variety; handmade, all-natural, gluten-free and purely delectable (box contains nine wafers).

Trafalgar Ales and Meads Trafalgar Mead Gift Pack: Two All-Natural Sparkling Meads & Two Beeswax Candles
2 x 500 ml bottle, $21.95; available at selected LCBO stores;

Get your Middle Ages on — without, perhaps, the beheadings and the pestilence. Mead is as old as the hills, made from fermented honey, water, yeast, malt and/or hops. Oakville-based Trafalgar craft brewer offers two sparkling varieties (8.5% alcohol) in ceramic bottles: Ginger and Braggot. The former is like a cross between a light beer and a cider; the latter is very dry, with an acid tickle. Each is surprisingly lively, and each makes us want to order in Thai food – how many delivery days is that by horseback?

Vinaigrerie Gingras Pixo Pearls with Apple Cider Vinegar
4 sachets of 10 g, $9.00; available at fine food stores, to order online,

Thanks to inspired use of molecular gastronomy, the award-winning vinegar producers Gingras from Rougemont, Quebec, have devised these ingenious, gossamer-light edibles with a payload. The tiny pearls are finished in state-of-the-art alginate and pop in the mouth like caviar, releasing mini-bombs of pure apple cider vinegar.

Tropix Ginger Coconut Drops
1/4 lb, $4.95 in cello bag & 1/2 lb. $9.95 in gift box; available from

Don’t even think about trying to decline these sun-kissed snacks; if generations of Jamaican schoolchildren have been unable to resist their brilliant, time-honoured recipe, then you have no chance. The drops are actually clusters, chewy and glorious and not too sweet. This is not your mother’s coconut — a fresh nut is opened for each batch, plus added all-natural ginger and sugar. From Brampton straight to your pleasure centres.


Compliments Presents: Jamie Oliver’s Old School Holiday Ham
$17.61 per kg; available at Sobey’s Stores & Thrifty Foods in B.C.:

This ham has plenty of old-school charm, and arrives ready to party. The brined, smoked, boneless roast comes complete with a sachet of orange rosemary glaze and, like other Jamie Oliver entrees, is almost diabolically easy to cook and enjoy. It turns out exactly the way JO promises it will: loaded with flavour. There are free-range notes of clove, and the caramelized glaze has a tangy, marmalade-like effect. Serve it hot or cold, on the festive table or in the day-after sandwich. (with Ontario’s own Kozlik’s mustard, of course). Best of all, the ham is Certified Humane Raised and Handled® — carry on, Mr. Oliver.

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