Mudgee Corner Store

Tis (not quite) the Season

Tis (not quite) the Season

It’s August and my fingers are freezing as I type this, yet in front of me I have order forms for Christmas stock, order now or miss out is the message! It hardly seems reasonable; I only just found places for all the loot an over zealous Santa Clause reined down on my children last Christmas.

Christmas cards, puddings, cakes, gifts, calendars, gourmet delicacies, hamper boxes, hams…so much to go through so much to consider, so much to predict. What will my customers want in four months time? That is the name of game though, careful prediction. As with pretty much anything in life, gather the information you can, analyse, discuss and then throw a rock into the wind and see which way it blows. I think we will stick with the approach that’s working for us now. High quality. Ethical. Australian. Sustainable. Family owned businesses. And a whole heap of delicious.

Making Christmas cakes is always a bit of fun. Or hair-pulling-out-horror if you don’t actually like baking. For the most part, I enjoy it. This year I’m grabbing a very old family recipe and making Christmas cakes for the silly season. Right now the vine fruits, cherries, candied rind and figs are soaking in dark rum. Later on there will be real butter, pastured eggs, flour, sugar and spice added. Some almonds. More rum. Then they’ll be available in store come November, it’s small batch so hopefully there will be enough to go around.

Christmas cake fruit basking in the dark rum
Christmas cake fruit basking in the dark rum

As for plum pudding, the best part of Christmas lunch, I’m selecting puddings from Pudding lane. An artisan pudding making business, family owned and all from real ingredients including Free Range eggs. There are countless options! Apart from stocking the traditional round puddings, do I go for something a little more fancy? Chocolate Rum and Raisin, Choc Orange, macadamia and Brandy. What about Date and Toffee? What’s so lovely about Pudding Lane is they make puddings in a log shape, making beautiful gifts and excessively easy to divide and serve. Personally I think I’ll go with Triple Chocolate – even the kids might like that one!

Once I’ve got the cakes and orders under control, it’s Christmas shopping for my own family and friends. I think I’ll be giving hampers from store wherever I can, when you slip in some Spencers Cocoa and Hello Lovelies Cordial, no one is left unhappy! It’s the kids shopping that’s tricky. I love buying my kids stuff they’ll get a real kick out of and yet I really feel uncomfortable with the overload of plastics and throw away items the retail chains throw our way – stocking stuffers are the worst! I’m going lean this year, a couple of solid gifts they’ll love and a smaller Santa Sack. Better quality. Less of it. Then we’ll make the most of the precious couple of days away from the store to enjoy the family time, the gifts, Mudgee wines, the food and, although it seems a life time away now, the heat of summer.

Anne 

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