Celebrate an Aussie Christmas

 

As the sun sets on yet another perfect summer’s day, the sandstone precinct at the historic Hyde Park Barracks casts a warm glow over the annual Christmas Fare. Walk through the fine entry gates on Macquarie Street to discover a stylish display of stalls, food vendors and a bar, and picnic tables and benches under a canopy of large market umbrellas. This is how we do Christmas markets, Aussie style.

Just like a Christmas stocking, the Christmas Fare is full of surprises and pleasures. The accent is on food from local producers and makers that’s designed for Christmas feasting or for presents. You’ll find everything from Farmer Jo’s Christmas Granola with cranberries and white chocolate to Christmas pudding truffles from Gumnut Chocolates.

This year, we’ve introduced Makers Lane, curated by the Australian Design Centre, featuring 10 stalls and the work of our finest textile artists, ceramicists, and jewellers.

All the stallholders value tradition and the handmade and many use techniques that have been handed down by previous generations, choosing to work using traditional methods that may be painstaking and slow but which offer their own rewards. Take Olsson’s, the family business that harvests Australian sea salt, and Brooklyn Boy Bagels, who choose to boil their bagels rather than bake them as many now do.

The focus on artisanal food is important, but the Barracks at twilight cannot be underestimated, making this one of the city’s most beautiful settings for Christmas shopping. As the day fades, the city’s lights come on overhead twinkling through the trees like stars in the night sky. It’s a beautiful sight.

Around you, a relaxed crowd wanders from stall to stall, filling their shopping baskets, meeting friends after work, stopping for supper and drinking in the atmosphere. When it comes to an icy cold gin and tonic or Summer Hop Ale from celebrated inner-city brewer Young Henry’s, resistance is futile.

Alice Baxter-Lindsay, founder and owner of Baxter & Bird, who serves a delicious ploughman’s plate, loves being part of the Christmas Fare.

“It’s the space,” she says. “It’s right in the city and is so full of history. On this one night, we all come together for a moment and it feels so good. The Fare is when it starts to feel like Christmas for me and it’s a beautiful thing.”

About the Author

Image of Barbara Sweeney
Barbara Sweeney
Food Writer and Talks Host
Barbara writes about food – as a columnist and feature writer for Country Style magazine, writing about her...

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