If you can't face the thought of prepping a glazed ham adorned with pineapple and faux cherries this Christmas and serving it with a glass of sav, it might be time to trade in tradition and throw your support behind some of New Zealand's food and beverage innovators.
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Noel with novel meat and cheese
Ham, turkey, chicken are all standard Christmas fare but if you're looking for more variety this year – or planning on a meat-free festive meal – why not consider some tasty local alternatives.
The Craft Meat Co has a 100 per cent plant-based No-Meat Mince product which is hard to distinguish from the real deal, thanks to a clever blend of ingredients for taste and texture, including hemp seeds, mushroom and beetroot.
You could also consider making dairy-free cheese a part of your main meal with Angel Food's cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Lasagne is an underrated Christmas option.
If you're sticking with meat but you want something a bit different why not go for a beautifully cured prosciutto or salami? Lumsden-based company Gathered Game offers locally sourced and produced wild venison or you can try A Lady Butcher in Auckland for an array of tasty dried meats.
Or you could just scrap the main meal, head to the beach for a swim and grab your protein on the run with a Hempy Bar .
Cheers to something new
Wine is nice but this could be the year to raise your glass to homegrown innovation and try some new beverages from clever Kiwi companies. There are alcohol and alcohol-free options. And then there's gin.
If you love kombucha but believe balance is the key to life, you could try Happy Booch which tempers kombucha's healthy reputation by introducing alcohol. This vodka-based kombucha is 4.5 per cent and comes in three flavours: raspberry lemon, pineapple mango and lemon ginger.
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Beer lovers can get a little adventurous too by blending their own with an Urbanaut Beer
Blender pack. Take your pick from pairings such as Milkshake Beer & Imperial Stout , Szechuan Klosh & Yuzu Super Sour, or Manuka Smoked Chili Ale & Horopito Kawakawa Gose.
Feel like a grown-up drink without the hangover? Try Ecology and Co's alcohol-free spirits which have all the hallmarks of their alcohol-based counterparts – classy bottles and tasty spice blends – but you can enjoy a few without fear of the next morning.
And if gin is your chosen tipple, you're in luck. You could go for the striking looking
Scapegrace Black , which comes by its rich colour courtesy of natural ingredients such as aronia berry and saffron, or you could enjoy the fruits of the land with The White Sheep Co's Sheep Milk and Honey Gin.
Sweet treats with a side of social conscience
Don't fret about calories this Christmas, just focus on the bigger picture.
If you're looking for treats to eat or gift, consider skipping the big brands and opt for organic, fair trade chocolate from Christchurch's Sweet Justice Chocolate Factory . The factory's products use cooperatively farmed cocoa from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru and golden granulated sugar from Paraguay and are available from Trade Aid.
For bakers and dessert-makers, think about adding some Heilala Vanilla to your custard, cream or Christmas pudding. The company has been around for nearly 15 years and is making a significant contribution to employment and growth in Tonga where the vanilla plantation is based.
For Auckland-based families – or lucky visitors – consider outsourcing the hard work and stop by Little Lato for a deliciously local treat (vegan-friendly flavours available).
• Katy Bluett is Callaghan Innovation's food & beverage group manager, working with more than 400 innovative Kiwi F&B businesses.