Soul nourishing food, culture and community. Live each day like a holiday.
Published November 30th 2015
10 special places to organise yourself for Christmas
For the hamper and more...
La Brioche - The patisserie of exquisite French cakes and more. 188 Bayswater rd, Croydon South, ph: 03 9723 4815
Monique and Louis and their La Brioche are an icon in Croydon South. Each year they receive monumental orders from their customers for their Bûche de Noël. You'll also find the traditional Dutch Christmas Cake, German Stollen and English Fruit Cake. They make shortbread, a variety of Christmas biscuits, gingerbread as well as petit fours and cakes. All day and especially during lunchtime there is a steady stream of tradies, locals and travellers stopping for baguettes and sandwiches with various fillings. Did I mention they have buttery, flaky, croissants? And brioche of course. Everything is made on the premises so get in quick with your Christmas orders or you might miss out.
Walmas Continental Butchers - Deli, Fromagerie and Butcher all rolled into one Aussie/European mix 4 - 6 High st, Bayswater, ph: 03 9729 0635
Here you will find incredible Australian and international cheeses for your platters. Walter is the talented butcher who prepares the meats and makes many of the small goods, including Christmas hams, in their smoke house. If you want to add a European twist to your Christmas BBQ you'll find some interesting products to throw on the BBQ. Have a chat to Margaret about it. Margaret will greet you from behind the counter and she is the talented buyer who sources the wide range of products on the shelves and who is always on the look out for great Australian cheese and meat products. Each year she stocks traditional European Christmas items like Stollen, biscuits, chocolate, gingerbread (Lebkuchen) and Advent calendars. Walmas also stocks non-alcoholic beers, malt beer and Gerstel classic beer. If you like Raclette and fondue Margaret is an expert as she and Walter hail from Switzerland. Talk to Margaret about ordering cold meat and cheese platters.
Kuranga Native Nursery - Add an Australian Bush Flair to your Christmas 118 York rd, Mt Evelyn, ph: 03 9760 1800
Kuranga Native Nursery is a treasure trove of food inspired by Australian ingredients and bush foods. Each year they stock a unique range of Christmas decorations and lights. The expansive gift shop is cleverly arranged by colour theme, gorgeous to look at and look well for there is a lot to see. Remember to look under the tables too. There's a wide range of books on Australian native flora and fauna as well as kids books on these subjects. Outside you'll find a plant nursery with an extensive selection of Australian native plants. As you wander the nursery take note of the garden art, pots and bird baths. If you need time to think over what to choose, stop into the Paperbark Cafe and make up your Christmas list over a coffee and scones, cake or anything else - it's all delicious. I have eaten here often over the years and it never disappoints.
Covering both your Christmas hamper and presents you could get all of your Christmas shopping done here. There are loads of personal products to choose from. My favourites are the Tinderbox perfume and body spray range. In the food section you'll find nuts, chocolate, biscuits and wine for your Christmas Feast. Check out the Robinvale Wines. Their range has some great non-alcoholic bubbly fruity options as well as economic 2 litre flagons of muscat and fruity rose. Get your orders in now for sourdough breads, organic and biodynamic meats for your Christmas BBQ, roast or ham.
Railway Bizarre - The shop of fashionable pre-loved things. 42 Railway ave, Ringwood East, ph: 03 9876 8922
Looking for a period gift or tableware for your Christmas meal? Take a trip back in time in this shop of retro memories and history. They have an amazing collection of glassware, crockery and small pieces of furniture. There is a room devoted to fabrics and craft. Be sure to check out the retro fabrics near the counter. The back room has a great selection of clothing, shoes and accessories. You will find objects for all rooms of the house. Remember to step outside for outdoor inspiration. They have sensational jewellery and leather goods as well. Remember Glomesh?
There are many talented artists and craftspeople in Maroondah who sell their work through this non-profit organization that has been running for over 39 years. Over 35 volunteer staff work in the shop. Locals create a wide variety of gift and artwork including baby wear, toys, jewellery, accessories, knitwear, art, wood products and work made from ceramic, pottery and glass. You will find very individual pieces here at very reasonable prices. If you know someone who is getting married around Christmas time there is a wide range of luck charms.
It's two bookshops in one, that equals plentiful books. Not only can you get the range from Collins and ABC in the same store, they also stock books from talented local authors. This is the sort of bookshop you can get lost in for hours and hours as its walls of books make the shop cosy and inviting. Each topic has a great selection and the children's book section is fantastic as well. Remember to say hi to Harry if he's in the store.
Threads of Nature - The shop of gorgeously crafted things. 30 McAdam Square, Croydon, ph: 03 9723 9242
This shop has something for all ages, toys, crystals, jewellery, craftwork, clothing, books, candles and soaps by Est. They also have a great selection of Boody Organic eco bamboo socks and underwear for men and women. You will also find clothing for women and children and household items like lamps and blankets. Have a look at their silk scarves that have been hand dyed with locally sourced fallen eucalyptus leaves. I can't seem to leave this shop without buying a crystal, crayons a book or something else.
[B]Little Rebellion - The shop devoted to papering the body.[/B] 1670 Burwood Highway, Belgrave, ph: 03 9754 1185
The shelves here are packed with boutique natural products to lusciously groom your body, all made in Australia. There are testers for nearly all the products so you can get lost in all the beautiful scents. I purchased a beer hair soap that is great for my hair. You'll also find pottery and artwork from local artists and further afield. Many art pieces and pottery are made in limited quantities so you know you are getting something unique and the selection is ever changing.
Epoch - The Shop of Steiner. 77A Monbulk rd, Kallista, ph: 03 9755 1952
This enchanting shop is for the child and the child in everyone. Epoch has everything that's beautifully crafted and made of natural fibres. There are exquisitely made wooden toys, magnificently illustrated books, Lyra pencils and crayons, candles, accessories, body products, clothing, scarves, wraps and gift cards. Products are ethically made with minimal impact to the environment. The felt dolls are serenely beautiful. It's hard to resist touching everything.