Christmas shopping list

Christmas shopping list

Last updated

Ah, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. It can be an exciting, nostalgic experience that gets you well into the holiday spirit… it can also be chaotic and stress inducing, let’s be honest.

Even the most organised of us have arrived back at home, cooking underway, and discovered we’ve forgotten something important. But with some timely planning, and a little help from us, you can have your pantry stocked and ready well ahead of the inevitable rush.

This comprehensive Essential Ingredient Christmas shopping list will make sure your kitchen is armed and ready for tackling all your holiday cooking, from pre-Christmas day prepping through to Boxing Day grazing.


  • Flaky Salt: Flaky salt is the finishing touch that adds a delicate crunch to every bite, transforming ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones. Keep plenty on hand for serving at the dining table, rubbing onto pork and fish skin and sprinkling on finished dishes. If you haven’t already, read our Essential Guide to Salt.

  • Red and White Wine Vinegars: Marinades, salad dressings, mignonette, braised cabbage, deglazing pans - A good wine vinegar is a versatile companion for a plethora of recipes, and having a red and a white variety ensures you’re covered for any flavour profile.

  • Duck Fat: A must-have for achieving the crispiest roast potatoes, imparting richness to poultry skin, making surprisingly delicious popcorn, or crafting your own flour tortillas and flatbreads.

Preserved Fruit

  • Candied and Dried Fruits: Christmas cakes and puddings are the obvious festive recipes that call for candied fruit and dried fruit, but they can also be used elsewhere on the menu. Dried cherries, golden raisins and cranberries add wonderful colour, texture and sweetness to salads, and if you haven’t included dried muscatels, candied pears or clementines to a cheeseboard before, you’re missing out!

  • Cherries in Syrup: Keep a jar of these beautifully dark, tart cherries preserved in a rich, garnet coloured syrup to add an instant wow factor to desserts, cocktails or use as a luscious sauce reduction for duck. We’ve used them in this unabashedly Christmassy Black Forest Pavlova.

  • Chestnuts: Chestnuts are ubiquitous in European and British Christmas dishes, but they can be hard to find in Australia. These carefully prepared French chestnuts are cooked, peeled and vacuum-packed in a continuous process that preserves both their flavour and texture. Use in stuffings, vegetable side dishes, cakes and cookies.

  • Mustard Fruits: A unique sweet and spicy Italian condiment that combines apricots, pears, cherries and unripened figs in a light syrup infused with mustard oil. They pair wonderfully with ham and cheese. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, chop the fruit and add to a toastie made of Christmas leftovers.

Baking & Desserts

  • Dark Chocolate: Most dessert recipes call for dark chocolate, keep a bittersweet variety on hand “just in case”. Grate over cakes or anything topped with whipped cream for an easy garnish, roughly chop and fold through doughs, batters, or vanilla ice cream, melt and coat fruit, nuts or other confections to give them new life in the post-Christmas slump.
  • Egg White Powder: The saviour when you realise you've run out of eggs for your Christmas pavlova. Keep it on hand for flawless meringues every time.
  • Slivered Pistachios: An instant garnish that adds a striking touch to your desserts and savoury dishes. Their vibrant green hue looks suitably festive on these Middle Eastern fruit mince pies.

  • Muscovado Sugar: A delicious, rich, unrefined sugar with a high molasses content and distinct liquorice and toffee notes. Perfect for fruit cakes, and puddings, but also marinades and glazes for roasted or barbequed meat.


  • Apple Glaze: Transform your holiday ham into a masterpiece with a luscious apple glaze that is ready to use straight from the bottle. 100% pure concentrated apple juice is slowly reduced over a low heat, developing a delicious honey consistency. One less thing to be made in an already busy kitchen!
  • Fruit Pastes: Quince or fig, both are versatile accompaniments that pair well with almost anything. Spread on crackers, serve with cheese, or melt and use as a glaze for meat.
  • Honey: A special occasion calls for a special honey, and what better variety to whip out at Christmas time than Christmas Bush Honey? It has a warm, soft flavour reminiscent of marzipan, and a thick, creamy consistency. Spread onto buttered crumpets on Christmas morning, mix into vinaigrettes and glazes, or use to make these spiced German Christmas cookies.
  • Cranberry Sauce: What would Christmas be without ham, turkey, duck, or pork? And what would those roast meats be without a heap of vibrant cranberry sauce beside them? This classic holiday condiment is just as essential for those Christmas leftover sandwiches as it is on the big day.
  • Mustard: Warm, bright, aromatic, and spicy, it's a complex condiment steeped in tradition, but still feels right at home at a backyard barbecue. Whether it's hot English mustard smeared on a piece of ham, old fashioned wholegrain mixed into potato salad or Dijon in a vinaigrette, you’ll always find a jar of mustard in our fridge.
  • Mayonnaise: The unsung hero. From potato salad to seafood sauce, mayonnaise is the versatile companion that ties it all together.


  • Duck Rillettes: Confit Perigord duck that has been hand shredded, creating a soft and sumptuous spread. Serve with crusty bread or crackers for an elegant appetizer.
  • Tinned Seafood: Yes, we know tinned seafood is trending right now, and for good reason! Tinned sardines and fish pates are perfect for entertaining, especially if you want to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen. Serve these small sardines on toast with a squeeze of lemon, some capers, and shallots pickled in champagne vinegar to impress your guests.
  • Lavosh: Always keep some kind of cracker or crisp flatbread in your pantry during the holidays in case of an entertaining emergency. Lavosh are a perfect crispy canvas for cheese, charcuterie, dips and anything else in your holiday spread.
  • Cornichons & Caperberries: These little preserved veggies add a crunchy burst of acidity to your grazing platter. Perfect for balancing rich cheeses and fatty cured meats.


  • Ham Bag: Keep your holiday ham in prime condition with a dedicated ham bag. It's not just about preservation; it's about ensuring every slice is a succulent morsel.

  • Butchers Twine: Professional quality butcher's twine, made of heat-resistant rayon. Food-safe and ideal for use with meat, this twine is produced from continuous filaments for strength and durability. Truss your meats, tie bouquets of fresh herbs together, use to create bundled place settings instead of napkin rings, or use it to present sandwiches like we did with this Christmas Leftover Banh Mi. 

The Essential Ingredient has your back, with everything you need to turn your Christmas cooking into something deliciously memorable with little to no stress. Cheers to a holiday season filled with flavour and joy!

Visit your nearest The Essential Ingredient store for all your festive needs.

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