Find out what’s happening in your town centre

’Tis the season to be merry!

Bubbly IMG_1007 chocsChristmas is all about family and friends, eating, drinking and being merry. There’s so much high quality produce available locally it’s well worth having a wander round the shops.

10355582_533034763498897_7760543225544996828_oChristmas price lists are available at local butchers – check at Donaldsons, Craigies at The Brig Larder and Williamsons for final Christmas order dates and make sure you don’t miss out!

This is a great chance to try new products and many of the food businesses have special festive stock, from mulled wine sausages to hand-made chocolates. Don’t forget to order fish, cheese, cooked and cured meats and other perishable food items with plenty of notice. The local specialist wine merchants both have excellent selections of wines and spirits for the festive season to complement your culinary choices.

Orkney_Charcuterie_Board_3_large_f881c001-c0c9-4b1e-a45b-2dc6c6ea323c_compact IMG_4561 IMG_2781Orkney’s food and drink sector is renowned for high quality produce, and a number of local businesses have developed new products recently, including a number from the outer isles. It’s great to support these local entrepreneurs – take a look at the latest ranges from Orkney Fine Meat Company, Orkney Cheese, Westray Chutney, The Orkney Chocolate Company and Kaye’s Handmade Chocolates.

If you’re doing a lot of entertaining and are worried about lack of time, consider buying a few home-made ready meal or deli items as back-up. Kirkness & Gorie have a deli range with delicious treats from all over the world, while The Brig Larder sell a range of home-made quiches, pies and ready meals to save you the bother. Williamsons have their usual range of pies and bakery goods are available at Argos, Shearers, Frozen Food and The Co-op.

IMG_1223 IMG_1144 IMG_1007For those living away or who can’t make it home for Christmas, sending a little bit of Orkney to have on their table is a great way to remind them of friends and family back home. There are local food items for hampers, from shortbread and biscuits to chutneys, cheese and preserves at Judith Glue, Jollys at The Brig Larder and Kirkness & Gorie .

There’s so much to think about it’s easy to forget things like tea and coffee, but there are some delicious speciality beverages and Fair Trade items available in a number of local shops. They make a great gift to take when visiting too!

IMG_1229You probably have the cake mulling in a tin already, but if you haven’t iced it yet there are recipe books with imaginative ideas for decorations and advice on techniques, as well as specialist accessories to help you create a really stunning Christmas Cake. See recipe books at The Orcadian Bookshop, The Brig Larder and elsewhere.

As the excitement builds, spare a thought for those for whom Christmas is a difficult time. Consider calling in on a friend, relative or neighbour or donating to Orkney Charitable Trust Christmas campaign or the Orkney Foodbank