Happy Holidays from EAT Magazine

I grew up in a family that took celebratory traditions very seriously, and December always presented the opportunity for our four-person unit to take celebrating to the next level. On top of elaborate gift-wrapping, an entire day set aside for decorating the tree (which we cut down ourselves each year — I have the photos to prove it), and Christmas morning sticky buns, our kitchen always housed an advent calendar. Over the years, calendars have contained everything from mini poems to chocolate, magnets to Lego. 

This year, I’m passing my tradition on to you. Each day until December 24, we’ll post a new story, event, recipe, or gift guide.

Have a holiday or Christmas tradition and/or event to share with EAT readers? Let us know using #EATadvent

Happy Holidays from EAT!


Click the day to open it!

December 24


From the EAT Magazine team, we wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas. May your turkey be roasted to a golden brown, your cranberry sauce homemade and your mashed potatoes lump-free. Tweet, Instagram and Facebook your Christmas dinner with #EATadvent (our writers will be doing the same!)

(all links go to their twitter profiles)

From our Web team:

Gary, ColinKaitlyn, Jon, Sol, Holly, Treve, and Adam


As well as everyone from the print magazine: Larry Arnold, Joseph Blake, Michelle Bouffard, , Cinda Chavich, John Crawford, Jennifer Danter, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Jeremy Ferguson, Tracey Kusiewicz, Sophie MacKenzie, Sherri Martin, Danika McDowell, Jeannette Montgomery, Elizabeth Monk, Michaela Morris, Simon Nattrass, Elizabeth Nyland, Tim Pawsey, Julie Pegg, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman.


December 23
For those with true believers in their family, the arrival of Santa and his reindeer on the roof is possibly more exciting than Christmas dinner. My mom knew this was true for my brother and I. Every Christmas Eve she made magical reindeer feed that we’d sprinkle on our front lawn in anticipation of Rudolph. It’s a simple way to create a family tradition. Plus, those reindeer must be tired of carrots!

Reindeer feed

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup green, red and silver glitter
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa (optional)

Mix together and package in paper bags.

December 22

I’ve always wanted to rename the holiday season the giving season. No matter how we choose to celebrate this month, the act and art of giving remains at the heart of December. Are Victoria’s many shelters, food banks and community kitchens on your list? Donations of any size make a difference.


Mustard Seed’s #yyjspiritofigiving

Our Place

Saint Vincent De Paul

Thrifty Foods Christmas Campaign

December 21

It’s a safe bet that at least one of your Christmas guests will have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. In my experience, the gluten intolerant still have a sweet tooth. Satisfy their cravings with Origin Bakery’s holiday collection. Find them at their Pandora or Colwood locations.


Fruitcake loaded with cranberries, figs, raisins, apricots, house candied citrus and brandy and then covered in marzipan

Chocolate mint mousse cake

Almond cranberry orange torte

Chocolate mint and cranberry orange almond cupcakes

Butter tarts (with raisins or nuts) and pumpkin tarts

Apple galettes

Vanilla shortbread

Lemon or peppermint sugar cookies

Gingerbread men and gingerbread house kits

Individual panettone

6″ Tortierre meat pies

6″ pumpkin and apple pies

Herb and garlic Vega bread



December 20


Sticking with the theme of traditions, I’m sharing my family’s recipe for Christmas Salad. Prepared only once every 365 days, it’s a strangely delicious combination of lemon Jell-O, vegetable, fruits and nuts.


Christmas Salad


1 small box lemon Jell-O

2 cups raw cranberries, sliced in half

1 cup celery, chopped

½ red apple, chopped

½ green apple, chopped

1 small can (8 oz/227 g) crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup white sugar

1 cup almonds, chopped



Prepare Jell-O according to directions on box. Set aside. Lightly mix the cranberries, celery, apple and pineapple with the sugar. Once the Jell-O has cooled, combine with the fruit and vegetable mixture. Gently mix in almonds. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight. Enjoy.


December 19


There’s still time to pick up a copy of EAT’s November/December issue around town. Our cover recipe, cranberry meringue pie, from Jennifer Danter makes an ideal Christmas Eve dessert.


Cranberry Meringue Pie


Tart Shell

¾ cup butter, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt



12 oz package frozen cranberries

½ cup orange juice

½ cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

3 egg yolks

1 egg

1 ½ tsp cornstarch

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp orange flavoured liquor



¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

5 egg whites


For the tart shell, beat butter with sugar, then vanilla. Stir in flour and salt just until mixture comes together. (Tip: Use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment— it’s easier.) With floured hands, form into a dough ball, then press into a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Chill until firm.


Preheat over to 350F. Place a piece of parchment over dough and fill with beans or rice to weigh it down. Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove parchment with beans. Prick pastry all over with a fork (to prevent air bubbles) then continue baking until golden, about 15 to 20 more minutes. Let cool while preparing filling.


For the filling, in a medium saucepan, bring cranberries and orange juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries are soft and “pop,” about 5 minutes. Whirl in a blender until pureed, then press through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids.


In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat butter with sugars until smoother, and then beat in egg yolks, one at a time, then whole egg. Stir in cranberry mixture, cornstarch and salt.


Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (like a double boiler). Stir often until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in liquor. Pour into baked tart shell and let stand at room temperature until set. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight.


For the topping, in a small saucepan, stir sugar with water and cream of tartar over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is syrupy. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly pour in hot syrup white beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon over pie filling or pipe as swirls. Broil until light golden brown.

December 18

Our West Coast home continually blesses us with gifts from nature, but what about gifts that can be wrapped and received? #EATadvent has the Vancouver Island gift guide covered.


Tofino Brewing Company

The beer advent was so last year. We’re fond of the beer sack. Basically you stuff a bag with beer and put a bow on it. Instant gift.

Minimalist Cookset

We all know that guy (or gal) who spends their weekends hiking the backcountry while surviving on granola bars. Bring them back to their senses with a portable outdoor cook set from MEC.

Poultry print.

The lovely folks from local art house Mammoth & Co. have just the thing to hang in that room where food is prepared.

December 17

How do you feel about a free day of skiing? Dress as an elf or Elvis on Christmas Day and Mt. Washington will let you cruise the slopes without paying. Their events calendar has all the details, but let’s just say you’ll need more than an elf toque.

editor’s note: Hopefully they get some snow soon!

December 16

Forget the spiked punch and eggnog lattes, the only drink recipe you need this December is our ultimate hot toddy recipe. What’s better than a drink that soothes the throat, clears sinuses and sends you into a deep sleep? For those easing into bartending, Sea Cider’s holiday wassail, flavoured with orange peel and clove. You could go with Merridale’s Yule Fuel as well, another spiced cider. both available now in limited releases.



1 Ounce (2 Tablespoons) of bourbon

1 Tablespoon of honey

2 Teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

¼ Cup boiling-hot water



Put bourbon, honey, and lemon into a 6-ounce mug. Top off with water and stir until honey is dissolved. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a wedge of lemon.


December 15
Ned Bell 2
Ned Bell

We spoke to chef Ned Bell of the Four Seasons Vancouver about incorporating seafood into holiday menus and the ingredient poised to takeover kale.


EAT: Why should seafood make an appearance on the table this Christmas?


Ned: Seafood is built for entertaining. It’s all about parties with family and friends, from lunches and brunches to dinners as well. You’re probably already having turkey or ham for your Christmas meal, so let’s celebrate seafood at the beginning of the meal.


EAT: Any suggestions for those who don’t like seafood?


Ned: I grew up in the Okanagan, so tree fruits like apples and pears always find their way into my cooking. Cranberries and quince are also great. Of course, you don’t have to look far for kale and cauliflower these days. The new ingredient I like to use is green garbanzo beans. Because they’re picked and frozen, you buy them much the same way you would edamame beans. You can use them in anything, from smoothies to quinoa salad to green goddess dressing. It’s the new kale!


December 14

Does the person who has everything really exist? I’ve yet to come across a person so lucky, so this is a gift guide for the rest of us mere mortals devoid of a constant stream of things. While these kitchen contraptions may not be vital to a pantry, they sure make it more fun.



For those who grew up with aspirations to become a soda jerk. (Also, the SodaStream promotes experimentation!)

Unagi iPhone Case

Phone cases are the new business cards. What does yours say about you? This sushi-inspired case means you’re probably fluent in emoji.

“Sorry I’m Gluten Free” t-shirt

Completely sidestep those awkward conversations with restaurant servers and never have to ask, “Is this dish gluten free?” ever again.

December 13

After our Cook Culture guide to stocking stuffers (Dec. 6th), we have a list of gifts a tad too large to hang over the fireplace.

Gefu Spiral Slicer, $34.50

You know that trend of swapping out spaghetti for ribbons of vegetables like zucchini? The Gefu makes light work of that otherwise labor-intensive task.

Staub Teapot, $190.00

This teapot is intense. Serious tea drinkers only.

All Clad Mini Gratin pans, $39.95 for a set of two

It makes perfect sense to have a pan especially for cheese!

December 12

December presents a challenge when it comes to eating healthy. Thankfully, Victoria’s newest juice bar Jusu shares one of their tree fruit juice recipes for those looking to take a health day amidst shortbread cookies and glasses of eggnog.


Perfect Pear Juice


2 whole pears

3/4 of an apple

3/4 of a cucumber

2 stalks of kale

6 sprigs of mint


Run through the juicer of your choice, drinking immediately so to not lose the sweet, sweet nutrients.


For those with a juicer on their wish list, Jusu’s location in Cadboro Bay offers fresh juice, smoothies, and acai bowls ($8-12). 2560 Sinclair Road.



December 11


The Downtown Victoria Business Association knows how to hold onto a good thing. The Ferris wheel is back for another year. Soar above downtown at Centennial Square Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until December 21. This year features an audio-reactive tree — neat!


Check out DVBA online for all the details.

December 10

There’s a good chance a coffee lover has made their way into your heart and onto your holiday shopping list. Forget those pod machines. Hey Happy Coffee (check out the EAT First Look here)  owner Rob Kettner has the ultimate gift guide for caffeine cravers. Prices available in store.


Copper Buono Kettle from Hario.

Featuring a goose neck and fine tip for accuracy when brewing pour-overs.

Coffee travel kit

The infamous Aeropress, with the stainless Porlex hand grinder and a handsome glass Keep Cup with lid. Just try and break it!


Deluxe home pour-over kit

The ultimate brewing experience! Featuring a Baratza Virtuoso grinder, and a Bona Vita temperature control kettle. Also includes a Hario V60 dripper, Hario Glass Range Server, CJ 4000 Scale, and a bag of freshly roasted Heart Coffee from Portland, Oregon.

December 9

If you haven’t ventured down to the Inner Harbour recently, you might be surprised to hear that the front lawn of the Empress has been transformed into an indoor skating rink. Step into a veritable winter wonderland — it’ll be colder in the rink than outside, knowing Victoria weather — and go for a skate. $10 gets you in. Rentals are an additional $5.

5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekends. Santa makes appearances on Sundays. Head to the Fairmont Empress’ web site for more information and check out the skate calendar for promotions.

If blades on ice don’t have you singing carols, roam the halls of the Empress for the annual Festival of Trees, in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

December 8


Addicted to those extreme gingerbread building shows on the Food Network? The Inn at Laurel Point hosts Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase, on now through January 4. This year’s theme asked competitors to create their best interpretation of “Where Things Live.” Donations for Habitat for Humanity Victoria will be accepted.


Not enough gingerbread for you? The Inn’s Aura Restaurant offers a gingerbread tea daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until January 3 for $11 a person.

December 7

The Victoria Public Market hosts events all December. Drop in to workshops ranging from cookie decorating (yum!) to serving seafood for the holidays. Ravenstone Farms will be offering a turkey carving lesson, while choirs from local elementary schools will be lending their voices. For full details, visit the Public Market events calendar here.

December 6

Cook Culture needs no introduction. For the chef in your life, fill their stocking with gifts sure to reap delicious returns.

Van Island Salt

Vancouver Island Salt, $4.75

With flavours like roasted garlic and balsamic vinegar, this hand-harvested salt could be the secret ingredient to this year’s Christmas dinner.

Madecasse chocolate

Madecasse Citrus and Pink Pepper Chocolate, $7.00

Fairtrade chocolate flavored with combava fruit — for those on your list who crave the exotic.

Rice Cube

Rice Cube, $19.95

Why does sushi have to be circular? Pack this cube with your favourite ingredients for a nutritionally squared away meal.


Check back later this month for the remainder of our Cook Culture gift guide.

December 5


Escape the city for a night of orchard strolling and a visit with Mr. Claus. Merridale Cider hosts Candy Cane Lane until January 4.


Psst — this isn’t just for kids. Date night anybody?


“Our walk will start at Santa’s workshop (formerly known as the oxidation hut), and finish at the Elf’s Work Shop, otherwise known as the faery mining village. Along the lit path, you will encounter other familiar favourites such as Frosty and Rudolph. Bring your mitts and boots to keep warm, and begin the journey at the ciderhouse. Here, we will provide you with a map and some goodies to take on your walk. For kids, Santa will join us every Saturday and Sunday from 4:30 until 6:00 in the courtyard gazebo. Of course adults are welcome to have a chat with him too! Who doesn’t like the magic of Christmas?
Bring the whole family for an outing, or make it a date night with that special person. It’s free, it’s enchanting, and it’s romantic. Our bistro will open at 5:00 for affordable family style dinners, or order from the dinner menu if you are a table of two. We offer dinning on the heated patio overlooking the orchard lights. Don’t forget to call ahead and reserve a table!”
December 4

Forgo the malls for Victoria’s best little market. The Moss Street Market presents a two-day Christmas version, featuring vendors from around the island. Tie-dye socks, West Coast salt, or sustainable rain jackets anyone?


Check out their Facebook page for more vendors. December 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1330 Fairfield Road.

December 3


For most of us, it might be too early to even start thinking about gifts, but for the hard-to-please foodie on your list, Culinaire 2015 is a hot ticket item. Essentially, for an evening in March, Crystal Gardens transforms into a massive gourmet buffet. (Here’s the list of the 2014 vendors.)


Tickets run just under $50 for the March 19 event. These sell out fast! Get tickets here.


Photos from Culinaire

December 2

Would it even be Christmas if holiday movies didn’t exist? Personally I’m partial to Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. All month, Delta Ocean Pointe Resort is screening Christmas movies under the stars. The Starlight Cinema series kicks off tonight with A Christmas Story. Catch Elf, Home Alone, and others every Friday and Saturday until December 17. Don’t worry, heaters are provided!

December 1


Our friends at the Island Chefs Collaborative (ICC) host a pre-prohibition fancy dress party, casually named the Xmas Shaker on December 7 at the Da Vinci Centre. The Southern Urge’s 7-piece band lend their music to a night of food from the likes of Zambri’s, Meat & Bread, and Vista 18. Drinks will be mixed by Victoria’s best, including Jayce Noals of Clives and Ryan Bagma of The Drake. “This is the ultimate community event, not just for the bartenders, but [for] chefs and the entire industry. I bartended last year and was happy to step up and help organize a great event with great people,” says Shawn Soole, author of Cocktail Culture.


Funds raised go towards the Island Chefs Collaborative micro-loan fund, dedicated to supporting local food production, and to the ICC, dedicated to teaching students about urban agriculture, gardening, and fresh home-grown foods through the GrowingChefs! Program. “From a purely selfish note, I’m so excited for this event, the best cocktails in the city playing with tasty bites all night long — it’s a guaranteed good night. And it raises money for children to learn about what we all do: cook good food!” says Tara Black, owner of Origins Bakery and ICC director.


Find the full menu and ticket details at iccbc.ca



Twitter: @IslandChefs

Instagram: IslandChefsCollaborative

Event Hashtag: #ICCShaker


Written By:

Kaitlyn Rosenburg holds a BFA in creative writing with a minor in journalism and publishing from the University of Victoria. Her work has appeared in local publications such as The Martlet, as well as national publications like ...

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