You have waited all year for it. You have been good. So very good. Now, Christmas is coming faster than you think. It's time for epic feasting and meal planning.
FairPrice Finest's Christmas catalogue is filled with ideas for building good, satisfying meals. They have thought everything through: designing bundles of roasts to take away the headache of collecting food from multiple places, coming up with options for families big and small, and giving choices to those who would rather have a hotpot meal than turkey and ham.
Rounding off these main selections is a comprehensive list of desserts, including those that incorporate familiar Singapore flavours such as pandan, gula melaka and durian; and all the other elements you will need to complete the meal - snacks, appetisers, side dishes, sauces, wine and beer.
Even if you are not cooking at Christmas, have a look at the gift options in FairPrice Finest stores. Your hosts will appreciate good coffee, panettone, cheese and ice cream. And champagne, of course.
This is a great time to check out the newer FairPrice Finest stores too, decked out in Christmas finery.
At the Jewel Changi Airport store, pick from a big selection of popular local delights for snacking while on holiday, or for the homesick Singaporeans you are visiting abroad.
The Funan mall store is the best place to check out the newest products. Everything, from the store's location to the payment method, aims to bring convenience to working adults. For example, they can pay for their purchases with the Scan & Go App, which makes the process fuss-free.
FairPrice Finest at PLQ Mall in Paya Lebar is the latest to open. What a treat for shoppers. There is an in-store bakery which also serves coffee and waffles; Ready-to-Eat meals and eco-friendly products; and a pop-up store where you can enjoy a Mao Shan Wang soft serve and check out other durian treats from Golden Moments.
At the TripleOne Somerset store, browse a big range of products to suit people with alternative diets. There are products for people who can't have dairy or gluten, or who simply want to eat more healthily.
Pick up a copy of the Christmas catalogue at FairPrice Finest stores. And let the planning begin.
Christmas Set 3, $158 per set, serves four to six people
I know every ambitious host will want to order the turkey from one place, the ham from another, and maybe a roast from a third.
This year, I resolve to be chill and, instead of planning a collection route while tending to a million other things for Christmas, I am perusing FairPrice Finest's Christmas catalogue. Christmas Set 3 from Culina is the centrepiece of my festive meal.
My parents are not keen on turkey and the set features a large roast chicken instead. The bird weighs 1.6kg before roasting, so it will be good for four people at least.
Then, there is a manageable roast pork belly, stuffed with bacon. Pork on pork. A host, ambitious or otherwise, cannot go wrong with that. I say manageable because the roast is 1.2kg before roasting.
To satisfy Dad, there is a 2kg gammon ham. I love that the ham has its fat on. It will take us some days to finish this and I don't want it drying out. The set also includes 400g of pork and garlic sausage and 300g of chicken cocktail sausages. Christmas dinner, all taken care of.
Place orders at least three days before collection by filling out an order form at a FairPrice Finest supermarket or at the deli counters, until Dec 19. Pick up between Nov 27 and Jan 2. Available for pre-order at Bedok Mall, Bukit Timah Plaza, Junction 8, myVillage, Scotts Square, The Clementi Mall, The Seletar Mall, Thomson Plaza, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Valley Point, Waterway Point and Zhongshan Park.
Honey Leg Ham, $69 for a 3kg ham
So perhaps a multi-meat selection is too ambitious for your small family. May I suggest a crowd-pleasing honey leg ham? It will be good for four to six, with leftovers for sandwiches, toasties, salads and fried rice. The meat is a little more lean, so guests and family members who are trying to eat healthily will appreciate that. Round off the meal with roasted bell peppers and zucchini, potato salad or mashed steamed cauliflower, and a quinoa salad with dill, lemon zest, pomegranate arils and pine nuts.
3. TESCO FINEST
Cranberry Sauce, $5.25 for a 220g jar
You'll need something zesty and lively to go with the ham, and FairPrice Finest carries a range of Tesco products that fit the bill. I would set out a bowl of Tesco Finest Cranberry Sauce. It is perfect right out of the jar, but I can't leave well enough alone, so I'll doctor it with a little lemon zest and juice, or lemon zest and vodka.
4. DAL COLLE PANDORO
Gastronomico Savoury, $22.80 for a 750g cake
You are probably familiar with panettone and pandoro, Italian Christmas cake studded with fruit.
Dal Colle has a savoury pandoro that will be perfect after Christmas, when you are inundated with leftovers that need using up.
The egg and butter-enriched cake, with just a little sweetness, is excellent for sandwiches to use up leftover ham, turkey, cheese and cranberry sauce. Slice the bread horizontally and layer the fillings in between to make a towering sandwich for brunch.
If there are a lot of cheese and cured meats from your appetiser platters, make grilled cheese sandwiches. Or cube the cake and make a savoury pudding with meat and cooked vegetables from the Christmas table.
5. GOURMET FINEST
French Cheese Christmas Selection, $66 for a set of five cheeses
For guests who don't eat dessert, offer them cheese instead, or offer them this platter to nibble on before the main meal.
This set of five mostly soft French cheeses, totalling 1kg, is well-curated. There is Bleu d'Auvergne, made with cow's milk from animals that graze on mountainous pastures; Delice de St Cyr, a triple cream soft cow's milk cheese from the Ile-de-France region with notes of hazelnut and mushrooms; AOP Chabichou, a smooth, white goat cheese; AOP Petit Camembert Au Lait Cru from Normandy, a soft, cow's milk cheese; and Coeur de Savoie, with a history that dates back to the 16th century.
Make your own cheese platter with crackers, dried fruit and fresh grapes, all available at FairPrice Finest. Order seven days in advance by filling out a form at FairPrice Finest stores, until Dec 19. Collection from Nov 27 to Jan 2.
6. FROM THE GROUND UP
Cauliflower Crackers & Pretzels, $5.95 for a 113g box
It was love at first bite when I tore into From The Ground Up's snacks. The online source I ordered from was sold out of it within days, so I'm very pleased FairPrice Finest carries this brand now.
They are low-calorie and made with cassava and cauliflower flours. I don't know about you, but I like my snacks crunchy and salty. The pretzels and crackers from this range fit the bill perfectly.
Although I love the little square crackers - the cheddar ones are excellent - I will always choose pretzels over crackers. One serving of 40 sticks of pretzels weighs in at 110 calories. That is a lot of bang for my buck.
Gula Melaka Chendol Bits Cheese Mousse Cake, $28.90 for a 700g cake
How do you know you're celebrating Christmas in Singapore? The heat and humidity provide clues, but I love the way local flavours work their way into festive food. Baked goods purveyor Hayley has created a cheese mousse cake inspired by chendol, the local dessert of rice flour jelly in gula melaka-sweetened coconut milk. It's an icy delight perfect for the tropical heat. The distinctive green rice flour jelly is worked into the lightest cheese mousse and the cake is topped with a glossy layer of gula melaka.
Place your orders at least four days in advance by filling out an order form at any FairPrice Finest store, until Dec 19. Pick up your orders from Nov 27 to Jan 2.
8. THE ICE CREAM & COOKIE CO
$18.90 for two 473ml tubs
Every thoughtful host these days should think about guests with alternative diets. For people who can't have dairy, pick these ice creams - which are, as a bonus, delicious as well.
The Onde Onde one, made with coconut milk, is delicious. It is infused with pandan flavour, with bits of desiccated coconut and a gula melaka swirl through the pint. But the best thing about it has got to be the bits of springy mochi mixed in with the ice cream. They are a textural delight.
To stave off a food coma, serve the Calamansi Sorbet, with its gentle tang. As an added bonus, it is 99 per cent fat-free. But the best flavour might well be the Avocado Smoothie (above), smooth and rich, and swirled with gula melaka. Enough said.
Low Calorie Ice Cream, $12.90 for a 473ml tub
A low-calorie, high-protein ice cream that you won't feel guilty eating? Sounds too good to be true. But in the last few years, these products have come on the market, and FairPrice Finest is carrying the Enlightened brand from the United States.
The ice cream is sweetened with zero-calorie monkfruit (luohanguo) and erythritol sweeteners, and calories per serving range from 70 to 100. That is, if you can eat just one quarter of the tub. I can't. But even if I demolish the entire pint, it's 400 calories tops.
If it is available, go for the Cold Brew Coffee (70 calories a serving) or the Chocolate Peanut Butter (100 calories a serving).
Movie Night (above) is the flavour for me. Popcorn ice cream with chocolate and a caramel swirl. Perfect for the Christmas movie binge at home.
10. NYAKERS PEPPARKAKOR
Gingersnap Hearts in a tin, $13.50 for a 400g tin
If you are looking for a gift to take to a friend's home, these heart-shaped gingersnap cookies fit the bill perfectly. They are a staple in Sweden during Christmas.
The cookies are delicious dunked into milk or hot chocolate.
Warm spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cloves, plus bitter orange, infuse the buttery bites.
Do like the Swedes do this Christmas: Place a cookie in the palm of your hand, make a wish, then tap the middle of the cookie until it breaks. If it shatters into three pieces, the wish will come true.