Food & Drink

The 5 best fresh foods to add to your Christmas menu

When we think of a Christmas lunch, it tends to conjure an image of a glistening turkey and tray of potatoes with gravy. But while a traditional roast is undoubtedly delicious, it’s not the be-all-end-all of New Zealand Christmas foods. With temperatures soaring in December, we tend to enjoy fresh, cold foods as much as hearty roasts. We serve up some of the world’s finest fresh produce, why not take advantage of it? Whether you’re looking for Christmas Eve dinner ideas or something to snack on after your huge lunch, check out the 5 best fresh foods to add to your Christmas menu.

1. Mango

You may have fond memories of enjoying a plump, juicy mango at the beach on a sweltering summer day. The tropical fruit reaches peak freshness at this time of year and there’s no shortage of ways to stick your teeth into it. Chop into slices to snack on at your Christmas celebrations, add it to a tropical pavlova or freeze it to make ice blocks. Pick up some fresh mangoes at your local grocery store. To help them last longer, store at room temperature (not the fridge) before it ripens.

2. Cherries

No Christmas would be complete without fresh cherries! The stone fruit is ripe for the picking in December, finding that perfect balance between sweet and savoury. Add them to a cheese platter at your Christmas Eve celebrations, pop some on the table at your festive lunch or add them to desserts like pudding or pavlova. A box of cherries also makes a fantastic edible Christmas present!

3. Prawns

40% of New Zealands prawn consumption happens in December and it’s not hard to see why. They’re an absolute summertime staple! Peel them and eat them fresh, or pop them on the grill for a seafood BBQ feast. Whether you prefer a sweet and mild banana variety or a strong and salty tiger prawn, you can grab them from your local grocery store. While there’s an abundance available at this time of year, consider ordering early and in bulk to get the best price on fresh prawns.

4. Cold cuts

A hot, glazed ham might be a mainstay on any Christmas lunch menu, but that’s not the only way to get some pork on your fork (or in your hands)! Whether you grab leftover ham from the fridge on Boxing Day or add charcuterie slices to your cheese platter, cold cuts are an absolute summer Christmas essential. Cut it off the bone yourself, or grab it pre-sliced from the deli for your convenience.

5. Oysters

In New Zealand, a balmy Christmas Eve can feel as much of a celebration than the day itself — and there’s no better way to spend it than with a seafood picnic. While oysters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, they’re an excellent addition to any fresh seafood platter. That said, amidst all the merriment, you likely won’t have time to waste shucking your oysters. Save yourself the hassle and pick up fresh, shucked oysters from your local grocery store. Whether you prefer a cupped or rock variety, the world is (literally) your oyster.


By adding these fresh foods to your Christmas menu, you can ensure you have healthy and delicious options on hand that the whole family will love.

Grab your Christmas food essentials from Countdown.