The Christmas party season is officially underway, and over the next few weeks you’ll be bombarded with invitations to all kinds of gatherings, including pot-luck meals (What to bring?) and gift exchanges (What to buy?). Maybe you’re the one hosting—and looking for new menu ideas. Here are some suggestions to help you get your shopping done and fill your Christmas basket with local products:

Gifts for giving

“Secret Santa” exchanges, hostess gifts, presents for your kids’ teachers—sometimes it’s hard to come up with gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Who doesn’t like a fragrant home? Les Jardins au Parfum de Lavande offers a range of scented products to refresh that stale indoor winter air.

Looking for a non-gender-specific gift? The Old Chelsea Soapery’s all-natural body care products are sure to please everyone—men, women, children and even babies!

For a more personal gift, consider a piece of original jewelry hand-made in the Outaouais region by Estrela. Their one-of-a-kind bracelets, necklaces and earrings are sure to delight the lucky recipient.

For more made-in-Outaouais gift ideas, check out my colleague André’s latest blog post: you’ll find his suggestions here.

Take out a taste of the Outaouais

Be the star of your next pot-luck dinner! Instead of the usual bottle of wine, bring along a bottle of Domaine Mont-Vézeau’s Zéphyr, a strawberry wine that pairs well with cheeses and desserts. Or how about a selection of craft beers from Les Brasseurs du Temps or Les Brasseurs de Montebello?

Are you bringing dessert? Next stop: Miss Chocolat! Back this year by popular demand is their amazin g chocolate fruitcake … and let’s not forget their magnificent 16‑piece chocolate table centrepiece. Admire it as you enjoy the main course, then eat it all up for dessert!

Eating in—without the fuss

Are you hosting a holiday meal? Don’t slave over a hot stove—leave the cooking to one of our fine local caterers while you relax with your guests!

From Monday through Thursday, Les Fougères restaurant boutique offers three-course table d’hôte meals you can reheat at home. Everything is made fresh at the restaurant, and your dinner guests won’t suspect a thing!

For a non-traditional holiday meal, try Pastina’s fresh home-made pasta or one of their delectable charcuterie and cheese platters.

And for a truly effortless meal, consider Fuji Sushi for delicious sushi prepared fresh daily. When it’s time to eat, all you have to do is open the containers!

Make everyone merry: support local businesses this holiday season! For more ideas and information, visit www.outaouaistourism.com.

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