The turkeys and logcakes to light up your Christmas

Let's face it - many of us will be chomping on the same old mass-produced turkey again this Christmas, whether the family is roasting one or ordering it from a hotel, supermarket or butchery.

But our level of satisfaction with the chosen festive bird will depend on several factors: whether we're a turkey lover, whether we like white breast meat or dark meat from the thigh, whether we like traditional flavours and accompaniments, or prefer new flavours to excite our palate.

It also depends on our luck too - great if you're able to snag a perfectly roasted bird despite the hundreds or thousands of orders that a hotel or supermarket has to handle in the festive rush.

Hopefully, luck would turn up on your dinner plate. But to lessen or avoid any possibility of a disappointment, order a turkey from a place that you've found to be reliable.

Here's a quick guide:

Swing to Nonya flavours

What is Christmas without the aromas of spices?

The Fullerton Hotel's Peranakan-style lemongrass rendang spiced turkey ($168, below) is perked up with a thick marinade that also includes chiili, ginger, fried grated coconut and palm sugar.

It is served with turmeric-flavoured rice and addictive achar pickles that might delight the Nonya bibiks.

Tel: 6877-8943 or e-mail fullertonshop@fullertonhotel.com. Dec 21 is the last day for orders.

Another turkey with a Peranakan twist is Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy hotel's Buah Keluak turkey ($98). Marinated in a spice paste enriched by the black nuts, the turkey is available till the long new year weekend - on January 3. Tel: 6340-5882

Marina Mandarin also offers a Peranakan-style bird among its selections.

Asian and fusion flavours

Goodwood Park Hotel's Portuguese-style curry turkey ($218, below) takes inspiration from its chef's recipe for Macau-style Portuguese curried chicken.

With Portuguese, Indian and Chinese influences, the bird absorbs the spice blend for two days before it is steam-baked. The accompaniments of potatoes, carrots, onions and baguette reflect the Western contribution to this fusion creation.

Tel: 6730-1867/68 or e-mail festive@goodwoodparkhotel.com. Order online at festivepromotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com

If you prefer a smoked flavour, pick Marina Mandarin's Chinese-style tea-smoked turkey ($158). Available till Christmas Day.Tel: 6845-1066.

For an Anglo-Indian style that is not too exotic, opt for Bay Hotel's tandoori turkey. It is also available in its buffet spread on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For details, tel: 6818-6681.

Go Turkish

Royal Plaza On Scotts' lightly spiced Turkish turkey ($155) was well-received by our tasters who find the Middle-Eastern-style accompaniments a welcomed change.

Mini pita breads with hummus, yoghurt dip and assorted veggies were a healthful and appealing alternative to rich giblet gravy and sausage stuffing. Tel 6589-7788 or e-mail gourmet@royalplaza.com.sg

Closer to tradition

Four Seasons Hotel offers a traditional turkey for takeaway, but if you're a gourmet snob, you should dine at its One-Ninety restaurant this Christmas as it is offering a sous vide cooked turkey. Slowly cooked over a day, the meat is just melt-in-the-mouth.

One of Marina Mandarin hotel's new turkeys this year include a version with orange and cinnamon spice (below), two traditional flavours and smells of Christmas.

The buttery orange sauce is more alluring to those who dislike the giblet sauce. Price: $168. Tel: 6845-1066.

If you're sailing away from Singapore on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas on Christmas Eve, you'll still be sticking close to tradition in its dining rooms. Among the mains served on board is a Roasted Vermont Turkey, complete with apple and chestnut stuffing, cranberry compote, mashed potatoes and root veggies.

Fire up the celebration with the right logs

Hotels and pastry shops roll out so many choices so it's quite possible to please everyone, especially if you have to cater to different tastes.

So just order the smaller sizes if you need to provide a couple. Most sizes start at or below 1kg.

Here's a guide on hotels' log cakes:

For chocaholics

Screaming in red, Fullerton Hotel's new Sicilian Red Yule Log ($69 for 1kg, below) offers a satisfying chocolate flavour from the milk and dark chocolate. And it crackles with joy too, from the raspberry powder that turns fizzy when your tongue touches it.

If you need to impress someone over an intimate meal or tea, Grand Hyatt's exquisite "Marou" artisanal chocolate mousse cake with crispy praline and raspberries (below) might just do the trick.

Also using quality chocolate is Four Seasons' Valrhona Jivara and Guanaja Yule Log, which will appeal to purists who don't like intrusive flavours.

Chocolatey enough and yet light, the Intercontinental hotel's Oh My Deer ($68 for 1kg) is a light caramel chocolate mousse logcake. Adding interest are components of an orange confit, caramel toffee-infused mandarin orange jelly, a caramel hazelnut feuilletine and a flourless chocolate biscuit base.

High on booze and caffeine

It's Christmas, so let the spirits flow. Conrad Hotel's rum chestnut log (below) is doused in the liquor, and as if that's not enough, brandied cherries are embedded in it. Strong coffee and orange flavours conspire in its macchiato log to ensure you stay awake the whole night.

Tropical fruit flavours

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport's Ispahan-inspired log cake with raspberries and yoghurt mousse (below) is refreshingly light and easy to savour after a big feast.

The Shangri-La Hotel and Parkroyal On Pickering Street proffer durian log cakes, which should go down well with most local guests. Shangri-La's version is lighter and made with pandan sponge, while Parkroyal's version (below) will delight those who prefer a denser cake with more pungent fruit.

Treats for festive tea

Head east for some pretty good traditional scones from an unlikely location.

Dona Manis Cake Shop, tucked in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre, offers one of the best scones on the island, plus a banana pie that's popular with fans too.

Dislike English fruitcake made with vegetable oil and not butter? Walkers' fruitcake, available at supermarkets, is still made with butter and other natural ingredients like free-range eggs.

If you prefer a classic one covered in soft icing, York Hotel's English Fruit Cake ($50 for 1kg) is buttery, moist and not too sweet. You'll like this if you detest the richly fruited ones.

For shortbreads, pass around a platter of Walkers' buttery-rich Scottish shortbread cookie. Harrods and Marks & Spencer have shortbread that taste great too.

Marks & Spencer's reasonably-priced English biscuits and buttery mince pies are still popular for tea gatherings. But if you don't want to spend too much, choose from Griffin's range of biscuits now available at local supermarkets.

Apart from traditional English-style biscuits, the New Zealand brand bakes new creations like the chocolatey double-decked Chit Chat and Squiggles with 'honeycomb' bits, which should sweeten a party for kids.

If you simply must indulge in freshly crafted chocolates without a biscuity base, you will be pleased with Shangri-La Hotel's rather refined praline selection. Tempting flavours range from raspberry to toffee, apart from the requisite milk and dark choices.

Balance sugar-high treats with savoury pies or sausage rolls. York Hotel offers sausage balls among other chicken and cold cut items in its party platters.

Even better is the hotel's creamy chicken pie in puff pastry ($55), a hot favourite every year.

chenj@sph.com.sg