Christmas roast still popular

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
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SCOTT HAMMOND/ Fairfax MZ
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The cost of a typical Kiwi Christmas dinner for a family of four has risen by about $11 in the past decade.

According to Statistics New Zealand data, a dinner of roast chicken or lamb, seasonal vegetables, nibbles and pavlova will set you back about $67.31, up from $54.60 in 2002. A barbecue with chicken, steak, salad, nibbles and pavlova has similarly gone up, to $64.74 from $53.65 10 years ago.

But price rises have not put Wellingtonians off their big roast. Tegel has stepped up production of stuffed turkey roasts from 30,000 last year to 50,000 this year, and at Moore Wilson's the big seller is the russian doll roast, or turducken: a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey, which sets you back between $140 and $160.

Lower Hutt butcher Craig Taylor said sales of hams and legs of lamb were down but turkeys were selling strongly.

"We are selling quite a few turkeys.

"We do a special where people bring in their own stuffing and we roll it up for them so they just take it home, cook it and slice it, no worry about bones."

Moore Wilson's business development manager Terry Christie said this was the first year it had stocked turducken, and all 20 had sold out already.

Its supplier, Tegel specialist division Coq Au Vin, said the dish took a lot of work to make.

"They're not cheap," account manager of food service Martin Tonks said.

"I think in certain parts of Kiwi lifestyle, the likes that will shop at Moore Wilson's or a delicatessen are looking at turkey more now."

Turkeys are produced by only three companies in New Zealand, all in the South Island: Tegel, Canter Valley and Croziers.

"For a long time turkey has really struggled with being seen only as a Christmas or mid-winter dish, and that you get the whole bird rather than pieces like you do with chicken," Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said.

"Certainly we're hearing this Christmas that turkey is, anecdotally, becoming very popular."

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