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Burnaby Heights a bounty of holiday eats

While there may not be dancing sugar plums at Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie in the Heights, there are plenty of other treats lining the shelves at the popular sweet spot.

While there may not be dancing sugar plums at Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie in the Heights, there are plenty of other treats lining the shelves at the popular sweet spot.

There are Santa bears, Christmas trees decorated with truffles, ornaments broken open to reveal a chocolate stash and more.

"I like this season. There's a lot of stuff we can do," owner Christophe Bonzon says. " It's different - you don't do the same thing as the rest of the year."

Bonzon is offering seasonal options such as a cinnamon and hazelnut truffle and a blackberry and Christmas spice truffle, he says.

The shop will also be selling yule logs, known as buche de Noël, this month, he adds.

Bonzon plans to offer three varieties - a somewhat traditional hazelnut buttercream, a more modern trio de chocolat, and one buche de Noel which has yet to be determined.

"Right now I create a new dessert for winter," Bonzon says. "It's a gingerbread mousse with cinnamon and apple spice jelly, and with gingerbread sponge."

This may be the inspiration for the third buche de Noel, he says.

But the chocolaterie is not the only place in the Heights offering up seasonal goodies.

Valley Bakery has a huge selection of cookies and other treats, including Christmas stollen. Fortuna Bakery is known for its delicious bread and buns, and also carries a scrumptious selection of pastries.

For an Italian flair, Cioffi's Meat Market and Deli has everything from Italian panettone cakes to prosciutto. The meat market has a wide variety of options for a Christmas main course - contact the market to find out about ordering ahead of time.

Both Cioffi's and Ana's Trattoria down the block offer catering services to make feeding family and friends at holiday gatherings a little easier.

Locals can also order everything from free range turkey to beef tenderloin to leg of lamb in advance from Rocky's Meats.

There are a number of grocery stores in the Heights for all the holiday staples - Delta Mart, Safeway, Red Apple Market and Triple A Market carry everything from produce to dairy to canned goods, with many specialties at the smaller grocers.

And to help create those delicious meals, Posh Pantry has all the cookware and bakeware needed for the season.

From turkey platters to cookie cutters to Christmas linens, the store is chock full right now, according to owner Angie Cordoni.

She also has many different gift-giving options - from gift baskets to small hostess gifts, she said.

"You don't spend a lot but it's the thought that counts," she says. "And it's nice to show up with something."

Cordoni has been holding cooking classes at the new kitchenware store to help people prepare for the holiday season, including Christmas baking and appetizer courses, she says.

On Dec. 12, she is offering a Putting on the Ritz appetizer class.

"We ... have New Year's appies, so those are a bit more posh," she explains.

One of her favourite simple Christmas dishes to make is fresh cranberry sauce, Cordoni says, and cooks can add vodka and Grand Marnier to make "Cosmo" cranberry sauce, or use orange juice to add another flavour for the kids.

"It's really easy to make fresh cranberry sauce and most people don't know it," she says. "It's just a nice touch to have something made from scratch."

As far as advice goes, she suggests preparing as much in advance as possible so that the holidays are less stressful.

"Just enjoy it," Cordoni says. "Go outside, get some fresh air, and make sure you have plans and are prepared ahead of time."