09/22/2012 12:14 EDT | Updated 11/21/2012 05:12 EST

Top Eight Ingredients For a Thanksgiving Feast


Thanksgiving is the day when most (if not all) of your family comes together to eat. This year, why not deliver a truly pan-Canadian multicourse feast that's delicious and ready all at the same time. With only two weeks until the big day, now's the time to check out what's already in your pantry and create your master shopping list, dividing it into three sections:

• "Buy now" non-perishables (wine, canned pumpkin, dried cranberries, spices), and don't forget to get your turkey ordered, too

• Items for the one-week-ahead grocery run (eggs, milk)

• Perishables to buy on October 7 and 8 (meats, poultry, fresh bread)

Here are some of my top Canadian "buy now" ingredients to impress your guests on Thanksgiving Day.

Easy Starters for Thanksgiving

1. Ontario Hot Sauce from Stasis Preserves (Toronto, Ontario). This is great in a Canada's favourite cocktail, the Caesar! Fill a glass with ice and add vodka, seafood cocktail sauce, a dash of Ontario Hot Sauce and 4oz of Clamato juice.

2. Turkish Fig with Walnut Wine Preserve from Vista D'oro Farms & Winery (Langley, B.C.). Dedicated to providing an ultimate agritourism experience, Vista D'oro grows heritage orchard fruits, culinary herbs and grapes all of which can be found in their preserves and wines. This preserve is their top seller - made using their signature fortified walnut wine produced on their estate.

3. Number Three Crisps from Feys + Hobbs (Victoria, B.C.). Bite sized and really multigrain, you won't be able to eat just one. Top with a healthy portion of preserves and a slice of Canadian aged cheddar. Bake at 375°F for 5-6 minutes to melt cheese. Serve immediately.

Ultimate Ingredients for the Main Event

4. Premium Dried Cranberries from Terra Beata Cranberry Farm (Lunenburg, N.S.). Perfect sprinkled in a salad, or added to turkey dressing. Most cranberry companies will squeeze the juice out of their berries before drying them, but not Terra Beata! They leave the juice in, keeping the vitamins and tangy cranberry taste. Plus, only 14g of sugar in a 32g serving, while competing brands have as much as 27g of sugar.

5. Wild Rosehip Spread from Fresh Air Flavours (Nipawin, Saskatchewan). Julie Rempel, owner of Fresh Air Flavours, wants to share with you her love of the outdoors and the tasty little morsels that abound in her rural Saskatchewan. Enjoy this as a delicious sweet yet tangy alternative to cranberry sauce, made from the seed heads left after wild roses have finished blooming.

6. Quebec Pickled Beets from Ferme Guy Rivest (Rawdon, Quebec). Just like your grandmother used to make! Christine Rivest is the fourth generation on the family farm in Lanaudiere. Serve these beets as a seasonal side to your main entrée.

A Memorable Thanksgiving Dessert

7. Drambuie Liqueur Flavoured Honey from Heavenly Honey (Blackburn Hamlet, Ontario). All natural, raw Country Garden Honey flavoured with Drambuie, perfect for a Ginger Honey Pumpkin Pie. Find out why raw honey is a better sweetener than white sugar too!

Leftover Turkey? No Problem

8. Cranberry Blueberry Pepper Jelly from Hot Mamas (Pefferlaw, Ontario). Enjoy with leftover turkey in a Grilled Turkey Brie Sandwich. Sue's pepper jellies are all natural - no artificial colouring, preservatives, or flavours. And heat that only comes from Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers!

Get ahead of the kitchen chaos with these ultimate ingredients, recipes and tips, provided by some of Canada's best artisan foodmakers. With the right ingredients as your base and some advance planning, this year's Thanksgiving feast will be a pan-Canadian event to be remembered.