The February issue

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Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

Baguette recipes

These baguette recipes are picture-perfect and picnic ready, bursting with fillings like slow-cooked beef tongue, poached egg and grilled asparagus and classic leg ham and cheese.

World's Best Chefs Talks

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Big red alert

Step away from the cheeseboard with that gutsy red wine. Max Allen and Will Studd have done the research and found more harmonious drink and cheese pairings.

If you want to spark a lively discussion - and hopefully put smiles on your friends' faces - the next time you sit down to tuck into some cheese and wine, try this simple tip: don't open a bottle of red.

In fact, try not even opening a bottle of wine at all.

We've been exploring the gastronomic permutations of cheese and drink matching for almost two decades. And we've found, time after time, that the traditional go-to choice of a big red wine is seldom the best: the drying tannins of a cabernet, or the full-bodied power of a shiraz can often clash with the complex flavours and textures of good cheese.

White wine, sweet wine, sparkling wine - even (or especially) non-wine drinks such as cider, beer and Japanese sake - are often far better choices. And the fact that a lot of people haven't even considered there could be an alternative to red wine when it comes to the cheese course makes it worth trying at least one of the following combinations. You might be surprised - but you won't be disappointed.

Riesling and Comté
The word we keep coming back to when describing great cheese and drink experiences is "retronasal": how the flavours on your tongue shoot up the "smell chimney" at the back of your mouth to be perceived by the aroma receptors behind your nose. Which is why crisp perfumed riesling plus dense perfumed Gruyère-style cheese equals retronasal joy.

Cider and Camembert
Not an unusual match at all, really - if you're from Normandy, that is. Look for the most rustic, cloudiest cider you can find (preferably from Normandy), ripen your Camembert to its oozing best, and then revel in the rich, barnyardy retronasal explosion of flavour as you combine the two in your mouth.

Ale and Cheddar
Or Wensleydale, or Cheshire - the point is, we have found that a full-flavoured English-style beer, such as a fragrantly hoppy India Pale Ale, is a sensational partner for England's hard, cooked cheeses. We think it's the tangy intensity of the cooked curds and the oily intensity of the hops that have something to do with it.

Fino Sherry and Manchego
This is a classic Spanish match, when you think about it: you arrive at a small, welcoming tapas bar down a narrow laneway as dusk falls, you settle at the bar and the waiter offers you a plate of dry-textured, salty sheep's milk cheese and a glass of bone-dry, briny fortified wine, and suddenly all is right with the world.

Moscato and Fresh Curd
Think freshness and youth: barely fermented curds, almost straight from the udder, matched with a wine style that, effectively, is still-fermenting grape juice, almost straight from the vine. Think opposites attracting, too: the sweetness of the moscato is a great companion for the acidic twang of the cheese.

Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano
The key to this match is texture: there's an exquisite affinity between the tingling feel of bubbles in Champagne and the crunchy little crystals of calcium lactate embedded within the dense richness of a good old parmesan. Oh, and umami, too: there's heaps of savoury deliciousness in both the yeastiness of Champagne and the cheese.

Sake and Roquefort
We know, it sounds bizarre: Japanese rice wine and French blue cheese - a culture clash. But trust us: splash out on a good, medium-dry junmai sake and try it with this classic cheese. We think you'll be surprised. The fruity aroma and intense flavour of the koji mould used to make the sake is a great match for the saltiness and sweet blue-mould flavour of the Roquefort.

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