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No eggnog here: this December, we're drinking a seven-apple cider blend, a spicy durif, and a luscious sweet Riesling.
The Botanical Hotel’s public bar has been re-opened as Gilson thanks to the founders of some of Melbourne’s busiest cafes.
For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Melbourne provided 14 answers.
It may be a magnet for destination diners the world over but Attica circa 2016 is more firmly planted in Australia than ever, writes Michael Harden.
After three years and $645 million of construction, Crown Towers Perth is open. Expect a lavish spa experience, an extravagant pool and spacious rooms.
Travel photographer John Laurie's first solo exhibit spans the globe, capturing serene moments in often unlikely spaces.
From the best sugar-free Margarita to a Friday night meat raffle: we head to the beach with jewellery designer Lucy Folk.
When it’s time to raise a toast, choose a glass that rises to the occasion.
When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.
Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.
13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.
We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.
For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.
Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.
"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."
Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.
The Huon Valley, south-west of Hobart, is the perfect place to
hold a mid-winter cider festival. Apples have been grown here for
more than 150 years and the region is still the major orchard
centre of Tasmania. It's also bloody cold in the Huon in July and
you need to be chilly to fully appreciate the ancient ritual of
The wassail ceremony is rooted in the pre-Christian history of England's cider orchards and is pagan culture at its most colourful and raucous: people dressed as forest faeries and sylvan sprites, with faces decorated, carry burning torches to the oldest tree in the orchard, pour cider as an offering around the trunk, poke cider-soaked toast upon the branches, and making a clattering din proclaim "Wassail!" - "good health!" - to ensure a bountiful future crop.
In 2014, Tasmanian cider producer Willie Smith's decided to hold its own wassailing ceremony and the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival was born. The third incarnation of the festival takes place next month, over the weekend of July 16 and 17 at Willie Smith's cellar door at The Apple Shed in Grove. The festival also features the ciders of Red Brick Road from Launceston, wine from the Huon's Home Hill and distillers such as Lark in Hobart, as well as food stalls, live music, storytelling and bonfires to keep everyone warm.
The festival's strong emphasis on supporting friends from the local community is important: the family behind Willie Smith's cider has a long connection with this part of the world. William Smith arrived in the Huon Valley and planted an orchard in 1888. His son, Ron Smith, helped build the RSL in the town of Huonville; third-generation Ian Smith kept the family orchard going in the face of dramatic consolidation in the industry; and more recently his son Andrew Smith converted the 55 hectares of apples to certified organics.
When the Australian cider boom took off in the late 2000s, Ian and Andrew saw an opportunity for an organic cider brand and launched Willie Smith's. They set up their cellar door along with a museum and outlet for regional food producers in the renovated 1940s apple shed in Grove. And a couple of years ago, they hired Tim Jones, former head cidermaker for Strongbow at the CUB-owned Cascade brewery in Hobart.
In some ways this seemed like an odd choice: why would a small company focused on high-quality, characterful ciders made from organic apples want to employ someone who was responsible for making vast quantities of cheap cider from apple concentrate?
It turned out that in his spare time, Jones was as passionate about making real cider from real apples as it's possible to be: he's spent the past few years researching and planting the best traditional European cider-apple trees on his home block - English varieties such as Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill, French varieties such as Frequin Rouge and Antoinette - and making dozens of small batches of experimental cider from the fruit, trialling traditional fermentation techniques, building up knowledge.
Last year Willie Smith's launched a new cider called 18 Varieties, made by Jones from the first commercial crop from his orchard, a marvellously complex drink, full of the spicy, rich flavours of tarte Tatin and hints of funky farmhouse you expect to see in the best English or French ciders. It went on to win the top trophy at the 2015 Australian Cider Awards, cementing the Huon cider producer's reputation.
Recently, Willie Smith's also launched the second, limited release of a strong (almost 10 per cent alcohol) cider that has been matured for 12 months in Lark whisky barrels. And an "apple bock" - a kind of cider and beer hybrid produced in partnership with Hobart Brewing Co - will be offered on tap during the Mid-Winter Festival.
Interesting, innovative mash-ups like this are not unique to Willie Smith's. Corey Baker and Karina Dambergs of Red Brick Road, for example, make a pink cider - called Cider Rosé - by adding a splash of pinot noir to the fermented apple juice to bring a blush of colour and a hint of red-fruit flavour. Red Brick Road has also produced a delicious Dry Hopped Cider: the judicious addition of Tassie-grown hops brings a tongue-hugging savoury character to the drink.
Bringing these local agricultural pursuits together - apple-growing, winemaking, hop-growing, whisky-making - is very much in the spirit of community that old pagan rituals like the wassail evolved to nurture.
Huon Valley Mid-winter Festival, 15-17 July, huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au
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