The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Chilled recipes for summer

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.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

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.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"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."

Mango recipes

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.

Summer feta recipes

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.

Lambrusco's back

Once the sweet purple plonk of choice for yesteryear teens, Lambrusco has come of age, writes Max Allen.

The word "Lambrusco" might make you shudder. And that's okay: for many, the name conjures queasy memories of a sweet, fizzy, purple plonk they got pissed on as a teenager. Well, cast all preconceptions from your mind, because Lambrusco is super-hot right now. No, seriously, it is. And the wines leading today's Lambrusco revolution - both the real thing from Italy, as well as local Australian examples - are far more delicious, more complex and, importantly, much drier than the cheap, sweet pretenders of yesteryear.

A few adventurous specialist Italian wine importers are shipping a range of excellent, food-craving Lambrusco from their homeland of Emilia-Romagna. Some of Australia's best Italian restaurateurs are giving these wines pride of place on their lists. Lambrusco grapevines are maturing in a few Australian vineyards and the first wines are running off bottling lines. There's even a global Twitter campaign to resuscitate the drink's reputation; check out @LambruscoDay or the hashtag #LambruscoRevolution.

Piero Tantini of Sydney-based importer Godot Wines grew up in Bologna, the heart of Emilia-Romagna. Tantini says that for him and his friends and family, Lambrusco was as indispensable to everyday life as salumi and balsamic vinegar (another regional specialty). It turns out that the wines he loved most growing up are also the ones that are most popular here, in Italian hotspots such as 10 William St and 121BC in Sydney, as well as Guy Grossi's Ombra and Rosa's Kitchen in Melbourne.

"What's most successful are the wines with a lighter, crisper style," Tantini says. "The Australian concept of Lambrusco implies a dark, rich wine with residual sugar, so our wines have a surprise effect."

Taste the remarkable, naturally fermented, slightly cloudy, pale-pink Lambrusco from Paltrinieri (preferably with a plate of house-cured salumi at Ombra) and you'll see what Tantini means: these are tangy, bone-dry wines with exactly the kind of refreshing acidity you need to cut through the silky fat of the meat.

Grossi Group sommelier Mark Protheroe describes it as "balsamic-like", saying it's no coincidence that the wine and vinegar come from the same region. "Lambrusco has been a big feature of Ombra since we opened 14 months ago," he says. "The wines that we put on by the glass and bottle [five on the list at the time of writing] have sold really well and we've had great feedback. A lot of people who are getting into it are in their 20s and early 30s, but they still have bad memories of bad Lambrusco. They're pleasantly surprised to find how good these new, drier wines are."

In Emilia-Romagna, six main varieties of Lambrusco grape are cultivated, each producing wine with slightly different characteristics. In the late 1990s the viticulturally pioneering Chalmers family of Mildura imported cuttings of Lambrusco Maestri, one of the darkest-coloured, most flavoursome types.

In 2005 local winery Trentham Estate produced an impressive dry red wine from Maestri grapes - deep purple, saturated with black berry fruit. And then, in 2012, Chalmers produced its first commercial sparkling red Lambrusco - stylishly dry, full of black cherry flavour and bottle-fermented, like Champagne. The very worthy 2013 vintage has just been released.

"We're aiming for a dry, elegant, apéritif-style structure in the mouth," says Kim Chalmers. "We don't want it to taste rich and ripe and soft, like a classic Aussie sparkling shiraz. And it's great fun marketing it: they come at it expecting it to be sweet and heavy, but then they try it and it's so refreshing and they love it."

The Chalmers aren't the only ones producing local sparkling Lambrusco now. Trentham makes a sweeter fizzy version and in 2013 Victorian winemakers William Downie and Patrick Sullivan made a naturally fermented version called Pat and Bill's - PaB for short. "We heard about all these crazy grapes the Chalmers had in their Mildura vineyard," says Sullivan, "and we thought, well, what could be more daggy than Lambrusco? So we had a crack at making it: no yeasts, no additions, finish ferment in bottle. We sold out in half a day and had guys from Japan trying to buy four times as much as we made."

And, yes, the PaB logo is indeed an homage to a certain classic soft drink. Which might bring back a few more '70s memories.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Top drops: December 2016
08.12.2016
Royal Mail Hotel unveils $2.8 million cellar
02.12.2016
El Diablo
02.12.2016
The Everleigh's summer of cocktails
01.12.2016
Top drops: November 2016
22.11.2016
Four Pillars’ Australian Christmas Gin
21.11.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
The GT x STILY
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Jennifer Hawkins Sesion tequila

Tequila is the new black. At least it is for Jennifer Hawkin...

Australian sour beers

Craft brewing in Australia is hitting a sour note, and that’...

Original Sin's Grande Bellezza

A fresh, bright Italian-accented sundowner.

Short restaurant wine lists

Small is the order of the day in restaurants, with tight win...

Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso

We caught up with Nespresso Australia and New Zealand coffee...

Signature Drink: The Baxter Inn’s Charlestown

Grab the mink and the fedora – this Baxter cocktail means bu...

Game up your G&Ts with a Distiller’s Strength Gin

Is this the year of gin going where no botanicals have gone ...

Signature drinks

Thirty of our favourite drinks from Australia's best bars an...

Hot 100 2015 - Drinks

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Mover, shaker

The best thing you can take to a party, according to cocktai...

How to improve your wine-tasting ability

Drinking wine is more than a matter of taste, writes Max All...

Best Australian red wines for drinking now

Australians are getting a taste for thirst-quenching reds ma...

Best Australian gins

The local gin craze is in full swing. Max Allen taste-tests ...

The art of the cocktail list

In our inaugural Cocktail List of the Year awards, GT cockta...

The Gin Garden's Southside

Looking for a new summer drink? The search is over.

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×