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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

Porkstar 10th anniversary dinner

From canapés to whimsical dessert, 10 years of Porkstar was marked with a celebration of pork, writes Maya Kerthyasa.

How do you pay fitting tribute to one of the more distinctive culinary marketing campaigns of the last decade? If you're Australian Pork, the answer is simple. (Hint: it's not with chicken.)

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Porkstar, the marketing initiative launched to put the protein back on Australian menus, the industry body hosted a dinner in Sydney for a hundred of the campaign's strongest supporters, going the whole hog and more.

The Strand Arcade made a striking setting for the event, transformed for the night to a glam dining room with one long candlelit table, the scene reminiscent of The Great Hall in Harry Potter's Hogwarts.

The magic continued on the plate, with four of Porkstar's most prominent chef advocates - Christine Manfield, Four in Hand's Colin Fassnidge (Sydney's "prince of pork"), Brent Savage of Bentley and Pendolino's Nino Zoccali - in the kitchen.

"We chose them because they're among the chefs we have the utmost respect for," Australian Pork's marketing manager, Mitch Edwards, said. "They've helped the Porkstar program become what it is and we wanted to celebrate them on the night."

Pork, naturally, was the star, making its début in Savage's canapés of puffed pork skin topped with scallop-roe cream, and prosciutto-wrapped grissini with muntry berries.

Fassnidge prepared an entrée of braised and crumbed pig's tail in a bowl of prawn bisque with pickled mussels, seaweed and dollops of potato and sage purée. Zoccali, meanwhile, presented a gutsy pork spare rib with parsnip and parsley-root purée, carrot and fennel salad and Pendolino's 2015 first harvest extra-virgin olive oil. Manfield rose to the porcine dessert challenge with her "Miss Piggy" creation: a sweet, salty, smoky dish of bacon-caramel ice-cream and chunks of mango wrapped in a buttery biscuit cone and topped with sherbet-laced fairy floss.

It was an apt way to close a celebration of milestones and camaraderie, though the party continues for the team at Australian Pork. "We're looking at kicking off the next 10 years… and continuing to inspire chefs, through chefs, to get creative with pork," said Edwards.

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