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Our summer-packed January issue is out now - featuring our guide to summer rieslings, strawberries and seafood recipes, as well as a look at the best of Bali.

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AA Gill's final column for Gourmet Traveller

We mourn the loss of a treasured member of the Gourmet Traveller family who passed awayon December 10, 2016. British writer AA Gill was a contributor to the magazine from July 2004. Gill’s travel column was as insightful as it was witty, funny as it was thoughtful – he was without peer. This is the final piece he wrote for Gourmet Traveller; it appears in the December issue, 2016. - Anthea Loucas Bosha, Editor

Recipes with peaches

Whether caramelised in a tarte Tartin, paired with slow-roasted pork on top of pizza or tossed through salads, this sweet stone fruit is an excellent addition to summer cooking.

Black Star Pastry to open in Carlton, Melbourne

Instagram’s most famous cake, plus a few other sweet hits, is heading south.

Knives and Ink chef tattoos

What is it about chefs and tattoos? A new book asks the inked to answer for themselves.

Berry recipes

Whether it's raspberries paired with chocolate in a layer cake, or blueberries with lemon in a tart; berries are a welcome addition to any dessert. Here are delicious recipes with berries.

Seabourn Encore luxury cruise ship

Australia is about to get its first glimpse of Seabourn Encore, a glamorous new addition to the Seabourn fleet.

Ben Shewry's favourtie souvlaki restaurant in Melbourne Kalimera Souvlaki Art

Attica’s chef isn’t happiest when eating soils or smears on his days off, it’s souvlaki. We follow him to his favourite spot.

Coconut crab and green mango salad

"This salad bursts with fresh, vibrant flavours and became a signature on my Paramount menus," says Christine Manfield. "I capitalised on using green mangoes in many dishes as they became more widely available. Blue swimmer crabs from South Australia have the most delicious sweet meat. It's best to buy them whole, cook them yourself and carefully pick the meat from the shell - a tedious task but it gives the best flavour. This entree also works well with spanner crab meat (you can buy this in packs ready cooked from reliable fishmongers). The sweetness of the crab, the richness of the fresh coconut and the sourness of green mango make a wonderful partnership. It's all about harmony on the palate and using the very best produce."

Vietnamese fish sauce

Just as the French sommelier's reputation is built on the depth of his list, the Vietnamese chef stakes his pride on the quality of his fish sauce, writes Paul Daley.

Fish sauce, or nuoc nam in Vietnamese, is at once a condiment, a dipping sauce and a flavour added to Vietnamese soups and noodle dishes. And just as a wine's quality is judged on bouquet, colour, finish and "legs" on the glass, so, too, is that of fish sauce.


While you're still laughing, here's the bad news: the Vietnamese fish sauce you've been cooking with in Australia is probably the wine aficionado's equivalent of cat's pee. That's because Vietnam will not export the good stuff, keeping it all for the demanding domestic market.

There's precious little you can do about it, though. Except, perhaps, look closely next time you're in the arrivals hall. That Vietnamese lady who staggers through customs under the weight of that cardboard box is, more than likely, carrying a dozen bottles of Vietnam's finest for her friends and relations back here.

What you pick up at the supermarket or the Asian grocer is unlikely to be good quality. It has probably been made by a process of hydrolysis, whereby artificial colouring and acid have been added to enhance fermentation.

Real fish sauce takes time. The good stuff is made by fermenting long-jawed anchovies. The fish are thoroughly washed and placed into large earthenware or wooden vats that have been lined with sea salt. They are topped with more salt (roughly three parts salt to one part fish) and a large bamboo mat, weighted with rocks, is placed on top. The fish and salt are then covered with mosquito netting and the is vat sealed, before being left for several months.

The natural fermentation process draws the liquid from the fish. This is the beginning of nuoc nam, the literal translation of which is "fish water". The fish mixture is, from time to time, exposed to direct sunlight. Finally, it is strained, placed in a clean vat and allowed to air for several weeks to remove any lingering "fishy" smell.

This first draining is not unlike like the first pressing of a good olive oil - as close to pure as possible. The label of a quality sauce will say "ca com" - an indication that anchovies have been used. It will also indicate the protein level (40% is the highest available) in the sauce. Oh yes - a good fish sauce is pressed after the tops of the vats have been removed and the mixture exposed to three consecutive full moons.

Inferior sauces are made from second or third distillations, after salt water has been added to the slurry left from the first pressing.

If you tip a little of the good stuff into a wine glass, swirl it and hold it up to the light, it will cling to the glass and roll evenly down the sides - it's got legs. It should have a non-cloudy caramel colour and no acidic or fishy after-taste.

This article was published on Gourmettraveller.com.au in June 2009.

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