After fresh ideas for meals that are healthy but still pack a flavour punch? We've got salads and vegetable-packed bowls to soups and light desserts.
Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 23rd August, 2017 and receive a free copy of The Cook’s Table by Stephanie Alexander!
Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.
Whether it's a late-night spot playing hip-hop at full volume, a throwback to the glamour of yesteryear or a bar-restaurant that slips the collar of definition, these three Bar of the Year finalists have all nailed one essential detail: good times.
These three restaurants - Fleet, Brae and Igni - might not be in capital cities, but the journey there is part of the unforgettable experience they offer.
The life of a farmer revolves around the seasons. Come winter, a certain thriftiness is needed in the kitchen to make the most of meagre produce, writes Paulette Whitney.
Italy's claim to being the greatest of the world's cuisines has one key weakness: breakfast. But, argues John Irving, there's more to the story than first meets the eye.
The hottest spots to eat, drink, play and stay on your next trip to LA, rounded up into one perfect day.
Your guide to a perfect stay in Canberra, from where to sleep to the exhibitions you need to check out.
Some of Australia's best dining destinations take the hassle out of a weekend stay by offering their own on-site digs where you can hit the hay in style after your meal.
The maitre d' is your first introduction to a restaurant - they do as much to create a sense of ambience as lighting, tableware and music. And these three professionals are top of the class.
Kicking off in February 2018, six exclusive tours will take Gourmet Traveller readers far and wide, delivering exceptional service, fine dining and, of course, a first-class travel experience.
Sydney's food supergroup are back at it, bringing big flavours and a rollicking drinks list to a buzzing space in Surry Hills, writes Pat Nourse.
Yes, it's freezing, but winter needn't always mean rich ragus and rib-sticking meals. Try out these lighter recipes during the colder months.
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.
It's the most popular coffee in Australia, but what is a flat white exactly? Samantha Teague investigates.
Ambling through a forgotten corner of the country offers a charming change of pace from Lisbon and the Algarve.
The chef at Bistrode CBD and The Fish Shop passed away today, 17 July 2017.
There’s plenty of potential in the depths of your crisper; you just have to be creative.
I’m not sure about your occupation, but neuroscience parties are pretty boring. The only thing I got out of them was a survival course in social skills. I learnt never to ask what research a colleague was doing. This question inevitably led to my brain sending orders to my spleen to come up and choke it to escape the boredom.
Instead I began to ask quirky questions about people’s lives in any domain other than the professional. I learnt fascinating things that way. One eminent professor spent his free time as a member of a wolf pack (comprised of like-minded humans) that met monthly in a den, and he was considering getting fur implants all over his body. Anyway, I digress. A more topical question I used to ask was, “What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?”
Most people have an answer to this question. The answers are often interesting enough in themselves, but for years the thing that has fascinated me is why? What made it the best meal out of the tens of thousands they’d had?
Neuroscience has some perplexing things to say about this. When food hits the tongue only five elemental tastes can be registered: sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami (olfaction adds a lot of complexity but is outside the scope of this piece). The question is, how do these five taste receptors transmit all the phenomenal richness that we experience as a meal? What makes a lobster bisque so different from a gazpacho, or even from a seafood chowder?
The neuromechanics are intricate but quite straightforward: a different number of the tongue’s thousands of tastebuds are stimulated by any particular food. This information is coded by first-order neurons (these carry signals from your tongue to your brain) before the signals have even entered the brain proper. These neurons have graded potentials, meaning they’re transmitting not just “yes/no” information but “how much” or “how strong”. At this point, thanks to the factorial expansion of the information as it passes through neurons downstream, we can already encode a mind-boggling amount of information.
Interestingly, this now complex information is sent first to the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system. This probably explains why both smells and tastes can potently recall vivid memories and emotions. The limbic system adds “colour” and then sends the percept to higher cortical areas that are important for conscious awareness.
This still leaves a lot to be explained. For example, say we can now encode and differentiate every taste: it doesn’t explain how flavour 7,643,254 gives me the experience of biting into a crisp, fresh, juicy, slightly tart pink lady apple. I think there are more profound, more human factors at play in explaining our enjoyment of food. Ones that neuroscience may never be able to explain.
The best meal I’ve ever eaten was a bag of freeze-dried lamb and peas that weighed 115gm before boiling water was poured into its packet. I was sitting in a snow cave I’d dug into a mountain in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in the middle of a ferocious blizzard. That bag of food was my link through death to life.
However, that wasn’t something I was thinking about at the time. The food simply tasted delicious. Every tiny, precisely cubic piece of steaming, rehydrated lamb seemed a universe of flavour and intoxication.
If I was to go into my pantry now and boil up a packet it would taste like dirt (I’ve tried this experiment). What can explain this difference? Epicurus has a couple of things to say about this. Despite what is often now attributed to his name, Epicurus did not advocate gluttony, or overindulgence of any of the senses. Rather, he said that pleasure, or good, comes from the eradication of imbalance. Food is good because it eradicates hunger. Eating too much is bad because it leads to discomfort and imbalance. In that snow cave I was hungry, exhausted and cold, and the desiccated food brought me back to balance, brought me rushing into pleasure. All sorts of rewarding chemicals were being released in my brain, which somehow get enmeshed with the experience of taste.
The second thing that Epicurus said about pleasure was that it was absence of pain. To Epicurus, a quiet balanced meal with good friends, free from trouble, was the ultimate pleasure. Not coincidentally, I was in that snow cave with my partner.
Think about your favourite meal of all time. I’m sure the food was fantastic in a technical sense, but I would hazard a guess that it also involved good friends and an occasion that was special in some way. We intuitively understand that the food enhances the occasion, but the occasion also makes the food.
ILLUSTRATION ANTONIA PESENTI
This article was published in the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.
With the cooler autumn weather, heartier flavours begin to e...
Scaled down to little more than a mouthful, tiny cakes take ...
America's most famous chef takes the smarts and good taste t...
Dust off the tongs, fire up the barbecue, and get grilling w...
At his new Spice Temple, Neil Perry calls on the more exotic...
When it comes to last-minute entertaining, a lovingly made p...
Mousse, souffle, mud cake and more... welcome to the dark si...
A salad can be so good when it's done just right. Check out ...
Peter Gilmore's snow egg, Justin North's smoked duck egg wit...
Fire up the stovetop with these wintry dishes, ready for the...
Take comfort in superb onion rings, juicy roasts, syrupy pud...
Fire up the stovetop, it's time to braise. Our braising slid...
British-born chef Daniel Southern has made his mark in Melbo...
Bask in the warmth of French Alpine-inspired food. Ideal for...
With books such as Pork & Sons and Ripailles, Parisian autho...
Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.×