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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.

Top 35 recipes of 2016

2016 was all about slow-roasting, fresh pasta and comfort food. These are the recipes you clicked on most this year, counting back to number one.

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.

Best travel destinations in 2017

We're thinking big for travelling in 2017 - and so should you. Will we see you sunrise at Java's 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple, across the table at Reykjavik's newest restaurants or swimming side-by-side with humpback whales off Western Australia's coast?

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.

Christmas vegetarian recipes

The versatility of vegetarian dishes means they can be served alongside meat and seafood, or enjoyed simply as they are. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together some of our favourite vegetarian recipes to appease both herbivores and carnivores alike.

Sneak peek: The Italian Wine and Food Festival, Melbourne

The Italian Wine and Food Festival 2015

The Italian Wine and Food Festival 2015

The Italian Wine and Food Festival makes its Melbourne début this weekend, and we've got the inside running.

Italians do it better. That's been the motto, if not the mission statement, of the Italian Wine and Food Festival since its inception. Inaugurated in 2013 in Sydney, the festival this month makes its first appearance in Melbourne, and it's going to be big.

We spoke to the festival's founder, award-winning sommelier Lara Caraturo, about its highlights.

You're a champion of Italian wine in Australia, Lara; how did that come to be?

I married another sommelier who is very passionate about all things Italian. Then I had the pleasure of working for Sardinian-born chef Giovanni Pilu at Pilu at Freshwater restaurant in Sydney for eight years. I created a very Italian-focused wine list for the restaurant, which featured an extensive Sardinian offering, as well as an eclectic range of other Italian drinks which hadn't been seen before in Australia. I think we were one of the first Italian restaurants to focus on one region with our drinks offer, too, and that really seemed to resonate with our guests.

You've spent plenty of time eating and drinking up and down the length of Italy. Have you got any memories that shine particularly bright?

So many. I really loved Sicily and Sardinia, but I also have a weakness for the rich food of the north. The biggest recent highlight was probably dining at Osteria Francescana last year and meeting chef Massimo Bottura. I love his focus on local produce and traditions. His energy and passion are inspiring and so infectious.

What prompted you to start the festival?

With our love of Italian culture, and so many Italians living here in Australia, it just seemed like a natural fit.

What can Melbourne expect from the adventure?

Copious amounts of amazing Italian wine and food, for starters. You'll taste Italian wines region by region, meet Italian chefs, join cooking demonstrations and and make pasta and cheeses, shop in the food market, take a workshop, relax in the wine gardens, pick up a cocktail, listen to live music and tap your feet to tunes from our Italian DJ. It's a big day.

Are we right in thinking that though the festival has a wine focus, there's plenty of other good stuff to drink beyond the grape?

Absolutely. There'll be Italian beer, aperitivi, grappa and liqueurs, espresso, Italian waters and soft drinks, plus cocktails made by the magical Matt Bax and his team at the pop-up Bar Americano: think Negronis, Americanos and Aperol Spritzes.

And there's plenty to eat, of course.

It wouldn't be an Italian event without plenty of food. We have some of Melbourne's top Italian restaurants coming to the party (the pizza masters from 400 Gradi among them), and the Gourmet Traveller Food Market will be offering fresh bread, pasta, cheese, salumi, gelato and other Italian specialties.

What about something to feed and water our hearts and minds as well as our bellies?

There'll be food talks with the chefs, Italian wine masterclasses hosted by GT wine editor Max Allen, olive oil workshops hosted by chef Nino Zoccali, sommelier tours, Italian wine workshops for beginners with sommelier Rocco Esposito, and live food demonstrations all day.

What's on the cards for the return of the Sydney festival in August?

We are bigger and better this year, with a larger venue and even more Italian wine and food, plus we will have some special guests joining us from Melbourne.

Any last tips for first-timers?

Come hungry and thirsty and with an open mind, and remember, Italians do it better!

Melbourne Italian Wine and Food Festival, 11am-9pm Sunday 29 May, Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton, Vic. For tickets and information visit italianwinefoodfestival.com.au

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