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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Our first-ever Cruising Special is out now

The MS Noordam crossing the Tasman Sea

The MS Noordam crossing the Tasman Sea

Ann Sherry has called it. The executive chair of Carnival Australia predicts more than two million Australians will take a cruise by 2020. It's a big call from an industry heavyweight but she should know, her company - with brands including Cunard, P&O and Princess among others - represents more than 80 per cent of the Australian and New Zealand cruising market.

There's no doubting our appetite. In the latest figures from the Cruise Lines International Association, more than a million Australians took a cruise in 2014, more than four per cent of our population has taken a cruise at some time and annual growth sits at 20 per cent. So, it's no wonder we have launched this inaugural Cruising Special in Gourmet Traveller (on sale now). This is one of the most exciting editorial initiatives we have undertaken. A big congratulations to editor Helen Anderson on bringing it to life - it's been 12 months in the making.

The breadth of experiences on offer in this travel sector are as exciting as they are diverse, be it a luxury Mediterranean cruise aboard Ponant's Le Lyrial, or a Silversea's expedition adventure through French Polynesia. And that's just the beginning.

But back to Sherry and those numbers on Australians and cruising. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at why Aussies are taking to it with such gusto. "I think part of the reason for cruising's growth is that we're a coastal nation, and Australians have a great affinity with the sea," she says. Amen to that.

Happy Cruising,

Anthea Loucas Bosha
Editor-in-chief


Gourmet Traveller's first-ever Cruising Special is on sale now, complimentary when you purchase our April issue, available in all good newsagents. 

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