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Rocamadour, famous for its Black Madonna


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France's Route du Bonheur

Relais & Châteaux was founded in France in 1954 by two music-hall artists, Marcel and Nelly Tilloy, who, during World War II, bought a hotel restaurant in the Rhône Valley called The Cardinal. They convinced seven of their hotelier and restaurateur friends to create an association based on shared values of quality, lifestyle and gastronomy, and to open their properties to the discerning wayfarer under the slogan of "La Route du Bonheur".

There are 530 properties in the group Relais & Châteaux in 64 countries, each with its own routes du bonheur, or suggested driving itineraries - from castles in Spain and cottages in England to riads in Morocco and ranches in the United States.

The Gourmet Traveller team undertook the route du bonheur in style, in a BMW 640d Gran Coupé with TwinPower turbo technology (to get technical, this combines high-precision direct fuel injection with continuously adjusting camshaft positions for both the intake and exhaust valves). In terms of dynamics, comfort, technology and design elegance, it would be hard to imagine a more innovative or luxurious form of transport through the fields of south-western France. The car features a Connected Drive navigation package, Dakota leather trim, electrically adjustable seats (including memory function), two-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, an iDrive operating system with touch controller, state-of-the-art suspension technology and carbon-dioxide emissions said by the manufacturer to be the lowest carbon-dioxide emissions for a car this size. We like.

Read about our drive from Bordeaux to Limoges here

The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

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Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

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.

World's Best Chefs Talks

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Baguette recipes

These baguette recipes are picture-perfect and picnic ready, bursting with fillings like slow-cooked beef tongue, poached egg and grilled asparagus and classic leg ham and cheese.

Fast summer dinners

From an effortless tomato and ricotta herbed tart to Sri Lankan fish curries and chewy pork-and-pineapple skewers, these no-fuss recipes lend to relaxing on a humid summer's night.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

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