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Barista Mikey Barnard at Mister Jones Espresso in Bermagui

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NSW Far South Coast in pictures

Roadtripping on the NSW Far South Coast reveals the magic of one of the country's best-kept secrets. Helen Anderson explores its pristine beauty, discovering perfect oysters, hip new venues and a wave of savvy entrepreneurs along the way.

We could buy a live lamb for $80 in the front bar of the Dromedary Hotel, or a second-hand ute (best offer). We settle instead for a seat on the verandah and watch a steady stream of passers-by shopping for fudge and knick-knacks in ye olde main street of Central Tilba, on the NSW Far South Coast.

I'm here to see a man about a dog. And his 25 chooks, nine pigs, seven goats, four cows, three ducks, vegetable patch, cooking school, cookbook and TV series. On a former dairy farm on the outskirts of town, Paul West has built a crowded new life as the boots-and-all host of River Cottage Australia, learning how to feed himself in a homegrown version of the long-running British TV series by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

In just three seasons of the series, the former Vue de Monde chef has become the face of the NSW Far South Coast and a powerful advocate for its natural beauty, exceptional produce and strong sense of community.

Digger the black collie-cross bounds to the gate when we arrive, trailed by a film crew finishing up for the day and the genial, ginger-bearded West. Behind them is the pretty '30s cottage where filming and cooking classes take place, surrounded by emerald pasture and dominated by Mount Gulaga. West and his partner, Alicia Cordia, live close by with their baby son, Otto. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind," he says, ushering us inside for tea and homemade Monte Carlos. "It takes a while to form bonds when you're new in a community, but the nature of TV programming means I've met people with shared interests from day one, fast-forwarding the process. I'd have to say this is one of the most welcoming communities I've ever lived in - it felt like home within six months."

Read more about NSW's Far South Coast in our travel guide here.

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Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

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.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Gifts under $100 at our pop-up Christmas Boutique

Whether it's a hand-thrown pasta bowl, a bottle of vodka made from sheep's whey or a completely stylish denim apron, our pop-up Christmas Boutique in collaboration with gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You has got you covered in the $100 and under budget this Christmas.

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.

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