Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

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.

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. 

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Hunter Valley NSW travel guide

Our guide to the best of the region.

Murray River travel guide

The Murray is much more than just a dividing line between New South Wales and Victoria.

The Murray River, Australia's longest river and once a thriving commercial trade route, is now the lifeblood of a fertile agricultural region and a favourite playground of anglers and boaties. Vineyards, olive groves and acres of sunshine lend it a Mediterranean feel at times, but the pioneering spirit of the early settlers is always there, never more clearly than on a cruise downstream by century-old paddle steamer.

MILDURA

The Murray's best-known dining room is Stefano's at Quality Hotel Mildura Grand, where slow-food enthusiast Stefano de Pieri and chef Jim McDougall fashion sophisticated set menus from the finest seasonal and local produce. Stay overnight in one of the Mildura Grand's suites, and save room for a meal at the Spanish Bar and Grill. It's not Spanish at all, but it does serve rather good steaks cooked over red gum and mallee roots.

Mildura has a thriving festival scene for its size - listen out for the International Music Festival, Wentworth Arts Festival, the popular Mildura Writers' Festival, and the Jazz Food and Wine Festival.

DINE & WINE

There's good eating to be had along the river's route at farm-gate kiosks selling olive oil, fruits and vegetables, honey and cheeses. Get acquainted with the local producers at the Hume Murray Farmers' Market, held every second Saturday in the Victorian border city of Wodonga. In Echuca, book ahead at Oscar W's for a memorable meal overlooking the river and the world's largest paddlesteamer fleet. Taste delicacies such as Nanneella milk-fed veal and saltbush lamb from Womboota while enjoying one of the country's finer wine selections.

The riverland wine industry is growing more sophisticated with each vintage. Check its progress at Trentham Estate, a family-owned vineyard that produces consistently good value wines about 15 minutes from Mildura on the banks of the Murray. At the other end of the Victorian border, just outside Echuca, Cape Horn's boutique wines are backed by 150-years of Murray viticulture. Taste single grape varietals such as verdelho, shiraz and petit verdot  - not to mention their olive oil  - at Stevens Brook Estate in neighbouring Moama.

Detour off the Murray Valley Highway to visit Monichino Wines at Katunga, renowned for its Piedmontese-style barbera and other Italian varietals. East of here lies Rutherglen, famous for the quality of its fortified wines such as muscat and topaque, though local winemakers are also dab hands at chardonnay, shiraz, marsanne and sangiovese. 

ACTIVATE

Get an aerial view of Sunraysia's lakes and sunbaked plains with a dawn balloon flight over Mildura. There are myriad houseboat operators along the Murray, but few offer the chic finishes of Rich River Houseboats' eight-person Icon, or their Ultimate 1 and Ultimate 2 five-suite cruisers where even the bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling views.

For a closer, more relaxed look at river life, grab a canoe or kayak and paddle under your own steam.

There are no fewer than 41 listed golf courses along the Murray's length, from Victoria and New South Wales down to South Australia. The 18-hole championship course at the Murray Downs Golf and Country Club in Swan Hill is one of the best regarded; beware of water hazards.

This online feature was published on the Gourmet Traveller website in October 2012.


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Recipe collections

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2017 Restaurant Guide

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