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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.

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.

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.

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.

Snowy Mountains travel guide

The action doesn't stop when the snow melts in the New South Wales Alps.

The New South Wales high country is home to the continent's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, and some of the state's more magical landscapes  - from alpine plains dotted with woolly merino sheep to pine forests and fairytale lakes. Its unique environment and ecology are internationally acclaimed; in 1997 Kosciuszko National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Whatever the season, the great outdoors are the big drawcard here, with hiking, biking, boating, fishing, riding and camping luring nature lovers from home and abroad.

COOMA
Follow the Kosciuszko Alpine Way from Canberra and you'll find Cooma, a pretty gold-rush town set in the Monaro plains. The heart of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, today Cooma is better known as a pit stop en route to the ski fields. You'll find good brews and brunches at The Lott, and prize-winning, locally-roasted coffee at Kettle and Seed.

JINDABYNE
Just 60km down the highway lies Jindabyne, gateway to the Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts (rent your snow gear here) and site of the Snowy Region Visitor Centre. Lake Jindabyne is also a haven for fishing and water sports in the warmer months. Settle into Man from Snowy River-style lodgings at Moonbah Hut, a stone and slab hut with toasty fireplace, rocking chairs on the verandah and plenty of trout waiting in the waters of its private lake.

Stock up on freshly baked biscuits at Snowy Mountains Cookies, where former ski pro Nolen Oayda and partner Daisy cook up gingerbread men, Anzacs and couverture chocolate biscuits daily. In the heart of Jindabyne, the tapas, wine and live music is a hit at Journey Food & Wine Bar, and Austrian traditions and Australian inspiration combine on the Alpine Way at the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery to produce heartwarming eau de vie in flavours from pink lady apple to pear and butterscotch. The Wildbrumby crew dish up hearty European mountain food at the distillery and at their Thredbo Knickerbocker restaurant.

THREDBO
With Australia's longest ski runs and highest golf course, the European-style alpine village of Thredbo is a year-round adventure-sports destination. The resort offers everything from indoor rockclimbing and bobsledding to fly fishing and laps at the Leisure Centre's heated 50-metre pool. For those keen to conquer our tallest peak, an all-seasons chairlift deposits budding mountaineers near the Rams Head Range for the 14.3km hike to the Kosciuszko summit.

Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, some 15 minutes from the town centre on the edge of the national park, combines four-star accommodation with refined dining and striking architecture at its signature Cuisine restaurant. Whether it's a ceviche of Jervis Bay king prawn or a Tumut rainbow trout, regional produce is the focus. Hiking trails can be tackled on foot or by guided Segway tour.

Go eco at Alpine Habitats, a cluster of 18 low-impact lodgings among the snow gums of Crackenback valley, handy to both Jindabyne and Thredbo. For something even more boutique, the Pender Lea Post Office is a converted high-country cottage and barn that's big on ambience and cosy comforts, much like the region itself.

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


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