Healthy Eating

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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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Camping up

Camping needn’t be down and dirty. Kerryn Burgess pops the cork on Victoria’s flash wilderness retreats.

In our national psyche, we are a nation of outdoors-lovers. We load the station wagon with folding chairs and eskies, with fishing rods and cricket bats. If the season is chilly, we pack marshmallows and hunt for sticks on which to roast them. We are rugged and resourceful, fully equipped to deal with nature.

The last time most of us actually went camping was a long time ago. We went to bed early to get away from the mosquitoes, but we couldn't sleep because there was a large wild animal snuffling outside looking for food scraps. It was just as well we were awake, though, when the rain came at 2am and the tent collapsed under the weight of the water.

Is it camping, then, if you dine on asparagus with kohlrabi, duck ham and summer blossoms at western Victoria's Royal Mail Hotel, then return to your slickly detailed '60s Airstream caravan parked in a campground in the Grampians National Park to sleep? Is it camping if you stay in a permanent tent with wooden floorboards, bar fridge, queen-size bed, ensuite and the toilet-paper roll folded neatly into a little point at the end?

Having recently returned from a three-month camping trip to research the east coast's best camp sites for Cool Camping Australia, I'm happy to report that it seems peevish to agonise over semantics when you've just poured another glass of Gippsland chardonnay from that bar fridge and you're sitting outside on the tent's hardwood deck watching a kookaburra cock his head at you, sharing a glance that says "this is the life, eh?" Recognising the market for stylish camping options, Parks Victoria offers "wilderness retreats" in three of the state's national parks and camping reserves.

Wilsons Promontory Wilderness Retreats are the last word in government-run camping luxury (four words rarely seen together, it's true). Each permanent "tent" has an ensuite bathroom, electric heater, piles of squishy pillows, and hot-water bottles with soft covers. The tents share a camp kitchen equipped with stove, microwave, fridge, coffee plungers, crockery and so on, and the barbecues outside are for the exclusive use of retreat guests. (The only discordant note is the instant coffee, so BYO beans.) The private deck is the best part of the whole deal: a generously sized area with close-up views of the coastal heath. Tempting as it is not to stir from here, rouse yourself to stroll the 3.8km Tidal Overlook circuit, which leads through lilly pilly and eucalypt forests to a lookout from where you can see all the way over to Squeaky Beach. From late afternoon onwards, you're likely to see wombats and wallabies on the track.

At Buchan Caves Reserve in the foothills of east Gippsland, the wilderness retreats come with a rumbling soundtrack. It sounds like mountain cattlemen, but in fact it's a mob of kangaroos bounding down into the valley. Kangaroos seem exotic here, where mature European trees - silver poplars, English ash - are as common in the campground as eucalypts, and where autumn brings a blaze of deciduous colour. The big draw is the extensive caves system, open for tours daily. The retreats look identical to those at the Prom, although the bathrooms are shared.

Cape Conran Coastal Park, 420km east of Melbourne and 650km south of Sydney, is a long way from anywhere, so don't forget the corkscrew. The wilderness retreats and the campground are set amid scrubby tea tree, banksia and southern mahogany moments from the beach. And what a beach it is: wild, unpatrolled and not for the faint-hearted, but perfect for hours of solitary beachcombing.

US columnist Dave Barry once wrote, "Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business." My own heart, though, still belongs to the old school of camping. I like being outdoors and staying outdoors. I like getting dirty and staying dirty. Most of all, I like waking up in a tent. Just as long as there's real coffee to start the day, and a bottle of wine at the other end.


Parks Victoria Wilderness Retreats start at $150 a night at Cape Conran Coastal Park and Buchan Caves Reserve, and $250 a night at Wilsons Promontory National Park. 13 19 63.

Kerryn Burgess is chief subeditor at Gourmet Traveller. Her book Cool Camping Australia: East Coast (Explore Australia Publishing, $34.95, pbk) is on sale now.


Parks Victoria Wilderness Retreats start at $150 a night at Cape Conran Coastal Park and Buchan Caves Reserve, and $250 a night at Wilsons Promontory National Park. 13 19 63.

Kerryn Burgess is chief subeditor at Gourmet Traveller. Her book Cool Camping Australia: East Coast (Explore Australia Publishing, $34.95, pbk) is on sale now.

Signature Collection

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Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

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