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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.

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.

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.

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.

Cinque Terre to cap visitors at 1.5 million

Cinque Terre's Riomaggiore

Cinque Terre's Riomaggiore

The number of tourists allowed entry to the world heritage-listed Cinque Terre could be dramatically reduced next summer, with news that Italy will close entry to the region once the total number of tourists reaches 1.5 million.

Located in the north-west of Italy in the Liguria region, Cinque Terre - which means five lands - encapsulates five small fishing villages joined by narrow and winding cliff-side roads. Tracks leading to the villages have been closing sporadically for years as a result of mudslides, rockfalls and flooding, and it's been very difficult for visitors to know about these closures before arriving to the region.

With a sharp increase in coaches touring the area (many a result of the cruise ships docking in nearby ports), and with Cinque Terre's popularity only growing, protecting the natural landscape of the world heritage-listed site is now more of a priority than ever.

As part of the new measures, tickets will be sold online ahead of time, an app is being designed to illustrate which of the villages are most congested, and roads leading to Cinque Terre will be fitted with devices to clock the number of people coming in and out of the area. Once the number reaches 1.5 million visitors per year, access will be denied. "We will certainly be criticised for this, but for us it is a question of survival," president of Cinque Terre Park Vittorio Alessandro told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises - RCL Australia - has 16 ships sailing through Europe between April and October this year, 10 of which will call at La Spezia and Livorno, the closest ports to Cinque Terre. In response to the concerns raised by the Cinque Terre tourism boards, RCL has increased its portfolio of alternative tours and shore excursions as a first measure.

"Overcrowding of the smaller villages is concerning for tourists and residents alike," says commercial director of RCL Australia Adam Armstrong. "We will be strictly following the local authorities' guidance on this and offering more alternative options in the nearby tourist hubs of Florence and Pisa. This will help us to preserve the authenticity of the guest experience, as well as the local communities."

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