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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.

The Royal Botanic Gardens opens the Calyx

The Calyx

The Calyx

The Oompa Loompas are nowhere to be seen, but Willy Wonka would be thrilled by the first exhibition ever staged at Sydney Royal Botanic Garden's new horticultural gallery.

"Sweet Addiction: The Botanic Story of Chocolate" traces the story of chocolate from bean to bar. Housed inside the Calyx, a new $17 million steel and glass cathedral for plants, the exhibition centres on a miniature Amazonian rainforest. Cacao trees, vanilla orchids and flamingo flowers thrive in the tropical humidity, while topiary howler monkeys pose under palm trees in a central courtyard.

Entwined in the spectacle are interactive exhibitions and video installations that touch on the ecological issues surrounding chocolate production.

"Few know where chocolate comes from, or how it's made," says the garden's director of horticulture management, Jimmy Turner. "We tell you about rainforest ecology and conservation, but we're wrapping it in chocolate wrappers as a bit of fun."

Designed by PTW Architects and McGregor Coxall, the new structure also encompasses an educational centre and an outdoor podium framed in vertical steel to evoke a calyx, the whorl of sepals that protect a developing flower bud.

A living wall 51 metres long and six metres high (the largest in the southern hemisphere) features 18,000 individually potted plants, with curly parsley, alternantheras and heucheras thriving in their vertical home. Horticulturalists tend to the wall each day before it opens to the public to ensure a gorgeous display. Child-height sections of the wall are prone to being torn off by curious kids, although some are intended to be grabbed at - chocolate mint, for example, which smells exactly as its name suggests.

The Calyx is open  10am-4pm  daily. Sweet Addiction is showing until April 2017. The Caylx, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.

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