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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

How does a travel editor travel?

Helen Anderson, travel editor at Australian Gourmet Traveller, shares her insider tips.

My first trip overseas was to India in the late '80s. London would have been more logical, but India was the most exotic place I could think of. I'd saved enough to buy a backpack and a ticket to Bombay, and took a copy of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, his Booker Prize-winning tale set in the capital. Though it was all magic realism, the craziness seemed perfectly plausible once I arrived and entered the alternative universe of the subcontinent. India was overwhelming, fascinating, frightening and totally addictive. It set me in motion for a lifetime of travel.

I travel to learn. I'm not much good at reclining beside pools. And I'm an awkward shopper.

The most interesting thing about my job, apart from travelling a couple of times a year, is watching the rise of travel as a defining feature of the Australian character. We travel regardless of season, exchange rates, epidemics, job loss, warnings against travel. We go first, stay longest, hike further, aim higher. By and large, we're open-minded and pretty considerate travellers, and among the most important travelling markets in the world.

In my luggage you'll find mosquito repellent, noise-cancelling earbuds, smart device, pawpaw lip balm, and my first travelling alarm clock - it's years old and has never let me down.

I always try to learn a couple of phrases in the local language before arrival. It doesn't matter that I occasionally mix my Swahili with Sinhalese; it's the honest attempt that counts. I know four phrases in about 10 languages.

I always wonder why hotel guestrooms often have such poor bedside reading lights. Lighten up, people! And I wonder about the wisdom of hotel interiors so dramatically dark that guests end up leaving their gear behind.

My favourite place is generally the one I've visited most recently. Botswana, however, is one of my all-time favourites. Sample of my last morning on a recent trip: screaming baboons jump on tent at dawn. Float silently along a hippo highway in Okavango Delta in a mokoro canoe. Arrive back at camp and elephant steps into canoe moments after I vacate. Elephant's appearance at reception delays check-out. Then there's a rollicking four-wheel-drive dash because we're running late for the tiny plane that's about to land on a bush airstrip. But a herd of impala wander prettily onto said airstrip, forcing our driver to jump out and shoo them off. Honestly, I could have stayed forever.

Among the strangest places I've wound up on assignment was a trance dance in the Kalahari. Making plov in a backyard in Bukhara (a little like pilaf, plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan). Night snorkelling in the Maldives.

The first thing I do when I get to the airport is breathe, deeply. Almost there.

The best advice I can give is to always check the fine print. I know it's boring, but travel is among our biggest annual expenses and it's worth being clear about conditions and exclusions. And do read those sign-your-life-away indemnity forms before your next extreme adventure. Not all travel loyalty and rewards programs are created equal - it's worth checking the actual value you get when you come to redeem.

The most important things to have when travelling are travel insurance, manners and a sense of humour.

This article is presented by American Express. Go the distance with Membership Rewards.



 

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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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