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Jamie Durrant

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Freeman on Ford is Beechworth’s first, and only five star accommodation, having remained so for the past 15 years. Accredited with numerous national awards for excellence, including winning Trip Advisor’s coveted award for Australia’s best bed and breakfast in 2013. Part of its charm is the individually decorated rooms and suites, well known for providing an unmatched level of luxurious respite within its central Beechworth location. We step inside one of the two 1930s deluxe…

The sky had a ‘threatening look’ about it when Georg von Neumayer and his party reached the summit of Mount Kosciuszko on the morning of 19 November 1862. Neumayer, a Bavarian scientist of exacting standards, was conducting a geomagnetic survey of Victoria, a colony which, under the influence of Governor Charles La Trobe, avidly supported the advancement of science and the arts. Travelling as a private guest of Neumayer was the Vienna-born painter of Romantic…

We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do this on Thanksgiving…

It’s the quintessential aperitif and has in recent years become the summer go to party drink that Australians simply adore. We’re of course talking about the brightly orange luminescent coloured Aperol Spritz. Given its popularity we’re pleased to share the news of the 100 years of Aperol celebration coming to Melbourne this summer. One of Essentials very favourite inner city boutique hotels, the Adelphi on Flinders Lane has collaborated with the Campari Group to celebrate…

It’s always a grand experience venturing into High Country Victoria, Australia. With pleasantly forested undulating hills and dramatic alpine peaks making up some of the country’s highest, the region presents an opportunity for people to reconnect with nature and so reinvigorate the soul. Living and working within the area, Master Builder Steve Graves of leading firm Bright Alpine Builders, knows all too well how picturesque the region is. Inspired by the tall stands of mountain…

Col Fondo Prosecco 2018 The Dal Zotto prosecco story is the stuff of legends. Just over a decade ago Otto Dal Zotto, King Valley tobacco grower turned grape grower and winemaker, launched himself into a quest: he wanted to make sparking wine from the prosecco grape, the grape he grew up with in his town of Valdobbiadene in Veneto in Northern Italy. After much effort searching he found some prosecco vines in Australia – in…

Original Lockhart River Art Gang members Rosella Namok, Fiona Omeenyo, Patrick Butcher Jnr and Silas Hobson last week launched a new exhibition in Regional Victoria just days after achieving a record $90,000 in charity art sales; supporting the apolitical organisation Global Gardens for Peace in Melbourne. The brightly coloured Lockhart River paintings caused a fierce bidding war between the 150 plus art lovers who packed the house at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art last…

Colour of Raven is a new release Australian wine that’s set to hit our tables for Christmas 2019. It is in fact a red, however appears inky deep black in colour. The  wine can change from jet black to a purple, bluish tinge and a dark red in various lights, similar like the feathers of the Raven. The deepest dark colour is brought about by a rich Cabernet Sauvignon grape from the Limestone Coast in…

Capturing Tropical and Fresh Fruit Flavours: Essentials in-house chef Megan Chalmers has collaborated with New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As and Whitsunday’s newest resort, Elysian Retreat to present a range of tropical inspired menu items, including this flame-grill assisted dessert. Brown Sugar Pudding with rum-glazed flame-grilled pineapple, Fresh As Freeze Dried Pineapple Chunks, double cream Brown Sugar Pudding Preheat oven to 180°C. 250g pitted dates, chopped 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1½ cups…

New York is set to launch a new sky observation deck, Edge at Hudson Yards. Announced as the Western Hemisphere’s highest outdoor observation deck, Edge will open to the public on March 11, 2020 offering visitors the opportunity view never before seen 360 degree views of New York City.  Piercing the sky at a soaring 100 floors from its record-setting height of 345 metres, Edge will enable outstanding views of Manhattan, Western New Jersey and…

Briony Bradford, Head Chef at Rutherglen’s famed Jones Winery Restaurant has an artist’s eye. She paints impeccably presented plates that incorporate delicate flavour pairings and a range of intriguing textures. Given their beauty, it’s easy to think of the dishes as items that might have popped out of a renaissance painting. But her expressions of the seasons are not mere table arrangements of draped grape bunches and stacked stone fruits. There is another skill at…

Featuring a unique, easy-to-digest unleavened kefir pizza dough, this rich in umami French-style pizza will have you coming back for more. Caramelised onions 10 brown onions, peeled, thinly sliced 100g unsalted butter Salt flakes to taste 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar Method 1. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, add butter and melt, then add sliced onions and stir well. 2. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook slowly until onions become softened…

Third-generation restaurateurs Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine Reymond (children of former three hat Melbourne chef Jacques Reymond) have opened the doors to Frédéric and Fred’s Bar, offering Melbourne inner-urban Cremorne locals, new all-day European dining with a sophisticated edge. The two spaces serve separate menus, yet both carry a style an elegance that seem to outweigh their humble ingredients. The plated style of dishes on offer, whether designed with simplicity in mind, or layered in additional…

This weekend, celebrate spring in Victoria’s High Country by joining the Festival of Short Walks. Showcasing their local charms, the villages of Beechworth, Chiltern, Yackandandah and Rutherglen have been stepping it up during the weeks of 14 – 20 October, 2019. An Australian first, the seven day short walks festival features over thirty guided walks and forty self-guided walks, each designed to give you an evocative experience, rich in nature, arts and culture, food and…

We couldn’t think of a better cause – a supportive celebration of our local seafood industry that’s guaranteed to taste great. Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, is calling on Australians to ‘ask for Aussie barra’ in celebration of National Barramundi Day today, October 18. ‘With its Aboriginal name and prominence on restaurant menus, Australians often assume the barramundi they are eating is Australian, but this is not always…

If you’re thinking of travelling to the UK in the near future, might we suggest a timely visit to artisan watchmaker designers The Camden Watch Company. This independent British-based brand was founded in the heart of Camden by wife and husband team Anneke Short and Jerome Robert – both previously designers  for other leading brands. Currently the couple operate three standalone shops in different parts of the city.  Each location is different, but each reflects…

This cheeky little bourbon cocktail is an easy to create American spring-inspired gem, taken from Chyka Keebaugh’s new book Chyka Celebrate. Maple Bourbon Cocktail 1 untreated orange 60ml bourbon 30ml freshly squeezed orange juice 15ml pure maple syrup 1–2 dashes angostura bitters ice cubes, for shaking and serving mint sprig, to garnish Serves 1 Using a small knife, cut a thin, long strip of orange peel and twist it. Add the ingredients, except the garnishes,…

Sharing the Love: We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do…

Hot on the heels of its Brisbane The Fantauzzo hotel launch, Accor this week opened the doors to its ninth Art Series hotel, The Adnate. But does its 27 story high rise feature mural stack up against the artist’s best? According to Accor, the new 250-room CBD Hay Street hotel promises to inspire guests with ‘the art of dreaming big’ with a main exterior façade spray-painted with a multicultural portraiture mega mural by world-renowned Australian…

Syrniki are Russian fried quark (cheese) pancakes that are traditionally garnished with light sour cream, varenye (jam), honey or apple sauce. The cheese mixture may contain raisins for extra flavour. Melbourne’s Blue Bay Dairy quark cheese is the perfect ingredient for making these quick-as-a-flash breakfast recipe gems. They’re simply delicious! Syrniki (seer-nee-kee) Russian Sweet Cheese Fritters Makes 12-14 medium size pieces 250g Blue Bay Quark Cheese, or drained cottage cheese 2 eggs pinch of salt…

Have you tried grilling fruit? The intense heat of the grill adds a caramelised texture to most fruits, also adding sweetness and a more pronounced flavour profile. Just about any fruits can go on the grill as long as they are fairly firm and not overripe. The perfect pairing, we feel, is a quality homemade granita. These are a synch to make, and can be prepared quickly. Here our a few of our favourite grilled…

The heart of Victoria’s High Country new boutique accommodation operator Big Sky Retreats has just launched a new premium home stay: Big Sky Ridgeview, located in the popular mountainous tourist town of Bright. Designed to encourage longer stays and a retreat to nature without sacrificing an inch of luxury, Big Sky Ridgeview, is one of a select new group of year-round Australian holiday stays that raise-the-bar in terms of features, quality and creative design. Set…

As the weather warms up down under, the spring and summer seasons announce themselves with colour and life, and for most of us a host of special occasions is clearly seen on the horizon. These most joyous of events inspire us via their rekindled connections with family and friends. In line with the imminent silly season, Rustik Café & Foodstore in Benalla, North East Victoria, is hosting a special book signing event starring Australian homemaking…

As the weather warms up, there’s no better place to spend a few lazy sunny hours than exploring Bellarine Wineries, with their premium maritime climate influenced wines and incredibly idyllic bayside views. But fact remains, getting there from Melbourne involves a painful journey by road that can quickly break the weekend free spirit. Thankfully Bellarine Peninsula winery Terindah Estate has partnered with Port Phillip Ferries to create the ultimate wine and dine tour package allowing…

It’s one of the best best BBQ recipes we know and is incredibly simple to put together. Its winning secret ingredient: the added premium smoked paprika. Get this one together for family and friends this silly season down under and you’re sure to be awarded King of the BBQ. Coriander and Lime Mayonnaise 3 egg yolks 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 tsp white wine vinegar 200ml olive oil or sunflower oil ½ bunch coriander, well…

It’s the perfect luxe Aussie BBQ recipe – perfectly designed for spring and summer season celebrations: Crayfish Tail Brioche Sliders. Simply grab some crayfish tails from your fish monger, some fresh brioche buns from your local baker or even Aldi (shhh! we didn’t say that), and get the BBQ firing – assuming it’s a non total fire ban day of course! Crayfish Tail Brioche Sliders Freshly BBQ’d crayfish tails, sliced into medallions Fresh brioche buns…

It’s been a busy twelve months for the seemingly ever expanding team at Billson’s Brewery, Beechworth in High Country Victoria. After successfully restoring an 1800s mineral spring water well on site and reviving a secret stash of historic beer recipes, owners Nathan and Felicity Cowan have this week launched a cafe menu featuring the venue’s iconic brews, classic sodas and cordials as key recipe ingredients. Also included on the menu are salad dressings, pickles and…

Bowel Cancer Australia has announced the return of Meat Free Week, September 23-29, challenging Australians to try a plant based foods menu for seven days and raise funds for a great cause. The campaign aims to get people thinking and talking about how much meat they’re eating, and the impact consumption has on health and the environment.  Now in its seventh year, support for Meat Free Week continues to grow with international celebrity campaigners and…

It’s not often that Essentials rolls out a little story on office furniture, however frequently we do explore retail products that we consider artisan, impeccably crafted and down right brilliant. In keeping with our desire to inform readers of great experiences, plus a desire for developing greater workplace health – considering we also spend long hours in front of the computer screen – it’s difficult to ignore the nifty little invention we were recently introduced…

Melbourne’s most exclusive Japanese restaurant is genuinely hard to find. It’s down a laneway off Bourke Street that seems to become invisible when you start looking for it – however Essentials has the secret instructional discovery details listed here. And for good reason, because on Monday, 23 September 2019, Ishizuka will present a special eight-course kaiseki dinner celebrating the world’s most sought after beef, showcasing both locally sourced David Blackmore 9+ score and imported Japanese…