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If you’re keen to get skiing on mountain this year, take a step back and read the fine print before leaving home, as Victoria’s alpine resorts are preparing for a very different start this winter season. While overnight stays are possible within Victorian resorts, visitor facilities at Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Stirling, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain are likely to be limited as tobogganing, downhill and cross country skiing is not…

Take a seaside stroll on a wild shore, feel the pulse of an ancient forest, find views that have inspired some of Australia’s great painters and iconic novelists. Who’d have thought it possible a month ago? As the loosening of lockdown continues across the world, Victorians can now stretch their legs and travel within the state. Nature has been the big winner of the COVID era, and our cleaner, greener, open spaces are beckoning. Sorrento-Portsea…

Winemaker and proprietor Richard Tallis of Tallis Wines in Dookie, Victoria, is a mighty talented, down-to-earth bloke whose knowledge, understanding and connection to the land though grape growing and winemaking is admirable. His Tallis 2017 Riesling is a class-leading wine that features bright lifted aromas of cumquats and melon, coupled with a rich, round mouthfeel that’s layered with mixed citrus, the best of summer’s stone fruit flavours and a deeper buttery, ripe pear element It’s…

In 2011 artisan baker Louise Ritchie began a heath-focused fascination with natural slow-ferment breads that can make gluten more digestible. Fast forward to 2020: while her artisan loaves are simply the best we’ve ever tasted, Lou’s sourdough crumpets are now the big-ticket winners. In 2011 her passion was driven by necessity – to improve the diet of her two sons. So began a self–education process with a simple sourdough starter made from just organic Australian…

Quest Albury on Townsend has taken the art hotel concept several steps further by partnering with leading Victorian art gallery Aboriginal Exhibitions. The new partnership sees a display of more than 170 original pantings and prints within a series of hotel gallery spaces. Also recently launched are the new Studio Art Suites – a collection of four premium rooms that include original paintings from celebrated Lockhart River (Cape York) artists: Fiona Omeenyo, Patrick Butcher Jnr,…

It’s deceptively simple in appearance yet there are delicately nuanced flavours that take me by surprise – it’s a rare delight. This is my first little tasting plate at Botanic Wine Garden, Port Macquarie; it will be one of a pleasurable many. The dish is presented in an elegant shallow bowl that’s painted with ingredients: sashimi kingfish, buttermilk, apple, basil oil, green chilli and fennel – it looks beautiful and the wine match is stellar.…

In terms of wineries with a view, premium soils and brilliant cellar doors, Tallis Wine in Dookie, Victoria is one of my personal all time favourites. The modernist corrugated iron-clad cellar door architecture features sweeping views from its interior floor-to-ceiling glass, with the simplicity of the layout and sleek furnishings only adding to the wonderful feeling of calm. Perched in the rolling hills of Dookie and with around 30km of cropping and grazing land between…

Andrew Sutherland Smith, owner/winemaker of Rutherglen’s iconic Warrabilla Wines could be labelled one of Australia’s most passionate. A true unsung winemaking hero, and an altogether top bloke, Andrew is proud of his product and firmly states that ‘typically’ his product is ‘like no other’. ‘It’s not necessarily a regional or Rutherglen styled product – it’s a “Wobbly Villa” product!’ he laughs. Annually, wine club members, friends and fans of the winery get together for a…

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…

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…

Mat Picone, proprietor of Mansfield Coffee Merchant, has a solid hospitality background matched with a sense of creative business flair. He’s done his time working in both Melbourne cafés and coffee roasters like North Melbourne’s DiBella Coffee, plus has worked a string of winter seasons (2004-2009) at Mount Buller’s illustrious Chalet restaurant in Victoria’s high country, which is known for its contemporary dining and extensive list of 250 wines. It was through the eyes of…

It’s deceptively simple in appearance yet there are delicately nuanced flavours that take me by surprise – it’s a rare delight. This is my first little tasting plate at Botanic Wine Garden, Port Macquarie; it will be one of a pleasurable many. The dish is presented in an elegant shallow bowl that’s painted with ingredients: sashimi kingfish, buttermilk, apple, basil oil, green chilli and fennel – it looks beautiful and the wine match is stellar.…

Bills Fishhouse is one of Port Macquarie’s most respected and lively venues, a casual eatery featuring a gleaming open plan galley kitchen, a bar redolent of a coastal beach-hut and windows that open on to Clarence Street, allowing the fresh coastal breezes to flow inside. Tonight we share the dining room with a full house, and enjoy a welcoming and professional service that puts us immediately at ease. Fast become the seafood go-to centre of…

The pre-winter ice cold air is already blasting Ballarat, Victoria however the only things cool climate inside the opulent and very warm Craig’s Royal Hotel this Friday were the French and Australian wines. A packed house filled The Gallery Restaurant for Ian Curley’s French Saloon takeover; a staged dinner and wine challenge event – as a part of Plate-up Ballarat – where some of Victoria’s best wines were compared against premium drops from Champagne, Loire…

The sun sets over Beechworth, flooding the old town with rich golden light. The hills above Beechworth, their rich red soil glowing red and magenta in the dying light of the day. This is the view from the first floor verandah of the newly-renovated Empire Hotel in the heart of Beechworth. It is mesmerising. The outdoor lounge, which is protected by blinds when more than breezy, is the perfect place to take in a Bridge…

It’s early autumn, the coffee machine is humming and there’s a positive feel in the room as yet another packed-lunch service begins at Benalla’s Rustik Café & Foodstore. From its humble café beginnings, this Victorian High Country eatery has grown into a microeconomic powerhouse, supporting a wide range of local and national premium food producers. Similar to the mid-twentieth-century independent corner grocer or milk bar, co-owner Julie Brown is reviving the concept of a quality…

We’re sitting in Provenance restaurant admiring the simplified new interior and listening to the playlist. Chef Michael Ryan puts as much effort into his music as he does the food on the plate. Velvet Underground. R.E.M. Cowboy Junkies. Smooth, rich sounds of the late 20th century purring sweetly into this grand old bank building. The new cool green walls, moss green carpet and minimalist decoration by Meme Designs highlights the soaring ceiling and high Victorian…

It’s early evening and the warm glow of the bistro spills out from the broad verandah into the street. Inside, the Edison lamps bathe the beautifully simple dining room with golden light. Woven cane bistro chairs sit at hardwood tables, each set with fine wine glasses, cutlery and cloth napery. Beechworth’s Ox and Hound is a real local bistro, the place where you can dine several times a week or drop in for an exceptionally…

Its been an extremely successful two years for Wodonga chef David Kapay, since we first reported on the opening of Miss Amelie – a restaurant that continues to shine with his exceedingly well-balanced fare. Set inside the historic former Wodonga railway station, the modern-Australian eatery features a large open kitchen and softly formal dining room with hot-pink decor accents and fine art prints by Canadian illustrator Jenny Liz Rome. New to the venue is the…

What does consecutive years of work in Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant test kitchen do to a chef, and what kind of person must you be to stick it out? So the story goes, before a dish makes the grade at Heston’s The Fat Duck restaurant, elements of its composition must be designed, measured, crafted and perfected. Repetition in cooking, testing, comparing and reporting on each dish’s elements – noting temperature, timing, texture, scent and taste –…