Australian Truffles

Digging Up Truffle Truths

"Forget about the French soil, forget about the French system, our own system in Australia could cover the whole world in black truffles," proclaims Tasmanian truffle farmer, Tim Terry.

The first black truffles (tuber melanosporum) to be produced in the southern hemisphere were harvested in Gisborne, New Zealand in 1993.  After 8 years of hard work, in 1999 the first Australian truffles were harvested in Tasmanian. With restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney, Europe and Japan paying Australian farmers up to $3,000 a kilogram for black truffles, they may look a bit like a potato but the market price for truffles far supersedes that of a starchy tuberous staple crop. 

As such the cultivation of truffles in Australia continues, but growing or buying these pungent morsels requires a bit of education to undercover truffle truths and expose any myths.  There are actually thousands of native Australian truffles; however, the majority of them are relatively tasteless.  Rather we rely on cultivating European truffles in Australian soil, with emphasis on black, white, winter and summer varieties.  

Embracing the truffle theme, we have designed five original AGFG recipes for you to try. 


Australian Truffles can grown throughout the year, however, they typically form in late summer and mature throughout autumn for a winter harvest; they are mainly ready to be eaten between June and August.  For those who wish to incorporate truffles into their cooking right now, black summer or burgundy truffles harvested in Europe throughout December may be available by important.   Within the next few months, those who wait patiently will soon discover truffle festivals and an abundance of these delicious gems.

Truffles Receive Culinary Celebrity Status

In 1900 truffles were used by most people and were certainly present during many occasions. Nowadays, they are a rare delicacy.  In the last 30 years new attempts for mass production of truffles have been started. There are now truffle-growing areas in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Oregon, North Carolina and the UK.

Their success and the value of Australian and New Zealand truffles has encouraged a boutique highly sought after industry to develop. This Western Australian venture had its first harvest in 2004 and in 2005 they unearthed a 1kg truffle that is potentially the largest ever harvested in the southern hemisphere. Production is expanding into the colder regions of Victoria and New South Wales. 

Because of their high price and their strong taste, truffles are used sparingly. Truffle oil is often used as a substitute for truffles to provide flavouring or to enhance the flavour and aroma of truffles in cooking. However, most truffle oil is a synthetic product that contains no actual truffle. Home grown truffles can be found being used by several of Australia’s leading restaurants and in more recent years has proved to be a successful export.


Jewel of Cookery

Markets are bursting with delicious produce, delis are packed with scrumptious products and, restaurant menus are abound with desirable ingredients. And no ingredient is more delicious, more scrumptious, or desirable than the truffle! Not to be confused with the chocolate variety.

Truffles are considered to be the “Jewel of Cookery” and are deemed to possess aphrodisiacal qualities by some connoisseurs! While the aphrodisiacal characters of the truffle are yet to be properly established, there is no argument that truffles are held in the highest esteem in international haute cuisine with a use limited only by the imagination of the Chef.

So what exactly is this delicacy that is causing so much commotion? Well, technically truffles are a group of valuable and highly sought-after edible species of underground ascomycetes belonging to the fungal genus tuber! Simply put, Truffles are species of fungi.

The Fruit of Fungus

Like mushrooms, truffles are the fruit of a fungus. They grow underground and rely on trees to host them and animals eating them to distribute their spores. Because fungi cannot make its own food, truffles form symbiotic relationships with deciduous trees, including oak, beech, hazel and poplar. The hyphae coat the roots of the tree and help their host absorb soil minerals. In return, the tree host provides the fungus with nutrients.

Truffles flourish throughout the winter months and can be found buried between the fallen leaves and twigs and the mineral soil.  There are really two genuine species of truffle, although other less flavoursome varieties of fungi have subsequently adopted the lucrative Truffle identity.

The Black Truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (tuber melanosporum) is named for the Périgord region in France. Specimens can be found in late autumn and winter, reaching 7cm in diameter and weighing 100g though are usually much less. Black truffles on these markets sell between €200 and 600 per kilogram ($320 – 950 AUD), depending on the quantity and quality of the harvest.

The White Truffle or Alba Truffle (tuber magnatum) comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region in northern Italy. They can reach 12cm diameter and 500g, though are usually much smaller, Italian white truffles are more pungent and are held in very high esteem, selling for between 200€ and 400€ per hectogram ($320 – 640 AUD).

Because truffles are found below the soil surface (at a depth of around 20 cm), they are difficult to find and very expensive as a result. The world's most expensive truffle was a 1.51 kilogram White Alba truffle. It was sold for 125,000 Euros ($199,500.00 AUD) on 13 November 2006 to Hong Kong property tycoon Sir Gordon Wu.

Training your Pet to Find Truffles

Looking for truffles in open ground is almost always carried out with specially trained pigs or dogs. Pigs were used historically in Europe but nowadays farmers prefer to use dogs. Both pigs and dogs have keen senses of smell, but while dogs must be trained to the scent of truffles, female pigs (or sows), need no training whatsoever. Truffles produce a scent that mimic the sex pheromone of boar saliva to which the sow is keenly attracted. More recently dogs have proved to be just as effective in finding truffles and a lot easier to manage, and unlike pigs, they do not try to eat the truffles when they find them.

Truffles have been collected for at least 3600 years, and contrary to stubborn legend, truffles can be cultivated! As early as 1808, there were successful attempts to cultivate truffles, known in French as trufficulture. People had long observed that truffles were growing among the roots of certain trees, and in 1808, Joseph Talon, from Apt in southern France, had the idea to sow some acorns collected at the foot of oak trees known to host truffles in their root system. The experiment was successful.  Years later, truffles were found in the soil around the newly grown oak trees.

Rise and Fall of the Truffle

In 1847, Auguste Rousseau of Carpentras (in Vaucluse) planted 7 hectares of oak trees (again from acorns found on the soil around truffle-producing oak trees) and he subsequently obtained large harvests of truffles.

These successful attempts were met with enthusiasm, in the late 19th century, when a dramatic epidemic of phylloxera destroyed much of the vineyards in southern France, large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, and production reached peaks of hundreds of tonnes at the end of the 19th century.

In the 20th century however, with the growing industrialization of France, many of these truffle fields returned to wilderness. The First World War also dealt a serious blow to the French countryside, and what's more, the truffle fields planted in the 19th century naturally stopped being productive. (The average life cycle of a truffle-producing tree is 30 years.) Consequently, after 1945 the production of truffles plummeted, and the prices skyrocketed, reaching the zenith that we know today.

By Gordan Zola

Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival

Saturday 05 May, 2012 from 2pm-10pm

Easy, Breezy Darwin Spirit

Early explorers once scrambled these Northern Territory rocks, the din of sea water crashing at shore accompanying their discovery of cliffy projections by lantern light.  In the late 19th century the name Nightcliff was accorded to this popular suburb, situated on the coastal fringe north of Darwin nearby Rapid Creek.

Today the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival is highly recommended for locals and tourists ready for a cruisy and unperturbed cultural experience – it draws thousands of visitors every year.  Perfectly timed at the tail end of the wet season, when the area is quite dry and humidity is relatively mild, the festival occurs annually during the first weekend of May.
The Nightcliff foreshores are highly regarded for accessibility, and their extensive footpath is noteworthy.  Designed for walking and cycling amidst impressive beach views, it leads all the way out to the picturesque jetty and makes up part of the festival location.

Here’s our Darwin Restaurant, Accommodation & Travel Guide for your reference, planning in advance made easy.

Though the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival only takes place once a year, the community is well-established when it comes to event coordination that makes for a massive day.  You can anticipate workshops, demonstrations and performances that guarantee fun for all ages and will exhibit Nightcliff’s renowned artistic fortitude.  All the while their alfresco dining bar will stand nearby the jetty, serving you gourmet fodder all day long so you’re fuelled up for adventure.  

There’s much to do and a lot to eat, though one event you won’t want to miss is the Seabreeze Sand Sculpture Competition – let the sculpting begin. This event starts as early as you can get to the sand (note: low tide is at 11am), and judging commences at 2.30pm.  Don’t forget to take pictures, since these smooth and sparkling original works of art will all be under water by dusk.

Something to keep in mind following the festival, the Nightcliff Markets run from 6am-2pm on Sundays, serving local food, cool drinks, and featuring regional fruit providores.  So you can enjoy a sleep in then head over for fresh breakfast fare.

Need to book accommodation?  Check out our Darwin Accommodation Guide.

By Kelly Korpesio


Modern Commemoration

There’s no question how important ANZAC Day is to Australians and this year on Wednesday 25 April, 2012 emotions will be charged amongst traditional dawn services and other public holiday commemorations.
We mark this anniversary as the day troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during World War I.  It is also a day to remember every one of our service men and woman and many will red poppies or sprigs of rosemary on their lapels as a symbolic tribute.
In 1927 the first official dawn ceremony was held at the Sydney Cenotaph and today there are modern services countrywide.  They usually involve an introduction, hymns and prayers, reflections, recitations, the laying of wreaths and a minute of silence; more elaborate events may include pipers and rifle volleys.   

The classic poem “For the Fallen”, written by Laurence Binyon in 1914, is an ode of remembrance referring to those who died and can never grow old.  

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Comradeship is an important aspect of ANZAC Day, fostered by the services and parades throughout Australia. Afterwards there are often thematic gunfire breakfasts that may include coffee with rum in it.  Throughout the day ANZAC biscuits, long associated with this memorable occasion, will be readily available. They are manufactured commercially and biscuit sales are often used as a fundraising item for the RSA and RSL.  

You can easily make this popular sweet biscuit at home with this classic ANZAC Biscuit recipe.

After the important formalities of the day, people often play “two-up”, a gambling requiring two coins that originated in the trenches.  With reverence, authorities usually turn a blind eye to this usually illegal form of gambling on ANZAC Day.

By Kelly Korpesio

Sydney Royal Easter Show

5-8 April, 2012

Creating Lifelong Memories

Australia’s largest annual event, the Sydney Royal Easter Show attracts big kids at heart and their families.  This home-grown event has been running since 1823, bringing country to the heart of the city and creating unforgettable memories that parents want to their children to experience firsthand.  

Check out our Sydney Restaurant, Accommodation & Travel Guide and begin planning your stay.

An Australian themed arena featuring agricultural excellence, upon entering the showgrounds there are hours of free entertainment around the showgrounds and spanking new stadium.  Roaming around with real cowboys & cowgirls and fair-dinkum Aussie farmers always builds up an appetite so stalls are set up with traditional show food and award-wining gourmet produce from rural areas country-wide. 

For the first year, a Food and Wine Garden will be set up featuring Café NSW serving top drops to complement cuisine from the Fresh Food Dome.  Food finding has never been so much fun at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. There's gourmet alfresco dining, gluten-free goodies, grab-it-n-run-grub, and treats galore to tantalize your taste buds. From stylish garden settlings, to wine tasting rows, a great feast awaits you and your family.  
“Of course no trip to the show is complete without family favourites; woodchop, grand parades and the many animal pavilions. Get hands on with sheep shearing, cow milking and the Dairy Farmers Farmyard Nursery. Test your bravery on one of the 59 thrilling rides in Australia’s largest carnival and take your pick from more than 300 Showbags,” remarks Michael Collins, the Show’s General Manager.  

Rodeos, stockmen rides, motocross, and pyrotechnic musicals are all part of the family fun but nothing exudes excitement like the promise of a perfect showbag purchase.  This year there are a record number of showbags; with so many to choose from, every personality and budget will meet their match.

“One of my favourite childhood memories is walking into the Showbag Pavilion for the first time,” recalls Mr. Collins with a gleam in his eye.

Showbags have a come a long way to include television themes like Dora the Exporer, Toy Story 3, Glee amongst the modern range, trumping Minties and Sunny Boy varieties of late. When it comes to showbags and show planning, all the information you need is on the Sydney Royal Easter Show website.

Need a place to stay with the family?  Check out our Sydney Accommodation Guide

By Kelly Korpesio

Earth Hour

Uniting People to Protect the Planet

Earth Hour 2012 will be upon us once again on Saturday March 31 between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.  Grab your candles, pack your basket of bevies and snacks, and get your group together in the community for a hot date night with friends from all over the world, including Miranda Kerr of KORA Organics who has been announced as a Global Ambassador for Earth Hour 2012 – would you like to take her “I Will If You Will” challenge?

This year marks the fifth annual event and Earth Hour is now a global phenomenal; it is purposefully planned around the equinox when sunset times in both hemispheres nearly coincide for the most dramatic “lights out” event.  Brought to you by the Australian World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it occurs every year on Saturday night in the last weekend of March.

In Pursuit of a Better, Healthier World

During Earth Hour participants turn all non-essential lights out as a symbol of their commitment to finding and implementing environmental solutions in a world that has growing climate concerns.  It’s an opportunity to get together with like-minded thinkers and literally witness the success of a great idea – originally conceived in Australia. When the lights go out on Saturday, 31 March, it is an awe inspiring demonstration of global networking with expanding considerations for environmental concerns. 

Starting With An Idea

Do you have any idea how much of an impact your lifestyle has on the environment, from conscious use of energy, the fuel efficiency of your car (if you use one), or consideration of reusing, reducing and recycling? These are big questions for individuals and important questions for the government and corporations; so much so that the Earth Hour movement as a global community initiative.  

Spearheaded by WWF Australia in 2004, they were aghast at serious scientific data on the issue of climate change. They began consulting with Leo Burnett Sydney about creative advertising solutions to engage Australians on environmental issues.  The large scale switch off concept was pitched as “The Big Flick” in 2005 and evolved into the more inclusive idea of Earth Hour that gained support from Fairfax Media in 2006.

In 2007 The Stern Report is released to alert governments of the negative economic consequences of global warming and the inaugural Earth Hour is held in Sydney, supported by 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2, 100 businesses.

Witness Earth Hour Landmarks and Get Involved

Getting involved gives you the chance to be part of a massive movement.  Last year more than 5200 cities, towns and municipalities took part across 135 countries – 9 of the 10 most populated cities in the world participated.  In 2011 we also saw 1700 landmarks go dark, including iconic sites.
Sometimes you have to see it to believe it, and last year’s demonstration of commitment included the switch off at a number of world renowned places: Sydney Opera House, Bird’s Nest (Olympic Stadium) in Beijing, Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Las Vegas Strip, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, The Acropolis in Athens, The Coliseum in Rome, Empire State Building, and Table Mountain in Cape Town.
If Earth Hour hits home for you, spread the word and participate – it’s easy to make the switch and start considering climate change on a personal level on the community front.

Participate in Earth Hour 2012 and spread the word.  


Read last year's Earth Hour blog for a greater sense of how it feels taking part in this global initiative within your community. 


By Kelly Korpesio

Bendigo Olive Fiesta

Sunday 18 March, 2012 – 10am to 4pm

Olive Growing Regional Showcase

With earthy red wines, fresh sourdough bread, and olive tasting, there’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday than at the historic Bendigo Pottery alive with great eats and exciting entertainment.  In its fifth year, Bendigo Olive Fiesta is popular with locals and is drawing in people from all parts of Victoria with their marketing campaign.

Discover Bendigo Olive Fiesta as a Victorian event with Mediterranean vibes on Sunday, 18 March starting at 10am at the Bendigo Pottery, located at 146 Midland Highway in Epsom.


Consult our Bendigo Restaurants & Accommodation Guide to make a weekend out of it.



Celebration of the Olive

Did you know olive oil is not technically an oil at all?  It’s actually a juice because the olive fruit is pressed to release its moisture, like that of an orange.  Do you know why “extra-virgin” olive oil is the highest quality and fruitiest extract?  Because it’s from the first press.  Discover more about Bendigo olives, and find products to purchase so you that you can taste these Australian Mediterranean products time and time again in the comforts of your own home. 



Bendigo's Version of the Mediterranean’s “Great Therapeutic”


Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, called olive oil “the great therapeutic” for good reason.  Olive polyphenols are natural anti-oxidants preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and reducing the overall effects of aging; it also protects and revitalizes skin when applied topically.  Not only are olives and olive products healthy, they’re absolutely delicious and fragrant.  An estimated 2,000 people, young and old, will be in Bendigo browsing amongst the pottery whilst sampling table olives, olive tapenade, dried olives and olive oil products, curious about olives and enjoying the community get-together.



The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean, where olive oil has been an important part of life for thousands of years.  Bendigo Olive Fiesta is a celebration of Victoria’s emerging olive industry and Bendigo’s perfect climate comparable to that of the Greek isles – a warm region with dry summers and cool winters.  Drawing this cultural parallel, expect Mediterranean music amongst the festivities.  Other entertainment will include a jazz band, food stalls, a celebrity cook off, bocce competition, plus a bouncing castle and face painting for the kids.

While in Bendigo visit the Central Deborah Goldmine and ride one of Bendigo’s tourist trams.  Also, gain some culture with a visit the Chinese Museum and Bendigo Art Gallery, not to mention the great wineries and landmark Sacred Heart Cathedral.


For easy reference, check out our Bendigo Travel Guide.


By Kelly Korpesio

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

12 February – 04 March, 2012

The Rumours are True – LGBTQI Pride Festival

The word on the street is that Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2012 has confirmed a performance by pop heroine Kylie Minogue. Not only will she be an honoured guest at the Mardi Gras Parade, it’s been announced that she will be performing at the Mardigrasland afterparty to take place within Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter. This outrageous evening and night like no other unfolds on Saturday, 03 March.

Sydney Mardi Gras festival 2012 officially begins on Sunday, 12 February and there are plenty of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) pride festivities leading up to the flamboyant and fun festivities on parade night.

"Being part of Mardi Gras this year is so important to me because I know that so many of my fans make up the amazing community it represents," said Kylie.

The Parade and Glamstand on Oxford and Flinders Street is one of Sydney’s unforgettable celebrations, an exotic rainbow display of floats, costumes, design and dance; the Glamstand is the best place to watch the world famous parade, offering a beautiful setting complete with fine foods and glamorous bars.

Let us help you plan your Mardi Gras trip with our Sydney Restaurant, Accommodation & Travel Guide

History of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney’s Mardi Gras is unique to any other pride event hosted by other major cities worldwide - no other gay pride event has captured this level of imagination and participation.

"A visit to Mardi Gras is an absolute once-in-a-lifetime must for every gay travelling man," encourages the gay travel bible Spartacus. Indeed, many gay men and lesbian women fly across the world again and again to enjoy these all-inclusive queer oriented festivities.

Kicking Off this Year’s Festivities

Fair Day launches Sydneysiders and visitors into the estival, taking place from 10am until 8pm at Victoria Park Camperdown on Sunday, 12 February. It’s a fun and relaxed day out in the park with family, friends – old & new – and even pets, drawing in about 70, 000 people per year. There are a wide range of delicacies and drinks available at the stalls, while the Gaydar Lounge and Finlandia Lounge will provide cold drinks and great spaces for a chat.

Can’t get enough picknicking? The following Sunday, 26 February, Sydney Femme Guild Picnic will be held at Enmore Park. 

Mardi Gras Harbourside & Hot Bars

There’s nothing quite like letting loose on a cruise, and on Tuesday, 28 February you can check out the stunning Sydney harbour on the Sunset Cruise filled with DJs, drinks, canapés and great company – departure is from Casino Wharf.

Following that, anticipation is building for The Laneway on Sunday, 04 March. The day after the parade and party, when the lane is the stage, gives you the chance to close down the festival in two of Sydney’s hippest pubs, The Flinders and The Beresford. The connecting Hill Street laneway in-between will also be lit up with guest DJs, giving you one last lick of Mardi Gras magic, old-school/new-school style.

For quick and easy reference, check out our Sydney Restaurant, Accommodation & Travel Guide

By Kelly Korpesio

Gold Coast Wins Right to Host Commonwealth Games

It’s Sun and Games on the Gold Coast Come 2018

On Saturday, November 12 thousands gathered at Broadwater Parklands, exploding with excitement upon hearing the good news via live announcement in direct correspondence with the Commonwealth Games Federation in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The Gold Coast beat the Sri Lankan city Hambantota by 43 votes to 27, meaning the Gold Coast has won the right to host the Games.  This announcement is being referred to as the dawn of a Gold Coast renaissance.

Hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games will give an adrenaline boost to Australian tourism and Queensland tourism alike.  Leading up to this impactful decision, the international media already began broadcasting the Gold Coast’s sprawling beaches for the world to see.

Commonwealth Brand to Enhance Gold Coast's Reputation 

Premier Anna Bligh was in the Caribbean on Saturday to witness the results firsthand.  She feels this decision will allow the Gold Coast to take its well-deserved place as great Australian city.

'In 2018 we will be ready to host a unique, world-class and friendly event that builds on the Commonwealth brand and enhances our city's reputation,'' she said.

Thrilled by the announcement, Julia Gillard released a congratulations video to the media while in Hawaii for an APEC leaders’ meeting, celebrating US Veterans Day.  "Congratulations Queensland - absolutely great news," Julia Gillard expressed.

The Games Initiate a Golden Age for the Gold Coast

Courtney Atkinson is an Olympic triathlete and an ambassador with the initial bid team and is enthusiastic about the positive effect the games will have, inspiring children and building community.  The star athlete also recognized the importance of this win considering recent challenges in the Gold Coast.

 "It's been a hard time for us for the past few years but this is going to be major for us and the whole six years from the starting point will see us moving forward, and I think we're going to put on a great Games for the Commonwealth.”

Ultimately the Gold Coast was awarded the right to stage the Commonwealth Games in Queensland, not just for its beauty but for other intrinsic worth that has been acknowledged.

Commonwealth Games 2018 Will Boost Economy & Tourism

Tourism Australia maintains The Commonwealth Games 2018 will be a legacy; Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy is confident that the best possible impact will be gained from the global exposure and that developing infrastructure will be monumental for the games and the Gold Coast’s future.

Everyone is commenting on the positive momentum winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games will have on the economy.  Queensland Tourism Minster, Jan Jarratt describes the unprecedented amount of international media coverage, including images of the region, as “priceless exposure which will massively boost global awareness of our destinations and attractions.”

Winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games is a mighty adrenaline boost for the Gold Coast region, says Queensland Tourism Minister Jan Jarratt. The minister said the Bligh Government believes it will turbo-charge the Gold Coast economy and tourism industry.

International Watch on the Gold Coast, Queensland & Australia  

When the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 come to an end, Jan Jarratt describes the closing ceremony as a time when “the eyes of the world will be squarely focused on Queensland, with the Gold Coast to take centre stage in a handover celebration.”

Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke said, “The Gold and the Commonwealth Games were made for each other.”  The Commonwealth Games 2018 will be a welcome boost to Queensland after the strife of cyclones and floods and the event will flow through to northern NSW and beyond.

Written by Kelly Korpesio 

Neil Perry Serve Up Smiles for Starlight

A new campaign to support the Starlight Children’s Foundation

Monday, 22nd August 2011 

Exciting New Initiative from Top Australian Chefs will Serve Up Smiles for Starlight.  Neil Perry will be Serving Up Smiles this September and asking Australians to do the same in a new campaign to support the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Neil Perry, Starlight luminary and renowned chef/owner of Rockpool Bar & Grill and Spice Temple restaurants, is headlining the Serving Up Smiles campaign, an exciting new way for the food community to work together to support ill children and is calling for more support in promoting the initiative in its first year.

Neil says “Australia’s enjoying a culinary renaissance, and this gives us a great opportunity to share the joy of food with children who are facing health challenges. Starlight is asking people to indulge in this passion by either purchasing a Secret Table, Signing 4 A Smile, or becoming a Star Chef at home with family and friends.” 

There are three simple ways to be part of Serving Up Smiles in September:

1.   Secret Table – The country’s finest chefs and restaurants will donate fully catered tables for four people. Diners can go online and book a Secret Table for $400. Secret Tables will be allocated in a draw on Monday 3 October. Rockpool Bar & Grill and Buon Ricordo are among the restaurants offering Secret Tables. 

2.   Sign 4 A Smile - Starlight will settle the age-old debate of who will pick up the bill by asking people to Sign 4 a Smile. When debating who will pay for lunch or dinner, Starlight will ask one party to pay and the other to make a generous donation to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Donation slips will accompany the bill in participating restaurants. 

3.   Star Chefs - Starlight will ask food lovers to unleash their inner Star Chef and cook for their friends, have a bake-off in the office or a BBQ at the park, any idea that incorporates their love of food and fundraising. Star Chefs can register at .

Louise Baxter, CEO of the Starlight Children’s Foundation says: “Serving Up Smiles is more than just encouraging people to indulge in Australia’s vibrant food culture, we also hope it will raise $500,000 to fund Starlight’s innovative programs, including the Captain Starlights, the Starlight Express Room, Starlight Wishgranting, Livewire and the mobile Starlight Fun Centres.”

“The sad reality is that every minute of every day a child is admitted to hospital in Australia. Starlight’s mission is to brighten the lives of all seriously ill children and their families.”

Indulge your passion for food while brightening the lives of seriously ill children - find out how you can be part of Serving Up Smiles by visiting or calling 1300 727 827.

Amnesty International 50 Years

What does freedom taste like?

Restaurants all over the country are celebrating Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary by taking part in a Taste of Freedom on Saturday 28 May.  They’ll be theming the evening with candlelight and joining their patrons in raising a toast to freedom.

As proud supporters of Taste of Freedom, we don’t want you to miss out on this incredible event.  Go to and register your restaurant.

Participating restaurants will feature in a special online map where interested diners can locate venues in their area. Plus there’s a free pack of materials to help you on the night.

Nothing tastes as good as freedom, so support Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary and register your restaurant today.

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