Dine in the Southern Highlands

Eschalot Restaurant, Berrima. 

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True old world charm can be found in the flourishing hillsides of the Southern Highlands, where a diverse food culture blossoms in an abundant region known for its rich history and unique character.

“From Robertson spud farms and the valleys of Fitzroy Falls, to the historic sandstone walls of Berrima and the country sophistication of Bowral – The Southern Highlands is truly unique.” ~ The Southern Highlands Cookbook.

With an increasing demand from Chefs and the public for fresh and local produce along with educated and inquisitive consumers looking for authenticity and uniqueness on a menu, the Southern Highlands is a step ahead of the pack, as the idyllic conditions of the region allow for a thriving industry ready for an agritourism boom. Award-winning restaurants, world class wines and numerous artisan producers are not the only drawcards for the region, with many visitors coming to experience truffle hunts, berry picking and farm visits. For city folk looking to connect with land and food, the tight-knit community of the Southern Highlands are just waiting to welcome you into their way of life with a rural experience you’ll never forget.

Amazing food and once-in-a-lifetime experiences have never been so accessible, so delve into our recommended dining destinations below and be sure to check out even more here.

Eschalot | Berrima NSW

A striking, heritage listed sandstone cottage is home to Eschalot Restaurant, an award-winning eatery and popular destination since 2003. A classically refined style with white tablecloths, chandeliers and draped curtains combined to infuse elegance throughout where guests are invited to unwind in a sunny window overlooking the garden and courtyard, or cosy up around an open fireplace.

Phatt Duck at The Fitzroy Inn | Mittagong NSW

Drawing on rich European culture and a knack for culinary finesse, spoil yourself and loved ones to dinner at restaurant, Phatt Duck located at the historic Fitzroy Inn (circa 1836). Inside is inspired by old world grandeur; an alfresco feel can be attributed to walls and flooring of heavy stone supported by solid timber beams, while lush pot plants positioned around a spacious series of dining areas adds a fresh touch.

Katers Restaurant| Sutton Forest NSW

A harmonious blend of intimacy and grandeur, Katers Restaurant at Peppers Manor House in Sutton Forest offers diners a classy, chef hatted dining experience. The magnificent country estate setting, rich decor and celebration of fresh, seasonal local produce including vegetables, herbs and flowers grown on site combine to create a meal to be remembered.

Scallops at Horderns.  

Horderns Restaurant | Bowral NSW

Set on a secluded private estate, Horderns Restaurant is nestled inside the grand mansion of the Milton Park Country House Hotel, built at the turn of the 19th Century. Rich fabrics, high back chairs and soft lighting give a distinctive feel of the great restaurants of France, enchanting diners with an elegant vibe while parted drapes give an outlook to manicured gardens graced with a tranquil energy.

McVitty Grove | Mittagong NSW

Enjoy a day of wining and dining in Mittagong at McVitty Grove estate, an all-encompassing establishment nestled in among scenic landscapes on Wombeyan Caves Road. Merging a charming farm shop with local artisan products, a cellar door of estate produced beverages and a light filled restaurant, be sure to set aside the best part of the day to experience all McVitty Grove has to offer. 

Rockabellas Roadside Diner | Robertson NSW

A delightful pit-stop for those en-route through the Southern Highlands, this retro eatery charms with rockabilly style via a vibrant display of turquoise walls, decadent cake displays and an upbeat friendly vibe. Stop in for Southern American eats like loaded chips, burgers, housemade custard tarts and apple and berry pie.

The Shaggy Cow | Mittagong NSW

Join locals at The Shaggy Cow in Mittagong for a coffee and a tasty bite to eat. Featuring large portraits of adorably shaggy cows, this venue radiates a charming vibe for visitors to unwind in, offering up cushioned comfort to weary travellers in the form of a plush lounge running one length of the trendy setting. 

Rollonin Café | Bowning NSW

Set inside a charming homestead designed and built to replicate those from Australia’s pioneering days, guests to Rollonin Café are met with old world panache and vintage decor with walls line in newspapers from the 1900s. If mingling outside, wander on over to meet and greet some of the friendly farm animals in paddocks nearby the café and enjoy fresh country air dining out under the verandah as peacocks strut by, showing off a tail of beautiful feathered plumes. 

Endeavour to discover the mysteries of the Southern Highlands region via our Capital Country & Southern Highlands Travel Guide. Want to stay in Southern Highlands style? Then check out everything that is new at Peppers Manor House and for taking the Southern Highlands back home with you and into your kitchen, you’ll need the essential recipe guide, The Southern Highlands Cookbook published by the team at Quicksand Food

Must-Have Southern Highlands Travel Tips

Mount Ashby Estate, Moss Vale.   

Independent publisher, Quicksand Food has just released their latest cookbook, The Southern Highlands Cookbook, inspiring both at-home Chefs to don an apron and dust down the kitchen bench with flour and those with a nose for adventure to embark on an uncharted journey across lush landscapes. While here at AGFG headquarters, we can’t get enough of food and travel, we thought it best to hear some tips straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak). Enjoy a little advice for travelling across the Southern Highlands region from someone who knows best. Director of Quicksand Food, Stefan Posthuma-Grbic has traversed this region from end-to-end finding out the stories of the people who live and love the land and printed it for all to enjoy. Find out the short of the long, the latest, and the inside knowledge of the Southern Highlands region with our must-have travel tips.

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Popular activities:

Walks – the national parks around Fitzroy falls are the most beautiful places for a good walk. Food and wine tours – there are a lot of passionate locals who like to share information about food and wine to tourists. It’s a great way to spend the weekend; visiting farms, connecting to food and drinking wine.

For wineries in the area, see our winery guide to the Southern Highlands region.

Lesser-known experiences:

There are a lot of great old estates and inns that are largely unexplored; there’s so much history here and there are some fantastic buildings to visit. A place like the Fitzroy Inn is not very well known, but has a great restaurant and a rich history. It has an old jail cell downstairs, where criminals were locked up on their way from Sydney to Berrima jail. There are a lot of fantastic manors, estates and guest houses. They all usually have great food and a beautiful lounge with a crackling fire to relax by. Any time you see a sign for a historic landmark, I’d recommend having a look.

McVitty Grove, Berrima.  

Tying the knot:

Maybe between the bushes while picking raspberries at Montrose berry farm. Or in the vines of one of the many vineyards in the highlands. It’s a fantastic travel destination for couples. There are so many beautiful romantic locations.

For venues to celebrate in, see our functions guide to the Southern Highlands region.

Secret must-see:

For me, one of the most interesting secrets is to do a tour of the Li Sun Exotic Mushroom tunnel. They only have open days 4 times a year. The farm is in the abandoned Bowral train tunnel (circa 1863), 100m below ground, and is wall-to-floor covered with weird and wonderful exotic mushrooms that thrive in the growing conditions down there.

Roadtrip soundtrack:

It would have to be Bradman by Paul Kelly. A fantastic tribute to The Don, a Bowral local. 

Snacks from road stalls along the way:

Everything: spuds, fresh veggies, eggs, local honey, preserves, olives and dairy. There’s just so much out there. There are also some fantastic local markets where people can meet the growers.

For restaurants in the area, see our restaurant guide to the Southern Highlands region. 

Phatt Duck at The Fitzroy Inn, Mittagong. 

Advice for first-time adventurers:

Don’t be afraid to get lost or walk into a place you’ve never heard of. If it’s an old road, building, pub, restaurant, inn or hotel, go in and explore, you never know what you’ll find.

The locals: 

The Southern Highlands is a tight-knit food community. Because of the regionality and its size, everyone knows and supports each other. When everyone knows each other by name, it creates a fantastic collaborative culinary environment. It’s truly a local food culture. 

Southern Highlands Style

Interviews by Shawn Sheather, compiled by Annabel Rainsford. 

What was once old, has been made new again and without any loss of charm or character!

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Peppers Manor House, Dining Stables.  

Nestled among sweeping landscapes in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Peppers Manor House and onsite venue, Katers Restaurant continue leading as the region’s most awarded boutique accommodation provider and dining establishment. The AGFG team recently spoke with the Peppers Manor House General Manager Jesse Kornoff and Katers Restaurant Executive Chef John Shelly to gain insight into how Peppers continues to set and surpass standards in offering a truly memorable experience to all who visit. 

Peppers Manor House as you drive in.  

Though impressive to begin with, Peppers has recently undergone an entire refurbishment, ensuring even the smallest details add prestige, exceed in delighting visitors and entice one to linger longer. 

“We really went about looking at every aspect of the property and experience. In addition to the new dining venue, we refurbished every guest room,” said Kornoff.

Peppers Manor House, Terrace Lounge.  

From top to bottom, inside and out, the Manor has been transformed, beginning with signage to mark the way and newly asphalted driveways and carparks, so those arriving in style can do so smoothly, finding substantial landscaping and gardens as they roll in. Next met with a new reception area, guests can mingle in refurbished public lounge and foyer spaces, or perhaps take a wander through the significantly extended kitchen gardens that now encompass a growing tunnel as part of the guest gardens. 

Peppers Manor House, Great Hall.  

Should you be here to source a venue for celebrations, take time to peruse a new weddings and event space with a 300-seat dinner capacity aided by a dedicated kitchen for events catering. Visitors to the Manor in need of a luxury weekend escape can look forward to hillside accommodation areas rendered and refurbished externally, and all rooms across the Manor given a stylish overhaul. With many walls removed, bathrooms are an impressive size and decor appeals with more panache than ever.

Peppers Manor House, Katers Larder.  

“In the guest rooms everything was changed from the ground to the ceiling to create a brand new, five-star hotel, representative of our great area,” said Kornoff. 

On top of the extensive refurbishment to the Manor, Katers Restaurant has undergone a transformation. 

“Katers Restaurant has always been a destination restaurant; indeed, this is really where the Peppers brand came from. 

“Post relaunch of Peppers Manor House we wanted to provide two distinctly different dining experiences to better reflect what diners were really looking for in the area… we saw a great opportunity to provide a more casual experience in the beautiful gardens onsite – thus, Katers Larder was born!” said Kornoff.

Read on for AGFG’s interview with Executive Chef, John Shelly and learn more about what Katers Larder has to offer.    

Katers Restaurant's Duck Prosciutto and Beetroot Salad. 

AGFG: It must be exciting opening Katers Larder - the menu reads like a great place to spend with friends! Can you share more about what is offered at this latest venture? 

John: The Larder concept was always about enjoying your day off with friends relaxing in the gardens in the sun. Does it get any better than that? With that in mind we came up with dishes like the slow braised pork shoulder with radish from our gardens, apple and celeriac puree. Simple dishes done seriously well that really let the fantastic ingredients we have here in the Highlands speak for themselves. 

AGFG: Can you share more about a couple of exceptional local ingredients and how they are transitioned from paddock to plate at Katers Larder? 

John: Let’s start with Maugers, our main meat supplier. The family are well established out in Burrawang and Robertson which is referred to locally as the green heart of the Southern Highlands. Seriously, anything will grow there - it’s unbelievable. The livestock are raised on grass, and because of how nutritious and bountiful feed is, they don’t need any grain or hormones. A lot of people don’t know that a difference in feed has a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef, particularly the fatty acids with grass fed beef containing much more Omega-3s (think fish oil) and CLS both of which are associated with reduced body fat and other beneficial effects. Because the product is so good, the Chef just needs to treat it with respect and they are ensured a fantastic dish. 

For something a little more luxurious, Ted and Barbara out at Yelverton Truffles produce fantastic French black Perigord truffles. Back in 2014 they found the largest truffle in Australia weighing in at a massive 1.172kg! They have planted white truffles, however none have produced as yet – fingers crossed and we will add another new product to the region.  

Katers' Red Bell Pepper Soup with Goat's Cheese Sorbet and Chilli Chocolate Panna Cotta, recipe from The Southern Highlands Cookbook published by Quicksand Food.  

AGFG: With a long list of awards, how does the team maintain focus to keep achieving these results? 

John: I think the continuous renewal of our passion is key. The team connects daily with our suppliers and is often out at their farms, or working together to promote our region. Jesse worked with Brigid Kennedy to establish the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Cluster movement (which you can check out here) and has recently handed over leadership of the Moss Vale Chamber to myself. With this level of involvement in our local food producers who couldn’t be passionate about what we do? 

AGFG: What is your recommendation on the current menu? 

John: I can’t go past the Mauger’s assiette of lamb with yellow squash, baby zucchini, and smoked rosemary jus. The radishes are straight from the kitchen gardens, it’s local, in season and fantastic. 

AGFG: What is one ingredient you can’t live without? 

John: Butter. I wouldn’t trust anyone that gave you a different answer.  

For more on dining in the Southern Highlands check out our list of must eats and for cooking in Southern Highlands style, check out our review of The Southern Highlands cookbook. If you’re new to the region and are interested in some travelling tips, you’re in luck as we have a whole suitcase full straight from explorer, Stefan Posthuma-Grbic. 

Talking Southern Highlands with Stefan Posthuma-Grbic

Upon the release of The Southern Highlands Cookbook by independent publisher, Quicksand Food, AGFG was fortunate enough to interview company Director, Stefan Posthuma-Grbic about the venture and more. Discussing the Southern Highlands district from which the cookbook is inspired, Stefan provides insight into the journey of forming a cookbook that represents the region alongside elaborating on his own experiences of working and living in a rural area and of his childhood visits to the area. Find out more about how Stefan’s priceless knowledge and affinity for food have formed with our full interview below. 

Stefan Posthuma-Grbic and Katrina Sparke at Redleaf Farm in Fitzroy Falls.  

AGFG: Why did you decide to focus on the Southern Highlands region? 

Stefan: After exploring the regions of Canberra and the South Coast, it was time for us to move further afield to explore small pockets of regional Australia. The Southern Highlands is a fantastically abundant region, with some of the highest rainfall in the country and four distinct seasons. This means it is home to amazingly fresh produce all year around, used by Chefs in the region to really showcase local flavours. 

AGFG: What does the Southern Highlands region mean to you? 

Stefan: For me, it’s a place we’d visit when we were young, and where I have a lot of friends who have made the tree change to live a comfortable country life. The place has such a beautiful aesthetic; old estate buildings, warm crackling fires, ivy strewn sandstone walls, country sophistication and fantastic food, produce and wine. A place that is perfect for a relaxed, long weekend visit in any season. It’s as much a Winter destination as a Summer one.

 Berkelouw Homestead, Bendooley Estate.  

AGFG: How does this cookbook add to the Quicksand Food collection? 

Stefan: This book is the first step in exploring an area I don’t call home. I have lived in Canberra and on the South Coast and I’m well engrained in the culinary communities in those places. Exploring new regions is important for us, because we want to promote small businesses, chefs and producers that form part of local culinary communities. It’s fantastic to be able to meet the other people ingrained in the food community and share information and stories. A lot of the time farmers and Chefs are so busy running their businesses that it’s difficult for them to share their stories with the public, which is exactly what we try to do in our books. 

AGFG: What is one of your strongest memories involving food? 

Stefan: For me, the strongest memories are always with the family. Coming from a European background – food was always central to how we interacted as a family. My favourite memories all involve sitting around a big table, with my loved ones, laughing, sharing stories and eating fantastic fresh food until we can’t move from fullness. I’ve also done a lot of travelling, so seeking out good food in other countries has also been important to me. Where it’s a fresh gazpacho in Spain, sardines in Portugal, gado-gado on an Indonesian beach, ceviche in Peru, carne asada in Argentina or tlayudas in Oaxaca – my travels have always been food-focussed. These are my longest lasting memories. 

AGFG: What is your favourite dish to cook and / or eat?

Stefan: My favourite food to cook and eat is any kind of seafood. Having lived on the South Coast, I do a lot of fishing, spearfishing and harvesting from the sea. We’re lucky enough to have fantastic fresh seafood down there. We gather wild oysters, go prawning, dive for crayfish and abalone, and jig for kingfish from the boat. There is nothing more satisfying than gathering your own food and bringing it home to eat. You have a much closer connection to food when you put the effort into harvesting it.  

AGFG: What are some of your favourite regionally grown produce? 

Stefan: I think it’s really important to mention South Coast oysters. Sydney rock oysters from places like Tathra, Bermagui and Bateman’s Bay are some of the best oysters in the world. They are revered by some of the world’s best Chefs, and we are so lucky to have them at our doorstep. Canberra is also now home to a booming truffle industry, with numerous groves growing high quality black truffles through Winter. We are now seeing Canberra truffles reach the menus of international restaurants, and it’s great to see this industry develop. 

AGFG: If you had to grow or farm one thing, what would it be and why? 

Stefan: I’d make ethical foie gras. The product has a really bad reputation and there are questions to the ethics of making it – but there are a small handful of farms in the world who manage to do it humanely through innovative planting and environmental techniques. We are not allowed real foie gras in Australia and I think that we have the conditions to be able to do it ethically. If we could, we would have a great product on menus that has never been available to Chefs in Australia.  

Want to know more about the Southern Highlands? Simply check out our articles on where to dine in the Southern Highlands as well as where to stay, in Southern Highlands Style. Transporting the Southern Highlands to your kitchen is no mean feat but we’ve made it simple via our review of Stefan’s cookbook The Southern Highlands Cookbook, check out what we discovered plus three delicious recipes!  

 Images provided by The Southern Highlands Cookbook, published by Quicksand Food, RRP $39.95. 





The Southern Highlands in Your Kitchen

 By Julie Johnson. 

The Shaggy Cow's Peach Verrine with Crème Patissiere, peach compote, nectarine granita and vanilla meringue, p 89.

Uncover the raw beauty flourishing in the New South Wales’ Southern Highlands region with the all-encompassing publication The Southern Highlands Cookbook, collated by the Quicksand Food team (check out our interview with company Director, Stefan Posthuma-Grbic).  

In a colourful snapshot of what this stunning region has to offer, find a collection of delectable recipes and vibrant produce from some of the best local restaurants, cafes, farms and estates all contributed by the passionate people behind these establishments.

Hear the words straight from awarded Chefs, dedicated growers, knowledgeable farmers and well regarded country cooks whom spend life living and breathing everything the Southern Highlands is renowned for. Following the book, travel region by region through Bowral, Mittagong, Fitzroy Falls, Bundanoon and much more. Check in with locals along the way and familiarise with the produce springing up out of fertile soils in each area. Combining armfuls of these ingredients and more, enjoy re-creating the stunning dishes of the cookbook’s featured establishments from page to page. 

Eschalot's  lightly-cured Salmon with Dashi Smoked Trout Roe, Jamon Dressing and Beach Greens, p 53.

Each recipe has been simplified by the contributor as much as possible, offering at home kitchen friendly alternatives and approachable methods to achieve a similar effect. Should the produce of the Southern Highlands be unavailable in your area, substitutes and store-bought items are also encouraged as opposed to missing out on creating delightful dishes altogether.

Written commentary is often provided at the beginning of each recipe, padding out some of the finer details, providing handy hints and tips to get it just right. In an ingenious addition to many recipes, a QR scanner code is located at the bottom of the recipe for readers to unlock another world of information. Tune in to podcasts of interviews with Chefs and growers and find out exactly what goes in to producing a single dish.

Feast your eyes upon the likes of cured salmon with dashi smoked trout roe, jamon dressing and beach greens, a culinary artwork and culmination of skills from the Eschalot restaurant team who take time to forage on the coastline for succulent ingredients. For those unable to find the likes of foraged beach plants, the recipe suggests purchasing them online or substituting with more available herbs that provide a similar taste. To hear the interview piece with owner and head Chef of Eschalot, Richard Kemp and his young Chefs, simply scan the QR code or go to quicksandfood.com. 

Katers' Red Bell Pepper Soup with Goat's Cheese Sorbet and Chilli Chocolate Panna Cotta, p 144.

Found somewhere between entrées and dessert, tease the tastebuds with Katersred pepper soup with goat’s cheese sorbet and chilli chocolate panna cotta, making sure to prepare the sorbet in advance as advised. As there are many compartments to this curious dish, a little extra help is likely to go a long way. Scan the QR code to hear from Katers Restaurant’s Head Chef, John Shelly.

For dessert, finish with a peach verrine with peach compote and nectarine granita from The Shaggy Cow restaurant in Mittagong. This elegant dessert is well suited to special occasions, romantic dinners for two or to spoil friends with an unexpectedly beautiful parfait with golden layers of fruit and miniature meringue droplets. 

After feasting on the recipes and the intuitive multimedia experience of The Southern Highlands Cookbook, take a moment to kick back and soak in the imagery of stunning landscapes, with rolling green hillsides and farmlands, flourishing produce and the cheerful faces of those who reside there. Find your copy of The Southern Highlands Cookbook by Quicksand Food today.   

 Recipes and Images from The Southern Highlands Cookbook, published by Quicksand Food, RRP $39.95.    





Chasing the Last Fire

By Shawn Sheather.

Unwind Hunter Valley - Paradise Hill.  

With the beginning warmth of Summer and the focus on the outdoors, pool parties and picnics, we’re making the most of the brisk air by heading up into the mountains in search of some of the last open fires.

Across the nation we are blessed with many picturesque mountain ranges, from the Adelaide Hills right up through the Southern Highlands in NSW to Mount Tamborine in Gold Coast hinterland and we’re certainly going to make the most of those cooler nights, whether in search of relaxation or romance by an open fireplace.

On this trip we ventured up the Gold Coast hinterland to Mount Tamborine, where a small and quaint village is set up high on the ridge reaching for the clouds. To the East we can see the Gold Coast, where its high-rises and beaches of deep blue call out to us as we pan to the West with an endless view over national parks and ranges, which stretch all the way into the distant golden sunset.

As we strolled the streets of the village one shop leads to another, where all those decadent indulgences you only consider on holidays simply tempt your senses, from hot toasted Macadamias, fudge and chocolate truffles through to wine tastings and tours.

On the day we visited, the clouds were low, the temperature was almost 10 degrees cooler than the Gold Coast below and the air was thick and calm, you could feel it in your lungs as you inhaled the scents of coffee and wood fired pizzas from the surrounding cafes and restaurants. Deciding where and what the eat for lunch was not going to be an easy task, but we eventually selected Mount Tambourine Vineyard and Winery, with an offering of a deli cabinet filled with sandwiches, slices and some of the largest and most scrumptious looking muffins we’ve ever seen. It was hard to choose from the numerous options on the menu but we indulged in a roasted pumpkin, feta and sun-dried tomato salad as well as a barramundi with fries and it was just what the doctor ordered.

We walked, shopped and took in the village and as the day drew to a close, the South-East hinterland of Queensland turned on a real show – with a perfect, glowing red sunset which stretched the length of the ranges to the West, we can only describe it as postcard worthy. 

Simply, Linger a While. 

As the sun set over the ranges we headed to our accommodation, and as you guessed it, it had a fireplace. Our chalet was named “Linger a While,” which is perfectly apt for our whole adventure. Designed with couples in mind, Linger a While is a hidden gem just off of the main road, where a kitchen, four post bed, open spa and lit candles welcome you in to stay a while and relax by the open fire on a sheep skin rug; and with all the appliances needed for a luxurious stay, there was really no need to leave the room.

After a great day and night of luxury, we awoke to beams of sunlight filtering through the trees lighting up the morning fog where the sounds of nature and water droplets falling from the tree canopy above were the ultimate soundtrack to our breakfast on the verandah, where even a local bush turkey joined in on the fun.

With so many local restaurants, attractions and bush walks, Mount Tamborine can be enjoyed over multiple days, but it also makes a nice weekend getaway if all you want to do is relax. We recommend you look to the hills around you to find that cooler, hilltop village and be sure to find that open fire before Summer truly emerges.

Here are a selection of our recommendations to get you started: 

New South Wales: 

Unwind Hunter Valley | Pokolbin 

Bel-Air | Berry 

Lookout Mountain Retreat | Dorrigo 

Hillcrest Mountain View Retreat | Upper Crystal Creek 

The Denman Thredbo | Thredbo

Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa | Crackenback 

Deux Belette | Dalwood


Bicheno Hideaway | Bicheno

Villa Howden | Howden

South Australia: 

Longview Vineyard Accommodation | Macclesfield

Western Australia: 

Clover House Bed & Breakfast | Kojonup

Kendenup Lodge and Cottages | Kendenup 

For more accommodation options near your, search via your location here

A Chardonnay Made with Food in Mind

By David Ellis from vintnews

It’s been over forty years now that Yellow Label has been at the heart of winemaking at Wolf Blass wines, delivering to buyers a range of wines from South Australia that are consistently fruit driven and full-on in flavour. 

Among the latest releases is a 2015 Chardonnay out of a vintage that started warm and dry, and was followed by much-needed rain and ultimately warm days and relatively cool nights. Then a final burst of heat in late January saw an early and condensed harvest, and as a result, more of those wonderfully full on flavour wines. 

The 2015 Yellow Label Chardonnay particularly benefitted from all of this, with loads of stone fruits to the fore and nicely integrated oak, and whilst made with food predominantly in mind, it can be equally enjoyed as a glass or three on its own. 

Just as well, although best enjoyed young and fresh, some short-term cellaring will see it develop further in complexity. 

Pay $18 and enjoy this one with what its makers suggest – creamy veal Stroganoff with mushrooms and parsley, or pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce. 

One to note: if you like your reds big and hearty, one to grab (or maybe two or three) is the just-released 2013 Tim Adams Shiraz. 

A blend of fruit off three Clare Valley vineyards, this is a gutsy drop that leads on the palate with blackberry and mulberry fruit flavours, some spiciness and hints of mint, and a strong reminder that it spent twenty-four months maturing in American oak. 

Surprisingly, it’s just $25 to enjoy now, or to tuck away in the cellar to around the mid-2020s. If you’re going to buy and drink now, match it with a good steak, or with hearty kangaroo or venison dishes.

Where to Dine like a Spaniard

Bring out the saffron-infused seafood paella and raise that glass of Tempranillo; we’ll be celebrating Spain’s National Day on October 12 with a fiesta!

Sesame seared tuna, sweetcorn and ginger puree with pickled carrot and chive oil at Bistro Dom. 

Known as Fiesta Nacional de España in Spain, this day commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ first arrival in the Americas. The special day is also known as Columbus Day in the United States and Día de la Raza in some Latin American countries.

Although October 12 is symbolically significant, the Spaniards surprisingly do not typically throw parties on this day. Rather, they prefer to preserve their energy for the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. Also celebrated on October 12, the day commemorates the Patroness of the Hispanic people and the Spanish Civil Guard.

Just because the Spanish don’t go loco over National Day, it doesn’t mean you can’t, celebrate this week snacking on delicious Spanish fare at our following recommendations. Can't see one close to you? We've got more recommendations here

Delishus at Richmond| Richmond NSW

Delishus at Richmond may be located in the heart of the Hawkesbury but according to locals, it feels every bit the essence of Spain. Set in a rustic heritage-listed home full of vibrant reds and yellows, this welcoming restaurant serves tapas in true Hispanic style often accompanied by regular flamenco performances and wine tastings. To celebrate Spain’s National Day, Delishus are having a Spanish Beer tasting night!

Bistro Dom on Waymouth | Adelaide SA

While an earthy vibe emanates inside this smart casual restaurant, elegant furnishings add a touch of class, seeing Bistro Dom suited to both short-but-sweet one course meals and celebrating special occasions over a long and leisurely feast. Focussing on foraging, an experienced team gathers produce not commonly available from local suppliers to ensure a menu of quintessentially regional tastes, an ever-evolving project to surprise the senses.

Sweet Copper | Canberra ACT

Creating an inviting space for art, coffee and cuisine, Sweet Copper café is loved by residents in and around Nicholls, housed by the Old Ginninderra School House in Ginninderra Village. On Saturday October 29, Sweet Copper is offering you a taste of Spain without leaving Canberra. Featuring traditional paella and tapas in 5 courses, you’re also able to BYO with no corkage charge. 

Rustico @ Hay Shed Hill | Willyabrup WA

Adopting a spacious structure at Hay Shed Hill Wines estate, Rustico eases guests into decadent dining, nestled among lush vineyard rows and gently undulating hillsides with an elegant interior tempting guests to indulge at leisure. 

Casa Asturiana | Sydney NSW

For a celebration of flavours, join a lively Sydney city crowd at Casa Asturiana an all-in-one tapas bar, restaurant and events venue on Liverpool Street with a distinctly Latin vibe. Friday and Saturday nights come alive with a display of colourful flamenco dancing with the kitchen opening late in true Spanish tradition.

Lola Cocina Spanish Restaurant | Sydney NSW

The surprises of Spanish cuisine await at Lola Cocina café, tapas bar and restaurant, nestled into the maze of streets in Crows Nest. Mouth-watering meatballs stuffed with manchego cheese and pan-fried chicken and pork chorizo with caramelised onion may be just some of the tantalising bites on offer.

Bouzy Rouge | Richmond VIC

Feast like a king at Bouzy Rouge, a sophisticated space with an underground vibe, well suited to the suave crowd of Melburnians who frequent this Bridge Road establishment. Start your dining experience with a visit to the impressively stocked bar before deciding between traditionally inspired Portuguese and Spanish dishes.

Tapavino | Sydney NSW 

Celebrating Spanish culture with a sip of this and a taste of that is Tapavino, splashing onto Sydney’s dining scene in many a shade of sherry. Famous for its Spanish fortified wine collection, Tapavino has already accrued a loyal following, who line up to enter the laneway location as if on the cobblestoned streets of Madrid.

Tasty Tapas

Compiled by Julie Johnson. 

Pintxos, Boca Del Sur.  

Easy eating is the motto of tapas - an ideal way to enjoy a feast of flavours and textures all in one sitting with friends, and without looking too greedy! The Spanish were some of the first in the world to perfect the art and style of eating tapas, first by using ‘tapas’ to cover the top of a glass of wine so as not to let bugs go for a swim, and also to slow down the process of absorbing alcohol too quickly.

Many popular Spanish towns are also set by the seaside and those inland were close to main roads of dirt and dust back before they were sealed. Using a flat slice of bread, cheese or meat to cover the glass prevented dust from the roads and sand from the beach from flying in to ruin a beautiful glass of wine.

Thankfully, this traditional has continued to develop around the world so that here in Australia, we can dine out for small dishes still referred to as tapas and see through a night eating and drinking with flair. It is a great way to enjoy dining in large groups by way of sharing in good food and great times, to encourage conversation rather than having heads buried in an individual dish until every morsel is eaten, and to create a relaxed, fun vibe when dining out together.

Featured below are some of our favourite Spanish tapas bars in which to clink glasses together and yell ¡salud! in unison (that’s Spanish for cheers)! Enjoy mouth-watering food, fun drinks and a great atmosphere in these tapas hotspots, and for more, see the tapas restaurant area on our website.

Boca Del Sur | Sandringham VIC

Join a lively crowd at this vibrant tapas bar spending time delving into a diverse menu, featuring heady wood fired cooking and succulent grilling, all the while admiring views over Anonyma Shoal in Port Phillip Bay.  

 Bocadillo's at Pablo Pablo. 

Pablo Pablo | Palm Beach QLD

Popular with friendly Gold Coast locals, this trendy, pint-sized venue offers craft beer, boutique wine and sangria to pair with the likes of crispy baby cuttlefish with mojo verde and lime, and Spanner crab on charred chorizo with fennel puree.

Tapas Tapas Bodega | Turramurra NSW

The name says it all! Come here for tapas, more tapas and drinks. Diners can rest assured their culinary experience is in safe hands; restaurant Chef Ramon Bracamonte has trained in a hatted San Sebastian restaurant and now focusses on Catalonian and Basque style tapas and pintxos.

Maria’s Donkey Tapas Bar | Mackay QLD

Perched upon the pier of the Pioneer River, Maria’s Donkey puts an emphasis on the ‘bar’ where chilled sangria is best enjoyed out on a rustic timber deck beside the river’s rippling waters. 

Rustico Tapas & Bar | Rockingham WA

Set along the vibrant foreshore of Rockingham Beach, find Rustico Tapas Bar on the corner of Rockingham Beach Road and Wanliss Street for lively Spanish style fare among a laidback vibe bursting with bold colours. 

El Toro| Yeppoon QLD

Just a quick stroll away from turquoise waters makes El Toro a popular choice for locals with a tropical backdrop for dining in sleek surrounds creating an ideal place for fresh prawns with garlic and lime, and hot churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

Barrio 2304 | Mayfield NSW 

Like bulls to a red cape, locals charge towards Barrio 2304 for a taste of the Mediterranean and to submerge in a lively atmosphere as waiters deliver jugs of fruity sangria and more.

When in Spain, Throw Food!

Compiled by Annabel Rainsford.  

Image: La Tomatina Oficial.

The Spanish certainly know how to throw a good party! From the world-renowned running with the bulls’ festival to tossing tomatoes, a multitude of frivolous fiestas and festivals exist all throughout the country. Even each town is likely to have its own unique events held on special days of the year. In remembrance of the past and in celebration of tradition, the Spanish mark a handful of stand-out food festivals that hit the calendar every year. Should you wish to participate in any of the following events, be prepared to drop inhibitions for going all-out-wild as well as any concerns for cleanliness!

La Tomatina | Bunol   


Granted the title as the world’s biggest food fight, La Tomatina is a spectacle to behold. Over one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown by strangers crammed into the streets of Bunol, a town near Valencia. Prior to 2013, up to 50,000 people would pack into the town ready to throw tomatoes but since then, restrictions have been put in place to keep festival-goers safe, capped at a total of 20,000 participants. After water guns spray down the crowd, trucks roll through the streets with people on top throwing out armfuls of tomatoes as fast as possible, meanwhile nearby shop owners ensure plastic coverings are held tightly in place to save their stores from the absolute mess that ensues.

La Batalla de Vino | Haro


After a night spent partying in the town’s heart, thirsty travellers and happy-go-lucky locals climb a mountain five kilometres away to proceed drenching each other in wine for the annual La Batalla de Vino – yes, a wine battle. Dancing to music, festival attendees fill water guns, water trucks, water pistols, buckets and anything else available with beautiful liquid and drench the people around them. The party then descends into the town of Haro for more dancing and of course, drinking.

Els Enfarinats | Ibi

Check out this post from The Atlantic.

Commemorating a battle that took place over 200 years ago, the participants of Els Enfarinats re-create a mock battle throwing eggs and flour as well as setting off fire crackers and spraying the foam of fire extinguishers with vigour. The battle begins with a group of married men known as the Els Enfarinats who take over the town, declaring and enforcing ridiculous new rules and fining the townspeople who break them. An opposing group, the La Oposicio, try to bring order back to the town and at the end of the day, any money collected from the absurd fines is donated to charity.

La Raima | La Pobla del Duc

Celebrating the end of the wine harvest in the best possible way, locals and visitors to La Pobla del Duc enter into a huge grape throwing festival. Tonnes of grapes are dumped into the small town from surrounding regions and crowds gather in the town square and wait for the church bells to strike 12 noon to mark the beginning of the festival. Dating back to the 1930s, this comical event began with elated farmers rejoicing at the end of another harvesting season by throwing the rest of the crop at each other. As the town still relies heavily on their flourishing viticulture for income, the festival is just as meaningful as ever. 

La Merengada | Vilanova I la Geltru

Just one day of a six-day festival, La Merengada is part of the carnival of Vilanova I La Geltru in lead up to Lent, and so is enjoyed on ‘Fat Thursday’ after which indulgences become scarce. Like the other festivals, be sure to bring a spare change of clothes, because this day is messy! People gather to enjoy a full day of activities, in particular, meringue and cream throwing. Once the meringue is all gone, candy is thrown into the streets to enjoy into the evening, where people then take time to eat a traditional meal from the area called Xato.

Jarramplas | Piornal


Every year, a volunteer or selectee from the town of Piornal dresses up as a literal scapegoat called Jarramplas, wearing armour, colourful strips of cloth and a terrifying and grotesque goat-ish mask. He then proceeds to walk through the town beating a drum, to which the residents rush out armed with turnips to throw as what is believed to be a punishment for stealing cattle. The tradition is centuries old and the origins are somewhat skewed, but hey, it’s another day of fun for the Spaniards. As the day turns into evening, the town celebrates in the best way they know how - with music and a feast. 

If you know of any more food throwing festivals be sure to hit us up at editor@agfg.com.au

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