Unplug at the St Albans Writers Festival

A tiny, remote NSW village will host big names for the third annual St Albans Writers Festival in early September. Mad Max director George Miller, literary icon Tom Keneally and Pulitzer winner Sebastian Smee are among stars of the show. Historic St Albans (population 300) is located deep in the Hawkesbury Heartland, on the banks of theContinue reading “Unplug at the St Albans Writers Festival”

Rayner’s searing Le Cinq review goes viral

The Guardian restaurant critic Jay Rayner is getting a larger dose of notoriety than usual, thanks to his witheringly funny review of Le Cinq in Paris. He went to the the flagship Michelin 3-star restaurant of the George V Hotel expecting the gastronomic experience of a lifetime. What he got was the foodie equivalent of a sloContinue reading “Rayner’s searing Le Cinq review goes viral”

Kininvie whisky seduces Sydney’s secret bar

Sydney’s most discreet nightspot Magazin is the launchpad for one of the world’s most exclusive whiskies. It’s a robust $210 for 375ml of Kininvie 23 Years Old Batch No. 3. So to afford it you need to be as well heeled as the clientele of Magazin, the hangout of celebs, bankers, industry leaders, sports starsContinue reading “Kininvie whisky seduces Sydney’s secret bar”

Tasting the kapow factor of baijiu

There’s a few flushed faces in the room as China’s national firewater is downed in tiny gulps. It has a BANG the baijiu virgins aren’t expecting. Bloggers, Instagrammers and the curious are crammed into the elegant Moutai Baijiu showroom in Sydney’s Chinatown. We’re listening to marketing managers Imogen Hayes and Ed Xian explain the 2000-year-old art ofContinue reading “Tasting the kapow factor of baijiu”

300 years of Wine O’Clock in the Rhône

It’s exactly 300 years since these 40 acres on the baking hot floor of the Rhône Valley were first settled for the purpose of producing wine. In 1715 the Granier family decided this was a good spot, and planted vines. I’m in the Château Les Quatre Filles vineyard in the south of the valley. FromContinue reading “300 years of Wine O’Clock in the Rhône”

Coffee snobbery dissolved in an instant

“Damn, you people take coffee seriously,” said the visiting American staying in our apartment. We do. So so seriously. Especially in our state capital cities. We spend more time in cafes, buy more fancy home coffee machines than we used to and buy more coffee beans than we used to. We love it when visitorsContinue reading “Coffee snobbery dissolved in an instant”

How to drink Greece’s on-trend tsipouro

Tsipouro is the tipple du jour in Greece with boutique brands helping take the traditional firewater to a new level of sophistication. It’s a clear, potent Greek liquor of distilled grape skins, after the wine has been made. At least 43% proof and packing a massive fiery flavour punch. Tsipouro used to be more often drunk inContinue reading “How to drink Greece’s on-trend tsipouro”

New Greek food at Athens’ oldest restaurant

WHAT: Vassilenas claims to be Athens’ oldest restaurant opening its doors in 1920 and introducing a degustation menu as early as 1928. Serving traditional Greek food, seafood and no meat, it comprised only three tables in 1920, owned by Istanbul-born Thanasis Vassilenas. It quickly morphed into an established taverna. Among the rich and famous toContinue reading “New Greek food at Athens’ oldest restaurant”

Hot chocolate in Athens at Le Petite Fleur

A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine Wintery weather in Athens demands hot chocolate on a Sunday. But not any old hot chocolate will do. We’re at the elegant Le Petite Fleur in the upper crust suburb of Kifissia. The tiny interior is pink, white and pastel girly chic, with splashes of pillarContinue reading “Hot chocolate in Athens at Le Petite Fleur”