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Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.

I’m writing this on Midwinter, shivering and glad to be through the shortest day of the year. All I can think about is decadent food, so expect to find a little bit of luxury below…




Eat Brioche on Bastille Day
If you haven’t already checked out my review of Bistro Ortolan, I’ll give you a minute to do so… Okay, now we’re all on the same page, you will understand why I’m so excited about their Bastille Day Dinner on Thursday 14th July, 2011. For $140/head (add in $65/head for matched wine) you’ll receive an exhilarating adventure into modern French flavour. Paul McGrath explained to me that the food will be a bit summery, because in France, “Bastille Day is a summer event that involves family picnics during the day and fireworks at night.” But of course Paul has thrown in some lavishness, along the lines of fresh black truffles!
www.bistroortolan.com.au




Follow That Nose
Speaking of truffles, Rosewood Trufferie in the Southern Highlands have announced the dates for this year’s hunt! You can follow the hounds (like Pickles) and their handlers (like Damien Garvey) around the 33-acre property on Sunday 24th or 31st July. These tours are understandably popular, so book in quickly on (0409) 462 141. You’ll get to hunt and enjoy lunch (which of course features a variety of truffle dishes) for $180/head. Afterwards you can buy some truffles to take home too!
www.highlandsfoodiegroup.com.au



Drink Your Way Through
Winter can also mean spending time in close quarters with the loved ones. If they’re getting on your nerves already, pass around some Rekorderlig Winter Cider. The most exciting thing about it (and I actually find the Swedish Rekorderlig Ciders pretty exciting), is that it can be served on ice or warmed to enhance the spicy, cinnamon aromas. It’s been passing around my lounge room along with a range of new Schweppes Classics (RRP $17.99/4 pack). Premixes like these save you frosty trips to the kitchen to find mixer in the fridge. This range is mixed with Smirnoff Vodka and Gordon’s Gin, and if you’re not a huge fan of Indian tonic water, the diet version is actually quite drinkable.
www.rekorderlig.com.au
www.schweppesaustralia.com.au



Chrissy in July
If your family is anything like mine (not that I’d ever wish this upon you), you’ve probably switched over to a cold Christmas lunch, with prawns taking the place of a hot roast. So it makes sense to get the whole shebang with all the trimmings when it’s cold and wintery here. Leigh McDivitt’s offering up two Xmas in July degustations – a dinner on Thursday 7th July, and a lunch on Sunday 31st July. His modern take on a European Christmas will set you back $100/diner (matched wines available by request). Kicking off with a Partridge in a Pear Tree (a roasted breast of partridge with pearl barley risotto, wild mushrooms and pear) and ending on the Christmas Floor (a deconstructed Xmas pud. with an eggnog sphere and candied tarragon) it’s sure to be luxurious and exciting! My usual ‘book quickly’ urging applies.
www.3weeds.com.au



Gifts That Keep Giving
For Fanny and Alex Chan over at my favourite chocolateir, Boon Chocolates, June is an important month. In their home country, The Philippines, June marks the month they gained independence after 333 years of Spanish rule! They’ll be celebrating it by donating 10% of sales to the Opportunity International Australia microfinance project in The Philippines, which offers loans to the poor “so that they can start their own business and work their way out of poverty.” So go buy yourself a chocolate, and eat it guilt-free, because while you eat chocolate, you're sending a gift that keeps on giving! www.boonchocolates.com.au