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Published in the City Hub and City News.

It’s winter - well it definitely seems cold enough to be considered so. Just ignore those impossibly blue skies, and any unseasonably warm days. Whatever you do, don’t mention global warming (even if it is true). It sure makes writing a cohesive food column hard, between throwing in outdoor events to take advantage of the warmth, and Pepe Saya Custard to ward off the cold…

HOT
Blue sky in the morning says hot mulled wine and wood fire pizzas over at The Island Bar on Cockatoo Island. They’re open between 11.30am and 6pm every Friday, Saturday or Sunday, all the way through to the end of August. This allows you to also check out the art at the Biennale of Sydney. www.theislandbar.com.au

COLD


Nothing says cold like cheese, and with an elaborate new cheese trolley Restaurant Arras is set to dominate this category. After some deliberation, owner/chef Adam Humphrey declares his favourites to be Colston Bassett Stilton and Montgomery Cheddar, so you can count on there always being Stilton and Cheddar in his constantly evolving range. Decision-making however remains difficult, especially when you throw in his much-touted petit fours tray, and great breads. www.restaurant-arras.com.au

HOT



Warming winter fare and the best of Australian craft beers will converge on Thirlmere on Saturday 25th August for the Trainworks Winter Beer Festival. Brands and brews set to represent include Manly’s 4 Pines Brewery, Two Birds Brewing, McLaren Vale Beer Company and Redoak. Entry, a glass and five tokens is $35, and Trainworks CEO Rob Austin even assures “we have the capacity to move the event under cover in the case of bad weather.” www.trainworks.com.au

COLD
In case of snow, Trippas White Group have kindly brought forward Christmas to July, with well-priced two-course menus across all their venues. The specials at 360 Bar and Dining, Botanic Gardens Restaurant and Centennial Parklands Dining gave me food for thought, but my perfect wet weather plan now involves roast guineafowl with caramelised parsnip puree and pear and mustard chutney, followed by steamed maple sponge with brandy anglaise, and a glass of Mrs Beeton's mulled wine for $55/person at The Restaurant at the Art Gallery of NSW. Might even fit in some art here too? www.trippaswhitegroup.com.au

HOT



Wine tasting at the upcoming Mudgee Wine & Food Festival is an all-weather activity, but I’m sure their new Go Tasting event on Saturday 15th September would benefit from some rays. It’s a roving cocktail party with tunes and twenty canapés matched to twenty wines, from some of the forty family-owned wineries that litter the area. The Burnbrae Winery gets my personal seal of approval… www.visitmudgeeregion.com.au

COLD



Coffee’s about my favourite warm beverage, and inside the InterContinental Sydney you won’t even notice the weather, as you enjoy your first High Coffee Experience. You’ll sample Stefano Manfredi’s coffee by Piazza D’Oro both hot and cold. You’ll like the cold variety, trust me - it’s an Espresso di Manfredi Spice Martini, built on vanilla-infused Belvedere Vodka – that has my name all over it! Did I mention cakes? Three-tiers of foodie joy, coffee and a martini will set you back $55.
www.interconsydney.com.au

HOT



Now if the weather holds for the weekend, you still have time to check out Sydney’s latest food festival fad, the King Street Wharf International Food Safari. Think cultural dancing, pizza dough twirling and more international cuisines than you can stamp in a passport. www.ksw.com.au

COLD


If it doesn’t, curl up with one of Merna Taouk’s Fig and Ginger Puddings [RRP $8] from Homemade Fine Foods. Built with Milton free-range eggs, Eumundi ginger, Picton cream and Pepe Saya’s glorious cultured butter, it’s an absolute (preservative-free) treat. That you need your own personal container of Pepe Saya Pouring Custard [RRP $8/180ml] to accompany it, is a given. www.pepesaya.com.au