Like food and wine? The coming month brings you a plethora of choices when it comes to new openings, golden oldies and filling festivals.

Here at AT Wire we love to tuck into a good feed and we’ll try anything at least once, even if this month’s resident food guru Sarah Tierney might not be quite as brave as Andrew Zimmern who makes a living out of eating the most bizarre food he can find. Check out restaurant reviews, openings and food festivals.

This month, she won’t be slurping on a scoop of snake venom ice cream like Andrew does, but she’ll happily munch what’s on offer around the country, which includes festivals, restaurants and recipes guaranteed to tantalise your tastebuds.

Been to a restaurant that we’ve featured? Send us your reviews or just drop us a line to tell us what’s running through your food-loving mind. news@australiantraveller.com

VICTORIA Food News

The weather is Victoria is cooling down, and drinking a mug of hot chocolate definitely takes the chill off. The Obroma Chocolate Lounge (www.theobroma.com.au) has a novel way to keep your drink warmer with their famous mugs kept hot with a flame underneath. Have your drink with Belgian waffles smothered in melted chocolate and fresh strawberries.

If you want something more substantial, two new restaurants have opened their doors. The Chophouse (www.chophouse.com.au) is a New York-style steakhouse that offers top-quality meats and filling salads in a unique environment.
The funky Pan Asian on Chapel Street serves Asian infused dishes to hungry foodies. With Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Chinese and Indochinese influences, Pan Asian serves delicious food with unique cocktails from the cocktail specialists 1806.

Here’s one event for your diary: the Good Food Show. Touring around the country from June to November, the show helps you gear up your own kitchen and cooking style – Gordon Ramsay is only one of the chefs demonstrating how to get things heated and cooking, foul language included. You can even book in for master classes. The first leg will be held in Melbourne from June 5 – 8. Check out dates and prices at www.goodfoodshow.com.au.

NSW Food News

There’s plenty going on in NSW for foodies. The Food Safari in Macarthur (www.macarthur.com.au) takes you on a gastronomic half day tour of all the gourmet stores in the town before you sit down to a five course lunch. The tour happens only on selected Saturdays including June 13 so get in quick.

From May 15-17 is the Narooma Oyster Festival. With some of the purest waters in NSW, these oysters are sure to be some of the best you’ve tasted. You can even try your luck at the oyster shucking competition, or if you’re a keen golfer, the $100,000 hole-in-one comp. Visit www.naroomaoysterfestival.com for more info.

Another festival on from May 16-17 is the Lovedale Long Lunch (www.lovedalelonglunch.com.au) in the Hunter Valley. Wine and dine in participating wineries from $5 for the tasting glass and $23 for a plate of gourmet food. The Crown Plaza Hunter Valley has a special on villas starting from $490 for the Long Lunch so you can fully enjoy the region for the weekend.

The Lovedale Long Lunch comes before the Hunter’s Food and Wine Month in June which has plenty of events to satisfy everyone including the Winemaker’s Table Series – a series of intimate lunches and dinners with the Hunter’s best wine makers and chefs. For more info on Food and Wine month, visit www.winecountry.com.au or call 4991 4533.

For those keen to stay in Sydney this month, we bring a fantastic place for you try. The Bacco Wine Bar and Pasticceria (www.bacco.com.au) in Chifley Square is earning rave reviews for its fantastic food and wine list. Celebrating all things Italian, this intimate bar serves up delicious gnocchi and antipasto along with freshly made desserts and pastries. We hear the chocolate tortino is to die for, so if you’ve had it, tell us just how good it is.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Food News

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend on the first weekend of May in South Australia. Enjoy a glass of the world’s finest Riesling and local produce with wine tastings as well as celebratory degustation dinners and black tie events. Then relax on Sunday to the sound of a swing jazz band and as you would expect, more wine and food. For more information, visit www.clarevalley.com.au or call 08 8842 0122.

QUEENSLAND Food News

Go mud crab hunting with one of Australia’s top chefs at The Elandra at Mission Beach, QLD. From the Pearl restaurant in Melbourne, Chef Geoff Lindsay recreates his famous chilli mud crab at a special gala dinner on June 7. Join Lindsay from June 7 – 10 for cooking demonstrations, lessons and lunches to celebrate the tropical Queensland’s unique flavours. Bookings are necessary and packages start from $1500 for three days per person for accommodation, cooking experiences and more. For more info, call 1800 079 090 or visit www.elandraresorts.com

Richard Branson has expanded his empire to health clubs and has struck coffee gold with the V Café in Virgin Active gyms (www.virginactive.com.au). He has hired Salvatore Malatesta of Melbourne cult café St Ali fame to oversee the roasting of fresh, perfect coffee in the 25 gyms coming out this year (the first two are in Frenchs Forest, Sydney and the soon to be opened Bourke Street, Melbourne). If you’ve always wanted to know where your food and produce comes from this might be for you.