Line-up of fire­works to launch Chi­nese new year

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

ONE sea­son of feast­ing is safely signed off but we’re soon to launch into an­other. Chi­nese new year, al­ways a colour­ful rea­son to hit the city streets (Fe­bru­ary 7 will be the cen­tre of days of fes­tiv­i­ties), is the per­fect ex­cuse for a ban­quet, and so healthy.

Kylie Kwong chef-owner of Billy Kwong in Syd­ney, tells FoodDe­tec­tive that she has been anointed by the City of Syd­ney, with oth­ers rep­re­sent­ing the Chi­nese com­mu­nity, as one of its am­bas­sadors for this year.

She in­tends to usher in the Year of the Rat with a 10-course or­ganic Chi­nese ban­quet at Billy Kwong, matched with bio­dy­namic wines from Cullen Wines, in West­ern Aus­tralia’s Mar­garet River, on Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 4. $180 a per­son all in­clu­sive. (02) 9332 3300; in­quiries@bil­lyk­wong.org.

HO­BART’S ac­claimed Me Wah restau­rant will spark up its spe­cial ninecourse new year ban­quet with a lion dance and fire­crack­ers. A staff mem­ber at Me Wah tells De­tec­tive they go in for spe­cial events at Me Wah in a big way, and Chi­nese New Year ‘‘ takes the cake’’.

The spe­cial ban­quet will show­case the chef’s best dishes: there’ll be abalone, cray­fish, Kan­ga­roo Is­land chicken, quail, jel­ly­fish and more. $98 a head (wines ex­tra). www.me­wah.com.au.

MELBOURNE’S Flower Drum will also en­ter­tain din­ers with a lion dance, on new year’s eve and new year’s day, Fe­bru­ary 6 and 7. Book­ings are close to com­plete, so be quick. (03) 9662 3655.

MEAN­WHILE, a Moon­beams, Dumplings and Drag­onboats event will take Syd­ney’s As­tral restau­rant into CNY with a three-chef din­ner on Fe­bru­ary 20. Watch this col­umn for de­tails. www.as­tral­restau­rant.com.au.

ALLA Wolf-Tasker, of Vic­to­ria’s renowned Lake House coun­try ho­tel at Dayles­ford, has signed a de­li­cious deal with like-minded food lovers Jane Web­ster and hus­band Peter Web­ster, who own a dream chateau and host gourmet stays in Nor­mandy, France’s dairy and ap­ple (cider and Cal­va­dos) coun­try.

Spend seven nights at Chateau Bos­gouet, while Wolf-Tasker pre­sides over hands-on cook­ing classes and acts as live-in guide to the re­gion she knows so well: its cheeses (camem­bert, li­varot, brie, pont-l’eveque), the char­cu­terie, salt-marsh lamb from the tidal re­gion around Mont St-Michel, and seafood from the nearby coast. You will visit pro­duce mar­kets and eat out at some of the re­gion’s best restau­rants, in­clud­ing Alexandre Bour­das’s Miche­lin-starred Sa.Qua.Na (short for Saveurs, Qualite et Na­ture) at Hon­fleur.

There are two stays planned, each with a limit of 10 par­tic­i­pants: July 24-30 and Au­gust 1-7. The cost is $6500 a per­son, twin share with en­suite, which in­cludes seven nights at the chateau, all meals, bev­er­ages, tour­ing to lo­cal vil­lages and towns such as Deauville, and the cook­ing classes. www.lake­house.com.au.

THE Marl­bor­ough Wine Fes­ti­val in New Zealand’s sauvi­gnon blanc heaven will cel­e­brate its 25th birth­day on Fe­bru­ary 9, 10.30am to 6pm ($42), with linked events from Fe­bru­ary 8 to 10.

An im­pres­sively long list of wine­mak­ers in­cludes big names such as Pernod Ri­card and Cloudy Bay, as well as small es­tates in the re­gion. A shorter but very se­lect list of spe­cial­ist foods will be avail­able (from veni­son burg­ers and salmon ke­babs to oys­ters and cheeses). There’ll be live mu­sic, tast­ings and wine tu­to­ri­als ($20), cruises on the Marl­bor­ough Sounds, spe­cial cafe menus and high-end din­ners, such as the Sub­lime Soiree at Mon­tana Bran­cott Win­ery Restau­rant (chef Ashim Singh’s four-course de­gus­ta­tion menu, with en­ter­tain­ment, $160 a per­son). www.wine-marl­bor­ough-fes­ti­val.co.nz.

Alla Wolf-Tasker

A FES­TI­VAL tie-in, the Seresin Fe­bru­ary Din­ner Se­ries, or­gan­ised by Seresin Es­tate at its boat­shed restau­rant at Wa­ter­fall Bay at Port Li­gar has in­vited guest chef Brad Farmerie of Pub­lic restau­rant in New York and for­merly of Ray­mond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Bri­tain. Nightly five­course din­ners with match­ing wines, Fe­bru­ary 8-11, and lunches, Fe­bru­ary 10-11, $265 a per­son (in­cludes boat trip to and from Pic­ton). www.seresin.co.nz.

FIND of the week: Hor­ti­cul­ture Aus­tralia has come up with some in­trigu­ing recipes for those short-lived and long-loved cher­ries. One is a cof­fee cherry mar­tini, which in­volves shak­ing 30ml Kahlua, 20ml gin, 60ml white ver­mouth and a dash of lemon juice, soak­ing cher­ries in the mix for 30 min­utes, then serv­ing (re­shaken) as a cock­tail, with a cherry on a stick and red sugar rim­ming the glass (there are such things as red sugar crys­tals ap­par­ently).

De­tec­tive sug­gests re­plac­ing the gin and ver­mouth with vodka, the lemon juice with a whis­per of kirsch and call­ing it Red Rus­sian. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: Ta­bles that strand din­ers in the path of fly­ing wait­ers. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loves: TheHouse­ofOys­ters by Bernard Lloyd and Paul County (Bar­illa Bay Oys­ter Farm and Restau­rant, $29.95). For nearly 30 years the For­rest fam­ily has farmed and sold oys­ters at Bar­illa Bay near Ho­bart air­port. This de­light­ful book has 55 recipes from such big-name Aus­tralian chefs as Tet­suya Wakuda and Justin North, from bloody mary oys­ter shoot­ers to retro fave car­pet­bag steak sexed up with sour­dough and wasabi aioli. www.bar­il­l­abay.com.au.

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