Line-up of fireworks to launch Chinese new year
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; email@example.com.
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.
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.