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Price: FREE at selected tourist outlets in Australia 24-month subscription $64.95

FRED WILLIAMS

MY DRACULA BENEVOLENT

Yileena Park Wines wine flight at Melbourne’s Treviso

Ultimate Alpine The Buckland – Studio Retreat issue 20 autumn 2011

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When you subscribe to Essentials Magazine one bottle of Yileena Park Yarra Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is yours FREE. This offer is extended to only the first 300 subscriptions sold, so hurry! Don’t wanna cut up this magazine? A photo copy of this coupon is fine!

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(Includes bonus* FREE bottle of Yileena Park Yarra Valley cabernet wine valued at $25.) * FREE wine is pick-up only, from Yileena Park’s Yarra Valley cellar door at 245 Steels Creek Road, Yarra Glen, Victoria, Australia. Tel 03 9730 1977. A visit to this wonderful winery is highly advised! One bottle of wine per subscription purchase order only. To collect your wine you must show your subscription order tax invoice at the cellar door. Submit your email address when you mail your order, or online when paying by credit card, to receive a tax invoice.

Magazine subscriptions begin from issue released after order is completed. For example, order before July 2011 and the first magazine delivered will be the winter 2011 issue (not this issue). Essentials Magazine is released quarterly, so there is some time between issues. We advise that subscribers and recipients should be patient in waiting for a following issue to arrive in the mail. For assistance, please email subscriptions@essentialsmagazine.com.au


FREE EY WHIN EVER

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Cabernet is King – Yileena Park Yileena Park Vineyard, at Steels Creek via Yarra Glen in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, is a small family vineyard producing some of Australia’s most exciting premium quality, handcrafted boutique wines. Facing the morning sun on an east-facing hillside that gently warms up as the valley mist lifts, the fruit on the vines enjoys a slow wake-up as the day comes to life. The Yarra Valley can have many cooler days throughout the year, and many scattered cloudy days in summer when the grapes near harvest. This mixture of warmth and cooler shade allows Yileena Park’s ripening process to remain slow and steady. Yileena Park premium wines are fragrant, delicate, expressive, extremely well crafted by some of the Yarra Valley’s finest winemakers, and well aged before release. Yileena Park’s wines mature for an average of two years in oak before further maturation in the bottle (up to three years in most cases). No other winery in the Yarra Valley is presenting newrelease wines of this quality and aged for so long. We think Yileena Park is one of the best-kept secrets in Australian wine right now. And so we’re pleased to introduce to you this exclusive bonus FREE wine Essentials subscription offer.


managing editor Jamie Durrant

sub editor Tony Kleu

arts editor Ivan Durrant

advertising | sales Jamie Durrant Tel 0419 006 391

graphic design | art direction Jamie Durrant

advertising creative

Created in-house by Essentials Magazine

writers

Jacqui Durrant, Gilbert Labour, Varia Karipoff, Monique Meijer, Llawela Forrest, Jamie Durrant, Ivan Durrant

Yileena Park wine flight at Treviso 14

recipes

Tony Zappiello

photographers

Jamie Durrant, Charlie Brown, Clare Plueckhahn

additional photographs & content

Essentials would like to thank the following contributors for additional content and images: Billy Doolan, Hans Sip , Chris Whitelaw, Llawela Forrest @ Run Forrest, Lyn Williams, National Gallery of Victoria, The Benalla Art Gallery, CosmoreX Coffee, The Wangaratta Art Gallery, Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce Inc,

Cormac Hanrahan

editorial jamie@essentialsmagazine.com.au production jamie@essentialsmagazine.com.au jamie@layoutlooks.com [larger files] our websites www.essentialsmagazine.com.au essentialscart.net.au [online store] www.issuu.com/essentialsmagazine publisher Essentials Magazine Pty Ltd ACN: 132 426 576 PO Box 967, Benalla, Victoria, 3672 Tel 03 5762 3485 All photographs and text are the property of Essentials Magazine and or the rightful copyright holders. Under no circumstances are they to be reprinted or published by any means whatsoever without written permission of the editor. While we always try to clear and confirm all editorial content (both text and photographs) before publishing, we welcome the opportunity to correct any errors or omissions. The opinions of the contributors and/or columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher. Essentials aims to please and support Australian tourism via pleasurable and positive content. Every effort is made to confirm event and calendar dates and factual information, although at times please understand that errors can occur – we’re only human! Essentials strongly recommends travellers phone event managers and tourism operators to confirm dates and events prior to enjoying the fruits of this region.

Price in Australia: FREE at selected tourist locations, 24-month subscription $64.95 via www.essentialsmagazine.com.au This issue: No. 20 – mid-autumn 2011 (“Those people in Manhattan? They are better than us. Because they want things they haven’t seen.” – Peggy Olson)

Essentials Magazine is printed in Australia by GEON Impact Printing.

magazine autumn 2011 page 6

features 14 32 52

Wine Flight – Yileena Park at Treviso, Melbourne My Benevolent Dracula – Fred Williams The Dead Heart Springs to Life – Brindabella Airlines Outback Tours

food & drink 3 9 11 12 22 36 64

What Exactly is ‘Fresh Coffee’? – CosmoreX Coffee Playful Pucino Prosecco – Dal Zotto Wines Canberra Cool – Zierholz Premium Brewery National Wine Show – A Historic Record All Grow’d Up – Mountainview Hotel Lager Master Class – Brew 500 at Bridge Road Brewers Influence of Atrium – Food Ready for the Taking

art, music 24 40 42

Jazz Hot – Lulo Reinhardt Touring Australia Art Space – Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award A Mighty Heart – Billy Doolan

discovery & adventure 28 50 56 60

Fantastico La Fiera – Myrtleford’s Italian Festival Ultimate Alpine – The Buckland – Studio Retreat Treasures from the Blue City – Red Ramia Trading How Green is Your Valley – Kangaroo Valley

regulars 8 10 48 66

Food News Vino Classico Travel News ‘Poet’s Corner’ COVER: Fred Williams Red cliff landscape, 1981 (section) Oil on canvas, 182.4 x 152 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Presented through the NGV Foundation by Rio Tinto Limited, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2001


What exactly is ‘fresh coffee’? ‘Freshness to coffee is like location to real estate.’ But is it always a case of ‘the fresher the better’? Not exactly... Settling period Because roasted beans take some days to develop their flavours, there is considerable change in them from the time of roasting for up to and around a week for Arabicas, longer for Robustas. The cooler the climate the longer this takes. During this time the fresh coffee releases a great deal of carbon dioxide, which can interfere with the extraction process, especially in espresso brewing. Consumers who understand and appreciate this process may wish to buy beans on the day of roasting. They know they will need to adjust their grinder and brewing technique on a daily basis as the coffee settles, and understand that the coffee may well start off tasting ‘woody’ and ‘thin’ before developing a peak of balance, aroma and body. Those who prefer a coffee that is well-balanced, stable and easy to use right away are best advised to buy beans that have settled at least five to seven days after roasting. This includes people buying pre-ground because they do not have a grinder at home. At Cosmorex Coffee, we closely manage our stock to ensure that coffee sold over the counter has passed the initial settling period. We actually go a step further, employing tailored resting times for each blend based on our extensive tasting experience. That said, we are always happy to supply beans from our ‘just roasted’ stock if that is your preference. You need only ask.

‘The Rule of Three’

Under ideal conditions,

• Green beans remain at their best for three years from the season picked. • Roasted beans remain at their best for three weeks from the day of roasting. • Ground coffee remains at its best for about three minutes from the time of grinding (so beans should only be ground immediately before use and then only as much as can be used in one sitting). This is of course a generalisation, but it does give some idea of how volatile coffee beans become as they proceed along the chain of processing to your cup. If you would like to know more about freshness, or indeed anything about coffee, please ask one of the Cosmorex team!

Tip: Coffee Storage

Our experience tells us there is a two-week optimum drinking window in the beans after they have settled. During this time their development plateaus, then they inevitably age to a state of staleness. The beans must be stored in the best possible way to slow the ageing process.

Unless it is to be used very soon, coffee should be stored in a heat-sealed foil bag with a one-way valve to release carbon dioxide but not allow oxygen to enter (and also to prevent the bag bursting). If storing for any time before use, the bag should be placed away from sunlight, strong odours and heat or wide temperature variation. After opening, take out only what is needed for the day, then seal the bag as best you can.

Our general recommendation, therefore, is to buy only what you can consume within approximately 14 days. This way, you will always enjoy your coffee at its best. Also, note that this advice applies to whole bean coffee. Pre-ground coffee loses freshness much more quickly, so it really is in your interest to buy a good coffee grinder.

Note: Storing in the fridge or freezer is fraught with danger due to odours and the risk of water condensing on the beans, so it is not recommended unless really necessary (such as in a hot climate where fresh coffee cannot be bought regularly) and very carefully implemented.

Optimum drinking window


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FRENCHPERFECT Nestled between the law chambers and the Melbourne Magistrates’ Courts lies a wonderful, classic French-style café-cum-boulangerie – Le Traiteur. A French term meaning ‘the caterer of speciality goods’, Le Traiteur brings the smell of freshly baked breads, riveting rillettes and beautiful braises to the hungry legal eagles and the common throng. Le Traiteur is lined with terracotta tiles, rustic wire racks and pressed tin features that give the space the warmth and feel of a Parisian café. Created by Zoe Ladyman (sommelier) and Nick Creswick (chef), the owner/operators of the much loved and awarded Libertine French Dining Room in North Melbourne, the duo have ensured all eating concerns are covered. From 7am there’s an extensive breakfast menu. At lunch, find delicious offerings of baguettes baked on site each morning and filled with perfect matches such as roasted duck, baked pear and caramelised onions or rabbit terrine, bitter leaves and hazelnut dressing, plus a menu of traditional French dishes we’ve come to love. Take-home meals, provisions such as sauces, stocks and pates, plus a catering arm are also in Le Traiteur’s repertoire. Le Traiteur is the kind of place you’d want as your local.

552 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000 Tel 03 9670 0039 www.letraiteur.com.au

Springhill Farm takes gluten-free eating to the next level with a brand-new range of sweet gluten-free slices, biscuits and rocky road that taste good. It’s local (the secondgeneration family hails from Ballarat in Victoria) and all handmade. For stockists visit www.springhillfarm.com.au.

F R E N C H AT H O M E In other French matters, More Than French is the first cookbook from the acclaimed Melbourne-based French chef Philippe Mouchel. A collection of more than 100 recipes, this comprehensive book on cooking and preparing French-inspired dishes is heavily influenced by Philippe’s work experience and travels. Each recipe has been tested, tested, and tested again by renowned foodwriter Rita Erlich – the ‘cook’ to Philippe’s chef. RRP $65 and available from all good bookstores.

magazine autumn 2011 page 8


Playful Pucino Prosecco WORDS JACQUI DURRANT

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f you visited Dal Zotto Wines’ cellar door this summer you may well have been seduced by a Bellini cocktail, a long drink made exclusively with prosecco, the light sparkling wine originating in Italy’s Veneto region, mixed with white peach nectar. Named for its subtle pink hue – its creator, Giuseppi Cipriani, was reminded of a monk’s robes in a painting by the 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini – it originated in Venice’s legendary Harry’s Bar, and went on to become an all-time Italian favourite. Having successfully introduced King Valley to this classic summer cocktail, Dal Zottos will serve a more autumnal-red cocktail, the Pucino Spritz, for Easter. This light-hearted and low-alcohol cocktail continues the prosecco theme, but adds the Italian aperitif Aperol, and soda water. The Dal Zottos are passionate about prosecco cocktails for the best of reasons: in 2004, Dal Zotto became the first Australian winery to produce prosecco wines. The varietal was a personal, rather than fashionable, choice for family patriarch Otto Dal Zotto, who had migrated from Valdobbiadene in the Veneto. The area is renowned for its sparkling prosecco wines, and Otto had worked with the prosecco vines in his family’s vineyard.  When the Dal Zotto family made the decision to plant Australia’s first commercial prosecco vineyard in 1998, the variety was so rare in Australia that their vines had to be propagated from two plants belonging to an old Italian man in South

Australia. At the time, the family could never have imagined prosecco’s rapid acceptance and success: Tony Love of the Herald-Sun rated their L’Immigrante Prosecco in his top 40 wines of 2010, and The Age/ Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide recently declared the Pucino Prosecco Australia’s best value sparkling wine. Made using the charmat method of fermentation traditional to the variety, Dal Zotto’s Pucino is as close to the true Italian prosecco as they’ve ever made. On its own, prosecco is a clean ‘any occasion’ sparkling wine, typically with aromas of crisp apple, ripe pear and grape. Fresh and light, it is perfect as an aperitif or a palate cleanser. ‘It’s a cheeky wine,’ says Otto’s son Christian. ‘It’s simple: not a serious wine, not heavy like champagne. People drink it, and you can see they just enjoy themselves.’ And that’s what you’ll find at Dal Zotto’s Trattoria in the heart of Victoria’s King Valley this Easter: people enjoying their playful Pucino Spritz cocktails. Why not join in the fun? The cellar door Trattoria, featuring a menu of Italianinspired seasonal and regional produce, is open weekends from 11am to 4pm. The cellar door itself is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Dal Zotto Wines and Trattoria Main Road, Whitfield, Victoria Tel 03 5729 8321 www.dalzotto.com.au

magazine autumn 2011 page 9


mid-summer2010

vinoclassico [V] PLUNKETT FOWLES Essentials recently dropped into Plunkett Fowles Avenel cellar door to sample some of the best bang for your buck new release wines around – the Stone Dwellers range. New: the Stone Dwellers super-clean and lively 2010 Chardonnay and the lush and supple Stone Dwellers 2008 Shiraz. The previous 2008 vintage Chardonnay was a silver medal winner at the National Cool Climate Wine Show and was also aptly labeled by Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Huon Hooke as ‘so bright and breezy’. With the new release the same can be said, and more as it features a lively and herbaceous nose of lime, apricots and lychees. Made from mountain-high Strathbogie Ranges crisp cool climate fruit, this wine retains its bright clean acid crispness and is nicely only just touched by the influence of oak. The impressive medium bodied Stone Dwellers 2010 Shiraz is another top wine made from star quality fruit – from the same vineyard as Plunkett Fowles’ Internationally award winning Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz. An extravagant nose of forest berries, chocolate and licorice simply bursts out of the glass. Spicy, dusky subtle tannins and big hints of cherry, chocolate, licorice, tobacco, cedar and black pepper colour an explorative and delightful palate. A big ticked wine at a mid-ticket price, what could be better? Corner Hume Highway and Lambing Gully Road, Avenel, Victoria Tel 03 5796 2150 www.plunkettfowles.com.au

YILEENA PARK CABERNET KING

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Essentials has previously labeled this little beauty Australia’s greatest boutique cabernet wine. Due for release mid-2011 (can hardly wait), the Yileena Park 2006, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is rumured to be again, even better than previous vintages. Affectionately known as the ‘Cabernet King’, Yileena Park’s previous ‘04 vintage was a sell-out, with case loads walking out the cellar door within hours of release. Featuring premium fruit, lengthy aging in two-year-old French oak (selected for best intergration of oak), plus additional years maturation in bottle, Yileena’s next premium ‘cab off the rank’ is bound to a cellar musthave. 245 Steels Creek Road Yarra Glen 3775, Victoria Tel 03 9730 1977 www.yileenapark.com.au

. Open daily

magazine autumn 2011 page 10


canberracool

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WORDS GILBERT LABOUR

ZIERHOLZ PREMIUM BREWERY

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o non-Canberrans, Fyshwick is a name synonymous with industrial and commercial enterprises as well as being a place to procure ‘those’ videos, books and blush-inducing paraphernalia which ensure a steady albeit furtive clientele. There has been a shift in tone, however, with the development of a variety of upmarket boutique businesses whose owners had the acumen to recognise the Fyshwick precinct as the federal capital’s next ‘in’ hub. And so it came to pass that when master brewer Christoph Zierholz, whose name betrays his Germanic roots, chose to establish a state-of-the-art micro brewery, complete with a gleaming array of fermenters, mash-lauter tuns, boilers and chillers, he headed for a commercial court in Kembla Street, at the heart of Fyshwick’s cacophony of car repairers and other light industrial concerns. To establish perspective, let us step back a few years to 2002 when Zierholz, a Masters graduate of Canberra’s Australian National University and a CSIRO scholar and environmental scientist, started dabbling in artisanal amateur beer brewing. His passion soon saw him firmly established in that milieu, going on to win the ACT and National Championships between 2002 and 2004. In 2005, ever the beer-tragic, Zierholz took a life-changing step toward realising his dream: his unshakeable belief in his own brewing talents led him to to establish Canberra’s first micro-brewery, with the immediate goal of supplying top quality draught beers to clubs and pubs in the ACT and surrounds. Those tentative steps have resulted in a major league micro-brewery producing eight beers available at 20 exclusive venues, with more brews on the drawing board. All Zierholz beers are brewed according to the stringent German Beer Purity Law. Their styles range from a low-alcohol Schankbier (German draught beer), through the gamut of fruity pale Hopmeister ale, traditional German Pils, Weizen (wheat) beer redolent of bananas and cloves, and Dusseldorf ale bursting with nutty malt and caramel accents, to an assertive English-style bitter chocolate Porter, with more brews in the planning. Zierholz’s biggest seller is his original German Ale, a delicate easy drinking and refreshing Cologne style designed to compete with mass-brewed commercial drops. Not one to stand still, Christoph has recently released his beers in very reasonably priced and recyclable 5-litre kegs designed to challenge the premium products and, in time, become Canberra’s main household beer. The fridge-friendly, lightweight kegs guarantee the beer stays fresh for a month from opening. Ever the entrepreneur, and recognising the need to broaden his customer base while offering more than packet chips, Zierholz converted spare floor space into a café restaurant. True to the cultural theme, it is evocative of Bavarian beer houses, the rustic charm of long heavy wood tables and stools in an open setting encouraging conviviality. One can imagine patrons swaying to oompah bands and clinking beer-laden steins while observing the mechanics of the brewery through a glassed wall.

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The German influenced menu matches the theme with old-fashioned hearty comfort favourites such as slowcooked pork knuckles and traditional sausages. To facilitate the overall palateexperience, a sampling paddle of the seven main beers allows patrons to appreciate all the sensory food-matching nuances before being rewarded with a midi glass of their favourite brew. Such is the down-toearth appeal of Zierholz’s concept that the brewery/restaurant has become a soughtafter venue for office parties, birthdays and group functions. A new Zierholz brewery café incorporating a functioning micro-brewery will soon open on the University of Canberra campus, a move that promises to cement and enhance Zierholz’s reputation and appeal across the broader spectrum of beerlovers. Already the recipient of multiple accolades and awards and driven by a burning passion and absolute focus on quality, Christoph Zierholz seems destined for the highest echelons of achievement.

Open: Thurs-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-4pm, Mon-Tues 11am-5pm Unit 7/19-25 Kembla Street Fyshwick Australian Capital Territory Tel 02 6162 0523 www.zierholz.com.au

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magazine autumn 2011 page 11


NATIONAL WINE SHOW OF AUSTRALIA WORDS GILBERT LABOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

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s the years wax and wane with inexorable metronomic precision, some events in Canberra’s almanac are avidly anticipated… events such as the multicultural festival, Floriade and the National Wine Show. The show, now accepted as the epitome of wine shows in Australia, had a rather colourful beginning, born of the necessity to recognise and recompense the best of the best commercial wines at national level – one show to unite them all! Decades ago, when the major capital cities all conducted their own wine shows and vied for national recognition, Canberra aspired to establish its own show. Ron Rochford, then CEO of the Royal National Canberra Agricultural Society, asked fellow CSIRO scientist Dr Edgar Riek to establish and run a wine show that would present and reward Australia’s elite wines: in agricultural parlance, the best of breed. Riek was already a well recognised figure in wine circles, keeping regular company with the likes of the legendary Len Evans, Ray Kidd of Lindemans, Murray Tyrrell, Dr Max Lake and the critic and bon vivant Rudy Komon, amongst others, mainly at the notoriously bacchanalian lunches at Evans’s Bulletin Place bistro. In 1975, under the guidance of Riek and with the help of Evans and a committee of local vignerons and wine enthusiasts – Geoff Hood, Ian Hendry, Max Blake, Cossie Sciannimanica and Ken Helm – organised a fledgling show magazine autumn 2011 page 12

which ran for three years as the Canberra National Wine Show. In that period rules and regulations were established and tightened. An audit system was established and enforced to ensure truth in labelling as well as to assess whether the volumes of wines required for legal entry into the show were indeed available. A troll through the official show results, provided by Bill Moore, reveals some interesting facts, such as the very first judging panel including such famous names as R.C. Buller, W.P [Bill] Chambers, Evans and Komon. The 1975 winner of the Aggregate Points in Wine Section was Berri Cooperative Winery & Distillery. Seppelt & Sons Ltd, a force in the market to this day, won in 1976 and 1977. Those early years allowed the organising committee the flexibility to hone and refine the concept, leading to a true National Wine Show by 1978. B. Barry of Stanley Wine company was named chairman of judges and Riek chairman of show. Over 700 wines were submitted for the inaugural show. One of the defining criteria established by the committee was that only medal-winning entries from other capital shows would be considered, thus recognising the ‘best of breed’, a format that remains to the present day. It was also the first show to recognise and reward a museum class and, for a few years, even casks and flagon wines over a certain price were judged. Another bold step by the Riek and Evans team was the introduction

of overseas judges – the first being John Avery of the iconic Bristol firm – giving the show a true international reputation. Another first was the introduction some years ago, of Riedel glasses exclusively for all judging. That practice has now been adopted by most of the other shows of repute. As the show grew in acceptance and stature, a division of duties was deemed necessary to maintain the lofty standards established. With Len Evans taking over for a long stint as chairman of judges, the overall running of the show, an onerous responsibility, was entrusted in 1979 to another stalwart of the agricultural society, William [Bill] Moore. When Evans eventually stepped down as chairman of judges the baton passed to another luminary, Ian McKenzie, for a five-year term. After McKenzie a three-year rotation was introduced for chairman of judges, the exception being Tom Carson, who in 2011 will preside for a fourth year to facilitate a smooth transition to a change of format. The affable and much respected Bill Moore stepped down in 2010 after 30 years at the helm in which he streamlined and refined the logistics of running the ever-expanding show. Overall responsibility has now passed to a new director, David Metcalf. Some watershed changes were introduced at the 2010 show, most notably the exclusion of New Zealand wines. The Federal Government had asked that NZ wines be accepted when the Free Trade Agreement was established between


AUSSIE WINE ICONS Dr Edgar Riek, above; and Bill Moore, left Australia and New Zealand in 1982. Officially, the show has grown so big, and the number of entries from Australia so numerous, it was deemed necessary to exclude foreign entries. (The cynic in me can’t help wondering if it was actually done to give Australian sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs a chance of winning some trophies.) Other innovations in 2010 were the recognition of single vineyard wines, a concept that is gaining popularity, as well as the lowering of necessary volumes to 250 dozen bottles at the time of entry, to encourage smaller winemakers to pit their products against bigger concerns. It was fascinating to sit down with Riek and Moore recently as they reminisced about the early days, all the backroom goings on and dynamics of headstrong personalities. Most of those memories cannot be divulged, for obvious reasons, but one mirth-inducing anecdote that can definitely be told involved young stewards. In the early days of the show it was decided to involve oenology students from Charles Sturt University to let them gain experience and exposure to the real world. When the show was moved to November, most senior students were excluded, exams being more important, so a batch of first-year students were brought in as stewards. Ignoring the basic requirement and protocol of wine assessment, i.e. Sip, Swirl and Spit, the enthusiastic young winemakers were firmly ensconced on the

side of Sip, Swirl and Swallow, so much so that they all had to pour back to their accommodation by the lunch break of the first judging day, thence back to Wagga Wagga when properly sobered up. Much to the chagrin of following generations of wine students, the experience has never been repeated. It is due to the perseverance, dogged determination and foresight of early pioneers, the likes of Riek, Evans, Moore, Halliday, McKenzie and Mick Morris among many others, that the National Wine Show is now as anchored in Australia’s culture as Vegemite and Holden cars. It has become synonymous with the recognition of wines at the pinnacle of quality. More importantly, it allows benchmarking whereby the best are appropriately rewarded and the rest given high standards to aspire to. This eventually translates to better quality commercial wines at all price points. Long live the National Wine Show. 14-25 November 2011 Exhibition Park, Canberra, ACT http://www.rncas.org.au/NationalWineShow/

magazine autumn 2011 page 12.5


treviso

yileena park wine flight WORDS JACQUI DURRANT RECIPES TONY ZAPPIELLO PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

Essentials magazine visited Melbourne restaurant Treviso for a Yileena Park wine flight paired with classic dishes from northern Italy’s Veneto.

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n his open kitchen, head chef Tony Zappieno is expediting orders in Italian. His two young sous chefs, Massimiliano Pugnali from Venice and Emanuele Milano from Cortina d’Ampezzo, respond in Venetian dialect. Floor staff are bustling the kind of dishes familiar to trattoria across the Veneto region of northern Italy: handsome plates of Risotto Nero and Salsicce Alpini, a combination of Italian pork, chilli and fennel sausages, served with grilled polenta and a Slavic touch of red cabbage sauerkraut. Welcome to Treviso, a restaurant and bar that has the look of a third-generation business whose owners understood the advantage in retaining older decor elements of sombre dark wood and baroque tiled floors. There’s a steady stream of diners being greeted at the door, many by name.

Given the scene, it would be too easy to mistake walking into Treviso the restaurant for having walked into a restaurant in Treviso, Italy, but this is Bank Place, inner-city Melbourne. Even more surprising is that owners James and Julie Valentini opened the doors of this popular lunch venue in Melbourne’s legal and financial precinct only eight years ago. Perhaps it’s the weight of family experience that lends Treviso its sense of permanence. As James explains, ‘Dad came from Treviso, and my mum’s family ran pubs in North East Victoria for three generations.’ These included the Bull’s Head Hotel in Wangaratta, where Cafe Martini was one of the region’s favourite eateries in the 90s. Treviso’s connections with the Yarra Valley’s Yileena Park Winery also go back to North East Victoria. As a local lad,

winery owner Bob Curtis once tended bar at the Albion Hotel, then run by James’ grandfather Jim Kerwin. ‘When someone brought Bob into the restaurant for lunch one day,’ explains James, ‘we had a few laughs, and he undertook to bring me some bottles the next time he came in. After tasting, I ordered a few dozen on sight!’ Now Yileena Park is a feature of Treviso’s wine list. The food at Treviso shows that chef Tony Zappieno isn’t one for tinkering with classic Italian cuisine. To begin, his Sardoni in Saor – crumbed sardines served with a sweet-sour agrodolce sauce based on white onions, wine vinegar and a dash of sugar – is a particularly sharp version of this traditional dish. Black peppercorns add extra heat, with sultanas and almonds contributing more sweetness. Yileena Park’s Pinot Grigio 2010 proves a good match, particularly in that it is not overly acidic. [continued over page]

magazine autumn 2011 page 14


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nose of honeysuckle and white peach, also has a citrus zest suited to seafood

2008 Yileena Park Chardonnay Risotto Nero with calamari, prawns, Tasmanian Spring Bay mussels and squid ink


2010 Yileena Park Pinot Grigio Olive ripiene


Subtly floral with hints of pear, lychees and melon, it has a clean and attractive savoury aspect ideal for oily fish. As the wine comes up to room temperature (ours came slightly chilled) the savoury/spice-driven aspects of the wine continues to unfold. It is an authentic well-blanced pinot grigio, an exciting addition to the premium stable of Yileena Park wines. Next comes Risotto Nero. There’s something thrilling about eating a risotto stained jet black, and Treviso’s is diabolically so. Beneath its distinctive squid-ink flavour the risotto is rich with well-seasoned fish stock infused with bay leaves. Studded with prawns and delicate loligo squid with tentacles that look somewhat like small octopus, the risotto comes topped with mussels in their black shells, glossy as Venetian gondolas. The Yileena Park Chardonnay 2008, with its nose of honeysuckle and white peach, also has a citrus zest suited to seafood. Ever so lightly oaked in new and old French barrels, it’s a clean, modern, fruit-driven chardonnay that meets the weight of this dish. The previous vintage was also an ideal seafood match, with a pronounced ‘lemon zest’ tone lifting the palate. The 2008 is a more delicate and notably floral wine, a classic ‘new-world’ Yarra Valley chardonnay. The trilogy of Northern Italian fare is completed with a reassuringly familiar Veal Scaloppine of tender veal medallions in a Swiss brown and field mushroom white sauce. Accompanying rosemary potatoes add to the dish’s heartiness, completed by simply dressed broccolini. The dish is typical of Zappieno’s propensity to execute traditional recipes in the time-honoured style and with comforting results. Given the delicateness of the veal, the Yileena Park Pinot Noir 2006 is a sound wine match. It’s a fullerbodied pinot featuring rich flavours of dark cherry and plum with subtle violet tones, also showing dusky fine-grained tannins in keeping with its bottle age. The terroir of Yileena Park’s Christmas Hills vineyard, which has a tendency to produce riper flavour profiles than many other Yarra Valley vineyards, really shows in this wine. A pinot with a grander structure and mouth feel than the norm, the Yileena Park boasts classic varietal appeal, its clever balance of delicacy and grace forming the basis of the wine. It’s easy to see why Treviso attracts so many regulars, and why North East Victorians on a city sojourn also feel at home. The Valentinis are down-to-earth, and what they have to offer is a cleverly redeveloped restaurant space that appears as close to a comfortably worn-in authentic Italian trattoria as you’re likely to find in Melbourne. Its semi-basement location in the venerable Charter House (opposite that curiously imported slice of medieval England, the Mitre Tavern) gives Treviso a world-away cosiness just a minute’s walk

from overcrowded Collins Street. The state of the Italian economy in the wake of the GFC sent many Italian chefs packing, and Treviso’s kitchen is clearly a beneficiary. Treviso Basement, 4 Bank Place Melbourne 3000 Tel 03 9670 8833 www.treviso.com.au Yileena Park of Yarra Valley 245 Steels Creek Road Yarra Glen 3775, Victoria Australia Tel 03 9730 1977 www.yileenapark.com.au

TEAM TREVISO Pictured from left to right: Massimiliano Pugnali (Chef, Venice), Tony Zappielo (Head Chef, Melbourne), James Valentine, Emanuele Milano (Chef, San Daniele, Friuli), Matthew Wright (3rd Year Apprentice, Melbourne),


Olive Ripiene

Scaloppine Al Funghi

‘Atlas’ sized, jumbo green olives (Buy them pitted if you can!) Fresh pecorino cheese Eggs Milk Salt and pepper Flour Breadcrumbs (we use panko japanese crumbs)

serves 4

Method Remove the olive pips and stuff the olives with the pecorino cheese. Whisk eggs with a dash of milk, salt and pepper. Dip the stuffed olives in the egg wash, then coat them with flour and breadcrumbs. Heat some good quality vegetable oil in a saucepan, but don’t allow it to smoke. Fry ten olives at a time for 60-90 seconds. Serve with lemon wedges and fresh rocket.

Risotto Nero serves 4-6 1 large, finely diced onion Extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 50g butter 200ml of good white wine (we use Dal Zotto riesling) 500g arborio rice 2 litres of fish stock 1 clove purple garlic, crushed 200g of fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into thin strips 100g green prawn cutlets 24 fresh mussels (we use Tasmanian Spring Bay mussels) 2 tbsp squid ink Half a bunch of Italian parsley, chopped Method Sauté the onion with olive oil in a large deep pan until translucent, season with salt and cracked pepper. Add the butter. When it has melted, add the white wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates. Add the rice, coating it with the butter and oil, heating it through. This seals the rice. When the rice has started to absorb the liquid, add enough fish stock to just cover the rice. Stir regularly, and keep adding fish stock as it is absorbed, for 10-20 minutes. Continually taste and check for texture – you need to use your judgement to tell when the rice has softened. Cover the base of another pan with olive oil and gently heat, then add the crushed garlic. After 30 seconds or so, as the heat rises to medium, add the calamari, mussels and prawns. Cook for two minutes on medium to high heat, tossing seafood, then set aside. When the rice has reached three-quarters cooked (again, taste it and use your judgement) add the seafood and its pan juices to the rice. Combine all ingredients, then add the squid ink, and stir together. The desired consistency is creamy and slightly wet, so add stock as required throughout the process. Add fresh parsley and toss it through with a minute or so to cook. Serve garnished with fresh lemon.

magazine autumn 2011 page 18

800g milk-fed white veal backstrap (ask you butcher to denude and butterfly the veal) Flour Salt and pepper Extra virgin olive oil 1 clove of crushed purple garlic 50g butter 4 large field mushrooms, sliced finely 100ml good white wine (we use Dal Zotto riesling) 100ml cream 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley Method Cut veal into 16 medallions (4 per person) and dust with flour, salt and cracked pepper. Cover the base of a large frypan with olive oil and gently heat. Cook the veal slowly, 90 seconds either side, allowing it to colour only slightly, and remove from the pan. Discard the floured oil, add fresh oil, heat and add the crushed garlic, cooking it gently without allowing it to brown. Add the butter, then mushroom slices, and sauté until soft. Return the veal and its juices to the pan, bring the heat up and add the wine. Evaporate the alcohol, and season with salt and pepper (at this stage, not later).Add the cream and parsley, and reduce until a sauce has formed. If you reduce it too far, add a little veal or chicken stock to recover. Serve with scalloped potato, and broccolini sautéed with butter, olive oil and garlic.


2006 Yileena Park Pinot Noir Scaloppine al funghi


chocolate

The

andrew cope pottery

OLIVE SHOP Milawa

gourmet accessories olive oil

gifts

Open Daily 1605 Snow Road, Milawa, Victoria Phone (03) 5727 3887 theoliveshop@bigpond.com.au www.theoliveshop.com.au

olive oil cosmetics wine You will find us just 15km south east of Wangaratta on the Snow Road.

gifts

freshly marinated olives

WHAT’S ON @ WANGARATTA ART GALLERY

26 March – 25April

30 April – 29 May

A Camera on the Somme

Eddie Kneebone: Bones of Contention

images taken by brothers Jack and Bert Grinton with cameras they carried with them during World War I

paintings from the last body of work completed in 2005 by the late Eddie Kneebone; also on display will be additional Indigenous artworks on loan from the Benalla Art Gallery Collection

[A Bendigo Art Gallery Touring Exhibition]

autumn 2011

17June – 17 July 2011

Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2nd biennial textile art exhibition with National artists + $5000 award

Open: Mon-Tues 12-5, Wed-Fri 10-5, Sat-Sun 1-4 56 Ovens Street Wangaratta VIC 3677 T: 03 5722 0865 E: d.mangan@wangaratta.vic.gov.au www.wangaratta.vic.gov.au A Cultural Service of the Rural City of Wangaratta

IMAGES above (L-R): Jack or Bert GRINTON, Relaxing in hutments, France 1918-19, photographic print, Collection Bendigo & District RSL Museum and Eaglehawk Heritage Society, courtesy of Jean Grinton and Dorothy Hammer; Eddie KNEEBONE, panel detail from Bones of Contention, 2005, Collection Wodonga Institute of TAFE; Mandy GUNN, Firesticks (Burn Out Series) detail, woven hand cut inner tubes on cotton warp, 2008, acquired 2009 Wangaratta Art Gallery Collection.

magazine autumn 2011 page 20

To hel or cha


To help you with your Great Alpine Valleys adventure jump online and visit www.greatalpinevalleys.com.au or chat to us about planning your next trip via our Facebook, page: Victoria’s Great Alpine Valleys. 1800 111 885


Vanilla bean panacotta spiced poached peaches

All Grow’d Up – Mountainview Hotel WORDS JACQUI DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT AND CORMAC HANRAHAN

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decade ago, the Mountain View Hotel in Whitfield was in full swing. Owned by local King Valley vignerons the Pizzini family, its day-to-day operations had been entrusted to the youngest twenty-something generation: daughter Natalie warmly welcomed diners, while brothers Joel (a budding winemaker) and Carlo pitched in at the bar. Cousin Adam Pizzini headed the kitchen, serving up modern Mediterranean-styled food that suited the region’s burgeoning reputation for Italian-varietal wines. The Age Good Food Guide accolades were streaming in. Running this busy country pub as a ‘fine dining’ establishment was a remarkable feat. The building was (and remains) divided into separate restaurant and bar sections, so that while the kitchen catered to a crowd of increasingly sophisticated diners on the one hand, it was also obliged to keep locals happy with counter meals on the other. The kitchen worked at a furious pace, fuelled by raucous banter, music, and a chalk circle on the floor designated as ‘Checkpoint Dance.’ Youthful energy and teamwork kept the ball rolling, but it couldn’t last forever. Put simply, everyone grows up and moves on. Thanks to a series of uninspired publicans, the mid2000s were wilderness years for the Mountain View; a period during which former patrons could only wait and hope. These days Joel Pizzini is busy in the family winery, and with other members of the family likewise occupied, it took Carlo’s return to the family magazine autumn 2011 page 22

fold to breathe life back into this King Valley institution. He and partner Sally Simpson have given the restaurant and motel rooms a facelift, and more important, reinstated the pub’s former easygoing congeniality. The pair also took the crucial step of hiring chef Bryan Alley. Alley has pulled of the trick of giving the Mountain View a modern Australian menu that is both refined and in keeping with its country pub atmosphere. The Mountain View may well have the best-loved beer garden in North East Victoria: the steep-sided Jessie’s Creek flows around it like a moat, while dense foliage lends it the air of a temperate rainforest. On a balmy autumn Sunday it’s no surprise to find the tables outside filling quickly. Two groups of 10 are already seated, while a birthday party of 30 has reserved the deck overhanging the creek (word is that they’ve been ‘delayed’ at Dal Zotto Wines). A little after midday and among the steady stream of arrivals a member of the Ulysses ‘grow old disgracefully’ Motorcycle Club walks in to ask if the pub will spontaneously host a table of 20: club members have been riding across the Alps and are in dire need of sustenance. Carlo quickly confers with chef Alley, and all is well. Alley’s ability to handle unexpected influxes of diners means that before lunch is out, he will even find the time to come out and say hello. The atmosphere is convivial, the bar staff are chatting with customers, and there’s plenty of laughter.


Pictured (this page, top) clockwise from top left: Freshly shucked Tasmanian Smithton oysters, Carlo Pizzini and Sally Simpson, Jessie’s Creek flows around the Mountainview Hotel like a moat, goat’s cheese salad with Pizzini Rosetta

The goat’s cheese salad proves to be one of the day’s hits, especially among ranks of the Ulysses MC. Refreshingly crisp tatsoi leaves combine with the creaminess of the cheese, the pleasing acidity of roasted cherry tomatoes and black olives, and the sweetness of crushed candied walnuts, a perfect balance. The Mountain View wine list is weighted in favour of local drops; choosing your drinks is even easier if you focus solely on Pizzini Wines. The clean, aromatic Pizzini Pinot Grigio 2010, tasting of nashi pears and spice, sits well alongside the salad, as does the crisp Pizzini Rosetta 2010 (a sangiovese rosé). A whole snapper comes oven-baked and topped with a microsalad of Asian greens, its delicately flavoured white flesh having just a hint of smokiness imparted by roasted spices. A side of patatas bravas – Spanish potato wedges topped with a hot paprika and tomato sauce – helps to justify a glass of Pizzini Sangiovese 2008, an earthy medium-bodied wine redolent of juicy cherries, cinnamon and licorice. This isn’t so much a sensible attempt at a food-wine match as an opportunity to indulge in one of the great all-round food wines for which the Pizzinis have become renowned. Dessert is a silky vanilla bean panacotta with late-season spiced poached peaches hinting at nutmeg. It’s a delightfully light dessert, made more enjoyable for a glass of the spritzy Brachetto 2010 (pink moscato) with its light-hearted bouquet of rose water, watermelon and raspberries.

A quick glance across the beer garden shows that, as ever, punters eating from the bar menu remain on a good wicket. These days, beer-battered market fish with fresh tartare, and Wagyu beef burgers with beetroot, tomato chutney, pickles, both served with hand-cut chips, are welcome substitutes for the old-school pub grub where the tyranny of chicken parmigiana reigned. In case you were wondering, kids are also well catered for. The Mountain View Hotel is back in business, once again pulling off its magical double act of exceptional food and wine with all the comforts of a top-notch county pub. Mountain View Hotel 4 King Valley Road Whitfield 3733, Victoria Australia Tel 03 5729 8270 www.mvhotel.com.au

magazine autumn 2011 page 23


{ } ‘..the finest concert of acoustic guitar i have ever seen...’ – john shand, the sydney morning herald


jazz hot LULO REINHARDT WORDS JAMIE DURRANT

No player is more respected by guitarists than Django Reinhardt. It is said by many that the soul of Django lives on in the hands and heart of Lulo Reinhardt.

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idely regarded as the foremost authentic voice of gypsy music today, the irresistibly charming and charismatic German-born Lulo Reinhardt comes from an incredible musical lineage.  The great-nephew of pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer, Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt of Jazz Hot Club de France fame, today Lulo proudly carries the flame reproducing elements of Django’s iconic Gypsy-Swing sound, and has also cultivated his own impressive and unique musical approach to composing and playing.  Direct from a critically acclaimed European tour, Lulo returns to Australia in May 2011, and on 13 May will perform an exclusive two-set show in Benalla, North East Victoria, at Rafferty’s Benalla as an homage to Django’s world-famous Jazz Hot Club de France. Audiences can expect a slightly warmer and more ‘stripped back’ production, as Lulo performs music from his new CD release,  Katoomba Birds, than they know from previous live recordings such as the World Famous Spiegeltent session during the 2008

Melbourne Festival season. Katoomba Birds, recorded in Australia during Lulo’s 2010 visit, showcases his accomplished international band, the Latin Swing Project, featuring  Daniel Weltlinger  on violin;  Harald Becher on bass; Fernando Delgado on drums, and Sean Mackenzie on piano, thumb piano and berimbau. An incredibly skilled guitarist and an intrepid musical explorer and creator in his own right, Lulo Reinhardt has devoted his life to making music. He grew up embedded in a musical culture that was to inform him forever. An extraordinarily gifted prodigy, he began learning from his father at age three and by age 12 was playing with the Mike Reinhardt Sextet, a formation entirely dedicated to the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. As the years progressed Lulo expanded his musical horizons, listening to, playing and absorbing the musical tones, nuances and rhythms of the many musical cultures that have inspired him. Today, Lulo continues to perform a fusion of styles, a unique mix of gypsyjazz infused with flamenco, Latin jazz, tango and bossa nova. He combines

these with his unique brand of laid-back artistic personality, an infectious brand of charm and at times humour that subtly flows alongside his dynamic and intense guitar flourishes. This is music that always acknowledges his Romani background. Lulo Reinhardt continues to achieve international acclaim. Among the major events he has played at are: the International Guitar Night world tour presented accross Europe, the United States and Canada; Rock Against Hate in Lengnau, Switzerland; the International Cultural Festival Sahara en el Corazón, Algeria - with the Brazilian guitarist Zezo Ribeiro); the World Roma Festival Khamoro in Prague; Jazz Goes to Town and the Jazz and Blues Festival, both also in the Czech Republic; and the Sidmouth Folk week (United Kingdom). ‘The audience sometimes expects me to play exclusively in the style of Django Reinhardt’, Lulo says. ‘But I have found a style of my own, and I’m happy and grateful that the people love it.’ It’s a grand sight to witness Lulo playing the guitar with his lightning-fast [continued over] magazine autumn 2011 page 25


fingers (Lulo, unlike Django, has all his fingers intact and healthy!) His sound is accurately described as ‘ultra-smooth’ and ‘consistently relaxed’: a cool guitar swing sound dripping with style and grace. At times in performance Lulo’s natural wit sneaks out to take the stage with cheeky smiles, winks and nods – and you know he’s on the prowl. The ladies seem to lose themselves as he presents a warm and attractive ‘look at me’ confidence. With God-given sex appeal that could only be labelled immeasurable, if not ‘off the Richter scale’, Lulo is a star performer, able to shake the foundations of any occasion. All heart, all human and a grand human at that. To watch and listen is to be utterly enriched. Lulo Reinhardt is a down-toearth, affectionate soul delivering some of the world’s most charming music.

Special Performance: Jazz Hot Club de France Where: Rafferty’s Reception Benalla When: Friday, 13 May 2011 – Over 18 Doors: 8pm – Show 8.30pm Tickets: $47.50 at venue or online at: www.essentialsmagazine.com.au Free: Dal Zotto Prosecco on entry Presented by: Pixie Michael Management, Essentials Magazine and Dal Zotto Wines

TOUR DATES New South Wales Friday 6 May – The Grand Hotel, Wellington NSW Saturday 7 May – Clarendon Hotel, Katoomba NSW Sunday 8 May – Kantara House, Central Coast NSW Wednesday 11 May – Lizotte’s, Dee Why NSW Thursday 12 May – The Basement, Sydney NSW Victoria Friday 13 May – Rafferty’s Restaurant, Benalla VIC Saturday 14 May – Oakleigh Bowling Club, Melbourne VIC Sunday 15 May – The Substation, Newport VIC Tuesday 17 May – Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Melbourne VIC Wednesday 18 May – Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Melbourne VIC Thursday 19 May – Memo, Melbourne VIC South Australia Friday 20 May – Norwood Hotel, Adelaide SA Western Australia Saturday 21 May – Friends, Perth WA Sunday 22 May – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth WA Monday 23 May – Fly By Night, Perth WA

magazine autumn 2011 page 26

23 N


Antiques & Decorative Arts

Open. Thursday – Sunday 10am – 4pm or by appointment

23 Nunn Street, Benalla , Victoria . Tel. 03 5762 8118 A .H. 0357 62 2715


Fantastico La Fiera Myrtleford’s Italian festival gets set to again splash the green, white & red from May 20 to 22, 2011

The picturesque town of Myrtleford, home to regional Victoria’s biggest Italian community, is getting set to paint the town green, white and red with the return of the fantastico La Fiera Festival.

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ow in its third year and again under the artistic direction of Noel Stone, La Fiera offers an array of food and wine, and sporting, music, heritage, art and religious events celebrating and reflecting the town’s deep cultural connection with Italy. ‘La Fiera aims to both capture the passion and creativity of Italians by showcasing their myriad contributions to our culture and to instill a sense of pride and purpose among the people of Myrtleford, particularly those whose ancestry is Italian,’ Noel Stone explains. The 2011 festival kicks off in fine style on Friday, 20 May, with the arrival from about 3pm at the Myrtleford Savoy Club of twenty gleaming European cars entered in the Italian Connection Trophy Rally. The following morning the cars will compete in a motorkhana in the Savoy Club car park before setting off on the next leg to Gundagai. magazine autumn 2011 page 28

From there, festival visitors will be spoiled for choice with a packed program including: On the Saturday morning, a moving procession of Italian Alpini Brigade veterans carrying the statue of St Anthony of Padua into St Mary’s Catholic Church where a special Mass will be held. An art exhibition by a renowned local artist who has exhibited at the Florence Biennali and whose works grace the walls of homes in Australia, the United States and Europe. The La Fiera Food & Wine Festa on Saturday, 21 May, with dozens of stallholders showcasing locally grown and produced wine and food including the chance to sample regional Italian fare. During the festa other special events will be held: •

• •

New in 2011, “Nonni in Cucina” – a demonstration by local Italian residents on how to cook and prepare traditional dishes. A barista’s race, where local baristas carrying a tray of coffee compete to cross the finish line without spilling a drop. A grape-treading contest. Whichever

• •

• • • •

couple extracts the most juice wins. A programme of entertainment for children featuring dancers and special tricks with balloons. A choral festival featuring choirs from around North East Victoria on Saturday, 20 May, at the Uniting Church in Myrtleford A display of Italian Heritage items in the Old School Museum, Elgin Street, open both Saturday and Sunday. Soccer challenge matches on Sunday, May 21, between the Myrtleford and Melrose (Lavington) clubs. A bocce shoot-out on Sunday, May 21 at the Myrtleford Savoy Club. A Long Pasta Lunch at Michelini Wines on Sunday, May 21, where over 100 guests will enjoy a four-course meal matched to varietal wines.

Full details at www.festival.org.au and on Facebook La Fiera Italian Festival


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LA FIERA

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Where: Town centre, Myrtleford, Victoria

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When: May 20 – 22, 2011

Food & Wine Festa Saturday May21 Dozens of food and wine stalls with many traditional Italian offerings as well as displays of the best product from the Alpine Valleys

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Long Pasta Lunch Bookings required, contact Michelini Wines, telephone 03 5751 1990 or visit www.micheliniwines.com.au. Official Websites: La Fiera website: www.festival.org.au For accommodation bookings: www.visitalpinevictoria.com.au

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F R E D WILLIAMS

My Benevolent Dracula

WORDS IVAN DURRANT

This life-nurturing addiction, this obsession with seeking out and rearranging new landscapes, almost killed me two days ago. How I arrived at this ambivalently sorry state is a long story, so here’s the short version.

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here I was, aged twenty-two, standing in front of a large painting of the You Yangs at the National Gallery of Victoria. Stepping across the threshold of my own volition, crunch, I was bitten hard and deep, teeth plunging straight into the jugular, injecting the pulse and rhythm of the Australian bush, its broken branches, tree stumps and eucalyptus sap pumping into my bloodstream. Fred Williams had got me – what was glaringly obvious to him was now felt in every nerve of my body, my heart, my soul. Driving back home to Flinders, no matter how hard I tried searching for my usual landmarks, all I could see were Fred Williams paintings. Already a dedicated disciple with the uncontrollable blind faith of Bram Stoker’s Renfield, an ancient mysterious force stopped me and the car every two to three kilometres. Ever driven to please, and now endowed with Fred’s life force, I installed his landscapes one after the other. Paradoxically though, his energies dissipated as daylight disappeared. Such a burst of joy and fulfillment carrying out his orders – my benevolent warm-hearted Dracula of the brush. And yes, as expected, I spread his plague to others: magazine autumn 2011 page 32

‘Judy, out the window! – See what Fred’s done – the last time I drove through here it was just a chunk of burnt-out bush. But now see how the low sun picks up the pinks and rust in the burnt leaves. He’s even snuck in tiny bits of kingfisher blue in the shadows. He’s a genius – those blacks, they’re not black at all, look at that log – it’s iridescent purple straight from the tube.’ With one smile, she was hooked. My master will be so pleased. So it’s forty-two years on from that fatal bite on the neck, and I’ve just walked into the upstairs exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Federation Square to top up on Fred Williams’s Pilbara paintings – there are about 10 of them. Wow, absolutely spectacular. He must have had at least two thousand followers working for 10 years to pull that off. I mean they really had to shift mountains, break up tons of rock and plant so many trees in areas where they couldn’t possibly survive. My favourite is Red cliff landscape (1981). How beautifully placed, shaped and coloured are those two iron-red calf-liver hills dominating the centre of the painting. They provide a stunning jeweller’s showcase-backdrop for his opal, motherof-pearl, sparse, struggling-to-stay-alive

gum trees. And that foreground: sublime. How he ever managed to mix and render such rich silk, Chinese-dressing-gown colours, gently slipping them under those meticulously placed daubs of rock and salt bush – it’s just beyond me. I’m glad I wasn’t sent out to do that job. There are so many thrills available if you go look at these Pilbara paintings, but be warned: you too may have a near-death experience. Like me, you’ll find yourself habitually looking out your side window, desperately trying to build another Fred Williams landscape as it passes you by. Just be careful not to run off the road.

The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia, Federation Square Cnr Russell and Flinders Streets, Melbourne, Victoria 10am–5pm, closed Mondays Open public holidays www.ngv.vic.gov.au

Benalla Art Gallery Bridge Street, Benalla, Victoria Open. 10am-5pm daily Cafe open. 10am-4pm daily www.benallaartgallery.com

magazine autumn


Fred Williams Australia 1927–82, lived in England 1951–56

Yarra River at Yering, 1969 Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 106.7 cm Benalla Art Gallery , Victoria Purchased in 1981 with funds raised by public subscription

magazine autumn 2011 page 33


Fred Williams Australia 1927–82, lived in England 1951–56

Trees in landscape, 1981 Oil on canvas, 182.3 x 152.1 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Presented through the NGV Foundation by Rio Tinto Limited, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2001 magazine autumn 2011 page 34


Fred Williams Australia 1927–82, lived in England 1951–56

Red cliff landscape, 1981 Oil on canvas, 182.4 x 152.0 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Presented through the NGV Foundation by Rio Tinto Limited, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2001 magazine autumn 2011 page 35


MASTERCLASS  1.1. 2.

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5. 6.

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Lager Master Class  at Bridge Road Brewers To celebrate its milestone 500th brew, Bridge Road Brewers decided to make a dark ‘breakfast lager’ incorporating the brewers’ favourite breakfast ingredients. Owner and chief brewer Ben Kraus gave Essentials magazine a step-by-step guide to this eccentric adventure in beer, dubbed ‘The Dog’s Breakfast’. 1. 6am in Beechworth, and trainee brewer Jay Howlett makes a start on our 500th brew. Salt is added to the brew water. An important part of the brew recipe is water profiling. The addition of various salts allows us to tweak the water to a profile that best suits each beer style. 2. Mash-in. Malted grains are milled then mixed with pre-heated water. The barley chosen for this brew has been smoked, making the mash smell like smoked bacon.  3. Brew 500, a ‘Dogs Breakfast’, makes use of ingredients that the three brewers enjoy for breakfast. Time for 10kg of Carman’s Classic Fruit Muesli, donated by our favourite muesli-makers. 4. What would a breakfast be without coffee? Jay adds two large bags of locally-roasted coffee beans from Zoi. The brew starts to smell like fresh espresso. 

Ben Kraus

5. Mixing the mash (hot water and malted grains) ensures an even temperature profile. The brewer aims for 65C. Lager requires more barley than does ale, so lager mash is denser and harder to mix. 6. Our English brewer, Steve, prefers tea over coffee. In goes loose-leaf tea. Maple syrup is the final breakfast ingredient.  7. The brew process can often be interrupted by nosey tourists, or in this case, journalists.


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8. Mash-in complete. Now for a 60-minute rest to allow the enzymes to convert starches to fermentable sugars.

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9. It’s not the cream, but the coffee beans, that rise to the top. 10. Time to extract the goodness, the hot sweet sticky liquid is known as wort. Extra water is run over the mash to extract more sugars and dilute the wort. 11. The process at Bridge Road is in full swing. The wort is transferred to the kettle for boiling. 12. Breakfast time, the best part of a brewer’s day. Milawa Fruit Loaf, Myrtleford Butter, mum’s jam and Zoi coffee. No muesli today. 13. Pick fresh hops to add to the boil: East Kent Goldings grown in Beechworth. Hop flowers give beer its bitterness, counterbalancing the sweetness. 14. Add green hops to the kettle, just before the transfer to the fermenter. Some hop pellets from the Czech Republic, selected for their spicy character, are also added. 15. The wort is transferred into a fermentation tank via a heat exchanger that cools it to 12C. After two weeks it will be cooled to 7C. 16. Compared with ales, lager fermentation is slow and cool. The wort will develop into beer over the next 2 months. Time for brew 501! Old Coach House, Brewers Lane Ford Street, Beechworth, Victoria Tel. 03 5728 2703 www.bridgeroadbrewers.com.au

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Subbed by tony

w w w. v i s i t my r t l e f o r d . c o m

Carawah Ridge Bed & Breakfast WORDS JACQUI DURRANT

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he name Carawah, an indigenous word meaning ‘where many birds sit down’, is perfectly appropriate: flocks of parrots, finches and honeyeaters visit Carawah Ridge’s 2.5 hectares of meticulously planned gardens, with their numerous terraces, fountains and pergolas. Carawah Ridge’s pampered bed and breakfast guests are just as content to take advantage of the splendid hillside location, overlooking the river-flats and forested hills of the pristine Buffalo River Creek. Only seven kilometres from Myrtleford, Carawah Ridge has two fully self-contained apartments, both with private entrances, undercover parking, and decks overhung with foliage where the perching birds make such a cacophony that co-owner and garden lover Sam Reimann sometimes feels like telling them ‘Just be quiet!’ The property ticks all the boxes for the ideal 4 ½ star alpine valleys getaway. The apartments are spacious and comfortable, each with individual cooking and BBQ facilities, beautifully appointed bathrooms and flat screen TVs (Carawah Ridge has a library of 250 movies on DVD). Under-floor heating makes the apartments especially cosy in the winter months. A chilled bottle of wine is always available in the fridge and the pantries are restocked with fresh breakfast supplies daily. There’s also a sparkling saltwater pool for guests to enjoy and, further up the hill, a rustic cabin set among the chestnut trees. The apartments are serviced daily, but owners Sam and German-born Manfred Reimann are keen to respect the privacy of their guests, so they maintain a low-key presence. ‘We want people to feel like the place is totally theirs – a home away from home,’ says Sam. ‘Attention to detail and providing the highest quality customer service possible is our aim. We both love to travel and we know exactly what we want and expect in luxury accommodation, so the Carawah Ridge apartments are equipped with every expectation of ours.’ Sam and Manfred chose the Buffalo Creek Valley for its peace and tranquillity. They’ve been at Carawah Ridge for 16 years, and appreciate the opportunities their getaway gives them to meet people. ‘Our guests are a rich and varied cross-section of people from the many cultures and backgrounds. We enjoy swapping travel stories and gardening tips with those who love the landscape of this property.’ Finally, Carawah Ridge has one other advantage especially hard to find in a luxury retreat: it is pooch-friendly, provided it is a small breed. ‘This is unusual given the strict standards we have to maintain,’ says Sam. ‘However, if the dog is very clean and well-supervised – which they always are with people who treat their dogs like their own children – we rarely have a problem.’ Sam and Manfred Reimann Carawah Ridge Bed and Breakfast 514 Buffalo Creek Road Myrtleford Vic 3737 Mob 0417626763 info@carawahridge.com.au www.carawahridge.com.au

magazine autumn 2011 page 38


Subbed by tony

w w w. v i s i t my r t l e f o r d . c o m

Alpine Contemporary Bellydance Academy WORDS JACQUI DURRANT

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Ka Zena Blake-Owen

The Acba Dance Troupe recently performed at Myrtleford’s very own Casbah, Café Fez

’ve been a dancer all my life,’ says Ka Zena Blake-Owen, flamboyant owner of Myrtleford’s Alpine Contemporary Bellydance Academy. ‘And I’ve always been a bit “out there”, so I’ll blame that for my bellyancing.’ Ka Zena learnt this traditional Middle-Eastern style of dancing on the Gold Coast six years ago after discovering an advertisement in a local paper. ‘It just read “Belly dancing”, with a place, date and time. Nothing else. I was intrigued. Within months of starting, I knew I wanted to teach it. Bellydancing makes you feel good,’ she smiles. ‘You feel a certain amount of power in your own body. It’s a lovely feeling of self-confidence.’ Ka Zena settled in Myrtleford in mid-2009. She and her husband had purchased bare land with the notion of planning a tree-change retirement but before long, while still living on the Gold Coast, they hired a local builder to build a house. They’d intended visiting regularly to supervise the work, but the builder sent them regular photographic up-dates instead. The first time they stepped into their new home it was complete and clean. A lifelong ‘beach bunny’, Ka Zena at first found the rain and fog of the alpine winter a rude shock to the system: ‘I caught a cold and took quite a while to recover, but I think my body has adjusted now.’ Meanwhile, she set about establishing the region’s only professional Bellydance Academy, now located in Myrtleford’s Body Basics Dance Studio. Ka Zena chose to organise classes into grades from beginners through to performance level. ‘I felt that it was important to have graded classes. To go up a grade is a way of acknowledging a student’s progression and commitment.’ There is a perception of bellydancing as harem dancing, but Ka Zena explains that she teaches the Egyptian style of bellydancing, as opposed to the less commonly taught, more ‘suggestive’ Turkish style. ‘I blame Hollywood for associating bellydancing with the harem fantasy. I’ve done a dance of the seven veils with an 80-year-old woman. It’s accessible to everyone.’ Bellydancing has many unexpected health benefits. ‘It is like no other form of exercise in terms of strengthening the core muscles of the torso and the pelvic floor,’ Ka Zena says. ‘Developing these strengths is protective, particularly as you get older. It strengthens the back and spine, improves posture, and assists in balance and coordination because it uses both sides of the body equally. Improving the pelvic floor muscles helps prevent incontinence, and it helps with childbirth: both the birth itself, and the recovery.’ With her advanced students, Ka Zena has formed the only professional bellydance group in the region, the Acba Dance Troupe. The troupe includes one male dancer, Nepheris, who also happens to be blind. Quizzed on whether this poses any difficulties when the troupe performs its celebrated sword dance, Ka Zena laughs. ‘Nepheris is a brilliant dancer. We just make sure we know where he is, and dance around him!’ Ka Zena describes her move to Myrtleford as ‘a total life change for the better. You see what Myrtleford’s given me: my dance academy, and a new house with a big garden to be planted. I feel a much stronger sense of community here. I know that’s a phrase that is bandied about, but in Myrtleford it’s true.’ And in case you’re wondering about Ka Zena’s exotic name: her Gold Coast belly-dancing troupe thought that her strong stomach muscles made her look like Zena, Warrior Princess. ‘Zena’ was added to ‘Kaz’, and the name stuck. Now she’s Myrtleford’s own bellydance superhero.

Alpine Contemporary Bellydance Academy Tel 03 5752 2955 www.alpinecontemporarybellydanceacademy.com

magazine autumn 2011 page 39


Rodney Love, Six Degrees: Vida Gaigalas to Bob Hunt, 2007 Twill weave, human hair, cotton, mount board, graphite, 85 x 105 cm Acquired 2010, Wangaratta Art Gallery Collection

WA N G A R AT TA C O N T E M P O R A R Y T E X T I L E AWA R D WORDS JACQUI DURRANT

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he Wangaratta Art Gallery is holding its second Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award (4 June to 17 July). Considered Australia’s premier prize for cutting-edge textile art, the biennial award exhibition features work selected by a prestigious panel comprising Antonia Syme (Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop), Valerie Kirk (Head of Textiles, Australian National University), Anthony Camm (Director, Ararat Regional Art Gallery) and Dianne Mangan (Director, Wangaratta Art Gallery). The patron of this year’s award is internationally acclaimed textiles artist Liz Williamson, who has been dubbed a ‘living treasure of Australian craft’. While the gallery has a reputation as one of Australia’s leading public galleries specialising in collecting and exhibiting contemporary textiles, the award builds upon Wangaratta’s hugely popular Stitched Up Textile Festival. Dianne Mangan explains: ‘The textile festival began as a grass roots movement through the community interest at the same time the Gallery was regularly exhibiting works by the North East branch of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria and other local textiles groups. Since that time, interest in textiles has broadened and Wangaratta Art Gallery aims to exhibit and collect not only local work but also the best contemporary textiles from across Australia.’ Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award Opening: 11am Saturday, 4 June Forum: 1pm Saturday, 4 June, with artist Mandy Gunn and panelists Anthony Camm and Valerie Kirk Wangaratta Art Gallery 56-60 Ovens Street Wangaratta 3677, Victoria Australia Tel 03 5722 0865

magazine autumn 2011 page 40

Penny Malone, Marks on Cloth, 2007 Hand printed upholstered cotton and linen, 198 x 138 cm


ARTSPACE

Louise Saxton, Home Tree, 2008 Reclaimed cotton and linen embroidery and lace, steel embroidery pins, nylon bridal tulle, 200 x 120 cm Acquired 2009, Wangaratta Art Gallery Collection

Installation view, Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2009

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A

MIGHT Y HEART

BILLY DOOLAN

WORDS VARIA KARIPOFF WORKS PUBLISHED COURTESY OF BILLY DOOLAN PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

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hile dining at a villa in Sicily last year, painter Billy Doolan was invited to join a local baron whose summer digs he happened to be at. In Italy for a three-anda-half week tour to paint his impressions of the island – the catacombs, the craggy landscapes and of course, volcanic Mt Etna – the Palm Islander tentatively approached the nobleman. Doolan recalls the baron asking; “Is it true that you Aboriginal people have your organs in different places?” Where most people would baulk at the apparent crudity of this question, Doolan took the cross-cultural gaffe in stride, “I had a bit of a grin and I said, ‘No’… but I know what he was getting at. We are different from any other race anatomically: we have a bone at the base of our skull that no other race have and we can give blood to each other.” As a cultural ambassador, Doolan, by all accounts, left an indelible impression on the Italians, many of whom he now counts among his friends. Like a true storyteller he has a voice that urges those listening to incline their heads closer. When he returned to Italy this year he visited the baron at his palatial residence, where they spoke about engaging Aboriginal youth and Doolan’s plans to build a studio on Palm Island. The baron, alarmed at troubling reports of life on the island, offered his support. Brushing aside the earlier misunderstanding – “they know of us but not about us” – Doolan could be talking about the majority of Western society. This second journey to Italy was for the opening of Dreamtime – the largest, non-commercial collection of Aboriginal art to leave our shores. The magazine autumn 2011 page 42

collection is so vast that it is being shown in two instalments over six months at MAN (the Art Museum of the Province of Nuoro). As one of the principal artists, showing alongside the likes of Clifford Possum, Trevor Turbo Brown and John and Luke Cummins, Doolan opened the show in Sardinia with a smoke ceremony. Dreamtime encompasses hundreds of pieces from over 90 artists, presenting a kaleidoscopic view of Aboriginal art. Doolan was bolstered by the warmth and enthusiastic response he encountered abroad, calling the experience his proudest moment. The Italians have been flocking to the show, which has extensive European bookings yet, incredibly, received no Australia Council funding. Doolan who was always known “to frown a lot” deflects his disappointment with the Australian government by talking instead about the Palm Island kids. “Hopefully I can give this [sense of pride] to the kids – are they going to be lost souls or proud Aboriginal people?” At 21, a sapling age, Billy Doolan was taken into the confidence of Palm Island elders who recognised both his artistic talent and tradition. The rare honour saw him entrusted with the custodianship of their stories and given the privilege to paint them. “Paintings were not just paintings, they were stories, songs, the seasons, food, sacred places, burial sites,” he explains. Learning from senior artists and undertaking research trips to ancient sites, he uses only four colours reserving blue for sacred water holes as prescribed. Iconography has been described as ‘theology in colour,’ an idea which can be similarly applied

to the painting of the creation stories of the Dreamtime. Doolan’s works have a universality born of spiritual truths and beauty. In the symmetry and organic lines that are intrinsic to the natural world he translates the earth’s creation and its very essence – a kind of archaic energy. “Art has always been in me,” Doolan says. In Sicily he came across a painting of Christ with a small bird perched on the crown of thorns; the small detail of the bird and the image of suffering resonated for him. As a custodian he shoulders great responsibility for passing the baton to the next generation. Setting aside lucrative commissions he recently took to painting a large-scale carpet snake to sell at an online auction for the Cathy Freeman Foundation, which directly benefits the children on Palm (as the island is affectionately called). His love for the clear waters and pristine setting of his part of the world is irrepressible and he returns to the island to get his ‘fix.’ Freeman, Palm Islander and ally in this cause, is a family friend of Doolan’s. Despite being overlooked by the powers-that-be, and the bitter history of both his island home and Aboriginal society, Doolan, ever the ambassador, looks to what binds disparate cultures rather than what dislocates them. He draws comparisons to the way women mourn in Sicilian and Aboriginal culture and to the environmental storytelling that is akin to both. Talking about Mt Etna, he reflects, “That’s creation.” Three Brothers Gallery Pty Ltd Tel. 0414 909 505 hsip3bg@gmail.com


Billy Doolan, Yellow Cake, 2007 Acrylic on linen, 92 x 122 cm triptych

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magazine autumn 2011 page 45


Billy Doolan, Mopoke Owl, 2005 Acrylic on linen, 91 x 199 cm magazine autumn 2011 page 46


Billy Doolan, Mundaguddy Dreaming, 2010 Acrylic on linen, 92 x 122 cm


n a h t c i g a m e r Mo l y n i v e g a t n i 7 inch v “Tabitha recommends”

* * Roi’s

1 7 7 K i e w a V a l l e y H w y Ta wonga, Victoria Tel. 03 5754 4495 Bookings recommended

bewitchingly good food


travelnews.

. GOTHEPROSECCOROAD It’s fair to say that the King Valley in North East Victoria is northern Italy’s next of kin when it comes to scenery, food and wine. Venture to the King Valley and you will be met by undulating hills, winding roads, and six winemaking families – Dal Zotto Wines, Pizzini, Brown Brothers, Chrismont, Ciccone and Sam Miranda – and right now they have one thing in common, prosecco. The wineries have joined forces with Tourism Victoria to launch a new food and wine trail called ‘King Valley Prosecco Road’ to celebrate this much-loved Italian-styled white wine. It allows visitors the opportunity to choose how they want to experience Australia’s newest wine trail. All six wineries will offer intimate and unique food and wine experiences such as bocce and prosecco cocktails at Dal Zotto, or prosecco cookery classes at Pizzini. Download a self-drive map or go full throttle and check out the threeday itinerary on the web. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, King Valley Prosecco Road is by far the best way to explore the wonders of prosecco. www.kingvalleyproseccoroad.com.au

Save the planet while you travel with Bobble bottles – made from recycled plastic, free of Bisphenol A, they contain a carbon filter that removes chlorine from tap water to help keep you safely hydrated while you’re on the go. Available in three sizes from Howard Storage. From $6.95. www.waterbobble.com

H O L I DAY C H I C Eco-chic retreats? Check. Pet-friendly hotels? Check. Romantic hideaways? Check. Rated as one of the Top 50 travel websites by UK newspaper The Independent, Mr & Mrs Smith, boutique and luxury hotel booking experts, is a one-stop shop for handpicked luxury accommodation (and it even has a luxe-for-less selection). With a dedicated and very savvy Australian team, they’ve got some wonderful stays on our own doorstep. Our favourite is the Bay of Fires Lodge & Walk in Tasmania. www.mrandmrssmith.com.au

magazine autumn 2011 page 49


ultimate alpine the buckland – studio retreat WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

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’m watching a wedge-tailed eagle soar above the valley. Clear blue sky, perfect autumn day... a definitive silent stillness is immediate and present. I feel completely relaxed, or at very least, closer to completely relaxed than I’ve felt in a long while. In flight the eagle climbs effortlessly upward. Spiralling toward the sun like a lone black feather, it’s a speck, a small silhouette at such a height, riding the afternoon thermal like a kid on an amusement park ride. The expanse of the Buckland Valley below is clear within the bird’s sights and, for the record, also in mine. Gold and green foliage undulates, divided in part by grazing land, chestnut orchards and a handful of vineyards planted alongside the river. A backdrop craggy wall of eucalypt and stone commonly referred to as Mount Buffalo dominates the view, overwhelmingly and pleasantly so. Bellbird ‘tings’ in the adjacent peppermint forest seem to be pitched not perfectly in harmony with the sickly groan of a distant goat in search of dinner. I’m not here to complain, however; I’m here to be relaxed, to stop for a moment’s true rest. I am in fact determined to do so. Luxuriously appointed and determinedly eco-friendly, The Buckland – Studio Retreat in Victoria’s High Country is a showcase statement in intelligent accommodation design. Exercising, or rather emphasising the subtle and the eco-serene in the most intelligent of ways, the retreat appears comfortably positioned in the landscape, and from within, totally immersed in its environment. Oddly shaped, curvy and pointy, not dissimilar to granite outcrops resting in a line across the hilltop, the studios are both funky and fitting. The layout, comprising four architecturally designed, fully self-contained studios in the style of mountain chalets and one more rectangular unit, is unlike any regular holiday retreat. Visitors – well, most of them – seem to share a common goal in this hidden valley of solace: a desire to indulge in a slightly more active indoor pursuit, a likely method for keeping any potential cabin fever at bay. Call it ‘rekindling’, or maybe just ‘romance’. Tucked between gardens of native trees and shrubs, and behind closed doors, each studio is made utterly private, seductively so. The king-sized bed is soft yet firm. The enormous open-plan twin waterfall shower (room) is obviously designed for aquatic fun, and the cowhide in the lounge suggests a touch of primitive and lusty abandon, a sort of ‘let’s play at being naturists on holiday’ hint. The ‘museum diorama’ forest views out the bedroom windows amplify the back-to-nature ambience. Call of the wild? Perhaps, but not tonight; not for this lovelorn carnivore traveller. At least I can catch up on some reading and some sleep. Or grab a bite to eat at the nearby Simone’s of Bright – now how many ways can they present cured pork fat on one single plate? Many, is the answer. Wonderful! Romance or no romance, hippy love-in or not, The Buckland – Studio Retreat remains the ultimate sub-alpine luxury experience. It’s the kind of place where you walk in, sit down, look at the view and say to yourself ‘I want to live here. I need to live here. Now how can I make it so?’ It is so sublimely tranquil, meticulously married into its environment, uber cool in its plush appointments, with a brilliant automatic coffee machine that makes a super smooth cup. All this, and real snowy mountain views – perfection!

magazine autumn 2011 page 50

Hot cup in hand, happily ensconced in a leather chair, alps in sight, we can now share a truly luxurious moment, one that’s usually reserved for those wacky winter wonderland types, the ski set. These snow ponies seem to spend large wads of cash in search of perfect powder, spending whole winters strapped to a couple of new-world-fandangled composite bendy space-aged planks; and seemingly loving every waking minute of it. These magnificent beings are able to ski ‘off-piste’, drink loads of schnapps (and recover quickly), get away with wearing hideous pink and lime green goggles, sport designer boots with in-built heaters, and go ‘après-ski’ in those jackets with the faux fur around the collar. It’s an obsession of sorts, and one that is only truly recommended to those born to the role. To ski or not to ski? The Buckland – Studio Retreat doesn’t get a winter’s dump of powder; however it does share a sense of alpine extravaganza, but in more conventional ways, and with taste. It has all of the style and glamour built-in, without conceding to the desperate urge to over-accessorise at every turn. It is the perfect alpine resort without the undercover parking and ski-in, ski-out brag factor; a luxury lodge where you need not fear being snowed in or stuck in the queue at the chairlift. Imagine: a stylish mountain apartment without views of the dumpmaster and the stink of the drying room! It is Victoria’s High Country at its best, and a place that is, thank heavens, completely free of the madding crowds. It is a retreat to come back to. Now, where can I find a date? McCormack’s Lane, Buckland Valley (near Bright), Victoria Tel. 0419 133 318 stay@thebuckland.com.au www.thebuckland.com.au


magazine autumn20101 page 51


the dead heart springs to life PHOTOGRAPHY © CHRIS WHITELAW WORDS MONIQUE MEIJER

‘...As the eye wandered over the smooth and unbroken crust of pure white salt which glazed the basin of the lake, and which was lit up by the dazzling rays of a noonday sun, the effect was glittering and brilliant beyond conception...All was uncertainty and conjecture in this region of magic...’ Edward John Eyre on discovery of Lake Eyre, 1840.

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ast forward to today and standing on the edge of the lake on a glorious day is ‘truly mystical and other worldly’ according to Chris Whitelaw, an intrepid traveller and Canberra-based photographer. Whitelaw and his wife Elizabeth seized the opportunity to see Lake Eyre at its best aboard an exclusive charter tour with Brindabella Airlines. What awaited was a stunning transformation from a vast expanse of dazzling salt crystals to a water wonderland teeming with life. Measuring 1.2 million km sq in area (almost the size of South Africa or equal to France, Germany and Italy combined), recent flooding has seen Lake Eyre approach capacity – an event scientists have tipped to occur this year with Queensland flood waters and the rains from Cyclone Yasi working their way towards the basin. The Lake has only filled thrice in the past 150 years. When it does, it’s spectacular with the landscape springing to life like a butterfly unfolding its wings. Cormorants, terns, brine and shield shrimp are among those to emerge - seemingly from out of nowhere - when the waters hit. The Lake Eyre Dragon is another local. As menacing as it sounds, this little

critter – roughly the size of your hand – is further dwarfed by the vast landscape it occupies. Feasts on only ants, outback wanders can rest assured they are completely safe in its company. So what is the feeling and atmosphere like around this natural phenomenon that is Lake Eyre? Walking along the lake’s edge is an unusual sensation which Whitelaw likens to ‘walking in playdough’. Footprints appear to remain for years, developing a thick layer of salt crystals within and around them. ‘One set of footprints went out as far as the eye could see with no sign of return, conjuring up images of Eyre making his determined trek more than 170 years ago,’ says Whitelaw- giving a slight shudder on recollection of the fascinating yet eerie sight. In terms of the feel of the place ‘space’ is the overriding sensation. ‘As a space Lake Eyre is near perfect,’ says Whitelaw. ‘It is the ideal place to reflect and lose all reference to time because you’re so far removed from everything,’ he adds. also recommends Whitelaw outback wanderers take to the skies and gain a bird’s eye view of the vast, uninterrupted landscape.

‘It’s not until you’re hovering high and swooping down low aboard a scenic flight that you get a true sense and appreciation of the scale and beauty of Lake Eyre.’ Beyond Lake Eyre, the rugged Wilpena Pound and Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary both offer a captivating contrast of rich red gorges, water holes and an abundance of wildlife. Some 160 species of birds feather their nests in these parts. The Sanctuary’s widely acclaimed 4WD Ridgetop Tour is highly recommended by Whitelaw. Undertaken in a custom-built open-top 4WD, this top notch ecotourism operation takes in some of the most spectacular terrain to be seen, with Sillers Lookout the jewel in the crown. While it takes some ‘getting to’ with plummeting slopes and steep ascents navigated by the expert tour guides, it’s safe and well worth the adventure. Even if it’s a little white knuckled along the way... Another personal favourite of Whitelaw’s is Muloorina Station. Boasting beautiful wetlands, the station plays host to a profusion of birdlife and offers the perfect [continued page 55] magazine autumn 2011 page 53


OUTBACK SAFARI Flying with Brindabella Airlines

details

Aircraft: Tours conducted in comfortable, twin engine aircraft. Arkaroola Resort: Fully serviced motel-style rooms with private ensuite. Wilpena Pound Resort: Fully serviced units featuring queen-sized beds, private ensuites, tea- and coffee-making facilities, refrigerators, air conditioning and satellite television. Swimming pool also available. 4WD Ridgetop Tour: Explore Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary’s spectacular scenery and 1600-million-year geological history in a custom-designed opentop 4WD. The steep ascents and dramatic descents will make this the ride of your life – in safe hands, of course! Muloorina Station: Set amid stunning wetlands with an abundance of bird species, Muloorina Station is the ideal starting point for your tour of Lake Eyre’s dry edge, complete with picnic lunch. For full details: Visit www.brindabellaairlines.com.au Call Tour Reservations on 02 6218 2970 8.30am to 5.30pm Mon-Fri

magazine autumn 2011 page 54


Day 1

[from page 53]

place to camp and swim. Water is drawn from the bore and needs to be run through ‘cooling ponds’ due to its searing temperature. The jumble of old farm machinery adds to the charm and interest of the station. ‘The food isn’t bad either’ - especially the homemade chocolate cake which is etched into Whitelaw’s tastebuds. Anyone craving a unique experience, some time out and to simply ‘lose themselves’ in nature should be prescribed a trip to Lake Eyre and surrounds. ‘Put it this way, it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll!’ Whitelaw grins. Brindabella Airlines is operating exclusive Outback Air Charter Tours from Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane from May to September 2011.

• • • • • • • • • •

sample itinerary

Depart Canberra Arrive Broken Hill (morning tea and aircraft refuel) Depart Broken Hill Arrive at Balcanoona Airstrip and transfer to Arkaroola Resort Arrive Arkaroola Resort Lunch at Arkaroola Resort 4WD Ridgetop Tour (pick up from Arkaroola) Return to Arkaroola Resort for overnight stay Dinner at Arkaroola Restaurant with complimentary beer, wine, spirits, coffee or tea *An optional night observatory tour can be taken after dinner

Day 2 • • • • • • • • •

Breakfast at Arkaroola Resort Depart Arkaroola Resort for Balcanoona Airstrip Depart Balcanoona Airstrip Scenic flight over Lake Eyre (approx 1 hour) Arrive Muloorina Station Trip to dry edge of Lake Eyre with picnic lunch Depart Muloorina Station Arrive Wilpena Pound Resort for dinner and overnight accommodation *Optional Champagne and Shadows Tour can be taken after dinner

Day 3 • • • • • • •

Breakfast at Wilpena Pound Resort Tour into Wilpena Pound Lunch Wilpena Pound Resort Depart Wilpena Pound Resort Afternoon tea and aircraft refuel Broken Hill Depart Broken Hill Arrive Canberra

magazine autumn 2011 page 55


BLUE CITY, JODHPUR View of the from the Mehrangarh fort

SLEEK TEAK Honey coloured timber paneled ceiling

THE VILLAGE BELLE

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Treasures from the Blue City red ramia trading WORDS JACQUI DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

Captivated by the ancient city of Jodhpur, Red Ramia has returned from Rajasthan with a wealth of evocative architectural antiques.

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et in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert, the city of Jodhpur lies at the geographic centre of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is sometimes referred to as the Blue City for the indigo washed houses that surround the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort. Enclosed by imposing thick walls, the fort contains several palaces known for their rich carvings and expansive courtyards. On a smaller scale, similar architecture can be found throughout Rajasthan where traditional family homes (haveli) are built around one or several central courtyards. In the old business district of Jodhpur families live above their shops, where large enclosed balconies face the streets, forming breezy living areas. For Red Ramia Trading, Jodhpur has become a rich source of architectural antiques that speak of the colours and textures of this exotic city. Their focus on importing traditional elements of Rajasthani architecture to Australia has resulted in showrooms filled with the towering double doors which serve as

the formal entries to haveli, intricately carved balcony balustrades, filigree screens designed to shelter second-story verandahs from the street (complete with wrought iron scroll work to thwart agile thieves), and even the daybeds used on those verandahs. Every object is carved from teak: some with figures of Hindu gods, but more commonly with Islamic-inspired geometric patterns originally brought to Jodhpur during its historic period as a fief of the Mughal Empire. Many of the pieces are hundreds of years old. While there are other businesses in Australia that import architectural elements from Rajasthan, Red Ramia reflects that few are able to handle the sheer scale and volume that Red Ramia Trading regularly puts through its showrooms. A full spiral staircase, a courtyard gazebo, stone-based verandah pillars, and a colonnade of carved arches, are just a few of the others items gathered during Red’s last expedition to Jodhpur in October. ‘We’re lucky being in Myrtleford,’

says Red. ‘City businesses just can’t afford the showroom space that we have here.’ For some years now Red Ramia Trading has been sourcing architectural elements, furniture and homewares from China and Morocco. Each trading mission has given the Ramia family an insight into the local cultures, and Rajasthan has proved no less of an adventure. As Red explains, the main dealers of architectural antiques in Jodhpur are Jainists. Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings, so the Jains avoid eating any living things. Only fruits and vegetables that can be harvested without killing the parent plants, or grains and pulses that remain dried on the plant after it has died, can be eaten. Root vegetables are out, as harvesting them involves killing the plant. ‘The Jains work as extended families, and they eat together during the day. I’m often invited to join them,’ says Red. [continued page 59] magazine autumn 2011 page 57


RARE RED RAMIA IMPORT DREAM PICNIC A complete Gourmet fare teak from louvered the Alpine room Valleys

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[from page 57]

‘The food is strictly vegetarian, but the flavour combinations and the spices are stunning.’ Red Ramia Trading is a family business. While Red and his wife Leigh travel frequently, Red admits that they ‘can’t do it forever’. Increasingly, daughters Minette and Amanda (who are already responsible for Red Ramia Trading’s own Cafe Fez) are undertaking trips to China and Morocco respectively, while son Regan will take on India. This said, with plane tickets already booked for Delhi, the globe-trotting isn’t over for Red just yet. ‘I love Jodhpur. I like it much more than Delhi. The markets are amazing, and the people I deal with are great. It’s very busy, but best of all, it’s still more like a big country town.’ 145 and 157 Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford, Victoria Tel 03 5752 1944 www.redramia.com.au Open 7 days

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN Ornate, carved timber staircase

TEXTURE AND BEAUTY A beautiful, but dilapidated haveli

magazine autumn 2011 page 59


How green is your valley? KANGAROO VALLEY, NSW WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

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ow here’s a novel way to find your next holiday destination: go online to Google Maps, get a search result up (any location will do), select “Terrain” from the pop-out menu and scroll around the virtual countryside at different zoom levels until you find some landscape that looks topographically different, worth exploring or – ideally – impressive. This is exactly how I discovered Kangaroo Valley, a lush picture-postcard farming area quietly tucked away behind the southern end of the Illawarra escarpment on the NSW South Coast, a little inland from beach. I had been told the valley was inhabited by a great many artists, poets and writers, not that I noticed anyone suspiciously groovy on my arrival. After some exploration I did, however, notice a range of craft stores displaying myriad items ranging from hand-built rocking horses, nicely designed timber furniture and home wares to jewellery and paintings from numerous artists, many at ‘throw in the boot’ handy take-home sizes. Nice. With time I learned further that a collection of activity-based tour operators (fishing, bushwalking, kayaking, horseriding), food and wine producers and a famous chef ‘dreaming of retirement’ also share the valley with one ageing international rock musician who is rumoured to have been scaring away the native wildlife with a tenor saxophone; yes, he too owns property there. Given this information I decided to hibernate away somewhere comfortably close to town, but not too close. Enter the artfully created mystic gates to Crystal Creek Meadows – mystic in the sense that magazine autumn 2011 page 60

their creative metal welds feature huge curly sunflowers and Alice in Wonderland-style ‘20 sizes too large’ fun-to-open latches. Part Lord of the Rings, part Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, if that makes any sense. Music and fiction aside, this was the place that I’d base myself for the next few days of rest, and some easy exploration. Four fully self-contained spa cottages, set within 6.5 hectares of beautifully designed gardens, lily-strewn ponds and dams, is what Crystal Creek Meadows is all about. It’s a business that is determined to connect people with the natural environment, making sure you truly unwind, not just ‘get out of the house’ for a couple of days’ so-called R&R. The owner and warm and gracious host of the multi-award-winning ecotourism property, Sophie Warren, instantly made me feel at home upon check-in. With a few formalities out of the way she personally walked me to my cottage, calling out to husband Chris as we left the office: ‘Don’t worry; I’ll make sure I lock up the chooks.’ I laughed to myself, thinking ‘Yep, we’re out of the big smoke now!’ ‘It’s important for people to know that they can actually have a 5-star luxury experience with minimal impact on the environment,’ says Sophie. Seriously cutting down on the overall operational carbon footprint is a key initiative at Crystal Creek Meadows, with 100 percent green renewable energy (solar panels have been installed) as well as direct recycling of guests’ food scraps (so the chooks will lay great fresh eggs) as well as a simple but effective guest tree planting program that works a treat.

Feeling a little guilty about all the petrol you’ve burnt driving into such a pristine valley? Why not ‘offset’ your car’s carbon dioxide emissions by buying a tree for about $3.50? You can plant it yourself or have Sophie’s team handle the job for you while you have a massage – now that’s service! Environmental concerns aside, we’ve all gotta eat, and it’s the meticulously planned basket of fresh breakfast provisions that is the stand-out winner at Crystal Creek Meadows. In no other accommodation venue, including expensive international hotels, have I seen anything that comes close. On offer are large and flavoursome free range eggs, freshly baked bread, quality orange juice, sweet tasting, premium sliced leg ham (it tasted amazing), homemade fruit chutney, local organic vegetables and mushrooms, fruits, yogurt, local cream, Tasmanian smoked salmon – are you getting my point yet? Unlike so many other accommodation retreats, the operators of Crystal Creek Meadows seem to understand a thing or two about comfort and value. Add to this the in-house Sothys Paris day spa experience, and altogether you have a pretty neat little package. Stealing the attention away from tourists’ walking track views of the area’s huge sandstone escarpments is the beautifully eccentric, and commanding, gothic revival Hampton Bridge, built in the late 1890s. Without a doubt one of provincial NSW’s most over-the-top and perfectly bizarre pieces of small-town history, this 77-metre suspension bridge with its crenellated turrets of locally quarried sandstone appears more film-


stage façade than functional river crossing. With battlement towers large enough to frame a royal portcullis, giving the impression you’ve reached the entrance to a medieval fortress town, the fun is what you make of it, more than what you actually see. Knights on horseback, swords to the sky, ride into the town victorious. Here the peasants and town dignitaries alike cheer, proud, for King and country. Dust kicks at the heels of the horses, chickens fly through the air chaotically, disturbed from their quietly rickety hay cart nests. A butcher takes a break from gutting a pig and smiles contentedly, realising that the archers firing from those massive stone towers at the unwanted cash-poor tourists will help keep his family prosperous for years to come. But the town of Kangaroo Valley, situated in the middle of the Kangaroo Valley, beside the stunning Kangaroo River, is not all about having a laugh; it actually is a fantastic little town. It has people of good cheer, a decent enough range of services and some great eateries, including the highly respected Café Bella, which also houses a gallery featuring KVpostcode-only artists. At Bella I sat down to an eye fillet steak sandwich with caramelised onions, roasted tomatoes and rocket leaves with a dollop of fresh pesto mayonnaise. Rustic looking, juicy and flavoursome, this was no shortstop lunch bite; it screamed quality all the way. I cannot wait to return to enjoy a special dinner event when next on offer. Yarrawa Estate, established in 2003 by Mark and Sue Foster, is another incredible property to visit, lying just under the higher escarpment section in the Upper Kangaroo Valley. Here, Mark and Sue produce a chambourcin wine, from spray free, hand-picked fruit. It’s a fascinating wine, almost inky black in colour, rich and robust, dark and brooding. It’s a rather dry wine which I like, presenting with reasonably complex fruit and hints of dark chocolate and spice. The chambourcin varietal is very resistant to fungal disease, making it well suited to handling the subtropical rainforest humidity of the upper valley area. Mark and Sue have also co-produced and released a fabulous method champenoise pinot brut featuring fruit sourced from the King Valley. And so it seems, no matter where one travels in Australia’s food and wine world, the culinary centre of the universe – North East Victoria, naturally (sorry NSW) – pops up as a positive direction in conversation. For the record, a few days was certainly not enough to take in all that the Kangaroo Valley has to offer. I wanted to set out on a few mountain hikes and also kayak through the wide and deep river gorges, sun on my face and not a care in the world. I can understand why Kangaroo Valley is a tightly held secret, to New South Wales at least. The people who know and love the valley simply wish for it to remain their peacful, untouched, tranquil little home. Visitors should be grateful. People, poets and painters of the valley, I thank you.

LUX ECO COTTAGE Crystal Creek Meadows

Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat 1655 Kangaroo Valley Road, Kangaroo Valley, NSW Tel 02 4465 1406 www.country-accommodation.com.au Café Bella 151 Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley, NSW Tel 02 4465 1660

POT OF GOLD Afternoon rainbow over garden pondage

Yarrawa Estate Open for wine tastings Saturday and Sunday and weekdays by appointment. 43B Scotts Road, Kangaroo Valley, NSW Tel 02 4465 1165 www.yarrawaestate.com

ART CAFE Cafe Bella serves up top nosh, good reading and local art

magazine autumn 2011 page 62


ATRIUM Caramelised Canadian scallops, creamed leek tartlet, fresh chives and EV Olive Oil drizzle


influence of atrium WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

Head chef Chris Connors has made his long-awaited return to the kitchen at Wangaratta’s Quality Hotel Gateway restaurant, Atrium. Essentials’ Jamie Durrant discovers how his enticing new season menu is literally ‘ready for the taking’. ‘It’s not what you’d expect to find in a large hotel,’ my approving dining partner mentioned to me. Later, I was profusely thanked for arranging the occasion; I felt special, proud perhaps. Never one to be fussy, I was shocked at just how forgiving I had become in blindly accepting and at times even rewarding poor service in many over-hyped large dining venues. Not this time round; this dinner was to be an extremely different kettle of fish altogether, swimmingly superb, decadently so, an almost magical affair. I had made a pledge: to protect the less innocent, to not mention any names, regardless of how incriminating the foul play. On this occasion, my foodie partner in crime came highly skilled in the cunning and stealthy art of high-speed table-top plate swapping, or food shapeshifting. In any case it just all happened so freakily quickly, I couldn’t really tell what the hell was going on! As the tasting began, I found myself eating less than expected of one dish and, within the blink of an eye, left with the succulent dregs of another – shameful!

The shared starter plate of sumac salt whitebait with homemade garlic aioli proved no problem: let’s just say it was perfectly adequate for two. Chef Chris Connors’s spicy ‘twist’ on this popular seaside sampler was divided by excited interludes of scoffing bread with super-fresh fruity EV olive oil and the luxurious Myrtleford Butter Factory butter. The smearing of the silky cheesy butter, the tropical lift of the oil and crunch of the whitebait efficiently started the conversation flowing. We were having a merry old time on a completely even keel. A clean and punchy Brown Brothers 2008 Limited Release Prosecco helped proceedings along, its style mimicking summer’s best: crunchy green apples mixed with a few slices of partially ripe pears to round out the mid-palate. Perfecto! Next came an entrée of lovingly created chicken broth in the Italian style, piping-hot and topped with chunky garlic croutons and delicately painted splashes of parsley salsa verde. This dish was a pleasant and totally unexpected surprise, appearing authentically ‘farmhouse rustic’ rather than ‘corporate hotel’ sophisticated. The broth was light and clean, sweet and flavoursome. I was bragging across the table of my delight as I sipped the broth, taking it in turns with a delicate pear and quince influenced Pizzini Verduzzo, a wonderful match to the broth. The wine was a slightly savoury yet delightfully fragrant little number. Its ability to brighten

the sweetness and tang of the broth gave my palate a cleansing lift. As I tasted, the wizard of the white plate opposite me was about to work her Houdini magic. She’d seemed a little jealous of my broth, despite the smugness of her delight, as she delicately devoured fat Canadian scallops served on a creamed leek tartlet with fresh chives and EV olive oil drizzle. ‘The pastry is really crunchy, beautiful, lots of butter; this is fantastic, the scallops are perfectly seared, you’re not getting much of this,’ she confirmed. And then it happened: as I was sipping my fourth spoon of broth and contemplating a fifth I found myself, within a blink, gazing upon a completely deconstructed sight, almost a food massacre. I was shocked, miffed, perturbed, feeling disgruntled, but on the other hand, admittedly, also rather bemused! In front of me now was a flat plate bearing the crumbled remnant, perhaps a quarter, of a broken tartlet, a tiny clump of creamed leeks (not nearly enough), some olive oil smudges (great!) and, an oversight surely, one untouched, unspoiled, big fat scallop. This lonely remnant was to be all mine. My dining partner, lighthearted and jovial in nature, managed to illustrate a stern, decisive and perhaps cunning alternate side to her personality in [continued page 66] magazine autumn 2011 page 65


[from page 65]

executing this tactical move with all the power and poise of Judi Dench playing M in James Bond. I now truly knew who was boss. I held my words, tucked my tail between my legs and approached the remainder of the creamed leeks and scallop with good grace. So she was the powerhouse and I was clearly Pierce Brosnan. ‘Sean Connery would never have put up with such absurd nonsense,’ I thought. The lack of entrée was not too much of a problem as the wine was winning me over. Thankfully, also, the extremely passionate and knowledgeable service of restaurant manager Robert Curcio also took charge, albeit temporarily. Robert is a fantastic operator with a proud passion for discussing great wines and Australian wine history. Understandably, Robert also has an amazing ability in matching food and wine. Upon arrival, I learned that he had arranged for a 2006 Campbell’s Barkly Durif to be opened, decanted and left to breathe for several hours. This was a gracious offering, designed to complement my extremely moreish main – a hearty roasted lamb shoulder, deliciously falling apart on the fork, having been slowcooked for six hours in premium olive oil, rosemary and thyme. Although visiting as a guest of Atrium, I was not convinced that Robert’s approach (the carefully planned wine and menu) was designed merely as ‘reviewer special treatment’. I felt it was more a keenness to demonstrate that Atrium is able deliver a top city-styled dining experience in many more ways than one. Given Robert’s drive and attention to detail, I would not be surprised in the slightest to learn that Atrium provides a similar service to customers requesting this degustationstyled fixed menu option. The Barkly Durif presented with an outstandingly luxurious nose. The aged oak integration with its chalky-dusky tannins amazingly lifted from the glass. I do not recall ever detecting the texture of a wine via the exploration of its smell. In this case, the layers of bramble fruit (clean, not dirty or dark, which I liked) were detected encapsulated in an allencompassing velvety, fine-textured haze. I was quite simply blown away. M too was suitably impressed, and Robert’s detailed explanation of the wine’s heritage and production had certainly turned the tables, if only for just a moment. M seemed happy for now, ‘put in her place’ but not for much longer. As I became more and more engrossed in the wine, segments of the lamb shoulder began vanishing. Having now accepted my ‘low protein’ dieting fate, it was amusing to learn that the dessert choices were about to become a serious bone of contention. A Plunkett Fowls ‘The Exception’ Late Harvest Viognier wine was presented next and poured. Menu in hand, M suggested, and I swear was about to demand, that I order Chris’s Espresso and Kahlua crème brûlée with crisp toffee crust and coffee bean biscotti. This was not to be, nor sadly was the brilliant sounding Lindt dark chocolate pudding with Gundowring musk ice-cream. In a well-considered and possibly suggestive preemptive move (thanks Chris), a Callebaut strawberry chocolate parfait served with a local berry compote magazine autumn 2011 page 66

Broken lemon myrtle panna cotta, rhubarb compote, almond crumble

and Persian fairy-floss was personally delivered to M by Chris. I immediately pointed out to Chris just how amazing the parfait’s totally luminous ‘candy store’ pink colouring was. He agreed. As I was talking, M became almost instantaneously engrossed in the land of ‘floss’; such is the desirable fun of this Persian spaghetti-like sweet substance. Perhaps this was the kind of clever ‘kid in a toy shop’ tactic I required to keep my own dessert from disappearing. Much to my delight I was given a break from the expected perils of starvation. It was as if I had landed upon a pirate’s riches. A very subtly flavoured, fantastically broken or ‘reconstructed’ lemon myrtle panna cotta with rhubarb compote and almond crumble was the ‘X’ marking the spot, the very best of buried treasure. And I was left free to consume it all! This very Australian dish, resembling a trifle and served in a heavyweight cone-shaped glass, was clean, uplifting, refreshing and beautifully balanced. A nod from Chris was enough to tell me how proud he is of this little creation; such is his style, never imposing, always laid-back. A true gentleman, Chris is a well-respected chef now taking serious steps towards culinary brilliance. In the kitchen he is ever the professional, relaxed and in control. He gains the trust and support of his team by demonstrating and encouraging the production of exciting and carefully created food, not by high-pressure, aggressive

instruction. I cannot help but think that Atrium as a whole has benefited from his presence. It’s not only his food that speaks volumes; his calm nature has, without doubt, infected the whole place. This mood is clearly expressed among Atrium’s extremely pleasant, skilled and attentive service staff. The service, therefore, is practically flawless, wonderful. Whether a restaurant is considered the ‘new kid on the block’ or a reliable old down-to-earth favourite, one thing remains constant: if the food and service simply doesn’t cut it, then it ain’t worth a pinch. In the case of Wangaratta’s Atrium, the quality is never in doubt. The only dilemma could be missing out on half of your dinner to an over-assertive dining partner unless you are able to maintain control over the table. But take heart: if you’re dining with an overzealous guest and your chips are down and the worms are biting, just sneak out back to have a chat with Chris. I’m pretty sure he’ll give you a taste of his latest creation. In life, one can only try.

ATRIUM Quality Hotel Gateway 29-37 Ryley Street, Wangaratta, Victoria Tel. 03 5721 8399 www.wangarattagateway.com.au


LADY INDIAN SUMMER WORDS VARIA KARIPOFF

Bye bye lady Indian summer she’s gone— left like a warm indentation in a fitted sheet one April morning She flies— bell clear, wrapped in the chador of skies blue-blooded, she smiles gold teeth nomadic-hearted She moves— a spill of orange in Seville, of carmine in Shiraz dervish-like, we become sensates summer, late Awake, recall a night this still when poly-armed gods, the jinn, Sadko and Scheherazade villages on the backs of great whales all sing. She moves— to bless the flagstones kiss the children white the bones of Bombay and Baghdad.


Essentials Magazine Autumn 2011  

Discover Essentials Magazine - Australia's fastest growing eclectic-informative food, wine, arts and culture magazine.Proudly showcasing exc...

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