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: ice E Pr RE F

issue 21 mid-winter 2011

. s t h g i fl t c e r i d , y l d n e Fast, fri idale to Brisbane service. NEW: Arm

60 minutes. ly n o in re u lt u to city c Country cool Brisbane






Sydney Canberra

More flights to destinations that matter to you. connecting Brisbane to: Armidale, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour & Moree



connecting Canberra to: Albury, Tamworth & Newcastle

connecting Sydney to Cobar ESSBRIND001

Brindabella Airlines – The Wings of Regional Australia Book online for the best fares every time. • Tel. 1300 66 88 24 • Qantas 13 13 13 • or your local travel agent

andrew cope pottery




gourmet accessories olive oil


Open Daily 1605 Snow Road, Milawa, Victoria Phone (03) 5727 3887

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


freshly marinated olives

{ luxury eco apartments • romantic alpine chalets • weddings & events }



Dreamers is nestled in the foothills of Mt Bogong, Falls Creek snowfields and the Alpine National Park, a stunning one hour from Albury-Wodonga via the heritage listed Kiewa Valley.


mount beauty, victoria • tel 03 5754 1222 • web • email magazine mid-winter 2011 page 3

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 The Durrant Agency


Jamie Durrant, Gilbert Labour, Varia Karipoff, Jacqui Durrant, Tony Kleu, Danee Georgiou, Ivan Durrant


Neil Perry, Michael Ryan, Hamish Nugent


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, Llawela Forrest @ Run Forrest, National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, The Benalla Art Gallery, Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce Inc. editorial production [larger files] our websites [online store] 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 the North East region 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 tourist operators to confirm dates and events prior to enjoying the fruits of this region. Essentials Advance Plus cardholders are required to register their cards online. We welcome your reviews, letters, feedback and support.

Price in Australia: FREE at selected tourist locations, $64.95 24-month subscription via This issue: No. 21 – mid-winter 2011 (Proudly brought to you by Monty the border terrier and his now ‘dead’ toy mouse.)

Essentials Magazine is printed in Australia by GEON Impact Printing.

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 4

Eating Art – Courgette, Canberra features 16 30 36 25

Eating Art – Courgette, Canberra Eugene Von Guérard – Mount Kosciuszko: the Real Story Smooth Operator – CosmoreX Coffee The Art of Living – Wilko Cabinets

food & drink 12.5 10 22 48 57

Best of 3 – Essentials revisits favourite recipes from top chefs Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch – Three sister wines with grace The Canberra Elite – Premium wines, our top picks Love the Life Hero Business – Michelini Wines Living Green – Valhalla Wines

art 30 40 44

Eugene Von Guérard – Mount Kosciuszko: the Real Story Tony Flint and the Cabernet King – Landscape Art Golden Summer – Heidelberg School Artists Trail

discovery & adventure 28 47 50 53

A Jewel in Beechworth’s Crown – Freeman On Ford Boutique Hotel Love the Life Hero Business – Myrtleford Cycle Centre Coastal Cool – Coffs Coast FIA World Rally Treasures from Marrakech – Red Ramia Trading

regulars 6 8 7 51

Food News Vino Classico Winter Bites Travel News COVER: Eugene von Guérard Born Austria 1811, lived in Australia 1852–82, Europe 1882–1901, died England 1901 North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko 1863 (section) oil on canvas 66.5 x 116.8 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1973




UNIONDINING When Melbourne heard that experienced hospitality names Nicky Riemer (Richmond Hill Café and Larder, Melbourne Wine Room) and Adam Cash  (Cutler & Co, ezard) were opening a restaurant in Richmond, the buzz seemed instant. With such a duo at the reins people were expecting great things – and great things they got. Union Dining offers a provincial European dining experience with an essential touch of Melbourne class. Aptly named for two friends who met early in their careers at Mecca Bah, (Docklands), Adam and Nicky have combined their love of Europe, eating out and excellent service to offer Melbourne and its visitors something unique. On the food front Nicky’s menu is fresh and seasonal, and could include kingfish carpaccio with picked baby beets, capers and crema fresca, or smoked ham hock, fregola, soft egg and cornichons – a dish that has been flying off the menu. Adam’s wine list showcases domestic tipples welldeserving of the recognition they get on his boutique list, and also several wines from the Alsace region from which Union Dining draws so intently.  

Open for lunch Friday and Saturday 12-3.30pm Dinner 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (the bar is open from 5pm for drinks and appetisers. Sunday lunches are rumoured to be coming soon! 270-272 Swan Street, Richmond 3121 Tel 03 9428 2988



Finally! A cookbook for those who need a little direction. ‘What to Cook and How to Cook It’ takes you step-by-step through more than 100 recipes. Author Jane Hornby (BBC Good Food UK) fully understands how to lead you through the recipes so you can achieve impressive results. You’ll wow guests with perfect basics like hummus and salsa verde, hearty dishes such as fish stew and roast chook, and classic favourites including apple pie and baked cheesecake. Published by Phaidon, $59.95

New releases:

2009 Fortified Durif NV Premium Muscat

Open daily, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm • 17 Evans Lane, Oxley, Victoria • Tel. 03 5727 3384 • magazine mid-winter 2011 page 6




RO I ’ S R E S TAU R A N T It sounds like a hard sell, but the fact remains, if you’re chasing seriously good food (including desserts), you can do little better than visit Roi’s Restaurant at Tawonga South. It’s located pretty much at the bottom of the hill from Falls Creek ski resort in Victoria’s heritage-listed Kiewa Valley. But why such hype, I hear you ask? The answer: authentic Northern Italian flavours for one, including Roi’s new standout signature dish that’s quickly made it to the top of Essentials’ must-eat list: a fresh Italian porcini mushroom risotto topped with roasted rolled rabbit stuffed with chestnuts, pork, thyme, rosemary and sage. It’s all about flavour and not being scared of it. The rolled rabbit is sweet, clean and lightly topped with a natural jus; the body, depth of flavour and texture of the fresh porcinis, chestnuts and herbs complete this impeccable layered approach to presenting the best in Italian fare. Standing at number two in Roi’s house of decadent delights are the perfectly wicked in-house designer ice creams, in flavours that really hit the spot, such as chunky cooked ripe banana, morello cherry and choc-chip, cooked quince, fat and sweet fresh strawberries. And, of course, there’s a classic rich, creamy and lush vanilla bean creation. If you’re looking for an easy departure from the drab and insignificant, book in at Roi’s, secure your table and be ready to be wowed. 177 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga, Victoria Tel 03 5754 4495

After the recent launch of their iPhone app Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management this month unveiled its new and improved mobile website. User friendly icons allow navigation through real time information on snow reports, weather conditions, snow cams, village maps, lift status, news, events, deals, social media links, and much more.


Coming in daily to the Olive Shop Milawa are new season olive oils from Australia’s best producers. Essentials couldn’t resist tasting the in-house premium selection labels Village Run and The Olive Shop, as well as superb new North Eastern oils: a ‘short selections range’ from Bundalong; Mountain View’s new Harrietville-grown frantoio varietal; and three impressive new stone-milled oils from Staghorn Flat. The Bundalong lecciano oil was a standout with its fabulous, herbaceous nose and fat creamy palate. A great oil for fresh salads, its tomato leaf flavours balance the oil, while the finish is subtle with a slight peppery bite. The Olive Shop-labelled 2011 kalamata oil is bright, clean and beautiful with a lifted, lively grassy nose, similar to that of freshly cut shallots. A firmer, more punchy and pungent oil, it is well suited to dressing green winter veg, or perhaps a robust Italianstyle bean salad. The abundance of new season fresh olives coming in now make this a great time to visit an icon of the Milawa Gourmet Region.

Snow Road, Milawa, Victoria Tel 03 5727 3887 magazine mid-winter 2011 page 7

vinoclassico [V] BIG WARR ABILL A If you follow the Warrabilla Wines Blogspot page you’ll know that full-time winemaker, part-time iron man Andrew Sutherland Smith is a bit of an outspoken character. You’ll also know that he recently bust a foot when pushing boundaries a little too far in competition – he doesn’t do things by halves. Essentials recently dropped into his Rutherglen cellar door to talk all big things, notably his current ‘inky black’ fat ’n’ lush 2010 Reserve Durif, recently awarded a handsome 94 points by James Halliday. The success of this iconic wine reflects Andrew’s ability to turn carefully managed superripe fruit into fiercely big yet deliciously well-balanced wines. Layer upon layer of detailed complex fruit is what it’s all about. It was no surprise to see a stream of vino lovers calling in to buy case after case of this wine, and other great reds at cellar door. But great winemaking doesn’t always have to be about big, bad reds. Beautiful counts too, and we were just as impressed with Warrabilla’s new release 2011 Brimin Moscato, a simple, classic wine. Musk and spice dominate, while great acid balance offers a refreshing upbeat lift. A nicely aged Warrabilla 2009 Reserve Riesling also took our taste buds by storm with gentle touches of lime, cumquat and pineapple adding to its smart clean palate. A visit to Warrabilla Wines is a no-brainer, now added to the highest ranks of the Essentials list of ‘awesome things you must do before you die’. Righty-o, sally forth then! Murray Valley Highway, Rutherglen, Victoria Tel 02 6035 7242

KINGRIVERESTATESANGIOVESE King River Estate’s Trevor Knaggs has been carving out an impressive niche with his top boutique wines lately. His 2008 sangiovese, a bold, brooding wine, is no exception; it would be fair to categorise this one as fatter and silkier than sangioveses from other King Valley brands. With a lifted, bright cherry nose that sits atop moodier fragrances of deep forest berries, spice and tobacco, Trevor’s new sang is a winner. The mediumbodied palate of dark chocolate, black pepper, cooked cherries and currants is extravagant and lush, as is the round mouth feel. With great length of flavour and a well-balanced finish, this is certainly one sangiovese to add to your sampling list. Don’t just take our word on it. These wines are so good, we seriously suggest you take a trip to sample more than just one!


King Valley Road, Edi, Victoria. Tel 03 5729 3689

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 8


OPEN 7 DAYS •’TEL: 02 6035 7242





[V] vinoclassico N E W OX L E Y E S TAT E F O RT I F I E D S There’s been a changing of the guard at the Ciavarella family’s Milawa Gourmet Region winery, Oxley Estate. Tony Ciavarella (son to Cyril and Jan), who now holds top winedesigning rank, is bringing about some impressive and inspiring change. The first fruits of this new order are two stunning new release fortified wines that are both extremely complex and beautifully clean in their approachable and very modern design. The brilliant, glistening rose-magenta Oxley Estate NV Muscat is a whole lot of fun with its lifted and fragrantly exotic nose of raisins, rose petal and orange peel. Made from small parcels of carefully selected premium fruit it is quite simply a breath of fresh air, a wholly new direction for the Ciavarella family. The Oxley Estate 2009 Fortified Durif boasts a fat, rich nose of cooked dark forest berries, fresh cherries and spice. It is a beautifully layered, easy drinking wine with silky-soft tannins to boot. Take a decent mouthful and allow the abundant flavours to linger: dark chocolate, licorice, cooked cherries, blackberries, plums and mixed spice – they’re all there. Having all the hallmarks of a great Rutherglen styled fortified (it’s big), this wine somehow manages to also effortlessly streamline itself. It has a cleaner, softer, more silky feel on the palate and is so, so easy to put away. That can’t be a bad thing! 17 Evans Lane, Oxley, Victoria – Tel 03 5727 3384 –

FRANCLYSPEAKING,IT’SIMPRESSIVE The fuddy-duddies miss out on some great stuff. There was scarcely a face over 40 at the opening of Sydney wine bar and restaurant Fix St James’s celebration of all things cabernet franc. Had it been a cab sav or chardy tasting I would have been lost in the crowd. Franc, a minor but crucial element of Bordeaux blends, finds its most exalted expression in St Emilion’s top wine, Cheval Blanc, but also produces the more gluggable Chinon of the Loire Valley. It is uncommon in Australia, yet Fix sommelier/owner Stuart Knox managed to gather 23 Aussie examples for his Winter of Franc tasting. The standout rosé was The Abstainer, from Capital Wines’ premium ‘ministry’ series of Canberra district wines. The cranberry and pomegranate nose got my interest up, and the palate did not disappoint: full of fresh berry flavours and a lovely twist of acidity to help it partner lunch. It’s a tad drier than many Aussie rosés, and the better for it. Redbank Winery, representing the Pyrenees, showed the 2005 Sally’s Hill franc that displayed attractive complexity on the nose with the fragrant elderberry and pomegranate molasses hints I love in a franc. Beautifully balanced, warm and deep in flavour with a touch of spice, this will be a cracker served with a decent slice of dead cow or a fine cheddar, now or for years to come. The subtle bouquet of Punt Road’s 2010 franc suggested spiced stewed fruits. This is a deeply flavoured, drier style showing very fine tannins with a lot of clean ripe fruit lurking in the background. Still shy after bottling, but I’d be very happy to put a dozen aside.


111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Tel 02 9232 2767 –

. Open daily

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 9

[V] vinoclassico LADIES



y notepad is liberally splashed with imaginatively layered stains of quality red wine – clearly the sign of a tasting session. In terms of wiser, slower-paced analytical wine reviewing, taking smaller sips rather than gulps and, dare I say it, spitting a great deal of wine out is usually more conducive to keeping a focused and diligent ‘clear head’. The aim, after all, is to take notes with some accuracy. On this one occasion, however, I clearly enjoyed the product far too much. As such, I failed, for my wine notes are sketchy. Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch, now an internationally awarded success much talked about in foodie circles, is still very much an underground ‘wine aficionados’ thing. A premium and somewhat quirky sideline project of the Strathbogie Ranges wine designers Sam Plunket and Matt and Lusie Fowles, it is a brilliant creative label that perhaps ‘sticks its fingers up’ at old-world views and stereotypes of the roles women should play in society. Visually it paints a pretty clear, upbeat and comical message. In stunning, nostalgic, art deco poster design style, it displays a lady heading out on the stalk, toes in boots, a .22 over the shoulder, dog by her side, ready and willing to blast the living daylights out of a rabbit or anything else that’s edible and within gunshot range. ‘Certainly not’ some might say. Well think again: welcome to the new world where a good bit of clean, partly wholesome, country-living fun is the done thing. Rabbit braised in red wine, anyone? The major factor governing the brand’s name and focus is that the three sister wines (a riesling, wild ferment chardonnay and shiraz) have been designed to complement game meats in particular. Tasting them, you’ll find layers of complex fruit, savoury characters such as prominent spice, and earthy tones due to such details as selection of fruits based on ‘best terroir’, fiddly ferments, barrel blending and so on. The wines are seductively impressive and defiantly more-ish – painfully so; just the thing for obsessive wine nuts such as myself. Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2009 Riesling This wine boasts a greeny-gold straw colour with a nose showing crisp acid freshness, minerally complexities and a delightful flintiness, the marks of a great Alsace-style riesling. Give it a little time and the characteristic Strathbogie Ranges cool climate fruit comes to the fore – apricots and almonds, bright citrus and some hints of floral, sweeter tones. A light and approachable oiliness is present, however it’s never overpowering: this is a well-balanced wine, so much so that I actually feel ‘important’ drinking this wine; such is the grand impression it creates. Part of this sensation is due to the wine’s fine oak integration and good bottle age. Additional depth of flavour and some rounder, more funky characteristics hint at time spent on lees or, simply, wise fruit bunch selection and barrel treatments. Finishing clean and crisp with little residual sugar, this is a riesling well suited to subtle soft cheeses, such as a mature brie – able to pare back any slight acid bite that may offend some. For my money, I’m happy to drink it alone as an aperitif. Seriously, it is hands down the best Australian riesling I’ve tasted to date. Impressive stuff. Note: The 2009 is in short supply so look out for the 2010 release. Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2010 Wild Ferment Chardonnay To be totally honest, when I sampled the first ever Ladies chardonnay release I had made my mind up that Sam Plunkett and Co had finally created something to give Giaconda Wines’ Rick Kinsbrunner a serious run for his ‘big ticket’ money. Don’t get me wrong, Rick’s incredible wine is worth every penny it costs, it’s just that something equally desirable and similar in approach was felt in that first release Ladies chard. With the new release 2010 vintage I can now see a more individual product developing – one that is partly ‘white Burgundy’ in style yet more distinctively Australian with lifted fruit nuances upfront. More prominent tropical and floral fragrances layer the nose: honeysuckle, melon and some lemon zest for example. Like Giaconda and the previous release Ladies, the 2010 vintage retains striking minerally complexities, and a distinctive flinty personality. The wild yeast ferment has given the wine additional herbaceous spice and extra body and fruit depth, making a far more explorative affair on the palate. Optimum picking times have enabled a perfect fruit flavour to acid balance ratio, which in turn lets the wine perform magazine mid-winter 2011 page 10

exceedingly well in two ways. For one, it can be enjoyed as an impressive deluxe aperitif, and two, it can magically morph into a fat and supple dream number when paired with a foods ranging from light (seafood and white meats) through to more robust (gamey meats). Can the French still do it better? Possibly; however this Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch chardonnay is one hot contender that demands a spot in a ‘world’s best’ comparison lineup. Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2009 Shiraz Putting the F in funky, the Ladies shiraz immediately bursts out of the glass with a huge savoury nose layered with nutmeg, pepper berry, licorice, cigar box and a touch of herbaceous, perhaps minty, grassiness. Dusky, fine tannins, a sign of a fine wine, can be seen at the rim of the glass. Allowing it some time to open up, and it confirms itself as a big bad beautiful wine. If you haven’t got time to wait, I strongly suggest immediately decanting or oxygenating this wine by pouring it from one vessel to another several times. This will lift its brighter and warmer cherry notes, adding sweetness to the otherwise powerfully spicy palate. Now, with the upfront exotic ripe cherries, the underpinning darker bramble fruit mid-palate becomes far more understandable, as does its fat and round mouth feel. This exceedingly complex wine is not for the faint of heart and demands careful attention. Afford it that attention and the rewards will be huge: rich fruit, good chalky and dusky tannins and a super spicedriven palate that seems to keep on delivering. In time, more elaborate tones develop such as carob rather than dark chocolate – such is the witty and rather odd character of this very cool wine. A must with food – I could well recommend a spiced goat dish or quail, as this is a big wine in flavour, yet with a more balanced width of palate. Serve it beside a range of fantastically inspired alternative meat dishes and you’re on a winner. Plunkett Fowles – Corner Hume Highway and Lambing Gully Road, Avenel, Victoria – Tel 03 5796 2150 –

the garden



S E P T E M B E R 1 0 TO OCTOBER 8, 2011

O p en :Tu e s d a y thr o ug h t o Sun d a y 9:30am-4pm weekdays, 9:30am-5pm weekends.

Closed Mondays, except public holidays. Bookings by appointment on Mondays accepted.

139 Grant Drive, Benalla, Victoria Tel . 0427 666 398 Tina Felton |

Billy Doolan 2003 Includes works by noted artists Billy Doolan, Craig Charles, Luke and John Cummins, Faith Thompson, Joyce Huddleston and Josie Kemarre.

BRIGHT ART GALLERY 28 Mountbatten Ave, Bright, Victoria Open daily 10.30am – 4.30pm Tel. 03 5750 1660 magazine mid-winter 2011 page 11

2006GE TA e VIN eleas ited r Lim AILABLE AV OW N

best of


essentials revisits favourite recipes from top chefs

sirloinminutestyle with Café de Paris Butter

Recipe Neil Perry @ Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne Serves 4 4 sirloin steaks, beaten out with a meat mallet to about 1cm thick Sea salt Extra virgin olive oil Freshly ground white pepper Juice of ½ lemon Butter 125g unsalted butter, softened 15ml vegetable oil ¼ white onion, finely diced 10g Indian style curry powder 1 small handful parsley leaves 1 clove garlic Juice of ½ lemon 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 3 anchovy fillets ½ teaspoon capers, rinsed ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon ground pepper 1 small handful basil leaves 1 small handful thyme leaves ½ tablespoon ground ginger ½ egg yolk Method To make the butter, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and curry powder over low heat until soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Process all ingredients until just combined. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Roll butter into a 3 to 4cm diameter log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm (any unused butter can be frozen if it is not going to be used within a week or so). Season the steaks well with salt. Cook on a very hot grill for 1 minute each side for rare or 2 minutes each side for medium rare. Remove from the heat and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. To serve, cut four discs of the butter and place on top of the well-rested steaks. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, give a good grind of white pepper, a squeeze of lemon and serve.

magazine mid-winter 2011 page12.5

Recipe Michael Ryan @ Provenance, Beechworth, Victoria Serves 4 as an entrĂŠe 8 blood oranges 280g raw crab meat 8 spears white asparagus 2 ruby grapefruit 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar Salt 150ml grapeseed oil, plus extra for cooking 1 avocado 1 small knob ginger 1 cup picked chervil leaves and some stem Method Slice one of the blood oranges very thinly, then place in a dehydrator until dry and crisp. Set aside. This can be done in advance and the dried orange stored in an airtight container. When you are ready to serve, pick through the crab meat to ensure there is no shell. Cut off the bottom woody part of the asparagus and then peel the remaining stalk to within 2cm of the head. Cut into thin slices on an angle. Peel and segment the ruby grapefruit. Peel and segment 4 of the remaining blood oranges. Squeeze out any juice left in the oranges and set aside. Juice the remaining blood oranges and add to the reserved juice. Cook slowly in a stainless steel saucepan over a low heat until reduced to a quarter of its original volume. Add the vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt to the orange juice and stir to dissolve. Whisk in the oil and check for seasoning. Cut the avocado in half and use a small melon baller to carve as many balls from the avocado as you can. Set aside. Grate the ginger as finely as possible (I use a Microplane) and put into a frypan. Add the crab, a little more oil and some salt and cook slowly over gentle heat until the crab is just cooked. Toss the blood orange and grapefruit segments with the white asparagus, crab and chervil. Add the dressing to coat. Check seasoning. Arrange the salad on 4 plates. Crumble some of the dried orange over the salad and scatter over the avocado balls. Serve immediately.

blueswimmercrab raw white asparagus, blood orange – dried and fresh, avocado

with parsnip purée and beetroot chutney

Recipe Hamish Nugent @ Tsubo, Dinner Plain, Victoria Serves 4 4 eggs 20g bonito flakes (dried fish flakes) ½ bunch sliced spring onion 160g shredded Chinese cabbage 60g sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons flour Dark soy to taste Japanese mayonnaise Method Mix all ingredients together, pour into a preheated pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Shape into a ‘pancake’ using two spatulas while keeping the heat moderate. When the pancake has formed structure, it is time to turn and cook for a further four minutes or until it is firm but not dry. Place the pancake on a plate, garnish with Japanese mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, red pickled ginger and bonito flakes. As the heat rises off the pancake, the bonito flakes will start to move. Okonomiyaki sauce 80ml tomato ketchup 80ml worcestershire sauce 60ml dark soy 1 teaspoon mirin 140ml dashi (basic Japanese fish stock) 2 tablespoons corn flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water Method Heat the ingredients together and then thicken with the corn flour. Allow to cool.

cabbageandmushroom okonomiyaki

Art Eating Art



o there I was, early winter, hiking though an ice-cold Canberra city street, lugging a heavy camera rig across town to seek a table at James Mussillon’s homely house of culinary delights, Courgette. Walking into thankfully rather toasty and plush surroundings, I began adjusting lenses, positioning plates, polishing glasses, tweaking lights and reflectors, generally spending a good hour or so setting myself up. For me, the reason I obsessively spend time tweaking food on plates with chefs, finding the right photographic focal lengths, firing off test shots, both for colour-temperature and picture composition, is simply to create good art. Ask great painters just how they do it and most are likely to answer: ‘I dunno, it’s just what I do.’ But some will be more reflective and suggest that ‘to come up magazine mid-winter 2011 page 16

with great visual art takes years of honing and refining skills’. This is exactly what Courgette’s James Mussillon has done and, from what I can see, plans to keep on doing. He’s on a constant positive path forward, rewarding both his customers and himself by presenting nothing short of clever, artful plates of food. And without fuss, it seems. He just gets on with it. As a lad, James headed to London where, believe it or not, an employment agency offered him a trial in Marco Pierre White’s kitchen. ‘It was very much a case of ‘Marco who?’ James laughs. ‘I’d never heard of the bloke and arrived into his kitchen a confident little smartarse.’ Before diving into the deep end with White, James had cooked in RSL clubs, followed fortunately by some more refined training from the renowned Sydney chef Tony Bilson.

Admittedly extremely naïve at the time, James’s main saving grace was that he was a logical, focused and keen fast learner who quickly gained the respect of White. James says White pushed his staff hard, but was fair. ‘If you listened and did your job well, he left you alone. He was dedicated to getting it right. Often he would take his team out fishing and hunting – things the media fails to show.’ In time, James went on to open several new London restaurants with White. Together, great success was gained. On his return to Australia, James accepted the position of sous chef at Sydney restaurant Quay until new opportunities reared their heads in the ACT – the first of which would become James’s first Canberra venture: Water’s Edge. [continued over page]

Salt & pepper slow cooked octopus, chorizo, red bell peppers, truffle mash & black olives.

He is not what one might expect of a chef working in a busy, fast-paced and potentially stressful kitchen. Instead, he is calm, centred and methodical, pretty relaxed towards his staff. ‘I don’t see it as a necessity to be aggro, dictate or have levels in the kitchen. I have the same respect for my kitchen hand as I do for my sous chef and believe that it’s a shared respect.’ James now runs two leading Canberra restaurants, Water’s Edge and Courgette, with the latter seemingly the more personal focal point and home base for James and his delightful partner and restaurant host, Georgie. Logically, therefore, Courgette is the more awarded restaurant, having been awarded a Sydney Morning Herald ‘chef’s hat’ for the past four years running. Courgette, located in Canberra Civic, is divided into four separate dining spaces, each with different décor. Three, the bar, the cellar and the boardroom, are tailored to accommodate small to medium-sized groups. By far the most warmly presented smaller space is the above-ground cellar. Entry is via a narrow dimly lit corridor that leads to a floor-toceiling wall of racked premium wines, a circular dining table that seats ten, a small servery/kitchenette and, of course, only the best in sparkling silver and glassware. The fourth space, the open-plan main dining room, is a warm yet slightly ‘posh’ and practical arrangement, large enough to seat about 60 people. Long ceiling beams lead the eye towards a long, seamless glass wall framing a colourful Japanese-inspired maple and pebble garden space reminiscent of New York’s famous American Museum of Natural History dioramas. Like those dioramas it ‘draws the outside in’, making it visually rather addictive. Courgette is well soundproofed; despite the noisy city streets nearby, the mood inside is quiet and serene. An unusual little oasis, it presents more as a retreat, perhaps, than a mere restaurant, possessing a defined grace that promotes a wonderful sense of escapist relaxation. Georgie’s impeccable performance on the floor is a rather emotive and extraordinary experience – such is the nature and flow of her smooth service. The combined sense of relaxation and calm makes it seem, at times, that the food has appeared out of thin air. First to magically appear on the table was a starter of salt and pepper slowcooked octopus, chorizo, red bell peppers, truffle mash and black olives. This dish is a good example of how James paints a plate with delicate touches of shape and colour; it photographed extremely well from all angles. The octopus is tender and flavoursome, lightly seasoned with a warm mix of oriental spices and seared before serving, while the chorizo adds body and depth. It is accompanied by an exotic and thickly textured octopus jus that is addictively more-ish. The additional elements such as the mellow, silky truffle mash and the clean, sweetly roasted bell peppers prove a superb flavour match for the 2008 Wood Park Meadow Creek Chardonnay from King Valley, a wine reviewed with great excitement in magazine mid-winter 2011 page 18

Seared spiced Kingfish, smoked salmon with dashi glaze, radish puree & shimeji mushrooms.

Essentials this time last year. With a big nose of butterscotch and toasted caramel, born of time on lees, the chardonnay is cleanly balanced with a sharply acidic citrus lift. It displays an almost syrupy brilliant golden straw colour in the glass and presents an extremely well balanced palate and long finish. James’s entrée of spiced kingfish, smoked salmon with dashi glaze, radish puree and shimeji mushrooms is a showcase of his skills in fine layering and balance of – not too many – flavours. It’s also a case of not mucking about with the produce too much, which I love. Firm yet delicate kingfish, creamy dashi and salmon line the palate impressively, and radish segments scattered like rose petals add a cleansing freshness with each mouthful. A simple yet classy 2008 Te Mania Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Marlborough NZ) adds to the fun. It’s poured at exactly the right temperature, allowing it to truly open up well, the nose a great exploration of delights. Scents of zinging, tangy

cumquats burst from the glass. Additional layers of ripe lychee, pineapple and hints of almond are also present. The palate is clean, not overpowering – an easy drinker offering a big bang for your buck. James’s main of rare roasted venison loin, cauliflower cream, spiced beetroot, spinach panacotta, broadbeans and shiraz wine glaze is nothing short of epic, as great a meal to taste as it was to look at. Never before have I seen and tasted such beauty, elegance and balance on a single plate. Dare I name this his new signature dish? Regardless, I demand a return visit and another plate! The venison is rich, silky and rare; it melts in the mouth like butter. Again lightly seasoned and seared, it is only just softly touched with a light shiraz glaze. The panacotta is a funky flowerpower summer of love blast with swirls of spinach marbling its form. The texture is sexy and slippery and, like the venison, it melts as soon as it hits the palate. [continued over page]

Rare roasted venison loin, cauliflower cream, spiced beetroot, spinach panacotta, broadbeans, shiraz wine glaze. Murray Street Shiraz Vineyards Shiraz 2007, Barossa Valley



a perfect location for private group functions or ‘food and wine fest’ family occasions

Round earthy additional touches such as baby beetroot and fresh broad beans are lovingly well-chosen gifts. The beets float like soft melted chocolate drops positioned with care, and the scattering of softly blanched lime-green beans appears as fresh as a garden. Brilliantly cooked and cared for, each and every one is a sweet and joyous experience. A 2007 Barossa Murray Street Vineyards Shiraz has enough age on its side to allow for great integration of balanced flavours - rich, yet not too dark. A complex and big nose of blackberries, cooked cherries, chocolate, cinnamon and black pepper makes this a sensible and ‘fat-nosed’ match for the luxurious texture and flavours of the venison. With an appealing medium to light body, its palate is elegant and not too brash. There’s a nice acid balance and a lengthy soft finish. It would be an easy choice to open another and share it with a friend. Courgette seems a perfect location for private group functions or ‘food and wine fest’ family occasions, but it is equally well suited to more intimate dining, with plenty of choice in its seating arrangements. ‘The tradition of sharing our daily events over a leisurely meal is becoming a rarity these days,’ says James. ‘It’s a tradition I’m keen to preserve.’ This honest and open statement, more than anything else said, reveals who James really is and what he is about: a passionate chef with a positive zest for life and a real respect for his craft. And it’s this attitude that goes a long way to making the food at Courgette all the more inspiring and pleasant. 54 Marcus Clarke Street Canberra City, ACT Tel 02 6247 4042 James Mussillon

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 21



he Canberra District wine region lies broadly within the 60-kilometre triangle encompassing Canberra, Yass and Bungendore. The main recognised grape-growing areas are predominantly centred around the Murrumbateman precinct and the Lake George escarpment. History has it that some cuttings were established in the site where Duntroon college now stands, having been brought to the region as early as the 1860s. However, it is only since the late 1960s that viticulture started in earnest in the region. The early pioneers were mainly CSIRO scientists who used their academic background in geology and earth science to establish hobby vineyards and make wines in artisanal fashion. Grape varieties were at first selected at random, as were vineyard locations among the wide range of soil types and topography. The passage of the seasons, the reality of appropriate viticulture and the vagaries of climatic disposition across the magazine mid-winter 2011 page 22

area soon honed the choice of suitable varieties and site specificity. Most of the 140 vineyards now lie at an elevation of 500 to 900 metres. The climate is of the continental type, with marked seasonal changes, long growing seasons, hot dry summers and diurnal temperature variations. and a wide range of soil types and topography. This refinement of terroir has seen the emergence of two hero varieties for the district, riesling and shiraz. The mesoclimates and topography of the district also favour the ripening of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir and pinot gris – the last two mainly on the east-facing slopes of Lake George [Lerida Estate] and around Bungendore [Lark Hill Winery]. To comprehend the current rise and success of the Canberra District, it is necessary to recognise and pay homage to the persevering efforts of the early pioneers such as Ken Helm, John Kirk,

Edgar Reik, Roger Harris amongst many others. They set the foundation which is allowing the current crop of winemakers to make their mark. In terms of both acreage under vine and wine production the Canberra wine region is very small, in relative and comparative terms, compared with the rest of NSW, and minuscule on the national wine map. However, the area punches way above its weight if wine show accolades and media plaudits are an indication of success. Who is at the vanguard of this regional success? The two most recognised brands are arguably Helm’s rieslings and Clonakilla’s shiraz viognier, both having been at the forefront of success both nationally and internationally. The dogged efforts and repeated successes of Ken Helm and the team of Tim Kirk and

Bryan Martin at Clonakilla have tweaked the interest and focused the attention of the broader wine world on the Canberra District wine region. This, in turn, has allowed a highly talented and dedicated group of local winemakers who had hitherto flown under the radar to come to prominence with their range of awarded wines of undeniable quality, thereby emphatically cementing the region’s reputation. Names easily conjured are Nick O’Leary of O’Leary wines, Andrew McEwin (aka Mr Merlot) of Capital / Kyeema wines, Graeme Shaw of Shaw Vineyard Estate and Nick Spencer of Eden Road Wines among many others. How does all that translate to the liquid in the bottles? Both the Shaw Isabella Riesling and the Helm’s Premium Riesling are made in Germanic style with a tight, lean

acid backbone, with wafts of minerality and fennel. These are long-term cellaring prospects of relatively low alcohol. The lovely Shaw Premium Riesling is a delight to enjoy now, offering more upfront limey talcy delivery. The sleeper in this field is the Nick OLeary Riesling which straddles a fine line in between the previous two styles. O’Leary’s 2010 Shiraz is another great example of cool climate fruit expression with minimal winemaking interference. The Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier continues to impress and seduce the wine world but, to me the gruntier, more muscular Clonakilla Syrah, untrammelled by white grape artifice, will probably outlast and outperform its prettier sister Andrew McEwin’s 2009 Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Merlot continues a long tradition of award winners with fruit opulence and fine tannins that will recompense some cellaring. He has repeatedly managed to capture the

essence of merlot in this challenging climate, winning more medals than I care to remember, initially with his Kyeema wines and now in conjunction with the Mooneys under the Capital Wines banner. Crystal-ball gazing, I can see a promising future for tempranillo in this region as some sites are very similar geographically and soilwise to some of the acclaimed regions of Ribera Del Douro. Rieslings and shiraz will continue to blaze a trail of glory but sangiovese and graciano will slowly emerge as credible varieties, albeit on smaller scales. All in all, the Canberra District wine region, despite its small representation, will continue to assert its importance and reputation in the wine world.

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 23

The brief was to use rustic, reclaimed timbers – nothing appearing too modern or edgy,

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 24

the art of living



call him the Quiet Achiever. An obsessively driven, creative and multiskilled designer, builder, fitter, finisher and all round ‘new world’ joinery technological wiz. A confident social networker and focused, friendly and inspired team leader. Sound like your average tradie? Possibly not. But Adam Williams, founder of High Country Victoria’s Wilko Cabinets, can certainly be confirmed as ‘one out of the box’. His ‘dream it, draft it, perfect it, build it’ approach to joinery and custom furniture has a wide range of home owners, builders and architects lining up for a slice of his can-do magic. With an ‘every client is unique’ custom approach to creating highly desirable dream living spaces, Adam and his team, including his highly skilled production manager Matt, consistently create and install both modern and traditionally designed cabinetry, servicing both domestic and commercial applications. The Wilko approach is simple yet thorough: to carefully consult with each client then create both a written and digitally drafted visual plan of each project concept. The aim is to create balance in the final result with the best of visual beauty and form coupled with inventive, forward thinking ‘ease of use’ functionality. To perfect its delivery, Wilko uses a wide range of materials and hardware, including the best new-age products, (nonporous, acrylic solid surfaces, electronic drawer opening systems, and newly released modern laminates) and such time-honoured handselected natural materials as imported Italian marble slabs, and timber – new, recycled and reclaimed. At times, vintage hardware items (often salvaged by clients)

are restored and integrated into a final project. Whatever the outline demands, so long as it’s challenging enough, Adam and his team are happy to take it on board. Personally, I can recommend Adam’s work, as I’m now lucky enough to have a new kitchen that he and I designed together. For the record, it’s made life much easier, more streamlined, more enjoyable – a surprising change. Large bench space, spacious smooth flowing drawers and cupboards, beautiful craftsmanship, deep double stainless sinks (which I love), and easy to clean surfaces that are both sexy and rewarding to one’s efforts – one quick firm wipe and watch it sparkle! Once a dead, dreary kitchen, the new Wilko-transformed space is now the happy social centre of the house, a focal point, a creative hub. To cook, to make coffee, to hang out in it, it’s all a joy. To prove my point about this Wilko lifestyle bliss, I recently met a group of overwhelmingly relaxed Wilko clients who were seemingly ‘holidaying’ in their new abodes, lapping up life among environments they categorised as appropriate to a six-star resort. One tell-tale property visit included a photographic assignment where it was obvious that an ‘essence of calm’ was the result of the cleverly crafted ‘luxe escape’ living environment. For the uninitiated, individual lifestyle dreams come in all manner of shapes and sizes, with myriad visual approaches possible. Wilko ensures that each project is carefully tailored to the desires of individual clients. Fantasy turned reality number one (let’s call this farmhouse ‘X’ for Extreme relaxation), consisted of one Victorian Alpine Valleys’ farmhouse getaway, clad in rough-

sawn external timbers, no doubt inspired by early settlers’ colonial homesteads. The Wilko interior fixtures cleverly packed a modern punch though retaining a more simple visual approach as requested by the client. ‘The brief was to use rustic, reclaimed timbers – nothing appearing too modern or edgy,’ Adam explains. ‘Our approach therefore was to form cabinet carcases from 16mm melamine (for stability, ease of cleaning, and using the best of modern fitted hardware), and to then create solid external cabinet drawers and door fascias (constructed in traditional best joinery methods), using rare 1940s recycled bluegum flooring timber salvaged from the demolition of the Wangaratta Town Hall. ‘In the case of the cupboard doors, stainless steel mesh inserts were added alongside hand-sanded and distressed vintage-look hardware. The final result was a great nostalgic old-world meat-safe look. Pretty cool!’ The lightly-themed colonial, rustic look is impressive, to say the least. Wilko crafted floor-to-ceiling 12-foot (3.65 metre high) kitchen and laundry cabinets dressed to impress, faced with carefully selected flooring timber lightly sanded, then treated with a 15 per cent lime-wash, and finished in Danish oil. Additionally, dual ‘horse-trough’ porcelain sinks with a commercial grade ‘dishy hose’ add fun and functionality. A huge 65mm thick Italian Carrara marble slab (at 3 metres by 1.4 metres it is the largest slab available) forms an impressive island bench. [continued page 26] magazine mid-winter 2011 page 25

HOUSE ‘X’ Victorian Alpine Valleys’ farmhouse getaway

HOUSE ‘Y’ Super high gloss two-pack fire engine red

[from page 25] The kitchen is illuminated by four midnightblack re-enamelled industrial ‘lawn bowls’ pendulum lamps, which appeal regardless of the mix of eras. A really cool userfriendly design extra is the flush-fit linen trolleys (huge square tubs on casters) that pull out from the laundry’s lower level cabinets. Designed to fit through doorways, and smoothly roll around the house, they minimise the drudgery of some household laundry tasks, even – dare one say it – making laundry day fun. And if you’re sunning yourself on the deck with a cool drink, as these home owners were, I’m sure it’s okay to fill the trolleys and neatly tuck them away for an epic end-of-week wash cycle – thank God Maytag units are installed and ready to spin! House number two can only be labeled ‘house Y’ for Y-not. A wonderful and complex kitchen design, a labyrinth of magazine mid-winter 2011 page 26

angles and shapes, all presented in a super high gloss two-pack finish of louder-thanlife fire engine red. ‘Wow!’ is the word that falls from your lips after the jaw-dropping sight of this little number. It’s punchy, gutsy, bold and simply smokin’ hot. Adam says he was unsure if the bright red approach would work, but the client insisted on additional design layers such as super matt black compact laminated bench tops (think science labs, beakers and boffins) and the black graphite ‘hipster’ duel sinks (think alien moon dust carved by crazed intergalactic flight crew) and ‘the whole look totally came together’. Personally this has to be one of my favorite Wilko constructions, a shining example of how canny and adventurous customers can co-create their own interior ‘grand design’. A diversity of materials is the stand-out feature of house number three,

HOUSE Z for zappy, a beautifully cleanlined home standing just a little north of Wangaratta on riverflat country.

or ‘house Z’ for zappy, a beautifully clean-lined home standing just a little north of Wangaratta on riverflat country. Designed by architectural firm FMSA and constructed by leading North East builders Steve Graves Constructions, this was always going to be a complex and rewarding project for Wilko. This property is definitive proof that Adam’s team is well versed in developing new approaches to sculpting modern interior layouts from a wide range of brilliant materials. The double vanity bathroom in two-pack high gloss white is bright, sharp and awakening. Custom furnishings, bookshelves and a complete office fitout are warmly toned in hand-finished mountain ash. The kitchen boasts an enormous solid surface kitchen island complete with stainless steel base and large utility drawers: the owners’ pride

and joy. These guys must seriously enjoy cooking! Taking advantage of the site was a key to the design principles followed in creating this open-plan house. A super-long ‘crushed stone’ solid surface kitchen bench top, complete with custom cut sink drainers and seamless curved splashbacks, bends up to meet expansive panavision windows framing long paddock views dotted with massive river red gums. The slender but expansively over-the-top look is far more Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 than tea-chatting Nigella Lawson with her pink cupcakes and puffed up bosoms. In my book, that’s a very good sign. It’s obvious Adam and his team had a lot of fun with this place, including working with an interior colourist who added a little ‘pop’ and lift to Wilko’s meticulous

building standard. It is a home project that clearly was born of love and inspiration. In an overpowering commercial world, it’s great to find an artisan creative team hand-building their way into our good books. To me, it’s clear that Adam Williams is all about producing the best possible products in the most desirable of ways, determination overcoming potential hindrances like time and budget constraints. This is the Adam Williams of Wilko Cabinets that I know and love. He’s a great bloke and an inventive team leader who’s obsessively passionate about setting the standard in his trade. Take a closer look and I’m sure you’ll agree. 55 Devil’s Creek Road, Buckland Valley, Victoria Tel03 5756 2260 Mob 0419 575 374 magazine mid-winter 2011 page 27



eechworth is rightly known as ‘the Elegant Dame’. As you tour the historic sites and enjoy the stunningly preserved examples of Victorian architecture you can almost hear the swish of crinoline, the ‘pop’ of a parasol opening up in the dappled sunlight. There are many reasons to drop in to Beechworth, now the capital of a burgeoning food and wine district. The jewel of Beechworth is the former Oriental Bank, designed and built in the 1860s by architect Leonard Terry, whose other notable buildings include The Melbourne Club on Collins Street and Trinity Chapel at Melbourne University. After stints as a convent, a bank and a private home, the grand redbrick lady was reborn as a luxury bed and breakfast – Freeman on Ford. Jennifer Hawkins and Sigrid Thornton are among the assembly of A-listers who’ve visited the only five-star B&B in the area. But as accolades roll in, including Freeman on Ford’s listing in Barry Stone’s Great Australian Historic Hotels, the owners recall it wasn’t always so peachy. Purchasing the building in 2002, Heidi Freeman and Jim Didolis were in for two years of hard work. Heidi, born and raised in Beechworth, fell in love with the building, though converting it into accommodation wasn’t necessarily always the plan. ‘Initially we looked at it as an investment property rented out as office space.’ Like many of us, Heidi discovered that falling in love can be a painful experience, though it’s an experience she would not take back. The building had seen better days, so everything down to the skirting boards had to be replaced or restored. ‘We were very naïve,’ explains Heidi. ‘I had a budget to renovate… and I think I spent the whole of that initial budget just on the carpet.’ But those painstaking efforts to maintain the building’s integrity have garnered her numerous awards. There is a relaxed, elegant ease to the rooms downstairs, the 1930s style parlours, powder room and dining hall. You could be in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel: everything is sleek and creamy, and cool jazz or French chanson add atmosphere to your exploration as magazine mid-winter 2011 page 28

you glide through. A spacious lounge overlooks the sun-drenched veranda, a recently added Versace palazzo-type pool, and matching symmetrical gardens. There is none of that potpourri-ad-nauseam stuffiness so often encountered in country B&Bs. What you will find is a balance of masculine and feminine touches. The fireplaces are left intentionally rustic, while a vintage chiffon dress on a dressmaker’s dummy perfectly complements the rich rose-coloured upholstery on a divan. Upstairs there are four Victorian-era bedrooms, each with a well-appointed ensuite and views over Beechworth’s tin rooftops and streetscapes. The décor is now in a darker, more regal palette, the mod cons are hidden from view. You haven’t had a neuron misfire; you are now in a Brontë novel. ‘We’ve got to have it all the way or no way,’ says Heidi. That means tremendous attention to detail: the hand-decorated clothes hangers, the crystal chandeliers and individually designed windows. Even the cutlery and napery is worthy of comment. ‘As much as possible I try to source things that are unique.’ In June this year, Heidi and Jim were again rewarded for their uncompromising maintenance of standards over the years by taking out third place at the AAA National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence in Sydney. In 2010 they won second place in their category at the same awards. It may sound a bit clichéd but Freeman on Ford’s biggest drawcard is its invitation to escape the everyday. Bring Tender is the Night or Wuthering Heights if you are so inclined. Or just write your own story when you get there. 97 Ford Street, Beechworth Victoria 3747 Tel 03 5728 2371

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 29

Eugene Von Guérard ’s Kosciusko: the Real Story


he sky had a ‘threatening look’ about it when Georg von Neumayer and his party reached the summit of Mount Kosciuszko on the morning of 19 November 1862. Neumayer, a Bavarian scientist of exacting standards, was conducting a geomagnetic survey of Victoria, a colony which, under the influence of Governor Charles La Trobe, avidly supported the advancement of science and the arts. Travelling as a private guest of Neumayer was the Vienna-born painter of Romantic landscapes, Eugene von Guérard. This was to be expected, for artists had regularly accompanied scientific expeditions since the explorations of Captain Cook. [continued over] magazine mid-winter 2011 page 30

Eugene von Guérard Born Austria 1811, lived in Australia 1852–82, Europe 1882–1901, died England 1901 North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko 1863 oil on canvas 66.5 x 116.8 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1973

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 31

Eugene von Guérard Born Austria 1811, lived in Australia 1852–82, Europe 1882–1901, died England 1901 View of the Grampians and Victoria Ranges from Mount Rouse, West Victoria 1861 oil on canvas, 71.0 x 137.0 cm Private collection, Victoria

WORDS JACQUI DURRANT [from prevous page]


hat morning, von Guérard was sketching a panoramic view of Kosciuszko’s summit across two pages of a leather-bound memorandum book, first in pencil, then adding details and highlights with ink. It was a tiny book, only six inches by three and three-quarter inches in size, already filled with equally diminutive landscapes that demonstrated von Guérard’s limitless patience for detail. This trait was inherited from his father, a painter of portrait and landscape miniatures in the royal courts of Europe. Although it was November, snowdrifts still lay about the peak and could be seen covering nearby summits. After lunch (during which the expeditionary team drank to the artist’s health, it being his 51st birthday) von Guérard was seated on the summit, when he called out to Neumayer ‘that it appeared... a heavy storm was approaching from the New South Wales side’. Neumayer watched the plummeting air-pressure on his barometer. In his published account, Results of the Magnetic Survey of the Colony of Victoria, Neumayer magazine mid-winter 2011 page 32

later recalled how this convinced him ‘that there was no time to be lost’, whereupon he called out for everyone to return to camp, seven miles distant, as quickly as possible. It was 2.25pm when they commenced their descent. Reaching the foot of the summit, Neumayer remembered that maps had been left behind on one of the peaks, and so he sent one of his assistants, Edward Brinkmann, to collect them. Brinkmann set off with the party’s dog, Hector, trailing in his wake. Within five minutes the stormfront hit, engulfing the mountain in dense cloud and torrential rain. Neumayer called out for Brinkmann, but visibility was almost zero, and only the dog returned. It was 8pm by the time only Neumayer and von Guérard finally located the party’s camp lower on the mountain, where everything was ‘wet through and torn’. Having achieved this, the pair then went back to search for their guide, John Twynham, whom they found about half a mile away. Twynham was ‘quite stiff and unable to move’, so they carried him back

to camp. As Brinkmann had the party’s matchbox, it took 90 minutes of intense fiddling before a fire was lit. Inside their tent, the men heard ‘the roaring of the wind interrupted occasionally only by thunder’. It was past 11pm when Hector’s barking announced the return of another one of the missing men, Weston. Neumayer’s delight ‘[could] scarcely be imagined’. The following morning on the summit, Neumayer found, untouched, the maps he had asked Brinkmann to retrieve. After a day’s rest, the party left provisions and instructions for Brinkmann, should he return to camp. They gave ‘three cheers for the missing man’, and descended the mountain. The next 16 days were spent traversing the Australian Alps, first from Tom Groggin Station to Omeo (where bushfires lit up the sky in every direction, and where they raised the alarm for a search party), pushing on to Mount Feathertop, and through the gold towns of Bright and Buckland to Yackandandah. The party arrived in Belvoir (Wodonga) on 6 December, and headed

Eugene von Guérard Born Austria 1811, lived in Australia 1852–82, Europe 1882–1901, died England 1901 Waterfall, Strath Creek 1862 oil on canvas, 83.2 x 65.7 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased, 1967

straight for the police court where they hoped to find Edward Brinkmann, but there was no sign of him ‘so that the last hope of his safety was now quite destroyed’. With heavy hearts, the men sat down to dinner and ‘had hardly done so, when the lost man made his appearance in the most deplorable condition’. After the storm on Mount Kosciuszko, Brinkmann had wandered for two days until he fell in with a gold miner who took him to the alpine gold-rush town of Kiandra, a bewildering 45 miles north of Kosciuszko as the crow flies. From Kiandra he had worked his way to Wodonga. It was a remarkable story of survival and good fortune, and as von Neumayer would reflect, the epitome of ‘courageous behaviour’. The painting von Guérard produced from the sketches of that day in 1862 when Edward Brinkmann barely escaped with his life, was North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko (1863). Echoing the great works of German Romanticism, the accuracy with which von Guérard depicted the landscape wasn’t a

matter of mere scientific record; it was also an attempt (as the great German scientist Alexander von Humboldt had said of his own work) to ‘grasp nature’s essence under the cover of outer appearances’. In the painting, von Guérard portrays himself and the men with whom he’d travelled as observers who can only gesture at and clambor about this sublime landscape. Dwarfed by the mountains, their tiny figures remind us of the fleeting and precarious nature of human existence when compared with the enduring presence of nature. Together with his companions, von Guérard had witnessed nature’s almighty power. In North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko there is absolutely no doubting the artist’s profound appreciation of the Australian landscape, which to him was surely the work of God. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Federation Square, Swanston Street Melbourne, Victoria magazine mid-winter 2011 page 33

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 34

Eugene von Guérard Born Austria 1811, lived in Australia 1852–82, Europe 1882–1901, died England 1901 Mount Kosciusko, seen from the Victorian border (Mount Hope Ranges) 1866 oil on canvas 108.2 x 153.3 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased, 1870

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 35

Roastess with the mostest: third generation coffee roaster Jess Sciannimanica

smooth operator At the age of 25, Jess Sciannimanica is one of the few aspiring female coffee roasters in the country. The apprenticeship will be a long one, but she’s already backed by 25 years of family experience and a passion for coffee. WORDS JACQUI DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL SLOGGETT AND HUGH SOUYAVE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURANT


offee fashionistas. That’s what I call them.’ Of all the misconceptions surrounding coffee roasting, there’s one that Attilio Sciannimanica of longtime Canberra coffee house CosmoreX finds particularly frustrating: ‘The idea that anyone can buy a small cheap roasting machine and stumble their way through the process, and that the public will perceive them as passionate.’ Smallness is no guarantee of quality: Attilio shudders at the thought of a gullible coffeedrinking public suffering at the hands of inexperienced rogue roasters. A couple of years back, CosmoreX took a great leap forward. With more than two decades of experience in coffee roasting, the Sciannimanica family decided it was time to acquire the Rolls Royce of coffee-roasting machines, an Italian Brambati. The new machine made moving to larger premises necessary, giving Attilio and Anne Sciannimanica the

impetus to create an in-house CosmoreX cafe. Now the business has taken another leap forward, with daughter Jess stepping out of the office to join Attilio and assistant roaster Michael Slogget on the coffeeroasting team. ‘I want to get to know every aspect of the family business,’ says Jess. ‘Coffee roasting will be a long apprenticeship.’ Roasting coffee, the crucial process that transforms green coffee beans into a wonderously varied range of aromatic dark beans, is much more than a matter of selecting raw beans and flicking a switch. ‘You can buy the same green beans from the same brokers,’ explains Attilio, ‘but these beans will come out tasting completely different according to the roast profile.’ Not one for grandiosity, Attilio bucks at the well-deserved title of ‘master roaster’, but there’s no denying his extensive knowledge of how to compose a

‘roast profile’. This refers to the particular combination of variables that make up the roasting process. ‘It’s the temperature and the length of time of the roast, but also the speed of the airflow and the recirculation of hot air inside the roasting drum. Even the speed of the drum revolutions will have an impact, because the outside and inside of the beans will roast at different rates,’ explains Attilio. Jess is still in the process of learning how to compose these variables. ‘When I started, I knew nothing. I even had to be shown how to switch the machine on. It’s like a car,’ she says, ‘You have to learn how to drive it.’ Now that she’s roasting three times a week, Jess is revelling in the job. ‘When you’re roasting you get to be in your own little world – a calm and enjoyable world, because you cannot be interrupted in your work. Even if there’s a phone call for you, you can’t answer it. You have to watch the beans.’ magazine mid-winter 2011 page 37

DRUM ROLL Rotation helps make the perfect roast

There is one vital aspect of the job for which Jess has a natural aptitude, and this lies in judging the taste and aromas of coffee. ‘She’s showing an early talent for “cupping”,’ enthuses Attilio, who is a veteran judge of many coffee shows. ‘A palate can be developed, but like a good sportsperson, it’s also down to the luck of genetics.’ Cupping is a skill that’s constantly in demand at CosmoreX, as they roast in small quantities (5 to 60 kilograms), methodically tasting each batch to test for quality. The other areas in which having a superior palate is important is in the creation of new blends, and the refining of existing blends, which is carried out using a 5 kilogram manual roasting machine. ‘Our three biggest blends came about through continuous experimentation. One of them, our Premium Special Blend, won a Golden Bean Award last year. We’ve been refining it

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 38

over a 25-year period,’ says Attilio. The results of these efforts show in CosmoreX’s 10 or more speciality blends, including the espresso-styled roast ‘Rio Gold’, and the ‘Isabella Blend’ popular for filter coffee. There are also more than a dozen unblended arabicas from Central and South America, Africa, India, Indonesia and New Guinea, including the smooth aromatic Certified Timor Organic, and fair trade movement coffees such as the mellow, full-bodied Colombia Supremo. Unsurprisingly, but to the jubilation of regular customers, as varied a bunch as you’ll find, the café varies its offerings regularly. While so many painfully hip urban cafés struggle to achieve that definitive ‘industrial look’, CosmoreX is the real deal. It’s positioned in semi-industrial Fyshwick, and thanks to a large window between the café and the Brambati roaster, patrons can

watch the roasting in progress. Meanwhile, barista Maria Marzano consistently turns out coffee of such exceptional quality that, were she in Melbourne, she would have a troupe of food bloggers tweeting her every move. However, the general attitude at CosmoreX is blissfully down-to-earth: ‘All we’re doing here is making good coffee. That’s what cafés should do. Why heap praise upon a café for doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing? We love what we do,’ says Anne Sciannimanica, ‘and Jess has the passion to take CosmoreX into the next generation.’ 47 Kembla Street, Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory Tel 02 6280 7511

art space

TONY FLINT and the

CABERNET KING What have the Green Fairy and Guardian Angel got to do with artist Tony Flint and Bob ‘the Cabernet King’ Curtis? WORDS IVAN DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 40


ell it all started when Bob Curtis of Yileena Park Winery in the Yarra Valley discovered the Artists Trail, and that the most important painting from that journey – Golden Summers, Eaglemont, 1889 – had the very same view of Mount Disappointment, the Healesville Gap and Mount Riddell as his tasting room. The only difference is that Arthur Streeton’s painting depicts a longer-distanced view from the then farming area of Heidelberg-Eaglemont across the Christmas Hills to Healesville in the distance. Bob’s cellar door, styled after an English hunting lodge, is at the foot of those Christmas Hills, at Yarra Glen. Arthur Streeton did two versions of Golden Summers: a spontaneous, onlocation oil sketch, in my opinion the better, which is part of Benalla Gallery’s Ledger collection; the other a much larger, more considered and laboured work which took the auction price record

Tony Flint, Autumn Towards the Healesville Gap, 2011 Oil on board, Yileena Park Winery Collection, Purchased 2011

for an Australian painting when it was bought by its now owner, the National Gallery of Australia. Now Bob has a keen interest in art, and sponsored the scrumptious wine at my Benalla Art Gallery Boundary Rider exhibition about three years a go. The thought of being part of art history was too irresistible to let go, so he asked Essentials’ publishing mogul if there was any chance of getting renowned landscape artist Tony Flint to paint his view for posterity. ‘I’ll ask my old man to tee it up, he’s a mate of Tony’s.’ My mobile rang: ‘Dad, Bob the Cabernet King wants Tony to paint his cellar door view – What do you reckon, any chance?’ ‘Jamie, Flinty’s pretty busy on his show for Olivia’s gallery at Yea, and I know he doesn’t like commissions, but I owe Bob, so I’ll take a bottle of wine over and see if I can swing it.

The Pitch ‘TF, How’d you like a wad of cash, a dozen boxes of Yileena Park Cabernet, and the guarantee to live at least 80 years and maybe forever?’ ‘Some wine would be a good start. Why, what are you up to, and who wants what?’ ‘It’s your Guardian Angel, Bob the Cabernet King.’

Massaging the Truth It’s like this, Flinty – at the same time as Streeton, Tom Roberts, Clara Southern, and a whole mob of our impressionist landscape painters were doing their stuff in the Yarra Valley, Van Gogh, Maurice Utrillo, Modigliani and Toulouse Lautrec were boozing away every night on the Green Fairy (absinthe) in sleazy bars, blowing their brains out and poisoning their

systems. They all died miserably young, and before they were rich and famous. Our mob got up early, headed bush by horse-and-cart or foot, carrying their gear and camping out for weeks: health freaks really. Not like those French losers, but like us they developed a sophisticated palate for wine with their camp-fire barbecues. Now, they all lived over eighty years, to enjoy their wealth and fame. So that’s it, TF, paint this landscape for Bob, get a supply of wine, and we’ve hit the jackpot. Flinty just laughed, gave me the bird and said: ‘You’re full of it, but I’ll do it.’ Poor me, I’ll get to share Bob’s wine: Tony and I wind up having a glass or two a couple of times a week at the end of the day, which usually morphs into a few bottles and a dinner party. Talk about a win win. ***

[continued page 42] magazine mid-winter 2011 page 41

View of Mount Riddell and the Healesville ranges, as seen from the cellar door terrace at Yileena Park Wines.

[from page 41]

Now that Tony’s painting, Autumn Towards the Healesville Gap, is finished and on the wall at Yileena Park, it’s interesting to compare his approach to Streeton’s. The 120-year-old Golden Summers was born in the blazing heat of January. Strong light, sharp shadows and bright colours were all the rage: the Heidelburg School took its lead from the plein air, light-flickering French Impressionists. Besides, Streeton was camping out in the then, rural outskirts of Melbourne, and it would have been a shocker working in the drizzling icy winds of winter. Dry, roughly cleared native grasses and grazing sheep illustrate the economic dominance of the art-buying moneyed class, the Squatters. Artists back then had less freedom with subject matter magazine mid-winter 2011 page 42

and had to dance to their patrons’ tune to make a living. Tony, on the other hand, comfortably painting indoors from photographs, could pick the day of his liking. The season was autumn and he chose a grey, soft cloudy light, almost shadow-free day. And what a difference the time of year and colour of sky make to the distant mountains. An early break came to the Yarra Valley this year, giving a green soft milkiness to the new growth on the patchwork of distant hobby farms. It’s almost a different planet to Streeton’s. The wine industry has replaced sheep as the new economic driver in the landscape and the rural outskirts of Melbourne have stretched 70 kilometres to Yarra Glen, while Streeton’s old painting camp is now in the middle of urban Melbourne.

Opp page, top: Tony Flint, Bones of the Earth No. 3, 2011. Acrylic on board, 93 cm x 61 cm. Opp page, bottom: Yileena Park cellar door

The only constant is those glorious distant mountains, nature’s own GPS system. Like the north star, there’s something indestructibly reassuring about their presence. So use them as your guide, and take a trip to Yileena Park, Steels Creek Road, Yarra Glen, have a glass of wine, and see the latest addition to the history of Australian art. Patrons of the arts are rare and very special, and there’s none more enthusiastic than Bob. Good on you. 245 Steels Creek Road, Yarra Glen, Victoria Tel 03 9730 1977

art space Heidelberg School Artists Trail


xplore for yourself the landscape of Melbourne’s North East region through the eyes of Australia’s first significant art movement, the Heidelberg School. This 40-kilometre trail meanders through the municipalities of Banyule, Nillumbik and Manningham through to the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges, set against a range of settings from storybook villages and busy high streets to peaceful river valleys and a spectacular mountain ash forest. The trail recognises the importance of the Heidelberg School and provides a way of learning more about the artists and their many fine artworks. Fiftyseven interpretive signs each display a reproduction of a different painting from important members of the school, such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts. These signs, located near the places the artists lived and painted, reveal not only how they interpreted the landscape but also show visitors how the surrounds have changed over time. You can start and finish at any point, so you may choose to explore each section of the trail separately or tackle the entire 40 kilometres at once. The trail allows you to plan your own journey through history; walking, cycling or driving at your leisure, to celebrate Victoria’s rich cultural heritage. The Heidelberg School Artists Trail is free whether you drive, cycle or walk, and is ideal for groups with an interest in the arts and the natural environment. Essentials recommends exploring on foot to make the most of key sites such as the Yarra Flats Park section of the trail, the much visited location of many artists of the Heidelberg School. There, too, you will find interpretive signage for Streeton’s Golden Summer, Eaglemont, 1889 (pictured left). Parks Victoria plans to upgrade the artists trail signage, with a view to digitising the trail. For more information visit

Gallery 34 It’s always a cause for joy and celebration when a new art gallery opens, especially in a rural town. Ever bright, and charmingly efficient, Olivia Lawson now operates Gallery 34 in mainstreet Yea, in the the Yarra Valley. If you want to see more of Tony Flint’s work, Olivia, who now represents him, will always pull out a few from the stock room. Or visit her website – you’ll see why he’s Essentials’ favourite landscape artist. 34 High Street, Yea Victoria 3717 Tel 03 5797 3222

Tony Flint, Storm Going Away, 2011 Acrylic on board, 122 cm x 122 cm

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 44

Arthur Streeton, Golden Summer, Eaglemont 1889 Oil on canvas, 81.3 cm x 152.6 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1995

Arthur Streeton, Impression for Golden Summer, 1888/89 Oil on board, 29.6 cm x 58.7 cm Benalla Art Gallery. Ledger Gift 1980. magazine mid-winter 2011 page 45

About Myrtleford With a proud Italian heritage and warm community spirit, Myrtleford, a town of some 3,500 people, is located 223 metres above sea level on the Great Alpine Road between Wangaratta and Bright in North East Victoria. It sits 273km North East of Melbourne, via the Hume Freeway. Beautifully positioned in the northern foothills of the Mt Buffalo Range, adjacent the Ovens River, Happy Valley Creek and Barwidgee Creek, Myrtleford’s location marks it as the premier gateway to Mt Buffalo National Park and its associated skiing resorts. Stunning scenery, tranquillity, rivers and mountain views enchant visitors, and nestled in the Ovens Valley, Mt Buffalo provides a dramatic backdrop. The town is a flourishing commercial centre and the hub for timber, hops and the expanding premium wine market.

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

Myrtleford Cycle Centre WORDS JACQUI DURRANT


t would be difficult to meet two people more committed to cycling than the owners of the Myrtleford Cycle Centre, Steve Conner and Claire Stock. Steve describes himself as a ‘utilitarian cyclist’ who has never driven to work and, until recently, swore he would never own an internal combustion engine. (The couple had to compromise after the birth of their daughter in 2007, buying a car for bushfire evacuation only.) Claire’s background is in transport engineering, specialising in active (non-engine propelled) modes of transport. They met in Steve’s hometown, Edmonton, Canada. At the time, Claire was delivering the bicycle traffic reports on community radio. One day she ran a competition with a bike bell as the prize and Steve entered, hoping to meet her. ‘I won the bike bell and, eventually, a beautiful wife and daughter.’ After the couple moved to Australia, they visited Claire’s parents in North East Victoria. On that trip they met one of the region’s bicycle tourism officers who mentioned that there was a bicycle store for sale in Myrtleford. ‘We were going to set up shop in Melbourne, but we looked at the figures, and Myrtleford looked good,’ says Steve. ‘We have a really interesting client base; we’ve sold something to every kind of biker. The largest number are mountain bikes, but equal to this are hybrid bicycles bought by people of retirement age who want to keep fit by riding the Alpine Rail Trail. I spend as much of my time talking with customers about their children as I do bikes, which makes me very happy.’ The couple also has a lot of business coming from the trail, which stretches from Wangaratta to Bright. ‘We sell a lot of soft saddles,’ chuckles Steve. Tourists also come to hire cycles and plenty of owners travel from Albury and elsewhere for bicycle repairs and maintenance. Steve had always done his own repairs, but building and repairing cycles for a community programme in Edmonton was what finally spurred him on to train as a professional bicycle mechanic at the Barnett Bicycle Institute in Colorado Springs. What type of cycle does he own? That depends on the task: he and Claire have mountain bikes, road bikes, and a trailer to tow their daughter, Emlyn. ‘And then there’s my extralong “Franken-bike” (which has a flat-bed on the back),’ used to carry everything, including bikes for the shop and building materials. ‘One day, when we were moving house, I even carried a table balanced on the back of my bike. At the intersection of the Great Alpine and Happy Valley roads, a man pulled over to ask for directions to Falls Creek. I told him the different routes, and he said ‘Thanks mate,’ and drove on. This is what I love about Australians: there was no way he couldn’t have noticed the table, but he didn’t say a thing!’ The couple live a few kilometres out of Myrtleford. As mad-keen cyclists they chose, of course, to live on the Alpine Rail Trail. Emlyn is towed to kindergarten each day in the bike trailer, but Steve and Claire already look forward to the day she can ride to school. ‘We like to emphasise that we are a family business,’ says Claire, lending weight to the couple’s dedication to cycling as an activity suitable for all ages. Given their enthusiasm, it should take only one visit to the Myrtleford Cycle Centre to make you want to ‘get on yer bike’ and cycle off. Myrtleford Cycle Centre 59A Clyde Street, Myrtleford Tel 03 5752 1511 Mob 0407 967 309

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 47

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ou can’t swing a cat these days without hitting a Masterchef devotee. And while some lament the lounge room food ‘expert’, the television phenomenon is part of a movement of renewed curiosity and appreciation for alternative flavours and products. Michelini wines are part of the new crop of boutique wineries with a point of difference. With awardwinning Italian varietals, there is no shortage of tastes to explore at their cellar door. The winery’s cool climate at the base of Mount Buffalo is perfect for highland varietals – and for the people who know them best. The late Emo Michelini, part of the post-war migration, had seen the move down under as a temporary arrangement. He thought he’d make a few thousand pounds growing tobacco and take his earnings home. But, as his sons Dino and Illario explain, ‘The mountains made Emo feel like he was back at home in the Dolomites’ and satisfied his nostalgia, allowing him to put down roots. ‘It was the big Italian dream to have a better life,’ continues Dino. ‘This was the land of opportunity.’ The recently released 2008 Emo Selection Teroldego, produced in honour of Michelini’s founder, is a wine that perfectly showcases the quality of product produced from the Michelini Alpine Valleys vineyard. Premium parcels of carefully hand-selected fruit produced a lush, complex and dramatically detailed wine that won gold at Mildura’s highly respected Alternative Wine Show in 2010. The industry-leading pinot noir and chardonnay sparkling base fruit, also grown at the base of Mount Buffalo, contributes to one of the region’s most desirable sparkling wines, the Michelini Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir Cuvee, with its immense length of palate, warm toasty notes and a lovely fine bead. Italian varietals new to Australia, including barbera and marzemino, are consistent sell-outs for Michelini wines, and tasting them shows why. Michelini’s Alpine Valleys Barbera, for example, features an intense cherry nose with decadent touches of chocolate and spice, combined with a round and silky palate, making it a great food wine rich in both colour and depth of flavour. The Isabella is a sweet, lightly sparkling moscato fragolino blend, with highlights of strawberry and toffee-apple candy, warm and luscious, yet is pleasantly cleansing on the palate, a perfect accompaniment to strawberries or a cheese platter. Similarly, the Fragolino dessert-style wine has delicious ripe strawberry flavours, perhaps best served chilled to finish off a summery lunch. (It comes as no surprise to learn that the fragolino varietal derives its name from the Italian word for strawberry – fragola.) Dino and Illario, as second generation wine producers and vignerons, are decidedly proud of their heritage and enthusiastic about the varietals that were handed down to them almost as a birthright. Once they start waxing lyrical about matching varietal wines to food, you are swept up in their Italian dream. ‘I’d have the pinot grigio with mushroom risotto or spaghetti marinara,’ says Dino. And with the barbera? Illario suggests gamey meats, like quail, rabbit and duck. Whatever your choice, a visit to Michelini’s Myrtleford cellar door on Victoria’s Great Alpine Road is sure to prove a worthy call. Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford Victoria 3737 Tel 03 5751 1990

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 48

Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday – Sunday.

a. 37 Camp St, Beechworth, Victoria p. 03 5728 2360

TREMONTI a s t a t e m e n t i n j e w e l l e r y Karin Tremonti fine Swiss designer jewellery with an original creative message

ONLINE SHOPPING IS INTOXICATING @ Studio: 638 Kiewa Street, Albury, NSW.

Tel: 02 6041 6310


Please call for your appointment

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 49

coastalcool .




oon to take Australia’s east coast by storm is one of the most challenging and exhilarating events in world motor sport. Round 10 of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship will see the globe’s best rally drivers battle it out in one of regional Australia’s most picturesque settings. Passing through boundless, tree-lined farmland, undulating hillsides and winding coastal tracks, drivers will be put to the test as they tackle just about every road condition imaginable. The weather, fickle in spring, will also play a part. The course consists of 26 timed competitive stages spanning a gruelling total of 369 kilometers over a 75km radius throughout the Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley shires. The event kicks off in Coffs Harbour with driver presentations, rally car displays and general entertainment on Thursday, September 8. After three days of racing the event finishes at the stunning harbour waterfront on Sunday. The final test, known as the Power Stage, will be broadcast live around the world from the Clarence Valley, with dedicated television coverage in more than 180 countries. Organisers expect as many as 100 cars will enter, including those contesting the Coffs Coast Forest Rally round of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship and the Coffs Coast Classic Rally. Numerous viewing points have been designated throughout the route, but the main spectator attraction is expected to be the Superspecial Stages to be run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Teams will be based in the aviation area of Coffs Harbour Regional Airport for up to two weeks before the competition, with cars returning for service during the competition. The service park is bound to be a spectator favourite. Fly to Coffs direct with Brindabella Airlines, flying from Brisbane seven days a week.

FAC T S H E E T WHAT Rally Australia, featuring Round 10 of 13 in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship. WHEN Starts Thursday, 8 September 2011 WHERE Coffs Coast, New South Wales. Various locations – Rally Show and official start, nightly Superspecial competitive stages, Headquarters, Service Park and Official Finish in Coffs Harbour; daytime forestry stages at rural locations across the Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley Shires. TICKETS General admission passes available online and via Ticketek. See www.rallyaustralia. com for details. GETTING THERE Brindabella Airlines flies from Brisbane direct to Coffs Harbour seven days a week, with one or two flights a day. Book online for the best fares every time. Book direct via telephone on 1300 668 824, or book through Qantas on 131313, or call your local travel agent.

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 50


. H E I L A L AVA N I L L A Don your summer linens and an appetite for new discoveries and delicacies and be one of only a few to witness the magical world of vanilla on an intimate journey with highly acclaimed chef Damien Styles to the Heilala Vanilla plantation on the Vava’u Islands in the Kingdom of Tonga. From 24 Oct to 31 Oct 2011 intrepid gourmets will be immersed in the humble village life and the Tongan way, appreciating and learning the complex and intricate processes of growing and harvesting vanilla. During October thousands of beautiful vanilla flowers will be opening each morning, ripe for hand pollination. Guests will have the opportunity to take part in the pollination process and make their mark on a developing bean. With Damien Styles on board, guests will be treated to a number of inspiring demonstrations and delicious feasts – all featuring a touch of vanilla of course! The itinerary includes an adventure through the local food markets, a catamaran trip around the picturesque islands to the Ika Lahi Hunga Lagoon resort for a demonstration class and superb lunch on the deck, and a traditional Sunday lunch prepared Tongan style – in an underground oven!

Don your granny’s thimble, pick up your favourite coloured thread and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon stitching your way around the globe with this gorgeous, too-good-for-dirty-dishes screen-printed tea towel, new from TMOD. RRP $29.95.

LAKE ELIZABETH Head to Lake Elizabeth, hidden deep in the Otways near the township of Forrest, and discover its inspiring beauty with heavily timbered flanks and calm waters punctuated by the trunks of trees drowned when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago. Wake up early or head to the lake at dusk to catch a glimpse of Australia’s shyest native, the platypus. Join an early morning canoe tour to view these unique creatures in their natural habitat. A must-do on anyone’s bucket list! magazine mid-winter 2011 page 51

CUISINE DIVINE Traditional Moroccan vegetable tagine at CafĂŠ Fez



red ramia trading


Marrakech has long captivated the world with its beauty and chaos. It is home to the largest market in Morocco and has been a centre of trade for hundreds of years. WORDS VARIA KARIPOFF PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT


ocals often refer to Marrakech as Al Hamra (Rose or Red City), a name that celebrates the bustling tourist destination’s glorious sunsethued buildings. The red clay responsible, mined from a nearby plain, is rich in iron so it is also used to make cosmetic poultices. Graced with one of the more romantic colours, Marrakech has long attracted cultural pilgrims, from ’70s rock stars to honeymooners and European intellectuals. The city grew from an Almoravid fortress to become the capital and highly influential seat of the dynasty that dominated northern Africa and the Mediterranean in the 11th and 12th centuries. Tradition still underpins the city, holding the souks, the street trade, snaking laneways and grand hotels together. An old-world hospitality enchants worldweary travellers. The markets piled high with goods, the pageantry, the shrewd street hawkers and snake charmers, all lend a brand of unparalleled exoticism. ‘You could be anywhere in the world when you walk through those doors,’ says Red as he points to the antique Chinese arch at the front of the enormous complex that is Red Ramia Trading. It certainly is a departure from

the drab uniformity of chain stores that cling to main streets in countless country towns. Red has recently come back from a buying trip to Morocco, sourcing pottery, leather goods, lanterns, old timber beams and wall panels for the store. Wondering how he imports whole architectural elements? ‘I’ve got a 40foot container coming,’ he says. A Berber tent of black woven wool suspended from the ceiling indicates the Moroccan section beneath. While visually busy as you’d expect from a bazaar, the displays are carefully arranged by region and product. Moroccan pottery is all about the detail: instead of having a blank white plate as a canvas for food, the peacock colours invite you to linger on the sensory aspects of a meal – the colour, aroma and taste. The ceramic tableware here comes in quintessentially eastern guise – cool blue (said to ward off evil spirits), a dark minty green, mauve and yellow. These colours are most effective when eclectically mismatched. Plates, bowls and tagines are hand-painted with reference to traditional Islamic art, which is a mix of geometric shapes and more free-flowing flourishes. Spring tendrils and leaves dance over vases and jugs, adding cheeriness to any kitchen.

Painted tea glasses are particularly indicative of quality; Red has a discerning eye, these glasses have a pleasing weight and the decoration is unhurried. Moving toward the back, leather goods include soft slippers and pouffes that are so sweet they’re like confectionary for the eyes. The henna lamps made from solid Moroccan brass are enthralling with their intricate lattice patterns. The Moroccan aesthetic of texture and overlapping colour is always on rotation in interior decorating, often featuring in bohemian or ‘shabby chic’ interiors. ‘It’s not like chain stores; it’s always an experience coming here, it’s always changing.’ The trip to Marrakech in March was one of up to five trips the trader makes a year. ‘Lots of pottery this time,’ says Red, who doesn’t mince words. ‘It was good for Amanda,’ Red says of his daughter, who travelled abroad with him this time. ‘She learnt the Moroccan way, cooking couscous and tagines.’ Amanda is the head chef at adjoining Café Fez. The café is a relatively recent addition though the constant development of the menu and her skills show that she is deeply [continued page 55] magazine mid-winter 2011 page 53

NIGHT LIFE Cocktails at CafĂŠ Fez

BABOUCHE SLIPPERS Hand made leather footwear

MOROCCAN POTTERY Red Ramia stocks hand painted decorative plates, bowls, ceramic jugs, tagines and more

[from page 53]

serious about her restaurant. Warm wooden nooks do the trick when you come in from the Alpine Road on a winter’s morning, and the coffee is near to perfection. ‘The cooking course in Morocco was very entertaining; they didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak Arabic or French,’ remembers Amanda. Instead they relied on the language of spices, common to their cuisine, Amanda having learned Lebanese recipes from her grandmother and mother. ‘We just tasted everything and there was a lot of sign language.’ The course, in Safi, Morocco, was led by three chefs with the focus being on technique. Amanda is excitedly awaiting the arrival of the couscousiers (a sort of double-storey addition to the tagine) she learned to cook with. Her beef stifado (slow- braised meat cooked in a tagine) is aromatic and tender, cardamom pods, caraway, coriander and cumin balancing harmoniously. Her preparation of cracked wheat with butter, salt and thyme adds weight to the adage that couscous is so good that they named it twice. A dining experience is as much about theatre as it is about food: Moroccan mint tea arrives on a silver tray and a waitress pours it into an ornate tea glass three times to infuse it. Sitting at Café Fez under the twinkling of coloured glass lanterns with steam curling luxuriously from your tea amid the shelves of spices, you are transported momentarily to Safi or Fes. The brilliant thing is that here you don’t need a plane ticket. 145 Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford, Victoria Tel 03 5752 1944 Open seven days

FUNCTION & STYLE Handcrafted zellige tables and doors

SPICE OF LIFE Colourful Marrakech market

BARBARY MACAQUE One of the best-known old world monkey species

TEXTURE AND BEAUTY A beautiful, but dilapidated haveli

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 55

{ } Consciousness also marks a return to traditional handcrafted wine

living green

Va l h a l l a W i n e s



hen Anton Therkildsen and Antoinette Del Popolo made the decision to open their own winery, sustainability and environmental practices were always going to be at the fore. The critical moment came early on when their vines were still in the nursery: ‘I found little bugs living off the vines’ roots.’ Asking around on how to resolve this Anton found himself in a rural trading store where he was advised he would need protective clothing to spray his fledgling vines, namely, a full body suit and breathing apparatus. ‘That was a real light bulb moment,’ says Anton. ‘I thought, there has to be another way.’ Chemical farming, he explains, is a relatively new trend in grape growing. ‘Previously, everything was farmed within an organic structure.’ Organic and sustainable are probably two of the most abused terms in our modern lexicon. Anton acknowledges that ‘sustainable, in its true sense, just means ongoing’. At Valhalla, the everyday choices are what make a difference

overall in building a ‘healthy culture’. From the insulating straw bales used to build the cellar door to the avoidance of monoculture farming, and right down to the worm farm that tackles the waste, it’s a mode of existence. Livestock roam near the vines, foreshadowing wine’s complementary partnership with dinner. Consciousness also marks a return to traditional handcrafted wine: basket pressing and plunging the cap by hand up to five times a day in open fermenters is labour intensive but well worth it for the lovingly crafted result. It is all about the wine. Wisely, Valhalla is home to Rhone Valley varietals, more suited to a continental climate, that are compatible with the Rutherglen climate and soils. The Three Little Birds blend of viognier, marsanne and roussanne is named for the geese, ducks and chooks that scratch about under the vines and pick bugs off the vegies in Valhalla’s kitchen garden and orchard. Rutherglen may be synonymous to most

with big jammy reds and fortified wine but Three Little Birds is a beautiful white with a fragrant nose. One self-proclaimed ‘big red’ drinker sampling nearby was instantly converted. ‘I’m always looking for savoury notes, divergent but complementary aspects,’ says Anton. The intense fruit of the 2008 durif on offer – a varietal grown in the region for more than 100 years – will flourish after a good cellaring. GSM (grenache shiraz mourvedre), a blend of wine varietals that hark back to 14thcentury France, still manages to surprise and feel fresh. Sustainable practices are best shared, which explains the philosophy behind the Green Living Fair, now flourishing after humble beginnings at Valhalla. During his early reconnaissance missions, Anton heard one old fellow mention ‘the black stick of viticulture’ as being crucial to small-scale production. Despite scouring the appropriate resources [continued page 58] magazine mid-winter 2011 page 57

[from page 57]

for any mention of the black stick method and what it entails, Anton came up emptyhanded. Finally, he relented and asked the old man about it. Anton chuckles: ‘You stick a black stick into the middle of the vineyard and walk to it every day using a different path.’ It’s about a hands-on approach where you see how the crop is doing, in any given section, up close, not from a motorcycle or ute. The grape grower can then respond to any localised soil problem with the right composting. Balancing the soils naturally produces a vine that is more balanced with a better fruit. The proof then is in the tasting. 10 All Saints Road, Wahgunyah, Victoria 3687 Tel 02 6033 1438

Green Living Fair The Green Living Fair sprang from Valhalla’s 2007 anniversary dinner – a festive occasion wineries usually reserve for spoiling friends and neighbouring winemakers. Valhalla opted for more of a community gathering with an open day and a fair, starting out small with a few kids’ activities and food. Fastforward three years and, in 2010, there were 34 exhibits from solar hot water to gardening and lifestyle with more than 1200 attendees. ‘Part of sustainability is having really healthy, vibrant communities,’ says Anton. Other attractions include kids’ activities, eco living, land care, organic food and permaculture displays. A family friendly day, this is one to mark on the calendar. As Anton says, ‘You don’t have to go out and build a straw bale house to be sustainable; everyone can make small decisions around the home.’ When: 22 October 2011 Where: Valhalla Wines Time: 10am to 3pm Entry is free!

magazine mid-winter 2011 page 58

bogong alpine village

bogong jack’s

new restaurant now open functions • events • custom menus

Book Now: 03 5754 1131 walk





high on winter ride




magazine mid-winter 2011 page 59

Essentials Magazine mid-winter 201`  

Australia's fastest growing eclectic-informative food, wine, arts and culture magazine. Now in Canberra!! Proudly showcasing exciting and in...

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