Exclusive Competition: Win two tickets to Truffle Melbourne

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Whether you like it in your pasta, risotto or even eggs, there is no doubt that the truffle is one of Australia’s finest delicacies. The popularity of the truffle has soared recently, with Australia becoming the fourth largest truffle producing nation in the world.

To further share the love of the truffle, Truffle Melbourne is coming to town this month. With culinary experts such as Manu Feidel, Shannon Bennett, Guy Grossi, Shane Delia and Philippe Mouchel lined up to share their tips and techniques, this is one foodie event not to be missed.

You’ll have the chance to meet truffle savvy dogs, discover truffle serving food trucks and master techniques for creating indulgent truffle dishes at home.

Whether you’re looking to taste, hunt or learn about the truffle, there are plenty of options to get involved at Truffle Melbourne.

When?

Saturday 12th July 10am – 6pm

Sunday 13th July 10am – 5.30pm

Where?

Caulfield Racecourse

Visit http://www.trufflemelbourne.com for the full program guide.

Exclusive Competition

Truffle Melbourne have kindly offered Lisa Eats World readers/followers a chance to win one of two double general admission passes to the festival. The lucky winners will have access to the festival, celebrity chefs and meet artisan producers.

How to enter:

Tell me about your favourite recipe using the truffle by:

  • Commenting on this post below with your email address
  • Tweeting to me @lisa_eatsworld using the Truffle Melbourne hashtag #trufflemelbourne

Terms & Conditions

  • Entries close at midnight on Wednesday 9th July
  • The winners will be notified via email or direct message on twitter
  • Each winner will receive a double pass for either Saturday or Sunday. The tickets will be held at the ticket box for collection on the day.
  • The winners will be selected at random and will be announced on the 10th July

Good luck!

 

Travel: A Day Trip to the Adelaide Hills

Wine Country

Just a stone’s throw from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills is a perfect day trip for a mini escape from the city. With its blossoming foodie scene, quality wineries and picturesque scenery, the hills of Adelaide are certainly an attraction in their own right.

Start your morning with an early walk through Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, a gorgeous garden located on the eastern slopes of Mount Lofty Ranges overlooking the Piccadilly Valley. Get lost in its countless hectares of woodland full of walking trails which wind around the Gardens’ seven valleys. Spring and autumn are particularly good times to visit, with colourful magnolias, rhododendrons and roses popping up around every corner.

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Once you have worked up an appetite, get back on the South Eastern Freeway and head towards Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Although the town has a strong German heritage, it has become increasingly chic with its top notch eateries, wineries and gourmet produce.

My favourite brunch spot is the White House on Main Street. Inspired by the farmhouse bistros of France, the White House is full of rustic charm and provincial style. You couldn’t find a better place to warm your cockles by the cosy woodfire on a cool winter’s morning.For brunch you can expect innovative takes on classics like the ‘farmers breakfast’ – a unique assembly of baked crouton and free range eggs topped with fillet steak. For the sweet tooth, it’s hard to go past the caramel de boulettes (caramel dumplings) filled with blueberry compote and thickened cream.

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For a bit of gourmet shopping, call in to Udder Delights Cheese Cellar in Hahndorf. Their handmade range of goat and cows’ milk cheeses are beautifully presented, each with their own authentic flavour. The alfresco area on the terrace is a perfect spot to capture some winter sun while enjoying one of their tapas or cheese baskets with a bottle of wine.

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Spend the rest of the day meandering around some of  South Australia’s best wineries, famous for their cool climate wines regions. Start at Rockbare on Main Street then drive through the rolling hills of Ravenswood Lane until you find the Lane Vineyard. This is a perfect place to linger a little longer over lunch at their Vineyard Restaurant overlooking the picture perfect views. The outstanding menu is influenced by the very best of regional seasonal produce.

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For a wine tasting with a difference try the ChocoVino at Hahndorf Hill Winery -a chocolate and wine matching experience. Here you can learn all you need to know about gourmet chocolate and fine wine in a fun and informative way.

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Continue on the wine tour to Golding Winery in the heart of the Lenswood region. Boasting over 50 acres of vines, the property produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Savagnin varieties. Enjoy one of their sumptuous regional platters in the garden in the summer months or retreat indoors to the cellar door and cosy up to the open fire with a glass of red.

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Finish the day at the famous Lobethal Bierhaus, home to an all-grain micro brewery, cellar door and restaurant. The Bierhaus produces an award winning array of hand crafted character beers. You will also have the opportunity to explore the history of beer and find out how it is made. For food you can enjoy sticky pork ribs, porcini infused chicken breast and slow cooked beef cheeks.

If you’re looking for something more formal, try Maximillian’s or the Bridge water Mill.

I hope you enjoy the Adelaide Hills as much as I did.

Best Winter Warmer Bars in Melbourne

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Los barbudos – Tom’s Apple Strudel

Summer may be over, but this doesn’t mean you need to hibernate indoors like a couch potato all winter. Whether you’re looking for a roaring fireplace, a cosy heated terrace or a cheeky cocktail to warm your cockles, keeping warm in Melbourne has never been easier.

Here are 7 of the best winter bars:

1806

Beat the winter chills at the impossibly cosy 1806 bar on Exhibition Street. Spend a chilly evening working your way through the epic cocktail menu, cleverly divided into era. Liquid warmers like Lord Ruthven’s Gossip Girl, made with Hennessy, dark ale, brown sugar, lemon and spices, is guaranteed to soothe the most restless of souls. Cocktail connoisseurs, rest assured, you have come to the right place.

Best winter warmer: Lord Ruthven’s Gossip Girl

http://www.1806.com.au/

Madame Brussels

An experience at Madame Brussels is like tumbling down the rabbit hole and discovering a Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea party. With its vintage inspired décor, astro turf and garden chaises, you will be hard pressed to find a prettier bar anywhere else. The all seasons terrace has your winter needs covered. If you ask nicely, you may be treated to a cosy hot water bottle and fluffy blanket to snuggle into while enjoying a cup of warm spiced rum. If this isn’t enough to warm you from the inside out, don’t miss their smooth chocolate fondue.

Best winter warmer: Warm Spiced Rum

http://www.madamebrussels.com/

Eau De Vie

Follow the mysterious lamp light in Malthouse Lane to an unmarked wooden door and you will find Eau De Vie – a prohibition style bar in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. One of Melbourne’s most classy establishments, this jazz inspired bar makes a perfect spot for an intimate date. Expect to be taken on an adventure by the expert bartenders who shake, stir and swizzle a mouth-watering array of cocktails. If you’re lucky enough to find it, you may not want to leave.

Best winter warmer: The King’s Fire

www.eaudevie.com.au

Los Barbudos

This rum-inspired den brings a little slice of Cuba to Smith Street. With over 90 rums in their back bar, Los Barbudos is a welcome retreat for rum fans on a cool wintry evening. Cosy up with your partner by the flickering candles and share one of Tom’s Hot Apple Strudel’s – a decadent concoction of spiced rum, soymilk and liquefied apple. Or dance to the early hours to the Cuban soundtrack. Either way you won’t be disappointed.

Best winter warmer: Tom’s Hot Apple Strudel

http://www.losbarbudos.com.au/

Section 8

Venture to Tattersalls Lane, off Chinatown, on a winter’s eve and you will discover Section 8 Container Bar. The junkyard styled bar is full of old shipping palettes and graffiti. Although insanely popular in summer months, Section 8’s beer garden also has your winter needs covered. Perch by the outdoor heaters and red lanterns and sip some mulled wine with the hipsters of Melbourne.

Best winter warmer: Mulled Wine

http://section8.com.au/

Whisky & Alement

Whisky fans – look no further than Whisky and Alement to shake the winter blues. This tiny bar on Russell Street has one of the most impressive whisky lists around, with nearly 500 on offer. The bartenders will be more than happy to educate you about all things whisky and the pleasures of the brown liquor.

Best Winter Warmer: Hot Buttered Wine

http://www.whiskyandale.com.au/

Borsch Vodka & Tears

Styled after a Krakow bar, this Melbourne institution specializes in Polish vodka, authentic wormwood absinthe and hearty Polish cuisine. Sit by the bar and soak up the charming bohemian atmosphere of yesteryear. Try one of their Turkish apple teas, served with pomegranate molasses and Medos honey vodka. And don’t forget to leave room for some hearty Polish dumplings s or a big bowl of borsch. If this doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing will.

Best winter warmer: Hot vodka tea.

http://borschvodkaandtears.com/

What are you’re favourite bars in Melbourne? Would love to hear your comments below.

10 of my favourite foodie finds in Melbourne this week

Strawberry Tart

Photo Credit Hiroyuki Takeda Flickt

1. On a health kick? Drop in to Pressed Juices for the ultimate vitamin fix. The juices are extracted by slow cold pressing  – no additives, no pasteurisation or preservatives, just live juice. The green 3 with apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, kale, lemon, lettuce, parsley and spinach comes highly recommended.

2.Melbourne is famous for its lane way bars and it doesn’t get much better than Murmur Bar. Nestled in Warburton Lane, Murmur Bar embodies the charm of old with its heritage listed features. Its cosy nooks and crannies and candlelit tables also make this venue a perfect date spot.

3. Phillipa’s Bakery for its buttery pastries and fresh breads. Using only the finest natural ingredients, Phillippa’s specialises in products that are no longer regularly made in the home, keeping alive the art of bread, pastry, and preserve making. Not only can you enjoy a morning coffee and croissant, you can also take away delicacies to use at home, such as their homemade preserves.

4. Bread and Jam for Frances - a bright and airy cafe, in the former dance hall behind Readings on Glenferrie Road. Take a break from the books and enjoy one of their sumptuous cakes or a treat from their weekend brunch menu.

5. Fukuryu Ramen in Corrs Lane for noodle lovers. Whether you’re looking for a traditional ramen like tonkatsu or a more modern option, you will be well looked after here. Like all ramens its all about the broth. And this one doesn’t disappoint – cloudy, rich and full of body. There is also a great range of sake, rice wine and Japanese beers on offer.

6. Everyday Coffee in Collingwood for their exceptional coffee. Bringing experience from Brother Baba Budan and Seven Seeds between them, there’s no surprise these guys know their stuff. With a rotation of different beans and roasts on offer, you are guaranteed to get a top-notch coffee everyday. They were even awarded the best brew bar by The Age Good Cafe Guide.

7. The Mess Hall on Bourke Street for its simple, authentic Italian cusine. Largely influenced by Northern Italy, the menu is all about its beautiful pastas. Think spaghetti with blue swimmer crab infused with garlic, chilli and lemon zest or handmade pappardelle with porcini mushroom ragu and truffle oil.

8. Could this be the best pho in Melbourne? The hordes descend on Pho Chu The most evenings to get their hands around a big bowl of steaming pho. The pho is beautifully fragrant with a rich broth. Perhaps one of the best phos you will get outside of Vietnam.

9. The thought of food courts normally makes me cringe but Emporium’s flashy new food court is one with a difference. Out with the old junk food chains and in with popular foodie hot spots like Jimmy Grants, South Melbourne Dim Sim, Chinta Ria Soul, I Love Pho and Charlie & Co. Burgers. I know where I will be spending my next shopping break…

10. Recipe of the week – Nigella Lawson’s Molten Chocolate Babycakes.

What have been your favourite foodie finds around town this week?

Restaurant of the Week: The Commoner Fitzroy

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Set menus often scare me, conjuring up images of tired wedding function food or pre theatre express menus. There’s not many places where I want to lose control of picking the menu – but the Commoner I can trust.

Venture past the tired salsa clubs into 122 Johnston Street and you will be greeted into the cosiest restaurant you can expect to see outside of Europe.

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It’s all about the small details – blackboards are scrawled with seasonal specials like quince and pears and tables are beautifully set  amidst the candle light. There are even cuddly blankets on the sofas. The restaurant just oozes heart and charm. Even the china and cutlery sets have a personality and a story to tell. The staff waft around unobtrusively like willows in the wind, full of frivolity and positive energy.If the Commoner was a man I would marry it.

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The outdoor area is equally charming, complete with a wood fire, flower arrangements and candle light.

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The menu, designed to share, focuses on cherishing the finest of seasonal produce which is locally sourced (and mostly foraged for that matter!). With a modern British influence, the menu cleverly intertwines its heritage with a local Australian approach. Head Chef, Jake Kellie, takes pride on making everything on the site – ranging from the potato sourdough to the home made curd.

“I want to create honest food with a focus on technique. My approach is simple – to influence and develop the potential of classic meals celebrated here at The Commoner by incorporating the best of foraged, house-made, and fresh local ingredients. I want people to feel nourished by delicious food cooked with care and served without excess baggage” he says.

The a la carte menu is in a constant state of flux to reflect new food trends and the best of seasonal produce. For seven years, the Commoner have also celebrated the ‘Feed Me’ alternative. Originally limited to Sunday evenings, the set price Feed Me menu ($75pp) – made up of their favourite dishes – has proved so popular that they now offer it at every service.

If you are feeling indecisive this is the perfect choice….

A bowl of freshly shucked rock oysters resting on a bed of sea salt is the perfect start to the evening. Served with a wedge of lemon with and a splash of zesty mignonette, they are  simply divine.

Next come the wild mushroom croquettes and the cheeky snapper, each blending together harmoniously like one happy family. Achieving the golden, crispy layer that croquettes aspire to, the sumptuous filling of creamy wild mushrooms does not disappoint. Wedged between two curly potato crisps, the cheeky snapper is also a treat – fresh and creamy and nicely textured.

The Commoner is proud of its house made curd and for good reason. Sometimes it is the simple pleasures that matter the most – and an exemplary example of this is the Commoner’s affectionately named  Beautiful Beet Salad. The beetroot was beautifully cooked with a slightly earthy, sweet flavour. The creamy house made curd cut through the earthy tones of the beetroot beautifully, complemented further by an added touch of sweetness of the orange.

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A pretty plate of cured kingfish and pickled onions was served in a shallow bath of whipped curd, with splashes of almost florescent verjuice. The thin slices of kingfish were silky smooth with a sweet citrus marinade.

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Beef oyster blade, cooked medium, was cooked to perfection –  its accompaniments, a smoked bone marrow and picked vegetables.  Dutch cream potatoes, slathered with slippery jack butter, were beautifully seasoned and crisp with a creamy soft centre.

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For dessert we were treated to beignets (french doughnuts) filled with stewed apple and rhubarb. The lemon sugar encrusted golden shell just being strong enough to hold the oozing filling within. The beignets themselves were as light and airy as fairies’ wings, unfortunately they were not served warm which was the only fault.

To finish – their famous Brown Ale pudding, an impossibly dense (almost black) pudding topped with burnt salted caramel. Boozy, moist and rich, this pudding was up there for one of the best I have had in a while.

The Commoner – you can feed me anytime you want to!

The Damage?

Approximately $100 per person including service charge and wine.

Food: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

http://www.thecommoner.com.au/

Five of the best wineries in the Adelaide Hills

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Who says you need to go to the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale to get good wine in South Australia? The Adelaide Hills is home to some of South Australia’s best wineries, some of which are only a quick scenic drive from the city. Head east of Adelaide towards the Mount Lofty Ranges, and in just 20 minutes you will be in the heart of Adelaide Hills wine country. Here you will find over 90 wine labels and 48 cellar doors.

The Adelaide Hills is one of Australia’s best cool climate wine regions. The higher altitude and good rainfall makes the landscape perfect for producing high quality premium grapes typical of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Whether you’re looking for a cellar door tasting, to linger over lunch or to just to enjoy spectacular views, there are hidden secrets over every hill of the region. Here are five of the best wineries:

The Lane Vineyard

One look at the beautiful view of the vineyards and the rolling hills of Ravens wood Lane is enough to fall in love with the Lane Vineyard. And that’s even before you have tried some of their wines. The Lane is one of the newest vineyards in Australia, producing some of the best single vineyard wines in the region.

If you can’t get a spot at their busy tasting table, then opt for the front terrace overlooking the spectacular hill views. If you’re after a fuller gastronomic experience, don’t miss the Vineyard  Restaurant which is open for lunch every day. The outstanding menu is influenced by the very best of regional seasonal produce. Bookings are essential at the weekend.

http://www.thelane.com.au/

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Golding Wines

Golding Wines is a family run vineyard in the heart of the Lenswood region. Drive down the winding entrance, past the beautiful lake and rose studded gardens and you will find a magical place full of charm and character. The vineyard was established by Darren Golding together with his parents, Connie and Greg, who always make the winery a warm and friendly place to visit.

Boasting over 50 acres of vines, the property produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Savagnin varieties. Enjoy one of their sumptuous regional platters in the garden in the summer months or retreat indoors to the cellar door and cosy up to the open fire with a glass of red.

https://www.goldingwines.com.au/

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Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand is one of the most popular wineries in the Adelaide Hills for their award winning wines. The original barrel hall is full of old world charm, as is the cellar door, with its roaring fireplace in winter time. The alfresco terrace area is a perfect spot to relax and admire the rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see. If you’re looking for a nice spot for lunch, The Gallery restaurant is a light and airy space, offering diners a menu which is designed for sharing with an optional wine pairing journey.

http://www.birdinhand.com.au/

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Lobethal Road Winery

Take the road less travelled to Lobethal Road Winery in the pictureque Mt Torrens region. The family owned vineyard was established by the charming Dave and Inga in 1998 and produces an award-winning range of elegant cool climate white and red wines under the Lobethal Road and premium Bacchant labels.

Lobethal Road embraces an environmentally sustainable approach to vineyard management and uses solar energy throughout the property.Their Bacchant Chardonnay 2012 is a fantastic drop and recently won the trophy for Best Wine in Show in the Adelaide Hills Wine Show 2013. Grab yourself a wine and cheese platter and watch the world go by in their beautiful courtyard.

http://lobethalroad.com/

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Longview Winery

Head towards the undulating hills of Macclesfield and you will find Longview Winery – an impossibly picturesque vineyard in the heart of the Adelaide Hills. The family owned vineyard is not a stranger to awards, winning some of the best wines in the region since its first vintage in 2001. Like most wines of the region, they are typically cool climate in style. However its location and the natural gradient of the vineyard is a perfect base to grow both white and red varietals on both the north and south side of the vineyard.

With 360 degree views of the surrounding hills, you will be hard pressed to find a winery with nicer views in the Adelaide Hills. No wonder it is such a popular location for weddings with its gorgeous barn and restaurant overlooking the sweeping views.

http://www.longviewvineyard.com.au/ 

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Other special mentions go to K1, Hahndorf Hill Winery, Rockbare and Nepenthe.

 

10 of my favourite foodie finds in Melbourne this week

Pouring tea

1. Rockwell and Sons on Smith Street for their double patty smash burger with kraft and special sauce. I’m also a fan of their fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk dressing and smoked lamb ribs “kentucky” style. If this is what “dude food” is all about, I’m definitely in.

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

2. Transport yourself back to old New Orleans at Le Bon Ton in Collingwood. The atmospheric bar/restaurant has been beautifully converted with a largely stripped back interior warmed up by candlelight. There’s even a cosy courtyard out the back, complete with astro turf and fairy lights. For food – think freshly shucked oysters, beef brisket and pit smoked meats. Not to be missed.

Le Bon Ton on Urbanspoon

3. Still one of Melbourne’s favourite brunch spots, Friends of Mine in Richmond never fails to disappoint. It’s a cute and friendly corner brunch spot which oozes charm with its colourful interior and art clad walls. Go straight to the ‘favourite friends’ menu for some creative takes on brunch classics – like the ‘Hung’ over, a herby, cheesy toast, with poached eggs, bacon and smashed avocado.

Friends of Mine on Urbanspoon

4.Learning how to cook seadas  (traditional Sardinian fritters) with Sammy and Bella at the Good Food and Wine Show. For a delicious recipe to try at home, click here.

5. Babka Bakery Cafe on Brunswick Street for its fresh bread and sweet treats. A Melbourne institution, Babka’s menu is influenced by Eastern European cuisine, so expect hearty classics like borscht, Russian blintzes and dumplings. Check out their challah – lovely for french toast or on its own.

Babka Bakery Café on Urbanspoon

6. Custard & Co for its scrumpy apple cider. Despite being based in the southwest of Western Australia, they have taken their business to many of Melbourne’s leading bars and restaurants. Luckily for us, the cider is sensational, using only whole local fruit with minimal preservatives.

7. If you’re looking for something a bit different to your average Vietnamese on Victoria Street, then head to Jinda Thai , a cleverly converted warehouse in the heart of Abbotsford. Be warned, they don’t hold back on the spice factor. This is authentic Thai cooking at its best. The hawker boat noodles, pork neck skewers and chilli infested Pad Gra Pow come highly recommended.

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

8. Punch Lane for its excellent wine list and seasonal inspired menu. One of Melbourne’s original lane way bars, Punch Lane is the perfect spot to unwind with a glass (or bottle) of red at the end of a busy working week.

Punch Lane on Urbanspoon

9. There’s no surprise that dozens of ‘suits’ line up at Pallet Espresso on a weekday morning to get their caffeine hit before work. The Sensory Lab coffee is top-notch and so are the pastries. At lunch time, they even serve contemporary Japanese and Italian infused cafe dishes.

Pallet Espresso on Urbanspoon

10. Recipe of the Week: Donna Hay’s Apple, Rhubarb and Cinnamon Pan Pies.

What have been your favourite finds around town this week? Please leave your comments below. Lisa xxx