Sample Australia's Superb Food and Wine Culture

Photo by Schempf

by The Daily Telegraph, May 11, 2016

The gods were kind to Australia. Not only does the country boast sunshine, surf and some of the most awe-inspiring natural scenery on the planet, it also has the good fortune of being blessed with a broad and consistently high-quality bounty of fresh produce.

It’s now common knowledge that Australia has a hugely creative food and wine culture, and the good news for visitors is that incorporating the destination’s superb cuisine into a trip Down Under is straightforward – some would even say obligatory.

There are various reasons why the country’s culinary star continues to rise in such spectacular fashion. The warm-weather climate gives it an enviable natural larder of fruit, meat and vegetables, just as the waters offshore provide a fantastic array of fish and seafood.

Settlers from the Mediterranean and the Far East, meanwhile, have brought with them new flavours, new ideas and new traditions.

The end result – bolstered by a whole swathe of world-class wine regions – is that today’s Australia is home to a food obsession that runs from its coastal cities to its country villages.

Amazing views: visitors enjoying a bottle of wine by the Sydney Harbour BridgeCredit: Getty

And as you’d expect from a country this culturally and scenically diverse, mealtimes in Australia are all about variety.

Settle down to fine dining at a prestigious city-centre restaurant, sip local wines with freshly grilled fish at a waterside terrace or tuck into sausages at a beach barbecue.

Outdoor dining often plays a big part of the appeal, whether you’re sampling fusion cuisine in Adelaide, contemporary bush tucker in North Queensland or top-notch street food in Perth. If there’s one thing Australia excels at, it’s providing spectacular al fresco backdrops.

Where innovative cuisine is concerned, Sydney and Melbourne are the undisputed epicentres of the Australian food scene.

Both cities have restaurants in the World’s Best list, but the overall choice is phenomenal, from rooftop bistros and artisan cafés to farmers’ markets and craft breweries.

And Australia’s passion for dynamic menus and fresh ingredients is by no means restricted to its cities – its countryside towns are full of cheesemakers, fruit-growers, coffee roasters and chocolatiers, and you’ll find dedicated festivals across the country, from Orange Food Week to the Kangaroo Island Feastival.

And then, of course, there are the vineyards. Australians take their wine seriously. There are more than 60 designated wine regions across the map, among them such globally respected names as Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Margaret River.

This is now a destination that produces award-winning sauvignon blancs, pinot noirs and sparkling wines, as well as laying claim to some of the oldest shiraz vineyards on the planet.

Visiting cellar doors to taste these wines has become a quintessential part of the Australia experience, with picturesque areas such as Hunter Valley and Yarra Valley – close to Sydney and Melbourne respectively – easily factored into a wider itinerary.

Finding the perfect drink to pair with your meal is easily done in Australia, be it a chilled chardonnay to offset your lightly cooked prawns, a full-bodied merlot to match your chargrilled steak or even a local small-batch beer to go with your fish and chips.

With Cathay Pacific flying into no less than six Australian cities – all of them now boasting strong foodie credentials – the opportunity to make the most of the country as a culinary destination has never been greater.

Try modern Australian cuisine on the harbourside at Sydney or dine under the stars at a luxury island retreat on the Great Barrier Reef.

Enjoy a champagne picnic in the Barossa Valley or be wowed by the tasting menu on the 55th floor of a Melbourne tower. Above all, enjoy the possibilities that Australia provides. It’s best to arrive hungry.

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