Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Bald cheese bloke puts Tasmania on the global map

Nick Haddow, the inspirational cheesemaker from Bruny Island Cheese in Tasmania, has won global recognition for his book Milk.Made: A Book About Cheese. How to Choose It, Serve It and Eat It.

Published by Hardie Grant Books, the book was today named the winner of the ‘Single Subject’ book category at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Awards - the Olympics of food books.

Haddow Instagrammed an image of the medal he was awarded at a ceremony at Chelsea Piers in New York.

The award was for books published in English in 2016 on a single subject.

Milk.Made shares his knowledge of making, serving and storing cheese at home, as well as more than 70 recipes.

Accompanied by photographer Alan Benson, Nick visited internationally renowned cheesemakers in Australia, France, the UK, Switzerland and the US interviewing some of the leading cheese experts from around the world.

Hardie Grant publisher Jane Willson said: "We’re thrilled for the recognition that the James Beard Award bestows on a book that we saw as a potential standout in an underpublished category. Credit especially to Nick Haddow for his unwavering belief in the power – and importance – of the subject, and to photographer Alan Benson, who trailed Nick on an ambitious shoot in Europe and the US capturing cheese and dairy farms during a northern hemisphere winter."

Since opening Bruny Island Cheese in 2003, Haddow has quickly earned a reputation for excellence – as well as for a long time being the only legally recognised producer of raw milk cheese in Australia.

Nick has appeared regularly on SBS series Gourmet Farmer with Matthew Evans and Ross O’Meara. The trio has written two books: The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book, and Gourmet Farmer Goes Fishing.

Putting on the Ritz. Enjoy decadent French style in New Zealand

Looking for the perfect excuse to get away for a couple of days during the southern hemisphere winter? 

How about a French weekend at one of the world's leading luxury lodges? 

The acclaimed Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is the venue for a decadent French weekend from August 4-6 with wines from prestigious Champagne house Dom Perignon and food from much-loved French chef Philippe Mouchel. 

“Salute to France” guests will immerse themselves in the best of French cooking, Champagne and style over two days of sublime eating, drinking, learning and absorbing from some of France’s best exports at Kauri Cliffs.

Normandy-born Mouchel trained under one of the greatest of French masters, Paul Bocuse, the only chef in France to have been awarded three Michelin stars consecutively for over 40 years. Mouchel worked at the first Paul Bocuse Restaurant in Japan, and later moved to Melbourne to open the Paul Bocuse restaurant there. 

Today, he runs his own French restaurant/brasserie in Melbourne, simply known as Philippe. 

On the opening, guests will fine food and fine wine in a relaxed ambience with aperitifs and an a la carte dinner followed by a traditional digestif.

A cooking demonstration on Saturday morning will highlight sauces while that evening a Dom Perignon ambassador will host a dinner featuring four courses prepared by Mouchel, each matched to a special vintage of “Dom”. 

The event tariff is NZ$1,900+ 15% GST per person, based on double occupancy and includes: two nights’ luxury suite accommodation at The Lodge at Kauri Cliff, pre-dinner drinks and canap├ęs, daily full breakfast and complimentary non-alcoholic minibar; traditional aperitif and digestif on Friday night, gourmet dinner both nights, paired with Dom Perignon champagnes on Saturday night and a choice of either unlimited green fees or a 50-minute spa treatment per person.

To book, contact The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs on +64 9 407 0010
For more information visit

Friday, 21 April 2017

Stunning resort offers a real taste of Vietnam

Nha Trang is one of Asia's new tourism hotspots; a booming coastal resort city in the south of Vietnam that is known for its many beaches, dive sites and nearby islands.

Its main beach is a long, curving stretch faced by a promenade, new international hotels and many seafood restaurants.

Head just out of town to Amiana on the Bay Nha Trang and you'll find one of the few resorts with absolute beach access; a family-friendly luxury resort overlooking a stunning bay. Sit on the beach and watch the local fishing fleet out looking for squid and prawns.

Built four years ago, Amiana is family-owned and offers a real taste of Vietnam, from traditional mud baths and cooking classes (I can now make a handy Vietnamese pancake) to seafood buffets and learning how to row in traditional basket-weaved coracles.

Other activities range from yoga to kayaking,

The cosy 158-room resort is just a short hop out of town (shuttles run throughout the day) and 45-minutes from Cam Ranh Bay Airport, with links to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

There is a wide choice of villas and rooms, all with either direct ocean or garden views, along with a seawater pool that's the largest in the country, two freshwater pools, and a lagoon beach exclusively for in-house guests.

Bacaro restaurant offers all-day dining and there are three bars, a spa centre, gym, recreation centre, tennis courts and various water sports options.

Guests range from Vietnamese and Australians to Chinese and Russians; which mirrors Nha Trang as a whole.

While the resort offers an ideal beach break for a few days, Nha Trang itself moves at a slightly faster pace with attractions that include the late-night Skyline bar with its rooftop pool and several bars (where the cool kids and cocktail connoisseurs hang out), bustling street markets and many temples. It's small enough to navigate but big enough to offer plenty of diversions.

Head away from the tourists to enjoy traditional Vietnamese dishes at Lang Ngon, an atmospheric open-air restaurant. Think rice noodles with snail, or various frog dishes, along with more mainstream options.

For a step back in time visit the Po Nagar Temple, built by the Cham people in the 8th century and with gardens alive with music performances, small stalls and traditional weavers peddling their wares.

There are two golf courses in the region, with several more planned as the region booms. No wonder with 300 days of sunshine per year and 5.5 kilometres of uninterrupted sandy beach.

Amiana on the Bay Resort Nha Trang, Turtle Bay, Phan Nam Dong St, Nha Trang. 
+84 58 355 3333.

How to get up close and personal with koalas - for free

So cute! It is easy enough to interact with koalas in zoos and animal parks, but a lot harder to find them in in the wild. 

On Wild Koala Day (which is actually two days) - May 3 and May 6 - there will be free tours in the You Yangs in Victoria. 

The Koala Clancy Foundation is offering free educational tours in the You Yangs with local experts on both days - although a gold coin donation is welcome. 

Koala researcher Janine Duffy says people are fascinated to learn that there are koalas living wild in the You Yangs, and that some of them are world-famous.

“Koala Clancy, the most famous wild koala in the world, with 32,000 fans on Facebook, lives in the You Yangs with his family,” she said. 

Experienced koala researchers will be leading the tours, which start at 11.45am and 2.45pm on May 3 and May 6. Bookings are essential.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New cruise ship will be heaven for rev heads; hell for others

Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled details of a unique attraction on its new ship Norwegian Joy, a soon-to-be-unveiled 3,850 passenger vessel purpose-built for the Chinese market. 

In a move that will delight rev heads and send out warning bells to anyone seeking peace and quiet, the new ship will feature a two-level electric go-kart track on its upper level as part of a deal with Ferrari Scuderia watches. 

Norwegian Joy will home port in Shanghai and Tianjin, following a grand inaugural port tour leading up to a christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’ Wang Leehom.

The Ferrari-branded track will allow up to 10 drivers at a time to race each other on the course and have photos taken at the finish line to share with friends and family back home. Guests of Norwegian Joy’s The Haven and Concierge class cabins will enjoy a number of complimentary rides as part of the amenities and benefits of their suites and staterooms.

Norwegian Joy will officially be delivered on April 27 in Bremerhaven, Germany. The ship will then set sail for China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. 

Although it promises to provide "first class at sea" experiences, it sounds like a very specialised cruise vessel with an open-air laser tag course, simulator rides and interactive video walls and two multi-story waterslides. 

Should you be tempted, ring 1300 255 200 or visit

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Waterfront luxury in the heart of Tasmania's gourmet country

Coast House, a private, adults-only retreat overlooking the water in the Huon Valley, is one of Tasmania's best-kept boutique accommodation secrets.

Surrounded by orchards, vineyards and small farms in beautiful surroundings, Coast House is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city; tranquil and perfectly equipped for a few days of gourmet solitude.

Quolls, pademelons, bandicoots and wedge-tail eagles are among your closest neighbours on a private peninsula surrounded by water and nature – but provisioned with all life's little luxuries; from Netflix and fast wifi to bottles of local wines (think Sailor Seeks Horse or Devil's Corner).

Completed just two years ago and owned and operated by experienced hospitality professionals Judi and John Willoughby (ex Fairlight), Coast House offers two queen-size bedrooms, each with their own adjoining bathroom, as well as a quiet loft area for reading.

Luxuries include a wood fire in the huge living room (packed with books and games) and heated floors throughout the whole house, a fully equipped modern kitchen overlooking the water, covered verandah, gourmet hamper and luxury provisions on arrival (smoked salmon, sushi, cheeses, bread, fresh fruits, Cygneture chocolates etc).

There is an excellent range of gourmet meals in the freezer (just reheat in the microwave) with wine included, as well as gourmet breakfast ingredients.

Check out the fully stocked larder with pasta, rice, sauces, oils and all essentials, and fridge with free-range eggs, local bacon, quality muesli, fresh apple juice from down the road, yoghurt and other breakfast treats. 

The bedrooms feature luxurious linens and original artworks, while a stroll to the private beach on Beaupre Point might yield a harvest of mussels and oysters from the rocks.

For longer stayers, there is a full laundry - and well-behaved dogs are welcome by prior arrangement to enjoy the many walking trails on the 40 hectares.

Coast House is 10 minutes to Cygnet village, 55 minutes to Hobart and 1 hour 10 minutes to Hobart Airport – but many guests do not leave for the duration of their stay, preferring to explore Cygnet Coast Road with its blueberry farms, wild blackberries and small vineyards.

Rates start from $550 – or $750 for two couples - a bargain when shared four ways.

For bookings see (03) 6295 1876 or 0409 446 290

Airline to crack down after MPs behave like spoilt brats

Air India (AI) is preparing to launch a new set of standard operating procedures - including the introduction of heavy fines - to crack down on unruly flyers.

The move follows air-rage incidents involving politicians who behaved like badly-behaved children on flights.

"Recent incidents of unruly behaviour and assault on AI employees by passengers (whether VVIP or otherwise) have caused severe damage to the morale of employees," said an Air India spokesman. "Even a hotel has right of admission reserved. AI must have a procedure for handling unruly passengers."

Passengers delaying flights beyond two hours in an air rage incident could be fined over $30,000 - although exactly how the airline would force miscreants to pay up is unclear. 

The draft SOPs detail steps for the crew and ground staff in the event of ugly incidents such as two recent controversies involving parliamentarians Ravindra Gaikwad and Dola Sen.

Gaikwad was banned from flying by six airlines after he assaulted a senior Air India official with his sandals, allegedly angry over the state-run carrier shifting him from business class to economy on a domestic flight. 

But he was removed from the "no fly" list after parliamentary intervention. In India, VVIPs and VIPs wield enormous power. 

Air India says the Gaikwad incident caused a flight delay of 90 minutes. He did not apologise and has not been charged. Clearly a tool. Sen had an argument with the cabin crew and delayed his flight for 39 minutes.

The proposal lists six steps to tackle similar situations, including informing the airport manager, no direct interaction with media, immediate filing of police complaint, assessment of damage, and fining a misbehaving flyer in accordance with the length of the delay.

Wouldn't it be nice to see drunk, petulant or arrogant flyers fined after they have inconvenienced every else on to their flight? Can't see it happening though.