Wuliangye hosts VIPs for a opulent night of food, drinks and entertainment at their Annual Sydney Gala

Wuliangye kicked off their ‘World Shine Journey’ cultural tour with the Wuliangye Annual Sydney Gala on Friday 25 November 2016 at The Star Event Centre.

Wuliangye is China’s top selling white spirit. It has won numerous awards worldwide including the 100 year anniversary gold prize at the 2015 Milan World Expo. It is brewed in China’s wine capital, Yibin, which has a warm and wet climate, and rich soil. Wuliangye dates back thousands of years but only got its name in 1909 when noted scholar Yang Huiquan called it Wuliangye.

Wuliangye literally means five grains liquid and is made from sorghum, glutinous rice, long-grain rice, wheat and corn. With an alcohol content of 52 percent, it is pungent on the nose and burns in the throat. It has various flavours and fragrances. On the palate, it is fruity and the finish is dry.

The event was attended by Chinese dignitaries, Australian politicians, Australian corporate executives, celebrities, media and other VIPs, who enjoyed cocktails and canapes on arrival, a three course meal and variety of entertainment throughout the night.

The event commenced with Wuliangye cocktails in the foyer of The Star Event Centre. The cocktails were a Wuliangye version of a watermelon daiquiri and lychee martini.

Inside the ballroom, guests enjoyed a three course dinner that was designed to compliment the flavours of Wuliangye. For entree, guests were provided an alternate serve of: cured Atlantic salmon with mango puree, lime and coriander emulsion and pickled cucumber; or grilled king prawns with Sze Chuan Chilli gel, compressed watermelon and lemon curd.

For the main course, guests had an alternate serve of: steam gold band snapper fillet with steamed bok choy, gingery lemon soy sauce and lotus crisps; or Range Valley wagyu beef tenderloin with braised white radish, Kai Lan and roast garlic soy sauce.

For dessert guests were served either: a date and ginger pudding with coconut poppy seed ice-cream and cinnamon toffee analgise; or lychee and matcha cream.with mandarin, mint sorbet, and cashew nut crackers.

There were a number of speeches made by Chinese dignitaries, Australian politicians and the Chairman of the Wuliangye Group Company, Tang Qiao, who made the keynote speech. The Australian television and radio presenter, Scott Tweedie, was the MC for the night.

The entertainment included violinists, dancers, drummers, martial arts performers, and Chinese opera. There were also videos shown of China and the Yibin region in which the liquor is brewed.

The centre of the room was decorated with a giant ice sculpture of the Wuliangye bottle made by Mammouth Ice and the table centrepieces were ice pedestals with Wuliangye bottles on top.

For beverages, guests drunk: NV Domaine Chandon Brut; North of South Sauvignon Blanc; Leo Buring ‘Leopold’ Riesling; Beautiful Somewhere Shiraz; and Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.

Most importantly, guests had Wuliangye at their table to drink throughout the night.

Wuliangye is a luxury liquor that is drunk neat or with a meal.

Wuliangye is sold for around $200 at Dan Murphy’s and other alcohol retailers.

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The inaugural Royal Croquet Club launches at Bondi beach

The weather at Bondi beach was perfect on Thursday 24 November 2016 for the launch of the inaugural Royal Croquet Club – an 11 day lifestyle festival of food and music.

Celebrities, VIPs and media gathered for drinks and a game of croquet on opening night at the Pol Roger Champagne Garden and Pimms Bar.

Celebrities that attended included: Home and Away star Nic Westaway; The Saddle Club actress Sophie Hensser; My Kitchen Rules winner Steve Flood; Big Brother’s Aisha Jade and Lisa Clarke; The Bachelor’s Keira Maguire and Kiki Morris; The Bachelorette star Matty Johnson and celebrity make-up artist Michael Brown.

Food was served from the pop up restaurants on site which included: Southern fried chicken from Butter; Frying Nemo burgers from Milky Lane; fried fetta balls, falafel and kefta from Old City Kitchen Bar; fluffy filled steamed buns and duck fries from Bao Stop; chicken satay skewers and roti from Mamak; bbq meats from Hoy Pinoy, and ice-cream served in look-alike Campbell soup tins from Gelato Messina. This food will be available for purchase for the duration of the festival.

There will also be a number of music acts during the festival including: Bag Raiders, Dope Lemon (Angus Stone), Electric Fields, Hayden James (DJ Set), Hugo Gruzman, Jarryd James, Jimmy 2sox, Kilter & Klue, KLP (DJ Set), San Cisco, Thandi Phoenix, Tom Tilley, and Wealth.
The 11 day festival will take over North Bondi from 24 November 2016 until 4 December 2016.
For more information, go to: https://royalcroquetclub.com.au/

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World-class winemaker, House of Arras, hosts intimate lunch at Chiswick Restaurant

On Thursday 24 November 2016, media and influencers attended the opulent House of Arras sparkling lunch to sample the exceptional cold climate Tasmanian sparkling on offer.

The menu was designed by head chef at Chiswick Restaurant, Tom Haynes, to compliment the flavours of the wine. All produce was sourced from Tasmania, which is not only the home of House of Arras but also Australia’s capital of sparkling wine.  Ed Carr, head winemaker of House of Arras, worked with Tom Haynes to ensure each wine matched the food perfectly.

Many Australian sparkling wines can stand on their own against French champagne and Italian prosecco, and one such brand is House of Arras who rivals the French options in terms of quality and value for money.

House of Arras has won numerous awards in Australia and internationally, including winning this year for the House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007: the ‘Grand Champion Wine of Show’ at the Royal Queensland Wine Show (which is the first time a sparkling wine has ever been awarded this top accolade); the ‘Best Wine of Show’ at the Sydney Royal Wine; and gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards and Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Further, the House of Arras Rose won best sparkling at the National Wine Awards.

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Guests were greeted and ushered into a private dining area for canapes of: Barilla oyster, lychee; and sorrel, and smoked eggplant, black garlic and chickpea that were served with House of Arras Brut Elite NV Cuvee 901. This cuvee has rich flavours of white peach, lychee, spices and fresh oysters.

The entree was Tasmanian yellow tail kingfish, peach, almond and succulents matched with House of Arras Blanc de Blanc 2007.  House of Arras Blanc de Blanc 2007 exhibits flavours of truffle, oyster, exotic spices and honeycomb.

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The second course was duck, cherry, artichoke and dandelion matched with House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007.  House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007 is a dry style of sparkling with complex nuance of exotic spice, truffle, meringue and natural yogurt.

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The main course was Greenham sirloin, Australian mushrooms and madeira matched with House of Arras EJ Late Disgorged 2002.  House of Arras EJ Late Disgorged 2002 has complex flavours of honey, nougat, sourdough toast and truffle.

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The dessert was shortbread, strawberries, black pepper and lemon fromage blanc matched with House of Arras Rose 2006.  This Rose is dominated by fresh strawberry and cream flavours but has secondary favours of toast, fresh mushrooms and lychee.

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if your looking for a Christmas gift under $100, try the House of Arras Rose ($82.99) or the House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007 ($76.99).  For a gift under $50, try the House of Arras Brut Elite NV ($49.99).

House of Arras is available through most major liquor merchants nationally.

Their wines are definitely going to be my favourites to enjoy this summer and over the festive season.

For more information about House of Arras, go to: http://houseofarras.com.au/

Jack Daniel’s Thanksgiving party treats Sydney to some Southern hospitality

Jack Daniel’s Thanksgiving party, held on Tuesday 22 November 2016, treated 160 Sydney-siders to some Southern hospitality at Three Blue Ducks in Rosebery.

Tennessee native Zach Parker (owner of Scott’s-Parker’s Barbeque) flew to Australia to bringing his unique Southern style of cooking to the event. Parker cooked a whole-hog using hickory smoke over a 24 hours period for this event.

Three Blue Ducks created the sides, showcasing its take on Southern staples at this Jack Daniel’s Thanksgiving party.

The dinner at the Jack Daniel’s Thanksgiving party included: for canapes bacon and cheese poppers wuth a twist and smoking potato chips; for entree cuss worthy fried chicken with Jack Daniel’s house hot sauce and crab boil with home made corn bread; for main Jack Parker’s signature hickory smoked hog with Jack BBQ sauce, chicken fat potatoes, special slaw and broccoli with bread sauce; and for dessert there was smores with whiskey ice-cream and mama’s pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie is only eaten on Thanksgiving in the United States. Smores is a traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States, consisting of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. National Smores Day is celebrated annually on August 10. The smores pictured is Three Blue Ducks’ fancy version of the dessert.

The Jack Daniels cocktails that accompanied the meal were: apricot and rosemary whiskey sour, peach whiskey ice tea, and old fashioned. There was also a fridge full of Jack Daniel’s and Coke, Jack Daniel’s and Dry and Jack Daniel’s and lemonade for guests to help themselves.

Entertainment was provided by Aria nominated band, Gang of Youths, as well as rockabilly, blues and rock n roll artist, Pat Capocci.

Sydney-siders had the opportunity to attend this event by securing tickets through eventfinda.

For more information about Jack Daniel’s, go to: http://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/

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Taste of Orange comes to Barangaroo

The inaugural Taste Orange @ Barangaroo cool climate wine, food, cultural and tourism showcase event occurred at Nawi Cove, Barangaroo Reserve on Sunday 20 November 2016.

This new outdoor food and wine festival brought the best of the countryside to Sydney Harbour. The wines are grown in the cool climate and high altitude landscape of the central New South Wales town of Orange.

There was over 20 stallholders by Sydney’s spectacular new harbourside headland, including wines from Boree Lane Wines, Dindima Wines, Gilbert by Simon Gilbert, Heifer Station, Highland Heritage Estate, Logan Wines, Philip Shaw Wines, Ross Hill Wines, Slow Wine Co. and Tamburlaine Organic Wines.

For those seeking a non-alcoholic drink, there’ was an number of options at the Milla Cordial stall, featuring Australian bush ingredient flavoured and all-natural cordials and sparkling tonics.

There was also gourmet food from Indigenous Adventures Bush Tucka, El-Phoenician, Jimmy Liks, Oysters Unplugged, Serendipity Icecream, and Sofrito Paella.  All the food stallholders used produce and ingredients sourced from the Orange region.

Taste of Orange @ Barangaroo was a fantastic Sunday afternoon of wine and food by the harbour.

For more information, go to: www.tasteorangebarangaroo.com.au

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Hotel Ravesis relaunches just in time for summer

Hotel Ravesis celebrated the relaunch of their hotel with a party on Thursday 10 November 2016.

Ravesis is located opposite Bondi beach and has unbeatable views of the beach and sidewalk. The hotel was built over a hundred years ago by two Italian immigrants called the Ravesis brothers. They sold the building about 25 years ago to its current owners who refurbished it and turned it into a Bondi institution. The venue has been refurbished again just in time for summer. Inspired by the beachside playgrounds of Miami and Cuba, the hotel has resurrected its former art deco glory.  The interiors have been replaced with a lighter colour palatte of citruses and pale pinks.

Ex-Catalina chef Peter Streckfuss has been hired as head chef and will be serving Mediterranean inspired dishes. The cocktails will mostly be the classics with a twist, and the hotel has entered into a partnership with Pommery to supply the champagne.

The party was attended by mostly Bondi locals who came to see the new look of Bondi’s most iconic boutique hotel while enjoying cocktails, canapes and live entertainment.

The cocktails of the night were: Sgroppino made from Messina lemon sorbet, Ketel One Citron and prosecco and Passionfruit Collins made from Tanqueray gin, passionfruit juice and mint garnish.

Guests were also offered: Heineken; Heineken 3; Tyrells Moores Creek Semillon Sauvignon Blanc; Ravesis Pinor Noir; Brut de Villeroy French Champagne; Brut De Villeroy French Sparkling and Pommery Champagne.

The canapes served were: goats cheese tart; prawn sliders; tuna sliders; mushroom polenta; and rare roast beef croutons.

Hotel Ravesis is perfect for those lazy afternoon drinks in the downstairs bar or a glam night of eating and dancing upstairs on their terrace. It also has 12 boutique hotel rooms to stay at.

Hotel Ravesis is located at 118 Campbell Parade Bondi beach NSW 2026.

For more information about Ravesis, go to: www.hotelravesis.com
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Hendrick’s Gin grows an unusually Australian cucumber for its cocktails

Hendrick’s Gin held an elegant soiree to celebrate the first unusually Australian cucumber at Elizabeth Bay House on Thursday 9 November 2016.

Hendrick’s is an unusual gin that is oddly infused with roses and cucumbers. Now Hendrick’s Gin have developed the most distinctive cucumber in history and invited guests to a party to sample it. The cucumber is grown at Sydney University’s research facility in Camden. The aim was to grow a genetically modified cucumber with superior taste, natural resistance to fungi and better suited to gin and tonics. After a social media campaign where fans were asked to vote on Australia’s most iconic ingredients to grow cucumbers, emu poop, yabby shells and Simpson Desert soil were the chosen winners.

Guest were served Hendrick’s gin mixological libations and unusual cucumber-inspired gastronomic delights. The drinks that were served included: Hendrick’s Gin and tonic; Home Amongst the Gums cocktail made from Hendrick’s Gin, lime juice, cucumber juice, eucalyptus syrup, soda water and eucalyptus leaves; Dawes cocktail made from Hendrick’s Gin, lemon myrtle cordial, cucumber juice, lime juice, pepper and sparkling wine; Three Sisters cocktail made from Hendrick’s Gin, strawberry gum, blueberry syrup, cucumber juice, lime juice, and blueberries. All drinks were garnished with cucumber.

The event was quirky, just like Hendrick’s. It included tea leaf readers and cucumber hand massages.

For more information about Hendrick’s Gin, go to: https://us.hendricksgin.com/

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Walsh Bay Arts Table delights all the senses with food, wine and music and unbeatable views

Five Walsh Bay restaurants came together, along with the winemakers of The Southern Highlands Food and Wine Clusters to raise money for The Song Company at the Walsh Bay Arts Table on Tuesday 8 November 2016.

The event was themed “If Music Be The Food of Love” the experience revolved around a decadent, long-table feast representative of Walsh Bay venues including Pier One Sydney Harbour, View by Sydney, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney Dance Lounge and Walsh Bay Kitchen.

The Walsh Bay Arts Table is Sydney’s most memorable arts industry event that is now in its 7th year. The host of this year’s Arts Table Dinner, The Song Company is Australia’s premier acapella ensemble. Unrivalled for its stylistic diversity, the company’s repertoire covers vocal music from the 10th Century to contemporary works. It was directed by the award-winning British composer and conductor, Antony Pitts.

Seated at long tables spanning the length of Pier 2/3, right on Sydney Harbour, guests dined alfresco with views of the Harbour Bridge on a five course degustation prepared by five creative chefs from the Walsh Bay precinct, matched with wines sourced from the new Southern Highlands Food and Wine Clusters.

The menu consisted of: the first course of spanner crab, salted cream, roe, kohlrabi which was matched with Mount Abbey Wine, 2016 Pinot Gris from Pier One Sydney Harbour; the second course of seafood including oysters with yuzu wasabi dressing, ocean fresh prawn with rose maria sauce, crab and mango salad, seared tuna with soba noodle salad, wasabi cream with toasted nori which was matched with Bendooley Estate, 2014 Reisling from View by Sydney; the third course of smoked duck breast, confit duck leg, frisse, sechuan and orange sauce which was matched with Tractorless Vineyard, 2015 Rose from Walsh Bay Kitchen; the fourth course of spiced lamb rump with spicy cauliflower and potato sambal and herb chutney and cauliflower fritters which was matched with Artemis, 2015 Pinot Noir from Simmer on the Bay; and the fifth course of Golden Gaytime ice-cream made with burnt caramel, vanilla, chocolate and biscuit which was matched with Autumn Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc from Sydney Dance Lounge. The food was served with bread from Sonoma (Oat Porridge Sourdough, Sonoma Miche and Sonoma Mission).

To find out more about The Song Company or to make a donation, go to: www.songcompany.com.au

To find out more about the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Clusters, go to: http;//southernhighlandsfoodandwineclusters.com.au

To find out about next years Walsh Bay Arts Table, keep an eye on the events section of: www.walshbaysydney.com

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Visit Chile: A destination of many contrasts and adventures

On Friday 4 November 2016, I embarked on my Chilean adventure in Sydney where I experienced a guided tour onboard the Chilean naval ship, Esmeralda  which was followed by a cocktail reception at Ovolo Woolloomooloo where I learnt all about Chile – a destination of many contrasts and adventures in the Pacific.

Esmeralda arrived in Sydney on Thursday 3 November 2016 and will depart Sydney on Monday 7 November 2016. It is a steel-hulled, four-masted barquentine, which is 113 metres long and has a mast height of 48.5 metres. The ship has a long and proud history of training Chilean sailors and is a right of passage for Chilean Navy personnel.

Chile is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernandez, Salas y Gomez, Desventuradas and Easter Island.

Chile is a country of contrasts. In the north of Chile there is the arid Atacama Dessert. In the centre of Chile is where the population lives and agriculture is concentrated. In the south of Chile is where there are many forests, volcanoes, lakes, fjords, canals and islands.

The Atacama desert (in the north) is the world’s driest desert. On the high Andean plateau, there are small villages at up to 4,000 meters above sea level where timeless traditions linger. San Pedro de Atacama contains vast salt flats, active geysers and intense blue lagoons.

Santiago, in central Chile, is the multi-faceted capital of Chile, with its fine parks and numerous sporting and cultural activities. Central Chile has the best ski slopes in South America, that is just a two hour road journey from the the coast to the mountain. The valleys of central Chile also contain vineyards where Chile makes some of the world’s best red and white wines.

Across the water from Santiago is the Easter Island (known as Rapa Nui in the people’s native language). Rapa Nui has pink-sand beaches, volcanic cones and windswept grasslands, and of course, the monumental moai statues – over 1,000 of them bearing silent witness to a long-lost, complex society.

The south of Chile contains the unique living heritage of the original inhabitants of Chile. The Mapuche culture is a fundamental element in the central Chilean heartland with the indigenous traditions that are still alive.

Southern Chile has countless lakes and rivers that are perfect for watersports and fishing. There is also extraordinary flora and fauna at nature reserves and national parks. Pucón, on the shores of Lake Villarrica, has adrenaline-filled white-water rafting, hydrospeed or canyoning.

Further south in Patagonia there is truly unspoiled wilderness of mountains, fjords, glaciers, forests and steppes. Patagonia’s has a rich ranching history and gaucho lifestyle with far-flung cities and pioneer towns.

Torres del Paine National Park has truly magnificent forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and stunning views of the Southern Ice Fields.

At the southernmost extreme of the American continent, there are countless sea fjords and channels and the famous Straits of Magellan (where people sail to Antarctica). Cape Horn is the southernmost tip of the continent.

For more information about Chile, go to: http://chile.travel/en/

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Gaining a new appreciation of the aperitif Cinzano at a Cinzano masterclass

On 2 November 2016, I attended a Cinzano masterclass at the Surry Hills bar, Maybe Frank, to learn all there is to know about this high quality drink that is often overlooked.

Cinzano is an Italian brand of vermouth that dates back to 1757 and is made of wine, alcohol, sugar, and aromatic plants from the Italian Alps in a [still-secret] recipe combining 35 ingredients including marojam, thyme, and yarrow.

The current Cinzano range consists of Cinzano Rosso, which is amber-coloured; Cinzano Bianco, which is white and drier than Rosso yet still considered a sweet vermouth; Cinzano Extra Dry, a dry vermouth. There were also three Cinzano bottles that were more than 60 years old.

Cinzano is an aperitivo. The word “aperitivo” is the name for both the ritual of going out for a pre-dinner drink, as well as the sort of drink that you would have as part of the ritual. “Aperitivo” comes from the Latin word meaning “to open” and in Italian it means to opens your appetite. That’s the idea behind the aperitivo. It is a drink to encourage you to feel hungry, so that you fully enjoy your upcoming meal.

The masterclass was delivered by Campari brand ambassador, Daniele Pirotta and included a generous selection of appetising Cinzano cocktails alongside a delicious spread of mouthwatering pizzas to compliment the cocktail session in true Italian style!

The cocktail I loved the best has no name and is made with two shots of Cinzano vermouth blanco, one drop of peach bitters, soda water and a slice of lemon.

For more information about Cinzano, go to: http://www.cinzano.com/int/en/

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