Food & Wine

2019 Year in Review – Food & Wine

Amy McPhillips 29 December 2019

If our most popular food and wine stories for 2019 are anything to go by, About Regional readers can’t get enough of pub steaks, harvesting and cooking with seaweed, local business success stories and vegetarian eateries.

Here’s a look back at some of the top food and wine stories of the past 12 months.

10. Royal Hotel stakes its claim with Australia’s best steak title
by Michael Weaver

Beat Ettlin from The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan

Beat Ettlin from The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan, which has won the best steak in Australia award. Photos: Supplied.

Queanbeyan’s Royal Hotel can now stake a claim as having the best steak in Australia, after being crowned home of Australia’s best steak following a nationwide search for the best pub meals.

The title comes after Yak Brewing scoured 1890 venues for the best pub meals across five categories including chicken parma, fish and chips, steak, burgers and pork ribs.

Following a month-long voting phase where Australians nominated their favourite pub meals, Yak hit the road with comedian and pub food ‘foodie’ Harley Breen, who along with a team of judges helped decide Australia’s best pub grub.

9. Wild Rye’s Pambula expands, new bakery & roastery to meet demand
by Elka Wood

Pambula business Wild Rye's bakery and roastery is expanding into the old fruit market building. Photo: Elka Wood.

Pambula business Wild Rye’s bakery and roastery is expanding into the old fruit market building. Photo: Elka Wood.

Like a gangly child in too-short pants, Wild Rye’s in Pambula is outgrowing its premises. A new bakery and roasting room is currently under construction adding to the goodies that emerge from the existing bakery, coffee roastery and Cann River bakery.

We caught up wiht head roaster Erin Tatnell, who has fostered the coffee roasting arm of Wild Ryes since its inception.

8. An Appetite for Excellence – Bermagui’s Young Restaurateur of the Year Finalist
by Lisa Herbert

Bermagui's Hannah Abraham a finalist for Young Restaurateur of the Year. Photo: Awards for Excellence

Bermagui’s Hannah Abraham a finalist for Young Restaurateur of the Year. Photo: Awards for Excellence

Hannah Abraham took the reins of her first restaurant, Il Passaggio, on April Fool’s Day in 2017. At the age of twenty-seven, with the support of her family and outgoing owners Honor and Tim Northam, she felt ready to take up the challenge.

And it would seem that her hard work has paid dividends, being nominated as one of the finalists for the prestigious “Young Restaurateur of the Year” awards in 2019.

7. Cheers – to natural wine tasting that will have us all under its influence
by Lisa Herbert

Intuitive wine-making, bio-dynamic farming, the rhythm of nature. Photo: Ngeringa Winery

Intuitive wine-making, bio-dynamic farming, the rhythm of nature. Photo: Ngeringa Winery – Fanny Desouche

In August we brought you news of the ultimate wine tasting party that was about to descend on Pambula. Nattie by Nature was a celebration of natural wine, of beer, of local food and music. The event featured natural, small-batch, low sulphite, biodynamic, groundbreaking wines and their anarchistic makers, from around the country, and the world.

6. Far South Coast beaches awash with edible treasures
by Contributor

Stuart Whitelaw, Michelle Mitchell and daughter Lulu. Photo: Kat McCarthy.

It took just one sparkling morning of foraging on a Bingie beach to convince a group of local mums about the magic and power of seaweed.

Seaweed enthusiast Stuart Whitelaw, a long-time gardener, author/teacher of TAFE permaculture courses and presenter for Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening Eurobodalla (SAGE), hosted a hands-on workshop at his Bingie property. He shared foraging, harvesting, preparation and cooking tips to help attendees harness the ‘seven wonders’ of seaweed.

5. Meet the mum from Bega booming with her low carb baking business
by Elise Searson

Anna and Lilly Hopkins. Photo: Supplied

The Protein Bread Co, like every great success story, comes from humble beginnings, we wrote in September when we caught up with baker and self-confessed glamper, Anna Hopkins. She’s the Bega-based driving force behind Australia’s first low carb and no added sugar range of baking mixes.

4. The best cheese toasties in the Bega Valley, memories are made of this!
by Lisa Herbert

Pretika Goodall hands us our beautiful and simple Bega tasty cheese toasty. Photo: Lisa Herbert

Pretika Goodall hands us our beautiful and simple Bega tasty cheese toasty. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

What makes the perfect toasted cheese sandwich? It’s a big question with many possible responses. It has much to do with the bread used, but then is there’s the butter applied to the outside pre and post-toasting. How dark and how flat. How much cheese and is it melted through? Then there is the smoky crunch of cheese that has escaped onto the grill plate and stuck itself onto the bread.

Lisa Herbert volunteered to take one for the team, and sink her teeth into the crispy buttered outer of a selection of suggested sangas throughout the Bega Valley.

3. Tiny house eatery Via Luna opens in Cobargo
by Elka Wood

Peckish? a tiny house eatery has opened in Cobargo to meet all your drive by or settle in food needs. Photo: Facebook.

Peckish? a tiny house eatery has opened in Cobargo to meet all your food needs as you travel the Princes Highway this summer. Photo: Facebook.

It may be small, but Cobargo’s newest food outlet, a mobile kitchen and shopfront custom-built by Tiny Homes Tilba, has already had a big dose of community support.

“People have really responded to it,” says owner Lena Kuppens, who opened Via Luna in December with partner Harry Binnendijk.

2. Gin distillery springs from old dairy country, ‘North of Eden’
by Lisa Herbert

Karen and Gavin bring skills and passion to the Bega Valley. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

Karen and Gavin bring skills and passion to the Bega Valley. Photos: Lisa Herbert.

Alchemy is defined as the discovery of an elixir of life and a local couple is close to finding this illusive decoction, we reported in March. We visited their little Eden-like paradise a few kilometres out of Bega, where we found the secret laboratory of a gin-distilling alchemist.

1. “We knew Bermagui was the place for Boneless to be born” – Tenzin & Emily
by Lisa Herbert

It's a chilli dog, and it's vegan. Photo Lisa Herbert

It’s a chilli dog, and it’s vegan. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

You’re lucky to catch Tenzin Butt and his partner Emily King. They haven’t really stopped for a breath since they opened Boneless Vegetarian Café in Bermagui in March. Their eatery is a bright and colourful space where the old Corky’s stood, high on the main street looking over the beautiful sapphire sea towards Guluga mountain.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I perused the menu to find a vegan Tex-Mex Chilli Dog with all the trimmings and didn’t it turn out to be the prettiest looking plate of deliciousness!? Crunchy corn chips with salsa garnish alongside a substantial hot dog roll, with a good-looking vegan-dog, adorned with a mountain of jalapenos and pico di gallo, mustards, and micro-herbs, wrote Lisa Herbert.

Join us again tomorrow as we reveal the top arts & culture stories that had you talking in 2019.

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