10 January 2023

2022 Year in Review: Food and wine stories to sink your teeth into

| Kim Treasure
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Fresh cheese, sparkling ales and plenty of cafes to get your caffeine fix – our region has it all.

This year our journalists took on the arduous task of uncovering some of the great local food and wine stories from throughout the capital region.

We couldn’t whittle it down to a dozen, so here are 14 of the best from 2022.

14. Sharing ‘Rocco’s Tomato Seeds’ keeps Nonno’s legacy alive
by Lucy Ridge

Old man in garden

Rocco also grew huge beefsteak tomatoes and his signature sauce variety. Photo: Supplied.

When a loved one dies, there are many ways to keep their memory alive. For Bungendore local Ashley Violi, connecting with local gardeners has given him a way to continue his Nonno’s legacy.

13. Clementine Bakery in Yass rises above the rest
by Sally Hopman

Cupcake from Clementine Bakery

Clementine Bakery in Yass has been named one of the best bakeries worth driving out of town for. Photo: Clementine Bakery.

The outside world is discovering what Yass locals and visitors have known since 2020 when it comes to baked goods – Clementine Bakery rises well above the rest.

Broadsheet, a national online cultural magazine, recently named Clementine’s as one of the nine Best Regional Bakeries Worth Travelling For.

12. Brews and views: some must-try beer experiences on the Far South Coast
by Lisa Herbert

Brews with a view along the Far South Coast including the Humpback Brewery, located in the stunning Tathra Hotel. Photo: Lisa Herbert

Brews with a view along the Far South Coast including the Humpback Brewery, located in the stunning Tathra Hotel. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

Heading south for the summer? In need of some refreshment along the way? Of course we are. Luckily there is a burgeoning independent beer scene along our salty shores, providing brews, eats, music and general frothy magic.

The whales have departed, but there is still a Far South Coast brewery trail to be followed at a crawl in order to soak up some flavour.

11. The love affair that led the Ladbrooks to gin and whisky
by Edwina Mason

Possibly the highest gin joint in Australia has opened in Tumbarumba and it bears all the hallmarks of a Prohibition-style speakeasy. Photo: Robbie Ladbrook.

Of all the gin joints in the world, there’s one taking the popular spirit to a whole new high in the NSW South West Slopes, putting a botanical spring in everybody’s step.

An unexpected love affair led Neil and Robbie Ladbrook to uprooting their lives, moving kids and cavoodle, Mr Darcy, up the steep slopes of the NSW western alpine foothills into the quiet and quaint town of Tumbarumba.

“We visited Tumbarumba and were quickly enchanted by the magic of the region,” they said.

10. Bodalla Dairy Shed ice cream brings flavours of the bush to the milk bar
by Lucy Ridge

Interior of Bodalla Dairy including list of ice cream flavours

The Dairy Shed milk bar has some unique flavours as well as old favourites. Photo: Bodalla Dairy.

In the late 1800s, the South Coast town of Bodalla was at the forefront of Australia’s dairy industry but when Sandra McCuaig’s family moved there in 1989 all the factories had closed and milk from local farms was sent away to be processed at inland facilities.

In 2008, Sandra decided it was time to revive the local dairy industry and put Bodalla back on the map.

9. Gunning butcher snags one of the tastiest regional titles
by Sally Hopman

Butcher with sausages

Gunning butcher Aaron Williams makes some of the best snags in the region: it’s official. Photo: Supplied.

Gunning butcher Aaron Williams has snagged one of the tastiest titles in the land: his beef, cheese and jalapeno sausage has just taken out first prize in the Australian Meat Industry Council’s (AMIC) 2022 Sausage King competition for the ACT and Southern NSW.

He also scored two seconds for his traditional beef snag and his pork, leek and bacon sausage at the AMIC titles.

8. Chez Dominique: deep-rooted French passion for produce in Moruya
by Lisa Herbert

Man, woman and wines

Elsa Marie and Julian May share their passion for great produce with a dedicated following. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

As with many great pairings, the chefs behind Moruya’s pop-up French restaurant Chez Dominique met over wine at the Rootstock natural wine festival in Sydney.

French-born Elsa Marie and Australian Julian May had each spent a decade cooking in renowned kitchens throughout Europe and Australia.

7. Tilba cheese temple gets an Angel and some fresh new cultures
by Lisa Herbert


(Left to right) new cheesemaker Angel Williams joins Erica Dibden and Michael Longbottom at Tilba Dairy. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

A trip to historic Tilba and the Tilba Dairy is always accompanied by a sense of anticipation. What have owners/dairy farmers Erica and Nick Dibden been up to? What innovations and improvements have they been making to their business lately? And what new products are on the shelves?

Our latest trip did not disappoint. For starters, the Main Street cheese shop has moved from the historic ABC Cheese Factory to the delightfully sunny cottage next door. This expansion has made way for both a state-of-the-art packaging machine and a new addition to their cheese-making team.

6. Australia’s last authentic Greek Cafe offers a journey back through time
by Chris Roe

staff in a cafe

Luke Walton (far right) and Kym Fraser (far left) want their staff to understand and share the heritage of the Niagara Cafe. Photo: Effy Alexakis.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox may be Gundagai’s best known tourist attraction, but one bloke reckons The Niagara Cafe Gundagai will give it a run for its money.

It is the longest-running Greek cafe that still survives, and it’s unique within Australia.

5. Daughter of Hilltops coffee family turns her hand to tea
by Edwina Mason

girl in canola field

Sienna Capra of Greenethorpe, near Young, has launched a tea brand for young people. Photo: Sienna Capra.

If you’ve lived in Young, Grenfell or anywhere in between, you’d be forgiven for assuming Sienna Capra would gulp her way through mountainous cups of coffee as she churned through her schoolwork during 2020 isolation.

The Capra coffee brand Art of Espresso is synonymous with blends of coffee and an ultra-cool café of that name in Young.

4. Young butchers embrace old-fashioned ways
by John Thistleton

Identical twins Tom and Sam Hughes get to work on fresh carcasses. Photo: John Thistleton.

A small butcher shop at Marulan, since 1868, serves up meat like they did in the old days.

You can buy one sausage or 60 kilos of them. Or steak cut to the thickness you like, dry-aged lamb or some offal for a haggis. The owner of Marulan Meats since 2017, Yvonne Hughes said locally-sourced meat her shop offered was served in many varied ways – boned, or rolled, or smoked, or pickled.

3. Goulburn shows little appetite for fine dining
by John Thistleton

restaurant menu

The Laggan Pantry’s menu is accompanied by an extensive selection of drinks. Photo: Tania Hoang.

Fine dining has failed to capture the imagination and taste buds of Goulburn diners, with the fare at pubs and clubs hitting the mark.

2. ‘It’s our dream’: Broulee Brewhouse brings new popular hangout area to the Eurobodalla
by Tom McGann

New Broulee Brewhouse

Lily Brain standing in front of the new Broulee Brewhouse. Photo: Tom McGann.

Two mates have joined forces to find a solution to an age-old problem – where’s a good place to hang out and have a beer?

1. Twelve great coffee stops from Eden to Merimbula
by Lisa Herbert

Pouring coffee

Cafe culture is blooming on the coast, with a smorgasbord of treats spoiling patrons. Photo: ONA Coffee.

We’ve been out and about on the coast updating our cafe listings after a strange time of lockdowns and isolation.

It seems the Far South Coast is undergoing a caffeinated renaissance.

Cafe culture is blooming with the arrival of several new coffee houses, some also serving excellent food, some keeping it simple, and many with a serious focus on doing right by your daily cup.

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