What was your favourite? 2021’s top 20 food, drink, travel and romance stories

From far-flung tales of exotic Thailand to little pizzerias in Darlinghurst, from recipes for steak butter to cocktails, and driving submarines on the Great Barrier Reef to exploring the beautiful regions in our backyard, these are your favourite stories from 2021. But which will be number 1?

Top Stories from 2021 - Thailand Dreaming - Krabi

Every year we run this wrap of which stories were the most popular from the last 12 months and it’s always one of our favourites to put together.

For a number of reasons.

Customarily, this is the last feature we publish for the year, so it represents a bit of pens-down feel-up time. But apart from that we’re fascinated to see which of our stories resonated with you the most.

It’s quite hard for us to pick favourites. And not just because we put a lot of hard work and love into all our articles. I think it’s because we’re just too close to it. For us, every story we run is part of our lives, so each one really is a piece of us.

It would be like choosing your 20 most favourite days of the year!

What I think I’m trying to say is thank you! Thank you for the perspective.

But even more than that, thank you for reading our little bit of the world, for taking notice and for enjoying what we do.

We hope we’ve entertained, informed and helped you in some way.

20. 10 Things to Do in the Hunter Valley

Things to do in the Hunter Valley

We start things off with one of our absolute favourite parts of Australia – the Hunter Valley. Sydney’s closest major wine region, the Hunter has so many beautiful wineries to visit, but it’s got a lot more going on there than just vino.

We’ve written so much about the Hunter Valley over the years, we’re not surprised this one got into the top 20. And you can expect a lot more stories and inspo on this stunning part of NSW in the coming months too.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy our quick video summing up Australia’s oldest wine region.

19. 7 Netflix Shows That Will Inspire You to Travel

Here are a few ideas of shows to binge over Christmas that’ll get you right into the travel mindset and have you scrolling flight prices before you realise! 

7 Netflix TV shows that will inspire you to travel

18. Revenge Travel Hitlist – Where Are You Travel Dreaming?

I think we’re all feeling the same way about travel at the moment: the sooner we can do it, we’re going to go at it hammer and tongs! Here’s where we’ve got our travel crosshairs aimed when the world is sane(er) again.

Revenge Travel Hit List – where are you travel dreaming?

17. How to Have Just One Glass of Wine – Coravin Review

Such a clever product, the Coravin allows you to pour out as much wine as you want without you having to worry about the rest of the bottle going to waste.

We also recently wrote a review of the brand new Coravin Sparkling, which keeps Champagne fresh and fizzy for up to a month! Check out our review here, but also our video where we road test the Coravin Sparkling on a bottle over four weeks.

How to have just one glass of wine – Coravin review

16. Beyond The Big Guitar – Our Essential Guide to Tamworth, NSW

Tamworth is known for its country music festival that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. However, there’s a lot more to this lovely, historically important country town than just its annual music celebrations.

Beyond the Big Guitar – our Essential Guide to Tamworth, NSW

15. 3 Gins for World Gin Day and How to Use Them

If you’ve read us for any length of time, you’ll know our relationship with gin is very close. For this year’s World Gin Day, we took a look at three very different gins – a world-best Aussie drop, an English trend setter and an international favourite – to see how they compare and how to drink them.

3 gins for World Gin Day and how to use them

14. Riva Surya Hotel – Riverside Luxury in Bangkok Oldtown

We do love travelling to Thailand – and it seems you do to! Our last trip to the Land of Smiles – in fact our last international trip before the pandemic struck (we landed less than a week before Australia closed its borders!) – saw us staying at the beautiful Riva Surya.

You can also see our video walkthrough of this magnificent waterfront hotel here.

Riva Surya Hotel – riverside luxury in Bangkok Old Town

13. How to Make This Peated Whisky Cocktail from an Old Family Recipe

As I created this cocktail, I was aware I was pairing one of my favourite things (peated whisky) with one of my least favourite things (man flu). But my family’s remedy for feeling poorly goes so well with this excellent scotch.

How to make this peated whisky cocktail from an old family recipe

12. Hai Fatto Tredicci – Why 13 Isn’t Bad Luck in Italy

Weirdly missing 13th spot by about 50 pageviews, this story fascinated me. I’d heard Italy doesn’t think 13 is unlucky, but I never knew why.

Hai fatto tredici – why 13 isn’t bad luck in Italy

11. 5 Iconic Hunter Valley Chardonnays You Must Try

The Hunter Valley is known for its Semillon, but I’d say its Chardonnays are at least on a par. Putting these 5 examples toe to toe with the best Hunter Semillon would be an interesting challenge indeed.

5 iconic Hunter Valley Chardonnays you must try

10. What Is a Colourwalk? How to Take Your Travel Photography to The Next Level

As we enter the top 10 most popular stories, it’s no surprise to find Christina’s insightful piece on travel photography. 

Christina started creating Colourwalks of our neighbourhood mid-lockdown when we couldn’t leave our suburb.

It was a great way to feel like there was more to her walks than mere exercise, but she quickly discovered that it’s the perfect format for making travel photography more meaningful and cohesive. 

What is a Colourwalk? How to take your travel photography to the next level

9. Drive Your Own Great Barrier Reef Submersible from Home

We all love a bit of armchair travel, but what if – from your armchair – you could literally explore the Great Barrier Reef in real time? This incredible company lets you drive a real life submarine around the warm waters of Queensland any time of day or night!

Drive your own Great Barrier Reef submersible from home

8. Where to Stay in the Hunter Valley – Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort

Check out our video walkthrough of our villa and the grounds here.

Where to stay in the Hunter Valley – Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort

7. Bay Of Fires Winery Annual Release – The Only Good Thing to Come from 2020

Bay of Fires Winery annual release – the only good thing to come from 2020

6. Where to Stay in the Hunter Valley – Aldora Cottage, Pokolbin

Check out our video walkthrough of this gorgeous cottage in the Hunter Valley.

Where to Stay in the Hunter Valley – Aldora Cottage, Pokolbin

5. The Long Table Lunch of Our Dreams

On our last trip to the Hunter Valley, we were lucky enough to be invited to Whispering Brook Winery‘s truly magnificent Olive Long Table Lunch, which they do at the start of every June festival. 

This lunch, set between the glades of olive trees along a banquet table that stretches on and on, is like something out of a movie. If you don’t believe me, check out our video of the afternoon here.

Whispering Brook Estate Olive Long Table Lunch, Hunter Valley - Mr & Mrs Romance - cheers at the table

4. Hint Magazine 2021 – What We All Want for Christmas

We are so thrilled that our gift guide made it to number 4. It means you really value the incredible work that Christina put into the photography and design of our magazine – and hopefully the copy I wrote as well.

Hint Magazine 2021 – what we all want for Christmas

Click here for your free copy of Hint Magazine 2021

3. Top of The Steak – How to Make Café de Paris Butter

I genuinely thought my title for this was great when I wrote it. It’s supposed to be play on Top of the Lake – the brilliantly haunting TV drama starring Elisabeth Moss, David Wenham and Peter Mullan. 

Anyway, please don’t think that’s a reflection of this recipe. It’s superb and the café de Paris butter is delicious!

Top of the Steak – how to make Cafe de Paris butter

2. Lucio Pizzeria – Where to Find a Slice of Naples in Sydney

We’re absolutely stoked that you loved this story about Lucio’s so much. The pizzas – in fact all the dishes here – are so good and Lucio is a lovely guy. 

We were lucky enough to meet him and chat with him one chilly night in late April, and we probably made him feel a bit homesick just by the number of times we told him it felt just like we were back in Naples

Lucio Pizzeria – where to find a slice of Naples in Sydney

1. Thailand Dreaming – Things We Miss Most from The Land of Smiles

I mentioned earlier that you clearly love (and miss) Thailand as much as we do. Well, this is confirmation of it!

Our top most popular story – voted by your pageviews and interaction – is all about this wonderful country and all the things we’re missing about it. 

From the sublime beaches, to boisterous streets; from tranquil mountaintop temples to thrillingly manic nightmarkets… and that’s before we even start talking about the food! 

Thailand Dreaming – things we miss most from the Land of Smiles

Here’s our video about the things we miss from Thailand, and all the things we can’t wait to see and do when we get back there.

Top stories from 2021 - Thailand Dreaming - Ayutthaya

Thank you so much for supporting us. We hope we’ve brought you the same joy we feel from creating these stories and sharing them with you.

Have a wonderful Christmas and see you again in 2022.

Jim & Christina xx

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