Hello February! Where did you come from? You’ve just appeared like some kind of month magic trick.
Not that I’m sad to see you. As months go, I think Feb’s one of the good ones. Short, to the point (even when it’s a day longer like this year), February has the intensity that most months miss.
In the northern hemisphere it’s often the coldest month right before spring. Here in the south, it’s usually the hottest of the 12. And really, it’s the start of the year for everyone, isn’t it? January’s just a practice run.
As for this Weekly Edition, just like February, we’re packing it all in.
We’re sampling some of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast’s finest produce and learning more about it before our trip there in August (more about that later) and checking out a new Sydney hotel at the same time.
We also get to try the new collaboration with the Sunshine Coast and Tim Tams!
There’s a new Sydney bar we’ve found, a new brewery and a new winery. And then we’re visiting the Croser Lounge at the Westpac Open Air Cinema.
I told you it’s a busy one.
We hope you enjoy this Weekly Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
This lunchtime, Christina and I have come to Potts Point for a lunch date at Spicers Potts Point.
In the middle of the very pretty Victoria Street, well back from the Cross, Spicers Potts Point and its ornate white balconied frontage is a rarity.
This tucked-away little retreat is a real gem and so discreet, we walked straight past it at first. Hiding behind the leaves of its tree-lined street, this Spicers carries the same beguiling yet grand homeliness inside that it suggests from its outside.
Ordinarily, this Spicers doesn’t have lunch or dinner options and isn’t a restaurant. But today, we’re enjoying the special attention of the Visit Sunshine Coast – the tourism board for perhaps one of the most underestimated parts of Australia’s east coast.
For starters, this rosé from Flame Hill Vineyard in Montville is extraordinary.
When you think of Queensland – especially the further north you go – wine isn’t something that springs immediately to mind. Yet this Bambino Rosé and Flame Hill’s Fiano and Barbera are outstanding.
Today, we’re at the culinary mercy of one of Spicers’ kingpin chefs – Cameron Matthews.
Currently based at the Hunter Valley’s Éremo Restaurant as Executive Chef, Cameron has come down to Sydney today to show us some of the finest produce coming from the Sunshine Coast.
We start off with an entree of Mooloolaba squid and Mountaintop Mushrooms, also from Montville. The squid is so tender, the mushrooms so fresh and Chef Cameron so skilled that the textures and flavours combine superbly. This is an incredible dish.
Along with the mushrooms and squid, we discovered macadamias, puffed wild rice and black sesame.
Mains come in the form of a wonderful prosciutto-style cured wagyu from Maleny, with a horseradish emulsion, a grilled spring onion and a chicken jus.
While we tuck in, we hear from Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford. He tells us some of the fascinating things happening in the Sunshine Coast, like the huge renovation to the Sunshine Coast Airport.
With a new runway that will make it Australia’s newest international hub, the Sunny Coast is set to see a lot of changes this year. The new runway is set to open in May.
Simon tells us of many other exciting developments in the Sunshine Coast. From new rooftop bars and taphouses to hotels featuring flash suites and luxe features.
Personally, I also found the award for best wellness spa in Australia award going to Ikatan Spa in Noosa very exciting. I went to the Ikatan Spa a few years ago and loved it.
Congratulations, guys. Well deserved.
But most exciting is hearing about the return of the Curated Plate this year. In its second year, this food festival goes from 6-9 August and showcases local produce in league with the brilliant minds of professional chefs.
This lunch is very much a prelude to this festival.
The full programme will be out in March, so watch this space – pre-sale tickets will come out around the same time.
I’m very much looking forward to being in the Sunshine Coast for the Curated Plate this year. We’ll see you there!
Another bit of exciting news is that Tim Tams have partnered with the Sunshine Coast to produce quite possibly the most delicious iteration of my favourite chocolate biscuit: Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream.
Keep your eye open for this special limited release. They won’t last long… not if I get to them first!
We get to take some of these tasty suckers home, along with a few other choice morsels from the Sunshine Coast. These Buderim dark choc ginger snacks disappear so easily!
We also get some other local produce to take home – another taste of what the Curated Plate will be like this year.
Delicious chutneys, macadamia snacks and elegant teas will all be on show at the festival.
I also hope there’s more of this rocky road style choc from Kokopod. It’s excellent. I’d even put it up against our neighbour’s rocky road recipe – but don’t tell her that!
We also snag a few of the remaining brews from lunch – the benefit of being the last to leave! Flame Tree’s Fiano is a real winner, and interestingly a popular varietal in the UK at the moment. We’re glad to see it’s a wine that’s come here too.
We also have some of the Sunshine Coast Cider that I can’t wait to have more of. There are also some cans of the Brouhaha Brewery’s Maleny Lager I’ve very happy about. Such a lovely drop – rich and full-bodied for a lager, yet wonderfully refreshing.
After lunch, Christina and I can’t help ourselves; directly opposite Spicers Potts Point is the Butler.
This bar is quite a surprise, with its small discreet frontage leading on to a deep, three-level establishment with a veranda looking out over Woolloomooloo and the city.
It’s a popular spot but we snag a table before things get too busy here and sneak in a cheeky martini (perfectly made) and a glass of rosé. We may or may not have ordered a bowl of fries too.
We did. They were awesome!
Definitely a bar to keep in mind if you’re looking for a cool space with outdoor and indoor seating. Drinks are brilliantly made and all the food we saw coming past us (as well as the fries that landed on our table) looked delicious too.
This evening, we’ve made our way through the Botanic Gardens to the Westpac Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. It’s a seasonal venue that’s been going for a fair few years now, but it never gets boring. What a location!
Even better though, we’re here to check out the Croser Lounge – a dedicated VIP area hosted by the best Australian sparkling you’ll find. From this elevated perspective, you get unparalleled views of the harbour and all its best features, not to mention some of the finest people watching around.
You can buy the Croser Lounge Upgrade to your ticket here.
To top things off, we’re here at the Croser Lounge with our mate Raf from Travel Lifestyle and his lovely friend Sophie Benbow.
Nothing like enjoying a glass or two of excellent bubbles with good people.
As the sun sets, we get ready to make our way to our specially reserved seats at the Open Air Cinema in the Croser section. But there’s always time for one more quick photo!
The sight of the screen seeming to rise out of the water never gets old. Everyone suddenly gets very excited and hurries to their seats.
And as the light fades to gold behind the city, the red screen comes to life.
Not only are Croser making incredible sparkling and providing us with the best seats in the house at the Open Air Cinema tonight, they’re also running an amazing fund-raiser at the moment.
Until 22nd Feb 2020, Croser are running a social competition for the chances to win a trip to Adelaide Hills.
As you will know, Adelaide Hills has recently been affected by the bushfires – Croser offers this prize as part of their continued support to the community, encouraging tourism and spending in the areas which need it most.
To enter, all you have to do is share a photo of your ‘Croser Moment’ at the Westpac Open Air Cinema featuring a glass or bottle of Croser, post the photo to Instagram using the hashtag #CroserMoment and tag @crosersparkling.
Good luck. Adelaide Hills needs all the help we can give it, so please take part.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Weekly Edition. See you next time.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
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