Uncorked & Cultivated

Lily Bollinger once said, “I only drink Champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.”

Lily was a very smart woman, but did you know, according to Peter Scudamore-Smith, that Prosecco is now considered the largest selling sparkling wine in the world, just overtaking Champagne.

Italian ProsecoAl and I recently attended an aperitivi and canapés evening hosted by Peter and his wife Denise and their business Uncorked & Cultivated. The evening focused on tasting Italian and French wines and also promoted their upcoming food and wine tours to Tuscany, Piemonte and Sicily and the Champagne, Burgundy and Rhone regions of France.

DSC02834Here’s what we tasted:

  • Astoria Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2012, $38 available from The Wine Emporium
  • Gavi DOCG 2012, Piemonte, $29.99 available from Dan Murphy’s
  • Chateau Thieuley, Bordeaux 2011 Sauvignon-Semillon, $28 available from The Wine Emporium
  • Chateau D’Angles Languedoc 2008 Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, $37 contact Peter for stockist
  • Barolo DOCG 2007 Nebbiolo La Morra Piemonte, $95 contact Peter for stockist

The Astoria Prosecco and the Piemonte Gavi made for very easy drinking. Perfect with a light lunch or afternoon drinks with cheese and ciabatta. Al enjoyed the complex flavours of the Nebbiolo most of all.

Peter holds the prestigious Master of Wine award which is recognised as the highest achievement in the global wine community. This title and qualification recognises wine experts who have worldwide knowledge of tasting, making and marketing wine and skills in wine writing. Globally there are approximately 300 Masters of Wine. The title reflects a lifelong dedication to upholding and promoting the highest educational and professional standards in the wine industry.

You might think talking wine with Peter would be pretentious but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is down to earth and unassuming and enjoys sharing his knowledge in a simple and easy to understand way.

Peter and Denise lead small boutique tours (limited to 12 people), visiting restaurants and wineries they have a personal connection with. It sounds brilliant and is definitely on our travel agenda for the future!

Lots more information about the Uncorked & Cultivated tours and other interesting wine news can be found here.

For the Love of Food was a guest of Peter Scudamore-Smith.



Sirromet winery and Tuscan Terrace

“There’s no such thing as a great wine from Queensland.” This was the statement that sparked the beginning of Sirromet Winery. Queensland entrepreneur and
businessman, Terry Morris was determined to prove his Victorian friends wrong. Since opening in 2000 Sirromet has collected over 700 prestigious national and international wine awards, most recently recognised as a 5-star winery by James Halliday.

DSC02766On a sunny Autumn day, the Sirromet wine tour followed by lunch at the Tuscan Terrace is a great way to spend a few hours. The ambiance is relaxed and the view is gorgeous, just make sure you nominate a dedicated driver!

View to the Tuscan TerraceOur wine tour, led by guide Donna, took us down into the vines, up to the main building, including viewing Terry Morris’ private wine cellar, winemaker Adam Chapman’s wine sensory room, the barrel room (which was set up for a wedding reception), wine production area and finally, to the cellar door.

Once back at the cellar door, Donna explained the six ‘S’s to tasting: Stem (hold by the); See it; Smell it; Swirl it; Sip it; Savour it. Al and I actually thought of another one, ‘Scull it’, which I wouldn’t recommend, but it did make people laugh.

Cellar door tasting roomAs you would expect, we were given the spiel about joining Club Sirromet gold or silver membership but it wasn’t a hard sell and the benefits are quite good if you wanted to try the full range of Sirromet wines and enjoy discounts on meals and other events.

After tasting a full range of whites and reds from sparkling through to dessert wine, we were ready to enjoy lunch at the Tuscan Terrace. The menu is extensive, much bigger than I was expecting. It covers everything from wood-fired pizza and hand-made pasta dishes through to veal scaloppini, slow-braised lamb shanks and light options like the chargrilled pear salad and the Tuscan salad with smoked salmon. It really does cover a lot of bases, catering to everyone’s needs.

We enjoyed; large green olives stuffed with spicy pork, crumbed and fried (a serve of ten $14.90), beer battered chips with salsa verde and garlic aioli ($10.90), Tuscan crudo pizza with Italian meatballs, fresh mozzarella, sugo, salami, white anchovy, ham, mushrooms and mortadella ($24.90) and one of the specials of the day, wood-fired ham hock, wilted peppered cabbage, truffle potato mash, pork crackling with a Sirromet cider and wild mushroom sauce (big enough for two people $29.90).

The food, using premium ingredients was seriously tasty. We enjoyed it all, but in particular the ham hock dish was sensational. Andrew told us he soaks the hock overnight in a brine and then cooks for several hours in a slow oven. The cabbage braised in pepper and vinegar and the velvety truffle mash were perfect accompaniments as was the cider and mushroom sauce. So tasty!

The specials board on this particular day also included South Australian mussels ($22.90), char-grilled fillet of Spanish mackerel ($27.90) and baked seafood lasagna ($27.90). There is also a children’s menu ranging in price from $12.90 to $17.90.

Despite my love of dessert, there was no way I could manage another bite but the choices on the day (for those who need to know) were Tiramisu; crisp meringues with fresh fruit, chantilly cream and shaved white chocolate or the warm gluten free orange, pine nut, almond and chocolate cake served with vanilla bean gelato. All $12.90.

Located at Mt Cotton, Sirromet is a pleasant drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast and would make a brilliant weekend day-trip.

Tuscan Terrace: Open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 3pm and Sunday 11am to 3.30pm.

Winery tour and tastings ($20 per person)
Wednesday and Thursday – 12.00pm
Friday – 10.30am, 12.00pm and 2.30pm
Saturday and Sunday – 10.30am, 11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, and 3.00pm

Check out some of Chef Andrew’s recipes here.

Sirromet Winery
850 Mount Cotton Road
Mount Cotton

 For the Love of Food enjoyed the wine tour and lunch as a guest of Sirromet Winery.



Bird’s eye view of food in Adelaide

If you’ve been reading my recent posts about Adelaide and the Tasting Australia festival then you’ll know that I ate some pretty tasty food, all of which was beautifully presented. This post is dedicated to share platters and the bird’s eye view.

The first two images are from the Words to Go Seriously South Australian dinner held at The Hilton restaurant The Brasserie (executive chef, Lloyd Cremer).

Entree: Kangaroo slider with blood plum ketchup; rosella and rhubarb glazed pork belly, aniseed myrtle, pink lady apple; Coffin Bay oysters, apple ponzu and crisp chicken skin; Chickpea fritters with pistachio labneh and sumac onions.

DSC02585Dessert: Adelaide Hills strawberries, finger limes, buttermilk panacotta, scorched meringue, basil creme fraiche; Woodside swag (cheese), beetroot caramel, roast baby beets and brioche; pear frangipane tart, pear-bourbon gel, almond and ginger granola; Paris Creek creme brulee with tonka beans, salt bush and macadamia nut shortbread.

DSC02596It didn’t last long.

DSC02601I was lucky enough to visit Bird in Hand winery in the Adelaide Hills to do a cheese master class and make feta with Udder Delights cheese maker, Sheree Sullivan. The cheese education and lunch was superb. Check out Udder Delights cheese wedding cakes.

DSC02651IMG_1801You’ll be pleased to know my finished feta made the trip home to Brisbane in my carry-on luggage.

IMG_1815For the Love of Food was a guest of Tasting Australia at the WordstoGo dinner and the cheese-making lunch.


Adelaide Central Market

Call me crazy but I actually get a little buzzy and excited when visiting food markets. I find supermarkets depressing, they lack personality and warmth and no matter how hard Coles and Woolies try to create that ‘market atmosphere’ in the fresh food section, I’m not buying it!

South-east Queensland does have a lot of farmers markets to visit on weekends but I would kill to live within walking distance of a regular market. Ok, maybe not kill, but it would be so inspiring to have something as wonderful as Adelaide Central Market on my doorstep. Pretty sure my grocery bill would sky rocket but how lovely to buy fresh produce and product from local suppliers.


Our Words to Go group, courtesy of Tasting Australia did a walking tour of the market with Callum Hann (former Masterchef contestant). Callum is a lovely young man who freely shared his knowledge and showed us some of his favourite things to buy at the market (fig and walnut bread and Kangaroo Island honey).

We sampled delicious cheese from the The Smelly Cheese Shop, yoghurt from The Yoghurt Shop, bread from Wild Loaf and small-goods from Lucia’s Fine Foods.

My friend Heike (check out her blog But it Tasted Good) and I enjoyed breakfast at Zuma Caffe before the market tour. The food was fresh and very reasonably priced.

If you intend visiting Adelaide, make sure you include a market visit in your itinerary. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did.

Adelaide Central Markets

Opening hours: Tues 7am – 5.30, Wed 9am – 5.30, Thurs 9am – 5.30, Fri 7am – 9pm, Sat 7am – 3pm, Sun & Mon closed.

Tasting Australia in Adelaide

I’m ashamed to say that my only real understanding of Adelaide was of a city with lots of churches that you needed to travel to if you wanted to experience the Barossa, Clare Valley or Adelaide Hills wine regions.

Naturally, it was on my list of travel destinations if only to visit Maggie’s kitchen and farm shop in the Barossa (that’s Maggie Beer in case you have no idea who I’m talking about).

On this visit, which was organised by SA Tourism and Tasting Australia, I didn’t get out to the Barossa but I did get to meet Maggie who is as delightful and funny and generous in person as she appears on your TV screen.

DSC02528Always wanting to seek out the coolest coffee shops, I had been given a tip that Hello Yes was a place to visit. The cafe was an easy walk from the Hilton Hotel (located at 12 Eliza St, CBD) but when I arrived at 9am the roller door was still shut. Doh… open at 10am, so I set off for a big walk to fill in the hour. Clearly everyone enjoys a Sunday morning sleep-in.


Hello Yes feels like an op-shop with old doors as tables, mismatched chairs, old couches, bicycles, books and an interesting array of artwork. Check out the hanging dolls head in the photo below.

DSC02513The coffee was good (De Groot Coffee), the service friendly and the menu interesting. I opted for the house-made bagel which was lightly toasted with avo and whipped feta.

My next stop was the Tasting Australia free public event in Victoria Square. Food trucks Fork on the Road lined the street selling every type of food you could imagine. The main Tasting Australia area was beautifully decorated and had plenty of hay bail seating and a fully functioning stage kitchen where celebrity chefs did their thing in front of a packed out crowd.

After much deliberation over what to eat for lunch I settled on the Sneaky Pickle tasting plate ($12), which consisted of a smoked pulled pork and slaw bun, a pastrami, cheese and mustard on rye bun and fried pickles with mayo. It was fresh and delicious.


My next Adelaide post will focus on the Words to Go bloggers conference where we not only enjoyed some inspirational learning but also a fantastic lunch, dinner, tour of the Adelaide Central Markets and Udder Delights cheese-making in the Adelaide Hills at Bird in Hand winery.

Tasting Australia is a biennial event, which promotes the best that the nation has to offer in produce, food products, wines and beers, and hospitality and tourism. I was invited to attend as a food blogger (#wordstogo14). For the Love of Food paid for flights and accommodation. Conference lunch, dinner, market tour and cheese-making activity was provided free of charge.

A taste of Tuscany at Black Pearl Epicure

Approximately 8% of Australians enjoyed international travel last year. I wasn’t one of them! However, if you’ve been reading my blog recently, you’ll know that I did enjoy international travel this year (2014) so hooray for me 🙂

Tuscany has long been on my list of ‘must visit’ destinations and after attending the Taste of Tuscany event with Dominique Rizzo, hosted by Travel Team and Black Pearl Epicure, I’m keener than ever to visit.

The evening started with a glass of Lindemans Early Harvest Sparkling Rose and cheese tasting (Italian of course). Black Pearl has regular free cheese tastings, well worth checking out while you marvel (and possibly purchase) some of the beautiful local and imported products. The range of vinegars, olive oils and single-origin chocolates is sensational.

Back to Tuscany…

Passionate about all things Italian, Dominique Rizzo leads an 8 day food tour through Tuscany where you’ll visit markets, take cooking classes, enjoy wine and cheese tastings, eat where the locals eat and enjoy the company of other food lovers. Click here for more info.

To inspire our taste buds and get us thinking about the flavours of Italy, Dominique whipped up a feast for no less than 70 people. Seriously, there was enough food to feed 100 and oh my goodness, it was good. Simple flavours, fresh ingredients and easy cooking techniques. She gave us tips and tricks to get the most of our the ingredients (I’ll most definitely be trying the moist chicken breast tip) and entertained us with stories of her childhood while living with, and visiting her Italian family.

I was definitely inspired to recreate some of these rustic Tuscan dishes and let’s face it, cooking Italian food while listening to opera is just like being there… isn’t it?

What’s your favourite Italian dish?

Black Pearl Epicure (open Monday to Saturday)

Travel Team, 54 Baxter St, Fortitude Valley

Dominique Rizzo, chef/writer/presenter

For the Love of Food was a guest at this event.

Hanoi cooking class

“Today we’ll be making seafood spring rolls, banana flower salad, caramel pork and black sesame seed and peanut che, but first to the local market” said our bubbly guide, Chef Duyen from the Hanoi Cooking Centre.

A short walk and we were at a local shop front with everything from dog food to six varieties of rice, all sitting happily next to one another. Then onto the bustling market which also acted as a drive-thru supermarket with people on their scooters stopping to pick up supplies for dinner. It looks like chaos but in actual fact, the markets are a well-oiled machine. I loved watching people go about their normal daily routine buying meat or seafood for the family dinner.

We purchased pork belly for the caramel pork dish and silk worms to make a quick and easy beer snack.

DSC01014You’ll notice in the foreground of the image above, some creamy looking nuggets that look a bit like beans. These are… wait for it… rooster testicles! Chef Duyen asked us if we’d be keen to try a dish made with these but we declined much to the amusement of the ladies behind the stall.

Our guide told us that her little boy was occasionally still wetting the bed and her mother told her she must feed him some testicles to fix the problem. She made the suggested testicle dish but when her son refused to eat it, she said she just couldn’t waste the protein and had to eat it herself. She said they are definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone.

Back at the cooking school, we were handed over to the young chef who would be looking after us for the rest of the morning.

First up, we fried the silk worms adding garlic, chilli and finely sliced kaffir lime leaf. A splash of soy sauce and we were ready to try but not before we were handed two cold beers. After all, this is a snack to have with beer! The worms have a surprisingly nutty flavour, a little chewy, certainly not unpleasant but I think it’s a taste you have to grow up with. A bit like vegemite I guess.

We then got straight onto the caramel pork so it would have plenty of time in the oven. You’ll need:

  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/&1/4 cup of caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • cracked black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Heat your oven to 160 degree celsius. Slice the pork into cubes and place in a shallow tray to marinate for 20 minutes with two tablespoons of fish sauce, the garlic, shallots and pepper. Place a clay pot or an oven-proof pot into the oven to preheat.

In a hot wok, heat a small amount of oil and sear the pork. Keep tossing the work so the pork is evenly coloured and doesn’t stick. Add the caramel sauce, fish sauce and a small amount of water and bring to the boil.

Transfer the contents of the work to the heated pot and cook in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until tender. Taste and if desired add a good splash of fish sauce and cook uncovered for another 15 to 30 minutes. Serve with rice.

DSC01043The banana flower salad was my favourite dish of the day which is funny considering I’m not a fan of the old banana. The flower doesn’t actually carry any banana flavour but has a great crunchy texture. I just hope I can find them at markets somewhere close to home as I’m really keen to give this one a go.


We were lucky enough to have a private class so it was very hands-on. After class, the food is served to you in the lovely cooking school restaurant upstairs. It was a really great morning. We took away some food knowledge, new flavour combinations to try and two Hanoi Cooking School aprons. The market tour and class went for 4.5 hours and cost approximately $65 AUS.

The Hanoi Cooking Centre is run and owned by Australian Chef Tracey Lister, co-author of KOTO – A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam and Vietnamese Street Food.

Hanoi Cooking Centre
44 Chau Long Street
Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Contact: info@hanoicookingcentre.com

This is not a sponsored post. Al and I paid for all accommodation, tours and classes on our Vietnamese holiday.