As most foodies will tell you, there are few greater pleasures than a perfectly paired dining experience. Indeed, what makes our culinary love affair so profound is that it offers that unique combination of taste, aroma, and social togetherness.
Whether you blissfully spend your Saturday mornings wondering your local farmer’s market, spend your work week drooling over your culinary bucket list, or keep a secret picture of Mark Labrooy in your diary; we might label you a little food obsessed. But don’t worry, we’re not judging.
With help from the folks at BananaLab, we’ve put together a list of unique dining experiences foodies have to try this year.
Wonder The Farm in Byron Bay
Located in Byron Bay in northern NSW, The Farm is a working farm that houses a collection of micro-businesses all sharing a common goal. The folks from the famous Three Blue Ducks run the restaurant, cafe and produce store at The Farm. The venue is run by five mates who are passionate about nourishing the community with ethical, authentic, quality food and hospitality. They work closely with ethical local growers and producers to deliver tasty, interesting dishes that reflect the goodness of the produce grown onsite.
So bring along your picnic rug and wander the farm trail, passing the pigs in their mud bath, the macadamia orchard, the 700 Bond Brown chickens that lay The Farm’s eggs and the fields planted with produce that’s served in the restaurant. Find a spot you like, spread out your rug and feast at your leisure.
Check out Social Food Project
The Social Food Project was founded by chef, environmentalist, and social entrepreneur Ben McMenamin. They offer sustainable food experiences including pop-up dinners, private catering, cooking, demos and workshops. Ben will personally deliver dishes to your table, and also take the time to describe the stories behind the meal.
The revenue from these services go to fund social food projects, designed to connect local communities, teach people about the food system, and provide practical tools for being a more sustainable food citizen.
Book a spot at Fleet Restaurant
It would be remiss of us to overlook Fleet as one of those unique dining experiences you’d regret missing out on. Situated in the seaside village of Brunswick Heads in northern NSW, everything about this regional gem is worth waiting for. So take our advice, book now.
The menu and wine list, like Fleet, is concise. The seasonal menu is made up of a series of smaller dishes, each with a focus on a few primary ingredients. Fleet’s beverage list is equally fluid. It focuses on small, sustainable and mindfully produced wines with a mix of predominantly Australian producers.
Explore the Tasmanian food & wine scene
Pair world-class dining with a cool-climate wine scene and you’ll certainly have enough reasons to spend a weekend in Tasmania.
Twenty minutes north along the Derwent River will bring you to Stefano Lubiana Wines. Set in a Tuscan-style villa overlooking the river, the cellar door and restaurant is Hobart’s little slice of Italy. The wines are biodynamic, the food is fresh, local and seasonal and the views are fantastic. Just around the corner you’ll find the renowned Derwent Estate where you can sample stunning expressions of chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and pinot gris.
The folks at BananaLab also have a range of wineries and wine experiences you can tour from around Australia, all designed for you to customise depending on your preferences.
Set off on a truffle hunt
Set in the picturesque regional town of Wattle Flat, Victoria, lies one the earth’s richest culinary experiences. Just 1.5 hours northwest of Melbourne you’ll find Black Cat Truffles — and trust us, it’s a destination worth hunting for.
During the truffle season – from June to August – their beautiful black Perigord truffles are ready to harvest from the root system of 1,000 English and French oaks in their truffiere. Their careful extraction can only be done with the help of truffle dogs which have been specially trained to find the truffles below the surface.
Take yourself to dumpling heaven
There’s nothing better than a delicious, home made plate of dumplings. However, with so many amazing dumpling houses, how do you choose? In Melbourne, you’ll be spoilt for choice! When you take the Dumpling Discovery Walk you’ll visit several dumpling houses throughout the city. Each dumpling house is distinctly different.
On this tour, you’ll learn about Melbourne’s history, architecture and the strong influence the Chinese community have had since the gold rush days.
Visit Vue de monde
Vue de monde aims to provide one of those unique dining experiences, full of theatrics and flair that can’t be replicated anywhere else. The sourcing of rare ingredients and uncompromising approach to technique, service and quality makes each visit truely unforgettable. This dedication and pride has established Vue de monde as one of Australia’s most exciting restaurants.
In every instance possible, Vue de monde seeks out local produce, manufacturers and designers. We maintain long and respected relationships with our suppliers, allowing us to ensure the highest quality and commitment to sustainable and ethical techniques.
Try a cooking class with a difference
Learn to cook and by immersing yourself in your favourite cuisine with Foodie Trails. The experience is far from your average cooking class. You’ll embark on a walking tour that covers local cuisine hot spots from all four corners of the globe. The experience will open your mind to the art of cooking while equipping you with the flavours, origins, techniques of that cuisine — your taste buds will thank you later.
Head over to Harvest in Newrybar
If you’re a food and wine enthusiast, you’ll want to head out to Harvest in Newrybar. A short ride from Byron Bay, the restaurant, bakery and deli showcases the diversity of the wonderful local region. The restaurant and cafe within the trees is perfect for a weekend long-lunch or a getaway with friends.
With an award-winning wine menu showcasing all the favourite local drops and farm to table ethos, Harvest will surely prove why it’s one of the most unique dining experiences on the NSW north coast.
Need more inspiration?
From weekend travel inspiration, sustainable brands to shop and farm to table dining spots; to eco living hacks and wellbeing essentials – This Weekend is a sustainable living guide that’s good for you and the planet.