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Think gourmet destinations and Australia’s New South Wales should definitely be part of any list. With the superb quality of its local produce, world-class restaurants, and fine wines from 14 very different regions across the state, NSW has so much to offer any foodie’s discerning palate.

Make the most of the state’s gastronomic footprint with some of the best ways to relish and delight in its wonderful food and wine.

1. Experience epicurean delights at world-class restaurants

With over 100 restaurants in New South Wales awarded a prestigious chef hat, which signifies outstanding food quality, there is no shortage of superb choices to delight your inner epicure.

Momofuku Seiobo
Momofuku Seiobo

Indulge yourself at exceptional hatted restaurants in Sydney like Momofuku Seiobo, Mr Wong, Tetsuya, Sepia, and Rockpool Bar & Grill or explore cafes, pubs and eateries scattered across various foodie neighbourhoods in Sydney such as Redfern and Waterloo, Surry Hills, Chippendale, Potts Point and Wooloomooloo.

If it’s seafood you’re after, try Rick Stein at Bannisters on the New South Wales South Coast. From oysters to king prawns, scallops to barramundi, the seafood is freshly caught and superbly prepared. You can complete the experience by staying at the lovely rooms and beach houses at Bannister by the Sea.

2. Wine & dine at Hunter Valley

Just a short two-hour drive from Sydney is the premier wine-growing region Hunter Valley. Home to over 150 top-class wineries, vineyards, and cellar doors, it is a wonderful escape from the busy city where you can try its world-famous semillon, known for being the world’s best dry white wine.

While there, visit the vineyards where you can go for wine tastings, get a sneak peek at a day in the life of a viticulturist, or indulge yourself at gourmet restaurants such as French-themed Bistro Molines or art-filled restaurant Muse, which is set on a pretty hillside and serves clever contemporary food.

Hot air ballooning at dawn at the Hunter Valley. PHOTO: Destination New South Wales
Hot air ballooning at dawn at the Hunter Valley. PHOTO: Destination New South Wales

You may wish to time your Hunter Valley jaunt to coincide with the Hunter Valley Food and Wine Month in June, a highly anticipated event that showcases the region’s wine and food culture with activities such as cooking classes and how to make courses.

3. Savour local produce transformed into sophisticated, gourmet delights

Sydney’s local produce has always been a great selling point for the region, as evidenced by the numerous popular farmer’s markets that foodies flock to.

However, if you are in the mood for the freshest local ingredients interpreted into a gourmet meal, your best bet would be two hatted restaurant Biota in Bowral in the Southern Highlands. With a name that literally means “the animal or plant life of a particular region”, it is no wonder then that it has a kitchen garden and glass-house on site to grow shoots, cresses and seedlings.

biota

Make the most out of the 90-minute drive from Sydney and stay for the weekend at one of its 12 stylish accommodation rooms. Explore the surrounding Southern Highlands, or shop at the farmer’s market held within the grounds on the last Sunday of every month.

4. Dine with a view

With its food consistently rated as some of the best you can find in Australia, renowned chef Peter Gilmore’s three hated restaurant elevates the dining experience even further with a spectacular view of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the fantastic Sydney Harbour.

Talk about dining with a view. Enjoy your meal at Quay with a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour. PHOTO: DNSW, Penelope Beveridge
Talk about dining with a view. Enjoy your meal at Quay with a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour. PHOTO: DNSW, Penelope Beveridge

Located at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks, the restaurant uses Australia’s topnotch local produce for its exquisite modern Australian cuisine.

Peter Gilmore's famous snow egg.
Chef Peter Gilmore’s famous snow egg

Enjoy truly unique food topped off with his signature Snow Egg dessert, a ball of poached meringue with a decadent ice cream centre.

5. Escape for a jaunt to Orange, the food & wine mecca

Known as Australia’s Colour City, Orange is just 3 ½ hours drive from Sydney and is known for having some of the best food and wine in Australia with delicious local produce such as venison, truffles, cherries, apples and of course, cool climate wine.

The perfect time to experience the best that Orange has to offer is in April, for F.O.O.D. Week (Food Of Orange District), an annual event held over 10 days that showcases local producers and their products, local chefs and restaurants, and other food-related enterprises.

F.O.O.D. Week
F.O.O.D. Week

Take part in food tastings, cooking demonstrations, gate tours, music and picnics or if you’re lucky enough, a ticket to the sell-out Forage event. Visit restaurants, kitchens, markets, farms, and more.

Orange F.O.O.D. Week
Orange F.O.O.D. Week

If you’re more interested in wine, fly to Orange in October for Orange Wine Week for everything from wine tastings to winemakers’ discussions. And why not – with Orange’s cool climate and rich, volcanic soils, it produces some of the best wines around, starting with its ‘hero’ variety, the Sauvignon Blanc.

6. Fly away for Bells at Killcare

What can be more unforgettable than flying away from the city to eat Italian food created by the ‘godfather’ of modern Italian cuisine.

That man is none other than New South Wales chef Stefano Manfredi, who opened a restaurant at a country retreat on the New South Wales Central Coast in 2007 after already helming some of Sydney’s most famous restaurants.

Enjoy the casual beach-house vibe at Manfredi’s Bells at Killcare, complemented by a menu that beautifully utilises ingredients grown in its own orchard and kitchen garden.

Skip the easy one hour drive and instead, take the seaplane from Rose Bay. Soar above Sydney’s golden Northern Beaches Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House on the way to the restaurant. . Why not make the most of it and book into one of the luxurious guest suites at Bells at Killcare, book in a cooking class and discover why this is truly an ultimate foodie destination.

7. unWINEd in the Riverina

Many years ago, Italian migrants settled at the Riverina district, bringing with them their own regional cuisine and winemaking skills to create a distinct wine and food culture to southern NSW.

Now, Riverina is not only the largest wine producing region in New South Wales, it is also the second largest in Australia.

From June 6 to 8 this year, the winemakers of Riverina will collaborate in a weekend festival that invites guests to explore, taste, and “unWINEd”.

Enjoy the range of palate-tempting activities which will include tutored tastings, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, music, wine blending masterclasses and more.

8. New South Wales is the Australian Oyster Coast

New South Wales is renowned for a wide variety of seafood which you can sample at the Sydney Fish Market, the second-largest seafood market in the world. Here, in all its glistening glory is an astonishing selection of fresh and cooked seafood as well as seafood cooking classes with some of Sydney’s best chefs.

Cafe-Sydney_trio-oysters

Outstanding seafood from the NSW coast includes rock lobsters, which are found off the far north coast, and tuna of all types, along both north and south coasts. Just north of Sydney, the Hawkesbury River is fished for school prawns, mulloway, mud crabs and squid. While one of the best oysters in the world, the Sydney rock oyster is grown along the length of the NSW coast. Oyster lovers can journey along the Australian Oyster Coast, from Sydney to Eden on the New South Wales South Coast and in April take part on the Narooma Oyster Festival.