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Favourite Food

&

Travel quotes

 

Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures. - M.F.K. Fisher

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We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character. – Henry David Thoreau

 


 

National days.....

 

Gambia 18 February  (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1965)

On the menu in Gambia....

Trivia for Gambia: The land area of The Gambia into the UK 206 times!

 


 

Kosovo 17 February (see 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence)

On Kosovo's menu....

Kosovo trivia: It is Europe's newest country.

 


 

Lithuania 16 February  (Lithuanian State Re-establishment Day, declaration of independence from Russia and Germany 1918)

On the menu in Lithuania....

Lithuanian trivia: Six hundred years ago Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe.

 


 

SerbiaFebruary 15  (1835) The beginning of the Serbian revolution against Ottoman rule 1804, first constitution 1835

 

What is eaten in Serbia?

Serbian trivia: Serbia produces over 30% of the world’s raspberries and is the world’s largest  exporter, of them.

 


 

Iran 11 February  (Victory of Islamic Revolution)

On the menu in Iran...

Trivia about Iran....it is the world's biggest producer of pistachios, as well as saffron.

 


 

Japan 11 February  (National Foundation Day, Jimmu, the first emperor, is crowned in year 660 BC)

What is the cuisine of Japan?

Japanese trivia...Japan's national anthem is based on a 9th century poem.

 


 

Grenada 7 February   (Independence from United Kingdom1974)

 

What's on the menu in Grenada?

Grenada trivia: An underwater volcano surfaced in 2001. It is called Kick-'em-Jenny.

 

New Zealand 6 February  (Waitangi Day, signing of the Treaty of Waitangi 1840)

The food of New Zealand...

Trivia: Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have any dangerous or poisonous animals (with the one tiny exception of the Katipo Spider). More……

 


 

MexicoFebruary 5  (1917). See Constitution of Mexico.

 

The food of Mexico....

Trivia: A Mexican tamale called the zacahuil is three feet long and weighs about 150 pounds. More...

 


 

Sri Lanka 4 February  (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1948, still under name of Ceylon)

Dining in Sri Lanka...

Trivia: The spice cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka and was discovered by the Egyptians. More….

 


 

Food related events....

US food festivals in FEBRUARY 2018

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Food festivals WORLDWIDE in FEBRUARY.

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

Food history

oldfoodie

...visit The Old Foodie.

 


See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!

 



 

 SMART TRAVELLING

 

How SAFE is my destination?

Australian travellers can find out here......

 



 

Australian travellers - do you need a visa?

Check the visa requirements by country...

Read more....

 


 

Packing tips

What you may and may not be allowed to carry onboard an aircraft, or pack in checked baggage.

Find out here....

 


 

Will you need an umbrella?

 

What will the weather be like where you are going?

Or where you are right now?

Find out here...

 

What will the temperature be in every month?

 

OR

will you need to pack a sunhat?

 

Find this out too....

 


 

Check the TIME

Don't miss that flight! Never be late again when travelling.

Use the world clock to find out the local time....

 


 

WORLD CURRENCIES

Which currency will you need in the countries you plan to visit.

See them all here...

&

Check out the current exchange rate..... 

 


 

Airport codes

Baffled by those codes on your intinerary? Don't know where you will be landing?

Check this site....

 


 

On the road

Drivers! You need to know this about drinking and driving overseas.

Learn more...

 


 

HELP!

How to get urgent assistance  when you need it!

World emergency numbers....

 


 

Have you had your travel shots?

Make sure you are covered for serious diseases in other countries....

 

 

 

traveltipstop

 

Ever had a mid-air disaster ...with spilled wine in your luggage?

Never again if you use these....

 

 


food_of_week_02

A latte that can help your health!

Find out how....

 


triviatop

ciaos

 
BEFORE you travel here are some hints about what to read and watch.

 

 

 

A Swiss first! A climate-neutral ship.

Meet this eco-friendly way to cruise.... 


 

 

books

.............and Apps and DVDs


 

Travel secrets galore in three new Jonglez city guidebooks.

Find out what and where....

 


 

London's Covent Garden is a micro-city within a city.

Learn its secrets here.....

 


 

A New Zealand social enterprise shares its secrets.

Enjoy these recipes.

 


 

Raw and random, this is probably not the France you know.

A fascinating glimpse of another side of the country.

 


 

Even if you can't make it to the Big Apple this Christmas....

...its food can come to you.

 


 

This challenging book, from a gifted entrepreneurial French-born chef, will inspire everyone, not only food lovers.

Find out more here.....

 



Cooks and travellers!

Love Mexican food?

or French cuisine? Now you can have both now with authentic recipes.

Read more....

 


 

Hardcore meatlovers, this is for YOU!

Meat dishes you could never have dreamed of...

 



Let's head for LA and its best food!

Cult recipes discovered by an expert....

 


Good hearty food at any time - plenty to get your teeth into.

Ross Dobson does it again....

 


 

No time to cook? Here's a lifeline.

Find the answers you need....

 


 

Good carbs, bad carbs is there a difference?

Everything you ever need to know about carbs...

 


 

Everyone loves secrets - especially about favourite places.

  

These will be invaluable....

 


 

One of the most unusual books you will read - a memoir of sorts. The journey is through life and discovering its answers - or even more questions.

Read more....

 


 

Take a food trail every weekend of the year - that's the offer from Lonely Planet...

...going global with the world's tastiest destinations.

 


 

Now you can cook meals like a cafe-chef pro. All day every day!

Read more...

 


 

Lucio does it again with co-author David Dale as this time they explore the coast of three countries.

Find out more....

 


 

For those keen to know about the food of the Adriatic Coast, this is the ideal book.

See more here.....

 


 

Reprinted 2017

Don't think you know enough French to travel in France?

This book might give you confidence......

 


 

Start planning for Tokyo 2020 Olympics or go earlier.

This guide is what you need....

 


 

Did you think salads were only for summer?

Think again!....

 


 

Always wanted to visit Turkey? You've been, and loved the food?

This book is for you....

 


 

One of Australia's top chefs, shares good and tasty dishes for home cooks.

Read more here...

 


 

It's that 'sweet spot' of the year when some sugary treats are even more welcome.

Sweeten up your life....

 


 

Trivia buffs - this book is for you.

Especially if you love to travel...

 


Just in time for the holiday season.

Check your favourite wineries....

 


 

Three cities full of secrets.

     

Learn where they are.....

 


 

Take a trip to stylish Amsterdam!

It will be worth the trip....

 


 

The world's BIGGEST bread cookbook.

See for yourself...

 


 

A true story of survival of a family and the cuisine of their homeland.

A must-read....

 


If you love a bit of mystery and wackiness with your travel, this book is for you.

Find out all about it....

 


 

There is much more to Rio de Janeiro than meets the eye.

Discover its secrets....

 


 

Do you need some travel ideas? Here are 1001 historic sites to visit.

Start planning now...

 


 

Ah, Chocolate! Here presented by 'the queen of chocolate'!

Find out more....

 


 

If you always thought cooking Indian was too difficult....

... think again and see how easy it can be.

 


 

Find out what Edinburgh has been hiding.

Read more here.....

 


 

Need somewhere to rest during a busy day in London?

Here are about a hundred ideas....

 


 

Do you love Paris? Would you like to really know your way around?

This book will show you how...

 


 

Favourite cookery book writer Anneke Manning, opens her BakeClub files.

See what she is sharing...

 


 

What's for dinner? Now you kn ow with the help of this expert.

Nadia's book has the answers....

 


 

Is there such a thing as a quiet spot in Los Angeles?

This book shares 120 of them....

 


 

Sydney has many precincts and now you may explore them.

See what you may have been missing out on....

 


 

Have you been to Berlin? This book will make you want to visit.

Read more....

 


 

Something for every day of the year from famous writers and speakers through the ages.

Read more.....

 


 

Now you can cook all your favourite foods from Japan's capital.

Find out about it...

 


 

Spend some time with Australia's 'Queen of Nyona'.

Learn her history and Asian cooking secrets....

 


 

Looking for a way to spend your weekends in Australia in 2016? 

Here are 52 suggestions complete with things to do and places to eat....

Read more...

 

 

 

 

Window on the Mornington Peninsula

Brought to you by the letter G.... 

 

....grapes galore, gourmet goodies, a glass sculpture gallery, golf courses....

.......even this ginormous jumbo! It's all here, in the Eden at Melbourne's back door.

Where are we?

On a map, the Mornington Peninsula looks like the eastern 'claw' of a pair of crab-like pincers almost entirely encircling Port Phillip, the bay on which Melbourne is located. The western 'pincer', the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, is also easily reached, so read on to find out how you can do this too.

After just over 45-minutes zipping down the freeway from the city to Frankston, the northern entrance, you can feel the mood changing as glimpses of the bay and farmland appear. Ahhh! Short-break territory at its best, here we come.

We arrive hungry, but the peninsula is used to that. Well-fed, coffee-conscious Melburnians (city-folk) need to be assured of their high expectations being met at meal times, and the locals have got that point well and truly sorted.

First stop is brunch at The Holy Bean Cafe in Rosebud, a beachy bayside suburb. The vibe is relaxed, with the sort of food you want before a day of sight-seeing and wine-tasting (well, that's what we had in mind, anyway).

 

The menu is gently Asian with a health twist (granola, sourdough bread, vegetarian, gluten-free) with brekkie staples of smashed avo and corn fritters. There are three roasts of coffee to match the cafe's name. Oh, and they pack hampers if you want to breakfast in style on the sand or out on your boat.

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The tasty hinterland

Not all the action happens on the beachfront, though. Red Hill is the epicentre of much of the enticements drawing visitors to the peninsula. Today, the phrase 'a weekend in the Mornington' conjures up visions of wine and food, galleries and relaxation in a scenic, hedonistic hinterland packed with artisan producers, orchards, wineries and vineyards. Basically it is pretty correct.

Small cafes are often the best place to eat as they are less crowded than busy beach ones, and this bakery is one of two in the area, selling (as the name suggests) its own magnificent breads.

This large mural on a wall in Red Hill underlines the fact though, that in the beginning of European settlement in the early 19th century, this was a hard-working area, the land covered with she-oaks (a type of casuarina)  which was quickly cleared to make way for farmland and orchards.

A passenger train still runs to Frankston and across to Hastings but, if you like a touch of history with your travel, there is a heritage railway running 45-minute steam or heritage diesel tours each Sunday, from Moorooduc to Mornington and return.

The peninsula's small communities are connected by a web of smaller roads, some unsealed. Getting (a little) lost is just part of the fun of exploring, but keep a map handy or use your GPS, if time is limited, as it can get a bit 'Alice in Wonderland' and you may find yourself back at the beginning by mistake!

The Mornington's true Mediterranean climate means that dairy products, berries, fruit, and wines are of the highest quality and are easily available - some even from the roadside in the right season. On the coast - never more than fifteen minutes' drive away - watch out for freshly caught fish, mussels and other seafood as well.

Nothing is very far away from anything else, and the mix of drawcards extends to all interests: taste wines, ride horses, pick-your-own berries. It's all on offer.

Because fresh produce is seasonal, do your homework before you come, and check whether the produce you want to pick or buy is in season. The beauty of regional food is that it obeys the elements, and no matter how much we love strawberries, for instance, they only ripen to perfection when the sun and rain says so!

If you miss out on one treat, there are plenty more. Pick up a Mornington Peninsula brochure to locate all the other option. You'll discover breweries, cider-makers – pear and apple - providore shops, regional markets, farmgate sales - including U-pick, as well as local producers of honey, orchards, berry farms, olives, cheese-makers, bakeries sand more. There is even a Wine Food Farmgate trail with enough things to set your head spinning - or maybe to make you book in for another few days!

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Or did you just want to see the beaches?

Rosebud is just one of a long string small beachside communities facing westwards. Ideally-located for sunset viewing over Port Phillip, by day it gathers water sports' lovers. For family fun each summer there are sand sculpting exhibitions from Boxing Day at Frankston, the main northern centre.

But we were drawn to the beach when we saw giant colourful 'commas' punctuating the sky over the bay. It seemed there were hundred floating above us and into the far distance, and it was a mesmerising experience.

SEE MORE on this lovely video>>>


 

The long sandy beaches are ideal for great kite surfing (which, of course is what we had seen, above) surfing, SUP, swimming with dolphins or fishing charters. Further south at Rye, a bunch of seagulls were staying close, eager to clear up food scraps  - or better still a beach fisherman's catch.

And in case you fear that the only fare in the area is F&C or hamburgers, the good news is we discovered this lovely French-owned cafe, Sacrebleu, serving crepes, pastries, pates and salads just across the road from the beach.

A feature of Port Phillip's bayside beaches are these bathing ‘boxes’ . Count yourself lucky if you know someone who has one of these brightly-painted, privately licensed little cabins, as they make a great base for a day at the beach. These are at Dromana and it is easy to see the pride families take in them.

Not everyone knows that the first European settlement in Victoria was in 1803 at Sorrento, almost at the narrow tip of the peninsula. It predated Melbourne's colony in 1835 by over 30 years. Begun by free settlers and convicts it was shortlived, due to a lack of adequate water.

Today's Sorrento, shaded by huge Norfolk pines, is a scenic and casual place to relax before heading on around the toe of the peninsula, or else inland to Red Hill.

Portsea, long coveted as the most upmarket address on the peninsula, is just beyond Sorrento. It was in 1967, at nearby Cheviot Beach, named for a shipwreck eighty years earlier, that Australia's Prime Minister, Harold Holt, disappeared when swimming. His body was never found.

Nearby, the tips of the two peninsulas almost meet at the entrance to the bay, and the area is well-known as hazardous for swimmers. Unsurprisingly this stretch of water is known as The Rip.

  

If you have time, it is worth driving through the Mornington Peninsula National Park. There are magnificent coastal views, hiking trails and the opportunity to see native flowers, birds and animal life.

Take a look at this map and decide carefully what you might do here. Notice it encompasses four walks, each of which would be a good workout, but the map also advises that you can string them together for a hundred-kilometre (gulp!) continuous 'walk'. That's not as bad as it sounds, though, as you can also see on the map where there are places available to stop and eat and relax to really enjoy the magnificent surroundings.

At the furthest point south on the peninsula is Cape Schanck LighthouseBuilt in 1859, the second lighthouse in the state, this was essential in the early days of settlement as it marks the division between the restless waters of Bass Strait to the west and the calmer Western Port to the east. 

It's a bleak shoreline here and from the tip of the peninsula the next-stop Tasmania across the wild waters of the strait.

 

If you keep driving on along the coastline, you will find yourself now on the eastern edge of the peninsula, soon to pass through small and beautiful Flinders and then arrive at Merricks and its beach.

Merrick’s General Store – the name does not do it justice. It is so much more: a restaurant and cafe, food and wine seller, and gallery with exhibitions of local art.

So, have you been wondering about that elephant at the top of the page?

This is where you'll find it, in the garden beside the store, adjoining The Verandah, the ideal place to relax with a coffee and a muffin, or breakfast.

Inside the store there are shelves and fridges groaning with the wealth of local produce from the area. Come here for wines, oils, olives, jams, condiments, cheeses .....oh, just get here and see for yourself the variety and high standard of products, all from this tiny part of Victoria.

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Other places to put on your list:
  • A little further north you can glimpse French Island in Western Port. It is a cute little eco-island accessible by ferry from Crib Point. The island has basic accommodation, a large number of koalas, echidnas, native birds and flora.
  • Enjoy extensive views from the peninsula's highest point, Arthurs Seat. Take the Arthurs Seat Eagle cable car gondola to the base station in Dromana or travel up from Dromana to the summit at 304 metres.

And, yes, people live here too. This fun picture had us wondering which came first, the people or the street?

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Wine, wonderful wines

If you were lured to the Mornington Peninsula by the dream of a few days of solid wine-tasting, you must have been wondering when we would get to this - the star attraction. After all, for many people this may be all they know about the area. Fear not! The wine industry is alive and well, and there is much to see.

Check this for a comprehensive overview....

Looking for details of a particular winery or cellar door? Click on the link.

Vine planting and wine-making began in late 1970s. In Australia, we often forget how young many of the major wine regions are. Now there are around 200 small-scale vineyards with 60-plus cellar doors, specialising in great pinot noir as well as fin chardonnay and pinot grigio. Most cellar doors open on a daily or weekend-only basis for tastings and sales, but out of tourist season it is a good idea to check first.

Some have unusual names - like this one which is a vineyard also offering accommodation.

Driving around the coast line of the peninsula is fairly simple: basically just keep the water on the same side of you! However, once you start exploring the wine region, things get a little trickier. The central cluster is hilly and there is a web of tiny roads, so do yourself a favour: equip yourself with a good wineries map, or use your phone.

The Visitor Information Centres in Frankston or Dromana have extensive maps, and many wineries and cafes have brochures too. Or why not take one of several winery tours available?

Apart from cellar doors, many wineries offer places to stay and dining options. Lindenderry at Red Hill is an upmarket boutique hotel, set in a vineyards that produces top chardonnays and pinot noirs.

Again, check the internet or local information for accommodation at B&Bs, boutique hotels, as well as golf resorts in the area - or simply spend a relaxing few hours at Fingal's Peninsula Hot Springs spa. It seems the region has made it their business to ensure there is no excuse for anyone simply to drive down here for a few hours. They would like us all to stay longer - and so we should!

The scenic undulating countryside means that many vineyards have been planted on slopes. Great for the vines, they also lend themselves to ideal positions for restaurants, such as this one, the elegant Max's Restaurant Red Hill at Red Hill Estate.

Red Hill Estate is best known not only for pinot noir and chardonnay, but also pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc.

At nearby Montalto Estate, beautifully sited on hillsides that dip down to a small river in the valley (picnic anyone?)......

....there is yet another reason to visit - apart from the award-winning Montalto Restaurant, or Piazza Cafe overlooking the kitchen garden, and the nearby cellar door.

This vineyard has installed massive sculptures as part of its landscape and drawcard.

T'Gallant, has been making wine since the 1990s. A favourite of ours (could that be because of their pinot noir, maybe?) we also like the ambience.  Another specialty of the winery is pinot gris.

Even though T'Gallant's relaxed Baracca Restaurant is popular, on this visit we were running late and chose something light from the cute little Spuntino Bar - with some prosecco, of course. 

There's a pizza oven, but we chose a share platter of breads and dips. Luckily there was a generous pile of breads as those dips (especially a creamy artichoke one) were magnificent. We ate it all. Well, we couldn't be seen to be unappreciative, could we? 

Of course we chose to eat outdoors with that amazing side-order of a vineyard view across the valley.

More details on local wineries....

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How does Mornington's garden grow?

Very well, thank you! With a climate that helps some of Australia's best vines grow to perfection, it is no surprise that gardens thrive here.

In season there are open gardens, as well as a couple of mazes such as this one Ashcombe Maze at Shoreham, planted with more than 1000 cypresses, clipped to a height of about three metres, and threaded by several kilometres of pathways.

The maze also has a lavender garden.

If you have a green-thumb then you should head for Heronswood House and GardensNot only will you find a vast range of Diggers heritage seeds, but the gardens are delightful to explore before relaxing in the restaurant which sources many of its ingredients from the garden.

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Artisans and artists

Do you ever find a shop so inviting that you would like to actually 'live' in it? This amazing place affected me like this. Gordon Studio glassblowers at Red Hill is outstanding. 

It is inevitable that the art of creating fine wines also attracts other artists. Galleries and shops are dotted throughout the peninsula and local boutiques often have examples of creative work for sale.

And while most of us would expect to keep fine hand-blown glassware in a safe place indoors, here the garden is dotted with beautiful...

....and sometimes wacky works.

In the cottage gallery, with its wide views across adjoining wineland, the real action is here in the glassblowing studio used by several members of this hugely talented family.

But please don't imagine that the display is only outdoors. The showroom inside displays some of the finest glass creations you will find anywhere in the world. Many of the techniques and concepts have been uniquely created by the artisans of this studio, and it is a must-see, especially if you are looking for a really beautiful memento of your visit to the Mornington Peninsula.

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Would you like to go further?

For an easy and scenic return to Melbourne, take the Searoad car ferry (40 minutes each way – car and passengers around $80) to Queenscliff on the western side of the bay then drive back to the city. 

Or, if you just want the fun of a trip across and back, leave the car in Sorrento and pay $22 for each passenger.

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Finally, after a few busy days it was time for us too to leave this lovely remote-yet-so-close escape. 

We had discovered whether you stick to the coast and its fun activities....

....or spend time in the wine region, sooner or later, it will be time to use another 'g' word, the most difficult of them all.

Goodbye (for now).

I know we'll be back, for sure!

 

Learn more about the Mornington Peninsula.....

 


 

©Words and photos: Sally Hammond

©Video: Gordon Hammond

Gordon and Sally Hammond stayed and travelled independently in the Mornington Peninsula.

 
 

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tastethis

 

RECIPE TIME

Springtime means quiche-time, a lighter dish to go with salads.

Here is a good cheesy one....

 


 

Here's a healthy loaf that tastes as good as it looks.

See the recipe.....

 


 
A recent European trip took us to Bulgaria. I fell in love with this traditional cheesy pastry.
 
 
 

 

 MUST TASTE THIS

 

How many of these food trends have you seen this year?

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If you love figs, mixing drinks, and  experimenting with new flavours, you have to try this NEW fig liqueur.

See more.....

 


 

Have you heard of oyster leaves?

Here they are.....

 


 

You mean they can make this from bananas?

Read more...

 


 

Design your own chocolates. It's not difficult.

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A fruity beer? This Australian company likes a challenge.

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scc

Need a coffee????

stay in touch on the FB page.

Taste_03

Hear a podcast

 
 
diningtop

What can be better than a restaurant with harbour views?

One that has an Italian chef like Chef Corsi.

 


 

A French restaurant in a hip dining enclave...

Bistrot Gavroche is one to watch.......

 


 

Top chef has found a new Abode at ParkRoyal Darling Harbour.

Food you have to taste...

 



 

Lot 1 near Wynyard, this one is worth knowing about too.

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dining_bottom

 


 

takeabreak_top

TAKE A BREAK

++++++++++++++++

 

Find out what US food events are on in FEBRUARY 2018

and what is coming up WORLDWIDE

 


 

Take a walk in Japan and feel refreshed.

See more...

 


 

A year of fabulous food festivals in 2018 for Britain!

Find out when and where....

 


 

Festivals throughout Australia too in 2018.

Check these out...

 


 

Scotland's Year of events for 2018

...what's on?

...and more!

 


 

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What's happening in Rome this month....

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Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....

 


 

Now you can travel and pick up some artistic skills - and enjoy Italian cuisine.

...find out where

 


 

Looking for a way to spend your weekends in Australia this year? 

Here are 52 suggestions complete with things to do and places to eat....

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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Please Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook.