Win some Italian bubbles!

by Christine Salins on July 16, 2014

Add some sparkle to your cocktails! Here at Food Wine Travel we love a celebration and this week we’re celebrating all sorts of good things by giving away a lovely gift box of Italian wine. The box contains a bottle of Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco, worth $23, and a bottle of Rosso Antico, worth $22. If you’ve read my blog post, you’ll already have some great ideas for using them in cocktails.

To enter, email your best cocktail tip to christine [at] foodwinetravel [dot] com [dot] au – it doesn’t have to be long and fancy, just a few words will do. Put “cocktail” in the subject line and include your address in case you win (apologies to our overseas readers but the competition is open to Australian readers only).

Hop on over to the box in the top right corner to subscribe if you haven’t already. The competition closes next Friday, July 25, and the prize will be mailed to the winner.

Related post: Celebrating with Prosecco in a Strawberry Basil Cocktail.

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Celebrating with Prosecco in a Strawberry Basil Cocktail

by Christine Salins on July 16, 2014 Carpenè Malvolti, cocktail, Good Food Month, Prosecco, Strawberry Basil cocktail, agave nectar, Kunara organic marketplace, what is Prosecco, Aperol spritz, Amaro Montenegro, Rosso Antico, Italian wine.

Who loves a celebration? I do, and right now I’ve got plenty to celebrate. I’m celebrating:

*my new home in sunny Queensland
*my appointment as official blogger for Good Food Month
*how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and friends
*the beautiful water view I wake up to each day
*the little bird that has just started visiting my balcony

In my view, those are pretty good reasons to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly. The Prosecco we are celebrating with is from Carpenè Malvolti, an Italian winemaker with a long (140-year) history. We sampled the Prosecco in a truly delicious Strawberry Basil cocktail (I’ll share the recipe further down in this post).

The strawberries and the agave nectar in this recipe add a lovely sweetness to the very dry Prosecco. As it just so happens, I recently bought a bottle of agave nectar from Kunara, the fabulous organic marketplace near Nambour, and was keen to give it a whirl. The basil adds another interesting dimension.

Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco from northern Italy represents very good value (a certain big Aussie liquor chain is selling it for under $20). It’s aromatic, a little fruity and although it is labelled Extra Dry, it is not as dry as sparkling wines with zero dosage – in fact, it has a somewhat creamy mousse and texture. It goes beautifully with Mediterranean cuisine (funny that!) and it also makes a great base for cocktails, as the recipe below demonstrates.

Win a gift pack!

Another Italian winner in the cocktail stakes is Amaro Montenegro, a liqueur distilled from more than 40 herbs. Sweet with a slightly bitter finish, it can be enjoyed straight, with soda water and lemon rind, hot, or in cocktails.

It’s readily available in Australia along with Rosso Antico, a ruby red, lightly fortified bittersweet aperitif made from 32 herbs and spices. Serve it neat or on ice, garnished with lemon or orange, or with tonic, ginger beer, lime or your favourite spirit. It also goes beautifully with Prosecco and some muddled berries.

Food Wine Travel has a gift box containing a bottle of Carpenè Malvolti and a bottle of Rosso Antico to give away to one lucky reader – entering is as easy as sending in your favourite cocktail tip. Carpenè Malvolti, cocktail, Good Food Month, Prosecco, Strawberry Basil cocktail, agave nectar, Kunara organic marketplace, what is Prosecco, Aperol spritz, Amaro Montenegro, Rosso Antico, Italian wine.STRAWBERRY BASIL SPARKLER

2 strawberries, chopped
2 basil leaves
splash of agave nectar
splash of lemon juice
100ml Prosecco

Muddle the strawberries and the basil in the agave and lemon juice. Add the Prosecco with ice and gently fold. You could strain the contents into a Champagne flute but I didn’t bother. Garnish with a slice of strawberry on the rim.

Related post: Win some Italian bubbles!



As culinary ambassador for Pullman hotels, Justin North (pictured below) travels the countryside, working closely with the hotels to create delicious small plates that showcase regional ingredients. Hence the name – Tapas-try. It’s a new, innovative way to dine and  I recently had the pleasure of experiencing it first hand at Pullman Resort Bunker Bay in Western Australia’s beautiful Margaret River region.



I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I don’t have high expectations of meals in hotel restaurants. When I’m travelling, I’m generally more inclined to seek out a good local restaurant than to dine in the hotel. But Pullman is making a special point of bringing regional flavours right to its doorstep, and I like that.

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Pullman Bunker Bay in particular has embraced the concept head-on. On the menu, you will find the likes of Arthurs Grove olives; Donnybrook pear, River Valley labna and caramelised onion flatbread (very tasty!); and marinated Fremantle swordfish salad with miso and toasted sesame.

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North, who was The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide‘s 2009 Chef of the Year,  has been working hard to introduce his philosophy – the regionality of food – into the Pullman’s Tapastry program. He aims to encourage chefs to take a snapshot of their region through food.

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“I wanted to create a menu of dishes that could be adapted regionally using the best local produce so that there is consistency across the brand while still maintaining a sense of place,” he said.

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I was privileged to attend a master class with North where he explained his passion for local food and local producers. He offered samples of local venison salami and chorizo from up the road and fresh cheeses including an organic Camembert.

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North hopes that his efforts, alongside Pullman hotels, will attract and inspire great chefs.


Fact file:

Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, Margaret River Region
42 Bunker Bay Road, Naturaliste WA 6281 Australia
Tel: +61 (0)8 9756 9100

To give you a taste of the food North is doing, he has kindly provided me with his recipe for Tiger Prawn Cocktail.

Taste, test and enjoy!

Alise was a guest of Qantas, Tourism Western Australia and Pullman Resort Bunker Bay.


Image courtesy of Accor Hotels. 


Serves 6 as an appetizer

For the dressing:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chilli sauce
a drop of brandy
Squeeze of fresh lemon

For the salad:
24 large cooked tiger prawns
½ iceberg lettuce – shredded
2 avocado – roughly diced
1 telegraph cucumber – cut into thin slices
Salt flakes
Torn leaves of coriander and mint
Pinch of sumac

For the dressing:
Mix together all ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning and acidity.

For the salad:
Shell the prawns, remove the intestinal tract, rinse in heavily salted water and pat dry.
Arrange the iceberg, cucumber and avocado along with the prawns and herbs, season with the salt, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with a pinch of sumac.

You might also like: Follow Me To WA With Qantas.

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