Some foodie highlights. I loved the Festival of Ideas sessions at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March. We saw Rene Redzepi, Ben Shewry and Massimo Bottura. Informative and funny and moving in turns and all spoken with great passion about food and cooking and how they contribute to the art of living. Really memorable. I bought Rene’s book as a reminder - a cookbook for looking at rather than cooking from , he joked. But extraordinarily beautiful to look at! Disappointed we didn’t experience a great meal as part of the festival but I couldn’t find one.

I admire those restaurants that have been around a while and are still serving great food. Those that survive the flavour of the month attention. One such is Añada in Gertrude Street where we celebrated Mothers Day with a set menu of small serves, all delicious.

Local meal of the year was another celebration, this time Fathers Day, and another set menu but at the new, and wonderful, Moon Under Water. Beautiful setting, exquisitely presented and great tasting food. A special meal.

Lovely to have a new local place for coffee in the morning and a drink after work with the opening of Pei Modern just around the corner from Cumulus. Both with great coffee and accompanying sweet things and great wine lists. Enjoyed often. Also ate at both from time to time. Lunches and more occasionally dinner. Memorable dishes were the rabbit risotto and carrots and sweetbreads at Pei Modern.

Also had a couple of really good meals at San Telmo which was a bit of a surprise given its focus on meat (which accounts for the predominantly male lunchtime crowd!) Fantastic steak was expected. Not so expected were the truly delicious sweetbreads, crispy outside and creamy inside, I had there and the lovely black (blood) sausage.

Another lovely meal was had at the new, oddly named, Virginia Plain. Four inventive and interesting courses were matched with really interesting, superb wines. At around $100 great value as well. I will return!

The real food highlight of my year was in Vienna at the Steirereck. My first Michelen starred restaurant (two stars) and yes I know all about the critique of that system. Still it was a great experience. Formal, formal dining with starched linen, silver trolleys and menu cards. Not stuffy at all – great fun. Amazing looking food and all delicious. And I’ve written about it already on the 27th of September.

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