9 NSW food experiences with a sense of adventure
Want your taste buds to love you forever? Then take one of these nine fabulous food and drink adventures.
Ever stomped grapes? Know the nuances between Angasi and Sydney rock oysters? Spent a day making nut cheese? Enjoyed a degustation of green ants and muntries?
Food experiences across NSW are as diverse as they are delicious. Bring your sense of adventure – and your appetite.
Eat your way around the globe – in Sydney
From burek to burfi, manoush to dosa, banh mi to xiaolongbao – Sydney’s Taste Cultural Food Tours take your taste buds on a whirlwind culinary journey. You’ll discover flavour combinations you never knew existed, whether in Persian bakeries, Balkan delis, Fijian-Indian restaurants or at Filipino street-food vendors. Even the worldliest gourmands will savour something novel on these neighbourhood-focused walking tours, led by migrants, refugees and in-the-know locals.
Enjoy the essence of Australia
It’s not unusual to see native ingredients heroed in restaurants. But few menus are as innovative and immersive as that at Bangalay Dining, a waterside perch in the South Coast’s Shoalhaven Heads. Dishes here are an Antipodean adventure: think smoked crocodile spiced with peppery green ants; roasted beets paired with zingy lilly pilly; kangaroo flavoured with wattleseed, muntries and saltbush; or Moreton Bay Bug with bug-head custard and wild oxalis. This is Australia in an unexpectedly wonderful mouthful.
Follow your gut to The Farm
Many visit this sprawling Byron Bay organic farm to meet Highland cows and free-range chickens, then sit down to a paddock-to-plate meal at on-site Three Blue Ducks restaurant. Discovering your food’s origin story is an adventure in itself; but getting to make your meal – or at least part of it – is next-level culinary excitement. Especially if you’re learning to turn your food scraps into delicious, probiotic-rich pickles and chutneys, or making a mind-blowing almond cheese you can take home. Sign up for the Fermented Condiments & Nut Cheeses cooking class – your gut will thank you.
Get messy as a winemaker
Squishing grapes beneath your feet at Sydney’s Urban Winery is made even sweeter by the fact that your day is careening toward a very tasty end. In the form of an A.Retief-branded shiraz, chardonnay or petit verdot, perhaps – sample the result of previous stompers’ efforts straight from barrels and tanks, with each aromatic, head-spinning sip revealing a new and intriguing layer of the fruit you’ve just crushed. The best bit? You can call yourself an (honorary) vintner at the end of the day.
Shuck it real good
You could spend weeks sampling the creamy molluscs along the NSW Oyster Trail, linking farm gates, seafood restaurants and festivals from the state’s north to its south. Along the latter, you’ll find the 300km ‘Oyster Coast’. Bring a partner and use this self-guided route as the ultimate aphrodisiac, with oyster farms, bars and sheds shucking Pacific and rock oysters while you wait with anticipation. Watch for rare Angasi oysters that grow in these waters; they’re native to Australia, hard to find, and so very very good.
Sip, swill, savour, munch
Forget red wine – few pairings in the world are quite as magical as chocolate and whisky, and few places do that pairing as well as Corowa Whisky and Chocolate. Set in a 1920s mill in this historic Murray River region town, the establishment’s distillations range from Mad Dog Morgan (notes of orange and burnt caramel) to Bosque Verde (cherries and chocolate). Let liquid gold dance across your tongue while enjoying a tasting or two, then take away a giant chocolate pizza or spelt licorice – bet you’ve never tasted anything like this before.
Claw your way to a seafood feast
Many regard Tweed’s mud crabs as the most succulent in the state, but don’t take their word for it. Go straight to the source with Catch a Crab. There’s no adventure quite like spearing an enormous crustacean from the Terranora Lakes mangrove system, then building on your haul with freshly harvested oysters, prawns and fish. At the end of the day, they sizzle on a barbecue while you sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. For a seafood adventure with a unique cultural twist, let Indigenous guide Luther Cora teach you traditional crab and fish hunting techniques in the mangroves of the Tweed River.
Tuck into some bush tucker
Firescreek Winery is a mini-Eden on the Central Coast, where butterflies flit between 30 species of fruit trees, alongside 40 different roses and countless other flora. Plus, the organic grapes and ensuing wines that have won worldwide medals. You’ll enjoy them after exploring the vast grounds with a local Darkinjung Elder, nibbling on native plants and herbs you never knew were edible, and learning how they – and other botanicals – are transformed into some of the most memorable drops you’ll taste. Chill citrus wine, anyone?
Forage for your (very fragrant) supper
The first time you taste a black Périgord truffle, you’ll be overwhelmed by a mouth-consuming world of earthiness. The second time, you’ll be hooked. These addictive nuggets of fungus take years to grow beneath oak trees under hyper-specific cool-climate conditions. Like those enjoyed in the Southern Highlands, where you can add hands-on experience to epicurean appeal through a Wild Food Adventures' Winter Truffle Hunt. The magic here is harvested between June and August, under your guidance, by powerfully nosed foraging dogs, and turned into a meal of epic and indulgent proportions.