Lose yourself in the Scottish Highlands at McLeish Estate's annual Celtic Feast

This year marks the 10th anniversary of McLeish Estate Wines’ annual Celtic Feast Wine Dinner. The sound of bagpipes will fill the air on July 22 as great wines and traditional Scottish-inspired winter dishes are served to guests beside the roaring fireplace.

There might even be a Highland dancer or two. 

The aim? To create the atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands. 

TRADITION: Tickets to the 10th annual McLeish Estate Wines’ Celtic Feast Wine Dinner on July 22 are on sale now. It is an evening of great food, wine and laughs.

TRADITION: Tickets to the 10th annual McLeish Estate Wines’ Celtic Feast Wine Dinner on July 22 are on sale now. It is an evening of great food, wine and laughs.

McLeish Estate’s premium current release wines and museum wines from the family’s private cellar will be served on the night, with Jessica McLeish providing an entertaining and educational insight into each of the wines.

Owner Robert McLeish is excited to share the night with guests, many of whom have been part of the event since the very first year.

“It is a great event to showcase our wines with a difference. The Scottish history of our winery is the core of our family and we love sharing this with visitors and guests,” he said.

This year’s special guest is Dr Fred McConnell, a renowned Northern Territory doctor who has dedicated the past 50 years to improving the health of citizens in remote towns both in Northern Territory and Sulawesi in Indonesia.  

Tickets are available at the McLeish Estate Cellar Door, by emailing info@mcleishhunterwines.com.au or by phoning (02) 4998 7754. The event typically sells out, so don’t delay.

Variety of Chefs

The Variety of Chefs returns to Newcastle City Hall in 2017.  

This formal and elegant gala dinner on September 2 showcases the talents of chefs Chris Thornton, Frank Fawkner, Troy Rhoades-Brown and Ebonnie Newby. Tickets cost $180 per person and include a four-course meal with premium wines matched by Wine Selectors; beer, cider and soft drink; a performance by Darren Percival; cooking demonstrations and prizes. Special offers are available for tables of 10 and corporate bookings. 

Variety – the Children’s Charity helps children and their families with financial support for things like wheelchairs, specialist equipment, therapy and medical supplies when they can’t afford it, and when government assistance isn’t available.

For more information on Variety of Chefs 2017 go to variety.org.au.

Doors closed

Coco Cubano at Charlestown Square has ceased trading. A message was posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Sunday. Food & Wine contacted Coco Cubano’s head office in Sydney but has yet to receive a response. 

Fine food

The next Hunter Valley Fine Food Market is at Tyrrell’s Winery this Saturday, July 1, 8.30am to 1.30pm. Yes, it’s almost July … You can buy sourdough, oysters, olives, cheeses, fruit and vegetables, jams and preserves, chillies, cakes and sweet treats, hand-made artisan products, flowers and much more.

Vegan week

It’s Vegan Week at Harry’s Gourmet Pizza and every vegan order is 25 per cent off (pick-up only). Vegan party packs are available for $80. You can find Harry’s at 263 Brunker Road, Adamstown.

Tasty toasties

The humble toastie is going gourmet, and what better time to do it than during winter? Reserve springs to mind for making a memorable toastie. Cheese, and lots of it, is a must, but there is so much more you can add to make it a meal in itself. For your chance to win a book all about toasties, go to page 19 of today’s Herald

Share the love

Chef Mark Hosie at Rustica has released a new winter menu after weeks (maybe months?) of experimentation. You can choose from tapas, share plates and banquets, large plates, regional plates and an express lunch menu. And for fans of Rustica’s Kleftico lamb shoulder, yes, it made the cut.

Amadio dinner

A five-course degustation menu paired with Amadio Wines will be served at the Star 104.5 Wine Degustation Night on June 15. The event will be held at The Entertainment Grounds, Gosford, with a menu designed by James McSkimming. Tickets are available online at theentertainmentgrounds.com.au/winenight, by phoning 4325 0461 or emailing info@theeg.com.au.

Dumplings, please

New Beijing will soon be replacing Beijing Buffet at Wests New Lambton. On the menu will be dumplings, pho, sushi and bento boxes. 

Winter menu

Bistro on Hermitage, next to the James Estate Cellar Door, has a new winter menu designed by executive chef Melissa Dixon. Food & Wine can certainly vouch for the “old” menu, having had the pleasure of dining there not long ago while enjoying the warmth from the huge woodfired oven, but the latest version looks just as good. Some of the new additions include the braised and pressed lamb shoulder with burnt carrot puree and roasted Brussels sprouts; char-grilled chicken, beetroot puree, baby carrots and herb crème fraiche; the apple pie Eton mess and the bittersweet chocolate tart.

And, during August, if you stay two or more nights at James Estate’s Pokolbin Guest House, you receive an extra night free. The guest house is a short drive down a dirt road from the cellar door and is tailor-made for groups. The kitchen has everything you need to cook up a feast – and plenty of wine to choose from, too – and the dining table can seat 12. 

Bistro on Hermitage is open Friday and Saturday for brunch, lunch and dinner, 10am until late, and on Sunday for brunch or lunch from 10am to  4pm. Walk-ins are welcome but bookings are recommended.