Breakfast at Spring Hill

Thinking of breakfast? New on Tognini’s Spring Hill menu are balsamic glazed mushrooms with parmesan on sourdough toast and sweet corn fritters with roma tomato, spinach + bacon. Yum.

If eggs take your fancy try the Nindigully free range eggs, poached, fried or scrambled with your choice of sides.

Still looking? How about a BLT with a fried egg on turkish toast and tomato relish, savoury mince with a poached egg on turkish toast or avocado on turkish with rocket and lemon.


Pictured top: Sweet corn fritters.
Below: Balsamic mushrooms.

New York

August 1 - 10

Only in New York..............................

can you turn up to a restaurant at 11.30 pm without a reservation and still be served with a full menu and excellent service and be the last customer there at 1am. It was Casa Mono and really excellent Spanish fare. We loved the pork belly with spicy sandia, piquillo peppers with oxtail, pumpkin and goats cheese croquetas, quail with summer squash and harissa. This restaurant also boasts a comprehensive Spanish wine list.

can you find a "Comme des Garcons" (clothing designer) in your own street. We stayed in a circa 1868, but recently renovated, Brownstone building apartment on W22nd Street and Ninth Ave, Chelsea. Very cute and conveniently located.

does an attentive men's clothing shop assistant make you reservations for lunch, then walk you to the restaurant just so you don't get lost. We did spend a lot of time and money there - Massimo Bizzocchi 433 West 14th Street , - thanks Tony.

can you have the best cupcakes in New York just across the street - Billy's Bakery, We happen to go there everyday for a cupcake and coffee. Approximately 2400 cupcakes get made and iced in the front window each day. Maddie and Nastassia's favourite is the coconut cake with fresh meringue and it's open till 12am!

can you become a New York Mets fan overnight after you have been to just one game - this baseball game is addictive - thank you B+T Tognini family xx

can you eat the freshest of fresh lobster sushi and sashimi prepared in front of you at the Chelsea Markets , 75 Ninth Ave The Chelsea Markets is also where we have found the best coffee in New York (in our experience).

ride the "Beast" and get to the Statue of Liberty in just 10 minutes from Pier 83 on W 42nd Street US$22 a ticket!

do you have the household rubbish - "trash"under lock and key at the front door.

does it take approximately 30 seconds to hail a cab on 9th Ave.
Places we went to and enjoyed

Nobu next door , 105 Hudson Street, Tribeca, NY (Japanese)

Spice, 199 8th Ave NY , (Thai)

LeGrainne Cafe ( great crepes & omelettes for breakfast ) 183 Ninth Ave New York, (French)

Gallo Nero, 402 W44th St (great pasta ) (Italian )

Casa Mono, 52 Irving Street , NYC (excellent Spanish)

Boqueria , 53 W 19th St and Fifth Ave , Spanish tapas

Spice Market , 403 13th St / 9th Ave - (Thai )

Macelleria, 48 Ganesvoort St, Meatpackers District - (Italian)

Chelsea Markets, 14th St and 9th Ave , Chelsea

Murray's Bagels ,W 22nd Sve , Chelsea (bagels, best hot smoked salmon )

Billy's Bakery , W 22 nd and 9 th Ave , Chelsea ( best ever cupcakes )

Magnolia Bakery ,180 Varick St, West 11th St. West Village ( almost as good as Billy's )

One of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been renewing old friendships of long distance relatives and meeting new ones as well.

We are fortunate enough to have family in the north of Italy in a tiny town of Colorina, several hours out of Milan, and family at the opposite end of the country in Piedmonte Eteno, Sicily.

Their differences are many, but so are their similarities. The overwhelming sense of "family" is what's important to both sides. Mark's father, Alfredo, was born in Colorina and has two remaining brothers there. Mark's mother, Nunziatina (Nancy to all) has the Sicilian heritage and first cousins still in Piedmonte Etneo, a tiny town nestled at the base of Mt Etna only about 15 minutes drive from Taormina.

In Colorina, not far from the Swiss border , Mark has two uncles and six first cousins - this makes for about 30 direct cousins, second cousins and extended family at the local pizzeria the night we go. To my surprise all of the children eat an "American" pizza that is covered in french fries. Another surprise is a dish called "sciattia' which is a deep fried buckwheat fritter filled with cheese - a little harsh on the waistline!

We share many family meals and conversations over the weeks we spent in Colorina between our touring. Another memorable time was a lunch spent in Caspoggio - a ski village only about a half hour drive from Sondrio (our base). This is where Mark's uncle has a home that is used in summer to escape the heat. The day we went it was rainy and the temperature dropped from 33 deg the day previously to 13 deg up the mountain. In winter the place is completely snowed in. The views are amazing overlooking the valley. One can only imagine the beauty of the snow in winter.

We share a massive bowl of pizzoccheri this day. The traditional buckwheat pasta is mixed with potato, cheese and beans till it forms a creamy texture plus some good Sondrio red wine. A lovely day shared with family eating traditional fare. The fire place was on in the middle of summer to keep us cosy!

In Sicily, we, along with Beni and Tracey Tognini spend time with one of Mark's 'uncles' in his country retreat - beautifully positioned on Mt Etna, the house overlooks villages and out to the Mediterranean.

Here, Pippo has a healthy self sufficient farm growing everything from potatoes, zucchinis, tomatoes, all kinds of fruits including figs, citrus and grapes of course. Pippo makes his own wine. There are turkeys, chickens and eggs are plentiful.

It gave us great pleasure to be able to prepare brunch for Pippo made from the ingredients entirely off the farm.

The time spent with family in both Colorina and Sicily is to be treasured - our lives are so completely different - but we share a sense of belonging when we are with family. We spent weeks in Sondrio - it really feels like home.

We shall miss our afternoon drinks at our favourite bar in Sondrio "la fragola" and will fondly remember these times in the coming months.

Santorini, Greece

July 12 Sunny - warm about 35 deg

Santorini is famous for it's breathtaking views, whitewashed buildings, the deep deep blue sea, donkey rides and great memories of a fantastic lunch shared with great friends. As I recall, Bennie found the back street cafe where we had probably the most authentic Greek food on our Greek cruise.

With a view of the other side of the island , surrounded by plants potted in old Dodoni fetta tins and a deliciously cool breeze blowing in we settle in for an afternoon of eating, drinking and lots of laughing.

The dips all homemade - skordalia, eggplant, taramasalata and baked feta (new favourite). The dish of the day was a slow cooked veal shank with eggplant. The eggplant is the secret flavour - they are much sweeter and the flesh is white and tender. This was served with roasted potatoes. We also enjoyed traditional Greek salad and pork souvlaki and grilled sardines - all food shared with great local wines- another perfect day in paradise !

Athens , Greece

July 17 40 deg - HOT !

Stayed at Hera Hotel, , a really lovely hotel that is close to the Acropolis - the rooftop restaurant has an amazing view to the Acropolis.

After a very hot day of climbing and exploring the Acropolis we meet friends and share a fabulous meal at Ehaia Resturant, 105 58 Plaka. This rooftop restaurant has a fabulous view of the western wall of the Acropolis and a great view over Athens. It is beautiful in the evening but would be way too hot in the daytime. During the day it is essential to find one of those outdoor cafe's that have the fan/mist set up - brilliant idea.

Monemvasia, Greece

July 13 35 deg sunny

Monemvasia, one of our stops from the good ship Pegasos , is a tiny little peninsular built around 1147AD and used as a port and shelter during the Norman's attacks in the 1200s. This ancient village can be reached easily and many of the buildings are still intact and today have been converted to up market jewellery shops and restaurants. The streets are narrow, cobbled stone pathways with hotels hidden away and cafes with breath taking views to the sea. A really charming village steeped in history.

Back on the mainland we order our lunch from a restaurant called Aotepias 'on the beach'. We have a swim in the beautifully refreshing Mediterranean with a very rocky floor just 10 metres away from our table, then sit in our bikinis to eat - this is my kind of dining!

We order the 'village rooster' (pictured) just because someone had to eat him! Not sure what the village is doing now for a rooster! Rooster is a common offering on menus in Greece. We discover it is cooked slowly in a tomato-based sauce and traditionally served with spaghetti. It tastes very much like corn fed chicken.

After a good selection of hand made dips, baked feta , pita and fresh fish - we are all happy.

Taormina - Italy

Taormina, June 30 2009, Beautiful 30 deg sunny

The 'jewel' of Sicily and rightly named so. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Sicily on the east coast - perched high above the Mediterranean. Sweeping views of the beaches below, the sea that blends into the sky just an azure haze. We are positioned perfectly in the Il Piccolo Giardino, just a few steps from the Corso Umberto which runs for about 1 km, the length of this gorgeous Sicilian village. We admire a view of the remains of Taormina's Greek Theatre ( the second largest in Italy) from our rooftop pool area. This is spectacular to say the least.

There is so much to love about this place - laneways of hidden treasures, art exhibitions , concerts in the ancient Greek Theatre, great Italian food and of course good shopping.

One little find was 'Dr Roberto', a specialist in the art of nougat and cannoli making. He claims to have the best cannoli in the world and we are inclined to agree. The freshly made ricotta mixture waits in the fridge to be filled on order into the crisp canolli shell - all hand made by Roberto. The shop has been there for 35 years and Dr Roberto learned his skills from his Papa - he seriously has a doctorate in cannoli making !

Found the best 'Maccheroni alla Norma' in an unlikely restaurant at our front door - a dish specific to this region - a hand made maccheroni pasta rolled to perfection, baby eggplant simmered in a fresh tomato sugo served with baked ricotta - just delicious. It's a favourite of our daughter Nastassia who had this dish on a recent trip to Sicily and has been trying to recreate it ever since. I think I now know the secret - the white baby eggplant .

Seafood is also in abundance as it is anywhere in Sicily and the variety and freshness is unbelievable . We particularly enjoy the grilled sardines in lemon and garlic. There are plenty of unusual offerings including sea urchin, 'goldfish', live crustaceans of all kinds and giant oysters.

Just down the hill (about 600 meters ), is the perfect swimming beach of Giardino Naxo. We have a fabulous lunch at one of the many beachfront restaurants then swim all afternoon in the crystal clear , marble rock lined shores. Just perfect - where else in the world can you still be sun baking at 7 pm? Life is a bit tough in Taormina.

PS If you are thinking of making Taormina one of your stops check the concert schedule in the Greek theatre. We just missed Jose Carrera by one week. That would have been something to see and hear !

Aeolian Islands

June 27,28, 29 -sunny 28 - 30 deg glorious weather

Far from the hustle and bustle of cars, scooters and bucking horses of Palermo, we find ourselves in the tranquil environment of Capofaro Resort, Salina Island - the second largest of the Aeolian Islands. Capofaro, is situated approximately 400 metres above sea level and nestled amongst row upon rows of Malvasia vines sloping down to the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Everything is very quiet and peaceful here with white washed buildings made from concrete. It is cool and relaxing. The resort is well situated and overlooks the sea. Molto contento !

Nothing else to do here other relax around the pool and wonder what time you should eat dinner! The resort boasts a five star restaurant as well. We hear that it has a new chef from Naples, Nunzio Spagnuolo who previously worked in a Michelin star restaurant in Rome. Needless to say the food is impressive.

We share a perfectly cooked Saffron and courgette risotto with king prawns. The next night we share another meal of lobster, citrus and fennel salad along with a tuna dish prepared in different ways.

From our vantage point on Salina we can see the island of Panarea - the smallest of the Aoelian islands - this is where Bennie and Tracey are staying for a few days - so - off for a visit. From the rocks in front of their hotel we plunge ourselves into the invigorating, crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, sun ourselves a little and wander the streets of this cute little village - no cars here, only scooters and pedestrians.

We come across the place for our most perfect lunch - Broccia Ristorante. It's part of a hotel, Quartara, It's a charming, authenticity Aoelian hotel with only 13 rooms and beautifully decorated with personalised friendliness.

With views of the water on one side, mountains on the other and a cool breeze, the scene is set for a perfect meal. From the buffalo mozzarella with ripe Sicilian tomatoes, freshly grilled zucchini, eggplant and roasted capsicum to our whole fish cooked to perfection in the traditional way - olives, capers and tomatoes - throw in a few bottles of great Sicilian wine - we are all in heaven . Did I mention the cannoli - the best ever ricotta and chocolate filled cannoli had so far.

Of course, made all the better by sharing with best friends.

Molto contento!

Photos fm top: Saffron Rissotto; Broccia Ristorante; View from the room at Capofaro; Sicilian cannoli; Pool area at Capofaro.

Palermo , Sicily

June 25, fine 28 deg.

The taxi ride from the airport to our hotel is in itself a whole story ! I just think it is hilarious that a single lane for taxis and buses has traffic going in both directions... at once - so occasionally you are faced with an oncoming bus. We were up front with the driver and the three nuns were behind us - just as well.

At one stage I thought we were on a movie set. You know the one with the scene of a car flying through an intersection (red light I think) and narrowly missing oncoming traffic - having said all that - I did feel completely safe with our "home grown" Palermo taxi driver.

This sets the tone for our short Palermo stay -

We did have a big win with our accommodation - Mark's selection via the internet prior to leaving home. I can highly recommend the Hotel Porto Felice

It's a really well appointed hotel, near the port (convenient for us) with a Wellness Centre. A massage was needed after the taxi ride.

Palermo is steeped in incredible history and this is shown by the architecture with Greek influences. There is much to see and we found the easiest way around was a horse and carriage ride. We bartered on the price of course - 50 euro for 1 hour is not too bad when you consider a cab ride for about 10 minutes is 40 euro! Anyway a great way to see the sights.

Now the food.......... as expected the seafood is in abundance and is freshest I've ever eaten. We do lots of street dining. We find a little restaurant in a lane way or a street barbecue as this is where you find the best.

Recommend is Trattoria de Salvo - same street and two blocks from our hotel. All the shellfish on offer is displayed in tubs, still alive, and the fish are cooking on the BBQ. Mumma is out back cooking spaghetti. We know we are in the right place. This is the real Palermo !

We are seated on the street (literally) and the Trattoria is loaded with atmosphere. From the scooters passing by, the waiters yelling orders to the chefs and buskers selling their wares, this place is buzzing! Platter after platter of prawns, lobster, grilled fish, mussels, clams, spaghetti - it just keeps coming and coming.

We have the freshest, most tender, melt in the mouth mussels in a light tomato broth that we've ever encountered. The is fish cooked to perfection - insalada - really basic well cooked fare. Add in a bottle of Sicilian white wine and we are both Molto Contento !

Diano Marine

Italian Ligurian Coast sunny 28deg
June 19

Following a day's drive along the most spectacular French and Italian coastlines - from Cannes to Monaco, then back across the Italian border, we discover the most gorgeous little seaside village of Diano Marine about 20 km south of San Remo. This place is a tiny dot on our detailed road map, but it is a bustling family beach holiday location with beach front accommodation at very reasonable rates.

We stayed at the 'Palm Beach Hotel and Residence' located only minutes from excellent restaurants and across from the private beach (yes the one where you pay 22 Euro for your seat at the beach). But the friendly , helpful staff always make your stay much more enjoyable and as a bonus - a washing machine!

Our meal at Vico del Rame Osteria on the first night was so good we ate there the following night as well - fresh seafood in abundance. It was the best Spaghetti Vongole, Guazzetto di mare - a seafood soup loaded with clams, mussels , crab and scampi in a light white wine and tomato broth followed by a Branzino in costa di sale armatico alle erbe - a Sea Bass baked whole in salt seasoned with rosemary - this dish then gets filleted and served at the table - the fish is so sweet and delicate and served with grilled vegetables.

We have been enjoying the local white wines. The grapes are grown on the rugged slopes with a mineral base which makes the wines light and lively. The Pinot Grigio is particularly good with the seafood - Borgo Coventi 2008 pinot grigio from Friuli.

Then you need to do "la passeggiata" ( to walk the street) to take in the ambiance of the village and finish off the evening with an excellent gelato -of course - probably nearly as good as the one in Torino and only 2 Euro as well.

Buon Appetito


June 15 Sunny 28deg - perfect!

Cassis is one of those places you dream about - nestled amongst the famous Calanques rock formation that runs 20 km along the southern French coastline from Cassis to Marsielle - this sleepy 'fishing village' is far from asleep.

Breathtakingly beautiful scenery ,an abundance of fresh seafood , friendly waiters and of course 'Cassis'- the wine of he region also in abundance. We love it here.

On our first night we have a seafood platter- fresh to to say the least! I don't think the mussels or clams were indeed cooked in any way - 'al a natural' like oysters and they were amazing - (see pic). But with ample quantity of Cassis wine it all washes down okay and I am happy!

Second night we settle for more traditional French fare from a cute ally way bistro , L' Escalier, in rue Frederic Mistral. This classic little bistro has a menu totally in French (of course we are in France) even though Mark keeps breaking out in Italian. I order the classic dishes Soup de poisson et sa rouille - classic seafood bisque served with grated emmethal and croutons . Mark had the Palourdes et Moules a la provencale - translates to grilled mussels and clams with a buttery herb gratin - Yum .

During the day it's quiches lorraine like I've never tasted before and Croque monsioure at our little cafe overlooking the harbour of boats.

A trip to Cassis is not complete without a boat excursion to Les Calanques - this is the amazing limestone rock formations that took place10,000 years ago where the land joins into the sea resulting in beautiful private beaches in amongst caves that can only be reached by boat and intrepid explorers. Rock climbers paradise!

One could spend weeks here soaking up the Mediterranean sun if only there was an endless budget as well.

A gin and tonic will set you back 8 euro - but it is worth every cent to see the sun go down at 9pm on the French Riviera!

Bon soiree! My French is non existent! But that doesn't stop us from shopping or going hungry !


June 12 - fine warm 30 deg

On a visit to Torino (Turin), in the Piedmonte region of north west of Italy, we were lucky enough to have a personalised tour of the Lavazza factory. This was a highlight of our few days there as we have been Lavazza devotees for the past 17 years using only Lavazza coffee in our cafes.

Torino is the main Lavazza plant in Italy, there are also three other factories in Italy - one designated to decaf coffee only!

Every day during the week an incredible 20 semitrailer loads of green coffee beans arrive from areas such as Indonesia and Tanzania and start the process of roasting and packaging for one of the 60,000 customers of Lavazza.

The whole process from the initial delivery of the beans to the final packaging and distribution is a highly organised process with quality control at every level - the result is the delivery of a perfect 'shot of coffee'.

Also in Turin we have found the best gelato (so far) on Via Roma - Cafe Roma and only 2 Euro !

Turin is known as the home of the "Shroud of Christ " but we didn't actually see this. We were told the actual shroud only comes out every seven years or so - but - a life size photograph is on display in the Cathedral of Turin , just beside the Palace Reale - another top spot to visit.

There is a lot to see and do in this city, we must return one day.

Livigno - the highest town in Italy

June 5, 15 deg, Fine weather

Livigno is a small Italian Alpine village nestled just on the Italian side of the Swiss Alps. We approached it from Switzerland on this day as the Swiss border is only 30 km from Sondrio (our base) . This road, for most of the year impassable due to the altitude, approximately 2800m above sea level and at least 10m of snow covering the road during winter. Lucky for us the road has reopened recently and we drove through, although at one point about three metres of ice was still on the roadside - allora! Summer in Italy!

All the Italians (and every one else) love Livigno, not only because of the great skiing in winter but because for some reason unknown to me, all goods here are duty free.

We drive through the Swiss border. The vista, to say the least, is spectacular! Around every turn another surprise. Mark wishes he had his BMW with him but instead we are in a Ford Fiesta!

It is no surprise that the menu at the restaurant of Bivio Hotel - consists mostly of polenta and game meat- good warming tucker.

We shared a plate of handmade gnocchetti with a fresh pesto sauce and speck - delightfully light and flavoursome of fresh basil - it tasted like it had just been made specially for us!

I settled though for some Vatellina bresaola served simply and deliciously with vine ripened tomato and parmesan. Mark surrendered to the buckwheat polenta, cheese and wild mushrooms. Have I mentioned how good the porcini mushrooms are in this part of the world?

Yet another bottle of superb red wine from Antinori - Castello della sala - a Pinot nero from Umbria 2000. It is tough job but someone has to do it !

Sondrio - Alpine Italy

June 7 Sondrio - Alpine Italy - 20 deg Fine

Who would have thought in our own backyard there was such an amazing restaurant. Perched up on the side of a mountain in a village called Sassella lies Ristorante Torre Della Sassella. Blessed with commanding views over the valley, this restored building of unknown origin (to us) was renovated 10 years ago to become an iconic restaurant.

The four level restaurant, shaped like a tower, is made completely of stone, and is probably centuries old. This information was difficult to get as not one word of English is spoken there and even Mark, whose Italian is quite good, was struggling to understand.

You know you are somewhere special when even the mineral water gets decanted into a crystal jug. With the menu completely in Italian we just went with the key words we knew and hoped for the best .

My pick of the dishes was Risotto Carnarnoli con Bollicini Rose Cantadi Castaldi - this transformed to a perfectly executed risotto with a serving of parmesan ice cream and a rose jelly with fresh raspberry in the middle - all served on a segmented Villerory and Boch dinner plate.

Difficult to describe how exquisite this dish was - the adding of the parmesan ice cream to the hot risotto made it creamy and rich beyond description - and finishing with the occasional mouthful with the rose jelly and fresh raspberry cleared the palate for some more cheesey risotto.

The other risotto ordered - equally divine - Risotto Nero Integrace con Ragout di Cappesante , Gamberi e Asparagi. This translated as a squid ink risotto with a ragout of scampi and asparagus. The rice was cooked to perfection in both cases and rich sauce accompaniments also were perfect.

The meal was accompanied with a 2001 bottle of Masi Costasera Amorone Classico - a classic wine from Valpolocella grapes semi dried on a bamboo rack from Costasera region - perfect !

The whole experience left you feeling like you had stepped back in time with the ancient surroundings - the attention to detail was just amazing - the very finest of china and crystal. If you are ever in this part of the world, you must go to this restaurant a visit. You will not be disappointed.

Dining in Bellagio

First in a regular series of reports on food and wine in Italy and more from the wandering Togninis.

Bellagio June 4, 2009

Bellagio, as you will see, is simply beautiful . Mark and I have been here on several occasions and we always return to soak up the beauty. Bellagio is about a half hour's drive from our apartment in Sondrio and a short ferry across Lago Como (no sightings of George).

We went in search of a restaurant - one we had been to with Bennie and Tracey a few years earlier - on the water for lunch. After what seemed like 200 or more stairs up and 200 or more stairs down, we finally found it - La Pergola - Pescallo. Unfortunately, for us, the kitchen was closed by the time we reached it, so we convinced the owner to allow us a bottle of wine to relax and soak up the view of the lake.

We could actually see what we wanted to eat swimming in the lake - those beautiful salmon trout in the crystal clear waters were just teasing us!

So a bottle of Pinot Grigio later and no lunch we made our way back the 200 or so stairs to the touristy side of Bellagio. This is where we found a treasure down some more stairs - you just need to take the right ones. Hidden down an alley way is Apertivo et al

It was about 4.30 pm by this stage - no need to tell you how hungry we were after the 200 stairs (maybe I am exaggerating as I really didn't count them) .

Lucky for us there was a bar menu to our liking - Pizzoccheri , soups, cheese and an amazing wine room all only about 8 Euro for a plate. Mark chose a fabulous red from the Veneto region - so smooth, so rich - yes that was the second bottle in as many hours - I love holidays !

Pine mushrooms at Togninis

Posted by Picasa

Taste the last of the season's pine mushrooms at Tognini's Spring Hill. They come from Victoria and are collected from the hills outside Melbourne where they grow under the pine trees. The mushrooms become very meaty when cooked and are a real treat for mushroom lovers.

New Italian pasta from the Gold Coast

Pastificio Fellini has unlocked the secrets of good Italian pasta in a new range available from their newly refurbished fresh pasta outlet at Marina Mirage, Main Beach on the Gold Coast. Owned and managed by award-winning Italian restaurateurs the Percuoco family and partners Raffaele Di Benedetto and Richard Burt, Pastificio Fellini produce artisan-style pasta in the best Italian traditions.

Narelle says the Fellini pasta cooks up quickly and holds together well. The fine angel hair pasta cooks in 5 - 10 minutes, so it's good for a quick meal. It also seems to be lighter than some traditional Italian pastas and not as starchy.

Customers at the Marina Mirage store can even see the pasta being made. The secret to the success of this pasta is the minimum of 18 hours drying period which sees the pasta dried from the inside out. Varieties include squid ink fettuccini, saffron fettuccine, spinach linguini, saffron angel hair and just plain. Find it at Tognini's Milton and Spring Hill in Brisbane.

It's wild at Togninis

Enjoy the taste of wild venison from the Granite Belt, now on the menu at Tognini’s Spring Hill.

Chris Cameron of Granite Belt Game is a fully licensed operator who is reviving the almost lost art of harvesting and processing wild game according to traditional methods.

Fallow deer are an introduced pest species in the Granite Belt and harvesting them for meat reduces the stress they cause on the native environment. The deer graze on natural forage and wild mountain herbs making the meat tender and flavoursome. The animal has no abattoir or transport stress which is better for the animal and better for taste.

The animal is traditionally hung to promote a milder flavour while tenderising the meat, resulting in tender, flavoursome game.

Tognini’s purchase the whole animal and serve it in many forms from wild venison ragu with pappardelle (currently on the Spring Hill menu), pan fried venison scallopini with rocket and osso bucco venison shanks with risotto milanese. Find it in the fridge in take home packs of venison ragu and also venison stock. The venison stock is a perfect combo with Tognini’s new duck ravioli.

Venison is a long standing Tognini family favourite. Mark has relatives who live in the alpine village of Bormio (Winter Olympics fame) in far northern Italy nearing the Swiss border. They cure their own wild venison bresola and store it in their cantena (under the house) with home made salamis and cheeses where the average temperature in summer 6 deg!

5 cookies

Ever been caught without a snack for way too long? If you need to eat regularly, you'll know that it can mean problems to go without even the smallest refuel along the way.

Charlie's 5 cookies are the perfect hand bag saver. They come in this cute tube - about the same height as a regular mobile phone - and will rattle around in the bottom of your handbag until you need them.

They'd also be great for travellers or as a mini treat for children. Each cookie is about the size of a 10 cent piece and a couple of centimetres high. They are fresh, moist and taste great.

Flavours include raspberries + cream, cookies + cream, chocolate mud and sprinkles.