The Hot List: Nutella's message for fans, and more food trends

Nutella Smile Jar
Nutella Smile Jar Photo: Ben Cole

We're drinking… GEORGIAN WINE

They say you can taste the richness of Georgian culture in the soil – the terroir is in every bottle of Pheasant's Tears, which has been fermented and aged in qveri (clay vessels lined with beeswax and buried in the earth). Last December a fire ripped through the vineyard and destroyed the family home. Arbory in Melbourne is hosting a four-course lunch this Sunday to help the winery rebuild.

We're learning… HOW TO COOK FRUIT

Add a little sunshine to winter by sprinkling pineapples with sugar and cooking them in a pan or on a barbecue until caramelised. Serve warm with fresh mint, ice cream or a drizzle of coconut milk – or try the caramelised pineapple with rosemary lime sorbet and poached meringue at ARIA in Sydney, or the tipsy cake with spit-roasted pineapple at Melbourne's Dinner by Heston.

Australian Pineapples Caramelised Pineapple Skewers

Caramelised pineapple skewers.  Photo: Martyna Angell

We're reading… ALIMENTARI

​Alimentari opened in Fitzroy in '98 and has been part of the neighbourhood ever since. The Smith Street venue followed serving breakfast, lunch, take-home meals and everything in between. Now life and business partners Linda and Paul Jones have released the Alimentari cookbook, so both new and old friends can recreate Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Italian favourites at home – including their famous salads and that meatball wrap.

We're eating… PHO PADDLES

This week the spotlight is on Sydney's Hem Nine Nine, a Vietnamese restaurant that's created a dish for the indecisive. The pho tasting paddle, inspired by the chef's experiences at craft beer events, comes with three varieties: 18-hour beef broth with +9 wagyu, angus brisket and torched marrow; free-range chicken broth with all the trimmings and a surprisingly meaty mushroom broth that's totally vegan.

The pho paddle at Hem Nine Nine in Glebe: it's inspired by craft beer tasting paddles and features a vegan mushroom, free-range chicken and wagyu beef pho.

The pho paddle at Hem Nine Nine in Glebe: it's inspired by craft beer tasting paddles and features a vegan mushroom, free-range chicken and wagyu beef pho. Photo: Lee Tran Lam

We're buying… NUTELLA

Why say it with flowers when you can say it with Nutella? Yesterday news broke that the hazelnut cocoa spread is releasing a new range of Smile Jars next month, with labels designed – you guessed it – to make you smile. Choose from "I love you", "Thanks", "Love", "Enjoy", "Family", "Smile" and "Friends" and replace greeting cards and friendship bracelets for good.

Nutella Smile Jar

Nutella Smile jar. Photo: Ben Cole

We're obsessed with… LEMONS CERAMICS

James Shaw is a 23-year old New Zealander working with clay in Thornbury, Melbourne. He likes the idea of his ceramic "No. Cups" being assertive, but that doesn't stop one from wanting to handle the tactile combination of a smooth glaze against raw stoneware. The food-safe cups are less about pessimism and more about humour — plus Shaw and a few of his buddies have matching "No." tattoos.

Lemon ceramics

Lemons ceramics.  Photo: Rob Corica

We're cooking with… ROY CHOI'S MUM'S SAUCE

American-born Roy Choi, known for his Kogi food trucks and now Kogi BBQ, owes a lot to his mumma. One of 11 children, she met Choi's father in the States and never returned home to Korea. Known for her cooking, these five sauces are her way of passing on a taste of home to her kids, grandkids and the rest of the world.

Mommy Sauce Five Flavors

Mommy Sauce comes in five flavours.


Hands up who has a fond – if not fuzzy – memory of attempting to walk through a McDonald's drive-thru at that surreal time of day between night and dawn? One McDonald's outlet in Llandudno, a town in Wales, now has a permanent walk-thru lane beside their drive-thru, following a successful trial last week. Open from 2.30am to 4am, it's fair to say they know their audience.