Summer food bucket list 2015-2016

The Good Food team list their favourite ways to indulge the taste buds and chill out during the hotter months.

Eat a prawn sandwich in front of the cricket 

Spencer Gulf prawns if possible, on a soft, trashy white roll with iceberg lettuce, and, at a maximum, seafood cocktail sauce. Things don't need to get any more complicated that this. Turn the air-conditioning to low, the La-Z Boy to recline, crack open a tin and wave goodbye to the cares of the year. Recipe: Prawn rolls with celery salt

A swim and schooner at Catherine Hill Bay 

After a dip at the beach, head back up the hill of this sleepy old Lake Macquarie mining village and enjoy a cold beer on the verandah of Catho Pub. One of the last great Australian watering holes and chock full on the weekends with friendly bikies, blokes in boardshorts and kids stuffing their face with Twisties. You'll be humming Gang Gajang in no time.

The great Australian pipi shuffle 

Delicious pipis can be found at beaches all around Australia, although you will need to research the restrictions on removing on them from your area of choice before doing the dance. If local authorities say it's hunky-dory, find a clean patch of coastal sand at half-tide and twist your feet until the little bivalves start toe biting. Fry up your haul with spaghetti, chili and garlic for the ultimate in late afternoon summer snacking.

Callan Boys, national food and wine writer

Do the Healesville crawl 

It's not an official crawl, but this could be the summer that changes. Now that winemaker Mac Forbes has Grace Burn – a cellar door wine bar – and the Four Pillars Gin guys have opened a distillery bar with snacks in the centre of town, you've got a couple of excellent reasons to stow the keys and take in the city on foot, adding stops at the Healesville Hotel and the Beechworth Bakery for a pie and definitely not the wildlife sanctuary. We only endorse responsible petting here. Four Pillars Distillery 2A Old Lilydale Road, Healesville

Go to a rural show 

You may think you've peaked if you've wandered the halls of the Sydney or Melbourne pavilions in show season, but country shindigs are where the magic happens. You truly haven't lived until you've eaten a tuck shop sandwich made by the local school mums and drunk a VB while watching hotly contested cake competitions, biggest veg-offs, shearing challenges, foot races, thong tosses and truck pulls to the tune of some country beats. Find your closest here:

Gemima Cody, chief restaurant critic, The Age

Catch a trout while you're out 

Lake Purrumbete in Victoria's Western District is stocked with enough trout to draw fishing types – and wild birds – from near and far. Now an 1875 schoolhouse has been repurposed into a bustling cafe, stocked with lunchtime burgers, sausage rolls, summery salads and christened (logically enough) Lake Edge Cafe. Lake Edge Cafe, 658 Purrumbete Estate Road, Camperdown 0419 591 660

Ice-cream. Beer and prawn cracker ice-cream 

Hit Sydney or Melbourne's N2 Extreme Gelato for ice-cream made with liquid nitrogen right before your eyes, in wacky flavours that could include a very summery beer-and-prawn-cracker combo. Or you could just have the beer and prawn crackers, followed by gelato.

Go farm-to-table in Byron

Lots of chefs bring the farm to the table. But Mark LaBrooy and Darren Robertson of Sydney's surf-side Three Blue Ducks cafe have taken the table to the Farm, installing a spit roast, pizza oven and a sustainable-or-bust outdoor kitchen as well, just 5 kilometres from the centre of Byron. Sit on the deck overlooking the Highland cattle and feast on local and organic roast porchetta with rosemary focaccia, prawns and fennel and grilled fish in banana leaf, with 56 wines and beers on tap.

Have a cold beer on the Manly ferry 

Those Manly ferry commuters have all the fun, standing at the end of the working day, cold beer from the onboard kiosk in hand, as the sun sets over Sydney harbour and the wind tousles their corporate haircuts. With a special new summer weekend ferry-hop route linking Manly, Watsons Bay and Rose Bay, at least we can do the same thing while on holidays (while secretly suspecting it's not quite as satisfying).

Jill Dupleix, food writer

A lazy, lazy Sunday lunch at Moon Park 

So Moon Park has started Sunday lunches again – which is an excellent excuse to stretch out your second meal of the day beyond the strict work hour you're usually given at the office. Whether you land a breezy balcony spot or a cool corner indoors, any table is ideal for Ben Sears and Eun Hee An's cliche-defying take on Korean food. Make sure you get the heatwave-busting patbingsu​ – the ever-changing dessert can include a headlining scoop of Korean grape sorbet (tastes just like Grape Fanta!) or white peach ice.

Lee Tran Lam, Good Food online producer

Eat a mango in the bath 

Nothing, I repeat, nothing is quite so pleasing as drawing a cool bath and then relaxing back with a perfectly ripe mango. If you think about it, it's the perfect place to eat this deliciously messy fruit. It's the one opportunity to make a complete disgrace of yourself then wash off the evidence. Refreshing and tasty – what more could you want?

Earn a set of blue teeth eating a Breaking Bad sundae 

There are many excellent reasons to visit Hobart, but a trip to Alistair and Teena Wise's ice-cream van, Big Bessie, for one of their messed up sundaes, is a must. The Breaking Bad sees soft-serve covered in a mountain of crushed up bits of sugary pie and blue sherbet. The Wises especially like serving it to people with braces – blue smiles for the rest of the day. Big Bessie and Sweet Envy; 341 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart

Smash an egg sandwich and a glass of chablis on the footpath 

This casual Potts Point bar and diner might have 'lobster' in the name but it's a classic egg roll with iceberg lettuce kicked up a few notches with the addition of nori and kombu, and a scattering of deep-fried shallot that comes out swinging. Pair it with a glass of New Zealand chenin blanc for all the best flavours of a picnic without leaving the bar. Waterman's Lobster Co 5/29-31 Orwell Street, Potts Point

Myffy Rigby, Good Food Guides editor

A frosty beer and whatever's cooking at Welcome to Thornbury 

Top marks to whoever dreamt up the idea of corralling a rotating roster of food trucks in a former Melbourne car factory and adding seats, a bar and toilets. The indoor-outdoor space can become a seething hipster swarm towards the end of the week so arrive early if you want a seat. Want to know who's cooking today? Check the website at 520 High Street, Northcote

Make like a Nordic chef and forage for berries 

You'll never eat better berries than the sun-warmed fruit you pick yourself. Grab some large shallow containers and head for a pick-your-own farm, a wild blackberry patch or a friend's mulberry tree early in the day to gather some of the best fruit of summer. Then get busy making jam, cocktails (hello, mulberry gin fizz) and muffins, or smugly freeze some for smoothies and crumbles later.

Roslyn Grundy, the Age Good Food Guide editor

Make time for a pot in the beer garden at the Portsea Hotel 

Down by the Gatsby-like estates on the Mornington Peninsula, the Portsea Hotel and its sweeping lawns afford the public a taste of the high-life for the price of a pot. On a clear day the waters glow clearer than those around the Greek Islands, and there's no better place to catch it than sitting on the neatly manicured lawn of arguably Australia's best beer garden. 3746 Point Nepean Road, 

Get fried 

Save yourself a trip to the south of the United States this year and head to Belle's Hot Chicken in Melbourne and Sydney. Inspired by Nashville's Hattie B's and Gus's Fried Chicken in Memphis, Belle's has flown north from its Melbourne base this summer, opening a pop-up at Sydney's Barangaroo. 150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy; Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo, Sydney

Exercise your drinking arm with sunset cocktails at Icebergs' bar 

The perfect vantage point to watch Bondi's board riders and body surfers in action without straining a muscle, except possibly your drinking arm. It is comfortable and sophisticated, with a clever bar eats menu if you aren't up for a full-blown feast in the neighbouring restaurant. A cocktail with ocean trout crudo as a bar snack? Australian beach culture has come a long way. 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach

Scott Bolles, writer, Short Black

Go Greek on the Great Ocean Road 

Kosta and Pam Talimanidis​ ran Lorne's modern Greek tavern Kosta's for many years, embedding fried calamari, Greek lamb and beetroot salad into the DNA of every summer visitor. They sold in 2003 to open A La Greque in Airey's Inlet, and now, with sons Alex and Dom, they're back on the same site with casual Greek diner Ipsos. Yasou! Ipsos, 48 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne

Eat fish and chips on the sand 

There's something quite magical about the hidden treasure that is Manly's Shelly Beach, when approached at a leisurely stroll by the waterside path from South Steyne. And especially when you stay for the fabulous beer-battered flathead with chips and house-made tartare, a bucket of prawns or an Insta-friendly seafood platter from the Boathouse, ensconced right there on the beach.

Order oysters by the dozen in Tasmania 

Tasmania's colder waters mean oysters are brilliant all summer long. So oyster farmer Tom Gray gets to pull up the harvest at 7.30am every day except Christmas Day at the Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed on Norfolk Bay, 45 minutes from Hobart. Watch them being opened (ask ahead if you want them unrinsed) – and team them a glass of chilled Bangor pinot gris, either inside or at a picnic table.

Terry Durack, SMH chief restaurant critic