The ultra-luxurious, conservation-focused Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley resort – three hours north-west of Sydney, just beyond the Blue Mountains – has partnered with some leading Australian chefs and drink-makers for a series of weekend stays and culinary experiences this winter. The series, curated by executive chef Nancy Kinchela, includes wine and cheese tastings and native botanical foraging.
Of course, it's not for everyone. This resort is high-end and most definitely a special-occasion sort of place (a single-night stay will set you back a couple of grand). But if this destination hotel – wedged between two national parks, with private heated pools for each villa – has been on your list for a while, these events (included in the cost of accommodation) might get you over the line.
Dinner will be prepared on July 6 by one of Australia’s leading chefs, Josh Niland. The Saint Peter and Fish Butchery chef and co-owner is recognised on the international culinary stage for his ground-breaking, sustainable approach to cooking, and his menu for the evening features fish paired with regional ingredients. There’ll be a meet-and-greet with the Paddington-based chef, too.
Josh Walker, head distiller at the award-winning Timboon Railway Shed distillery in Victoria, will host masterclasses on the afternoons of July 19 and 20, where guests can sample an array of Timboon’s finest small-batch malt whiskies. A dinner of smoke-infused dishes paired with whiskies will follow.
If gin is more your drink of choice, join Ian Glen from Stone Pine Distillery and gin specialist Mikey Enright of Sydney CBD bar The Barber Shop on July 26 and 27 to forage for native botanicals at sunrise, followed by a mixologist masterclass. Guests will also learn about 1832 Wolgan Gin, the resort’s locally distilled gin. After the hands-on component, take a seat and enjoy a gin-inspired dinner.
On August 2 and 3, Will Studd, one of Australia’s leading cheese experts, will present his favourites fromages, providing insight into the world’s best. He's built a career around knowing which are worth your time, feeding that knowledge into a TV series and bringing cheeses to groceries around the country.
The program will round up with a Clonakilla Truffle dinner on August 16 and 17, hosted by Tim Kirk of Canberra’s Clonakilla Winery, considered one of the country’s best. Kirk will lead a cheese and wine tasting where guests can sample Clonakilla vintages, followed by a truffle-inspired degustation dinner with drinks selected by the winemaker.
The resort will also be transformed for Yulefest, a Christmas-in-July winter festival, with cheese and wine tastings, bonfires and Christmas degustation dinners throughout the month.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley's Winter Culinary Festival runs until Saturday August 17. Reservations and more information on the full series of events here. Two-night accommodation packages for two guests start from $2090 and include a private heated pool, breakfast, lunch and dinner, local wines and beers with meals and selected activities.