The 20 best cold weather food and wine experiences

GET AN INNER GLOW AT HENTLEY FARM IN THE BAROSSA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

There is nothing predictable about lunch at Hentley Farm, from the farmhouse-meets-warehouse interiors to the sleek cutlery propped against a rustic piece of wood. The degustation meals start small – perhaps a lightly poached quail egg on a puffed quinoa cracker – but build from there. By the time you've worked your way through the entire meal, washed down with some beautiful Barossa shiraz, you'll be enjoying an inner glow. See hentleyfarm.com.au

WARM UP WITH A SHIRAZ AT LERIDA ESTATE, ACT

Canberra is blessed with an abundance of superb wineries but on a cold winter's day, few are more inviting than Lerida Estate Wines. Step out of the cold into the welcoming cellar door overlooking Lake George and it's hard to decide which is more warming: the blazing log fire or the award-winning shiraz. See leridaestate.com.au

SAVOUR SOUFFLE AT ORANGE'S COSIEST RESTAURANT, NSW

Scored a seat on one of the inviting banquettes? Well done; your dinner at Lolli Redini is off to a good start. If you really want to make the most of your meal at Orange's best-loved eatery, however, they next step is critical. Order the twice-baked gruyere souffle. It is never off the menu, and with good reason. With its scattering of hazelnuts and a spinach and pear salad, this is winter-warmer cooking at its best.

See lolliredini.com.au

COMBINE FONDUE AND TOBOGGANS IN ALPIGLEN, SWITZERLAND

Think of it as a "fondue jacket". On dark winter evenings in the alpine village of Alpiglen, locals feast on cheese fondue and drink beer and cherry brandy to prepare for a favourite winter activity: toboggan racing. A snowy, floodlit toboggan slope begins just near the restaurant and ends at a pub and train station in another village far below. From there it's a case of drink, ride, repeat. See myswitzerland.com

SNUGGLE UP FOR LUNCH OR DINNER AT COONARA SPRINGS, THE DANDENONGS, VICTORIA

The Dandenong Ranges, just under an hour from Melbourne, may not boast the ritzy restaurants of other Victorian regions, such as the neighbouring Yarra Valley, but there's nowhere more historic and snug for a winter lunch or dinner than Coonara Springs. The oldest restaurant in the Dandenongs, and possibly in Australia, dating to the late 19th century, it boasts two-sided open fireplaces views of nearly two hectares of gardens leading to the eponymous gardens as well as the Yarra Valley. See coonarasprings.com

ENJOY LOBSTER RISOTTO AT LE SERPENT, MONTREAL, CANADA

Winter food is comfort food, often as stodgy as it is warming. In cold-weather capitals, however, the best chefs often work out how to make you feel good without weighing you down, and nowhere does it better than Montreal's chic contemporary bistro, Le Serpent. Order whatever you like for dessert, but don't miss the mouth-watering lobster risotto, as delicate as it is filling. See leserpent.ca

DEVOUR HOT WAFFLES IN BRUSSELS

The Belgians do a nice line in street food but, on a crisp winter's day, nothing offers a quicker boost than a fresh-from-the-griddle waffle eaten on the run. There are vendors on virtually every corner; opt for a Brussels waffle – lighter and fluffier than the Liege waffle – with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Perfection. See maisondandoy.com

TRAVEL ALONG THE PROSECCO ROAD, VICTORIA

The first generation of Italian farmers to settle in Victoria's North-East knew their stuff; they started out growing tobacco, for it offered a good return, but soon turned to grape growing and their second and third generations are showing a genius for it. Along the King Valley and parts nearby, they've mapped out the Prosecco Road, a tour linking many of the wineries that produce the Italian-style sparkling wine that is now so popular. See visitkingvalley.com.au

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SIP NEXT LEVEL HOT CHOCOLATE AT SCHOC CHOC, NEW ZEALAND

It is no surprise that New Zealand's best chocolatier also serves a knock-your-socks-off hot chocolate. The only surprise is which version they will be serving when you rock up to one of their outlets (they have two: in Wellington and Greytown). Schoc Choc's rotating selection teams the 60 per cent dark chocolate blend with a range of flavours such as rose, orange and geranium, or pink peppercorn. See schoc.co.nz

HAVE FRESH-BAKED BREAD DELIVERED TO YOUR ROOM AT PUMPHOUSE POINT

With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking lovely Lake St Clair, Pumphouse Point was made for cocooning, and the superbly-stocked mini-bar just underlines the point, with its local artisanal goodies and a stellar selection of wines. The only thing missing is a load of bread; just pick up the phone and ask, and a fresh-from-the-oven loaf will be delivered to your room. Now that's what we call service. See pumphousepoint.com.au

GO CAFE-HOPPING IN REYKJAVIK

Iceland's quirky, walkable capital has more than a dozen coffeehouses that are perfect for escaping the winter chill – and killing time as you wait for the temperamental aurora borealis to appear. Standouts include Stofan, which translates to Living Room in English, and looks like grandma's one with its cosy sofas, wooden coffee tables and antique paintings and maps, and Reykjavik Roasters, which has a huge roasting machine and a vintage vinyl player pumping out classic tunes. See visitreykjavik.is

WINE AND DINE ABOARD A SWISS ALPINE TRAIN IN WINTER

The Swiss Alps are always gorgeous, but they're extra-special between December and March, when the peaks, valleys and chalet-peppered villages are drenched in white powder. To witness these wintry wonders, while savouring alpine-inspired cuisine and fine Swiss wines, book a first-class window-seat ticket on the Glacier Express. "The world's slowest express train" takes eight hours to snake 291 kilometres between Zermatt and St Moritz. See myswitzerland.com

SNUGGLE UP WITH 365 TYPES OF MALT WHISKY AT SCOTLAND'S FIVE-STAR TORRIDON RESORT

There's a whisky for every day of the year – as well as 120 different gins – at this turreted, castle-like former Victorian hunting lodge on the banks of Loch Torridon. Sipping a scotch by the bar's roaring fire is ample reward after a hike in the neighbouring Torridon hills, where scenes from the cult 1980s movie Highlander were filmed. See thetorridon.com

DRINK GLUHWEIN IN GERMANY

As you stroll through a Christmas market in Germany, or ice-skate at an outdoor rink, or attend any sort of alfresco festival or event, your mind will surely turn to one beverage: gluhwein. This is mulled wine, a spiced and spiked red wine cocktail served piping hot almost everywhere in Germany during winter. It's the country's favourite warming drink, and it's easy to love. See germany.travel

EAT OLIEBOLLEN IN THE NETHERLANDS

What's not to love about oliebollen? These traditional Dutch treats are balls of dough that are deep-fried and then rolled in sugar, and they're understandably extremely popular. Fortunately for the nation's collective waistline, oliebollen are sold only during winter, at open-air markets and festivals. Get them while they're hot. See holland.com

TUCK INTO NABE IN JAPAN

Few people take seasonal cuisine as seriously as the Japanese: almost every fruit and vegetable, every fish and other seafood is eaten only at the peak of its deliciousness, celebrated and savoured and then forgotten for another year. In winter, the hugely popular dish that utilises numerous seasonal ingredients, as well as banishing the chill of the outdoors, is nabe, the Japanese hotpot. You'll find it across the country, with plenty of regional variations. See jnto.org.au/

ENJOY A ROSTI LUNCH IN SWITZERLAND

A Swiss rosti sounds so simple: grate some potato, add butter, pat the mixture into a cake and fry it in duck fat. And it is simple. It's also simply delicious, and there are few meals more suited to warming the cockles of your heart on a cold winter's day than rosti with bratwurst and gravy. This is the stuff of every skier's chairlift-bound dreams, and it's enjoyed at mountain restaurants across Switzerland. See myswitzerland.com

EAT FONDUE IN A FOREST NEAR LECH, AUSTRIA

The Gasthaus Aelpele is a restaurant set in a 300-year-old cabin deep in the Austrian alps, a place that's inaccessible by road during the snowy depths of winter, requiring the use of a snow-cat to visit. It's worth the journey though, because here you'll taste fondue the way it was meant to be consumed, by candlelight in an old wooden hut, where hunks of farmhouse bread are dunked in bubbling vats of melted alpine cheese and washed down with cherry brandy. See Austria.info

ENJOY SEASONAL ALES IN BELGIUM

Plenty of cultures enjoy seasonal cuisine. In beer-obsessed Belgium, even the ales change to match the time of year. In the colder months the country's breweries, from the traditional Trappist abbeys to the more commercial outfits, release winter-specific and Christmas ales, perfect for enjoying in the warms pubs of the likes of Brussels and Bruges. See belgium.be

END A WINTER'S DAY IN NSW'S WINE COUNTRY WITH DINNER AT MUSE

Frost-encrusted bare vines, low morning mists, golden plains stretching beneath rugged ranges: the Hunter Valley is arguably at its most charming in winter. Warm up with an afternoon of tastings at Audrey Wilkinson with views over the whole valley, or Harkham natural wines, take a stroll through historic Wollombi, then head to Muse for a sumptuous seasonal dinner by the open fire. See musedining.com.au

CONTRIBUTORS

Andrew Bain, Elspeth Callender, Jim Darby, Anthony Dennis, Ben Groundwater, Ute Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Steve McKenna, Jane Reddy, Jane Richards, Craig Tansley and Guy Wilkinson

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