The best places to eat at the snow

When dining at the snow in Australia it is best to put all urban expectations to the side. Everything is relative in this world and there's no point comparing food offerings at our ski resorts with food offerings back home in Sydney and Melbourne for the latter will win and the former will just drag your holiday down.

I can feel the restaurateurs throwing stale pre frozen bread rolls at me now as I type. I would prefer they threw the microwave at me because at least then they wouldn't be using it to reheat ready-made stroganoff they will then call house made on the menu and for which they will charge European prices.

There will always be the 'must do' staples whether they taste good or not. Lunch at Kareela Hutte at Thredbo is more about the champagne and wine and making it back down the hill in one piece than anything and you can't go to Mt Buller without having a an apricot strudel at Koflers because, well, it's the thing to do.

So please don't get me wrong, it is not all doom and no taste gloom. There are always exceptions to the rule. Some savvy chefs have found ways to make the three month season work for both diners' taste buds and owners' wallet.

Barry Iddles at Elk at Falls Creek is a stand out, stirring the resort pot last year with Shank Off lamb shank with mash nights, 12-inch breakfast toasties, Boner Thursdays (t-bone steaks), $20 mains, Sunday roasts and Eat the Pantry dry at the end of the season. Food is hearty, honest and tasty and made with love, with more to come in 2015.

The boys at Three Blue Ducks made their exit from Falls Creek The Gully after last season but their breakfast muffins at Huski apartments live on in the kitchen for 2015. Each muffin is the size of a moose head and topped with wicked meringue and fruit, chocolate and other delights.

The White Room space at Hotham has been taken over this year by two-hat chef Michael Ryan from Provenance in Beechworth and Hamish Nugent from one-hat Tani Eat and Drink in Bright. The team have created Yama Kitchen and Bar, a Japanese inspired shared dining experience featuring slow roasted suckling lamb legs, fried brussel sprouts with miso powder, salted caramel and bacon popcorn and more.

Down the road, The Mountain Kitchen in Dinner Plain has expanded with a new fit out so more people can enjoy the local produce, hearty breakfasts and sweet home made treats. This is a definite must after hitting the Onsen in the village.

Hans and Lotte Grimus from the famed Pension Grimus at Mt Buller have clearly handed on their love of hospitality to son and Olympic skier cross athlete, Anton. Ski into Grimus Grind in the morning for barista-style coffee served by Anton himself. Locals say it's the best coffee on the mountain.


Speaking of coffee I have been known to drive in to Jindabyne from both Perisher and Thredbo just for a taste of the good stuff at CBD (Coffee, beats, drinks). Their coffee stands loud and proud right up next to the best in the big smoke. On the drive back to the ski fields you can always stop at Wild Brumby Schnapps Distillery on the Alpine Way and pick up a bottle of their finest to imbibe when back at the lodge.

The Alpine Larder at Lake Crackenback have the best wood fired pizzas going in the snow region of Australia, Central Road 2625 in Thredbo offer hearty lunchtime fare worth getting off the slopes for and you will kick yourself if you miss Jean Michel's onion brulee at The Knickerbocker also in Thredbo.

If you're heading across the ditch this ski season then you're in serious luck once you get off the slopes and into the streets of Queenstown. Mark these down in your diary as bucket list food items you cannot leave New Zealand without trying.

Chai spiced winter porridge with coconut sugar at Vudu Larder, the Brat (sausage, onions, cheese in a roll) at Joe's Garage, any burger at Fergburger, the Ora King Salmon with oyster lemongrass cream at True South at The Rees, absolutely anything on the menu at The Chop Shop in Arrowtown and paella at La Rumbla also in Arrowtown.

You will notice I have chosen not to discuss food prices at the snow in this column. That's just asking for trouble. It is better to remember you are living in a parallel universe once you hit the snow line, one where money bleeds and you just have to let it go and get on with having a good time.

Instagram2Win a ski trip to Whistler

We've partnered up with SkiMax this season for the annual #misssnowitall Instagram competition. You could win seven nights for two at the swanky Fairmont Chateau in Whistler plus lift passes for two people at Whistler Blackcomb for six days and return flights for two from Sydney to Vancouver thanks to SkiMax.

Just tag your winter-inspired Instagram pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays to enter. We'll publish five finalists each week with one winner at the end of the season. See this week's top entries in the gallery at the top of the page.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

Pro photographers can win a Sony 4k Action Cam with Helmet Side Mount and Board Mount worth $697 (they are not eligible for the Whistler prize) by tagging their pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays #pro. We'll choose one pro shot a week as a finalist with one overall winner at end of season.

The Sony 4k Action Cam.

The Sony 4k Action Cam.

Click here for competition terms and conditions.

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See also: Rabbit's amazing run through avalanche caught on camera
See also: How Tinder has changed ski resorts