The winemaker at Voyager Estate tells us what’s in store at upcoming Australian wine festival, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape (November 22-24).

What have you got planned for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape?
We’re hosting dinner with Aussie celeb chefs like Tetsuya Wakuda and five panel discussion brunches. People can get up close with well known chefs including Heston Blumenthal from The Fat Duck and Alex Atala from award-winning Brazilian restaurant D.O.M.

What’s special about Margaret River wines?
The climate and soil allow white wines retain natural acidity and freshness, while the red wines develop superb tannin structure.

Where do you go for Margaret River wines in Singapore?
Sky on 57—they have a great view.

While at Margaret River for the Gourmet Escape, what else can visitors do?
Get out and explore the natural beauty of the region. Drive and walk through the Boranup forest, explore a cave and get your feet wet on our beaches.

Travis Lemm will be at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

Other Asian Wine Festivals...

OCT 31-NOV 3
Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival
Visit more than 300 international food and wine booths at a convenient waterfront venue.

OCT 31-NOV 3
Singapore Wine Fiesta 2013
Singapore's largest outdoor wine fair features more than 200 wines and 60 winemakers.


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The founder of annual coffee festival #BettrWeek (October 5-13) and social enterprise Bettr Barista Coffee Academy (a cafe and barista school) talks about her love for sustainably sourced java and spotlighting craft food makers. 

How did you get into coffee?
I've always loved coffee. I lived for quite a few years in Melbourne, the States and Italy. So it was interesting to see how each country does coffee slightly differently. Before starting Bettr Barista Coffee Academy, I'd been running my own web consultancy for 10 years and I thought "why not use my business skills to help people?" It’s senseless to make money and not do anything with it. We started in November 2011.

How did you come up with the idea for #BettrWeek?
We started last year and the idea was to have series of curated events celebrating living, doing and being better. We are after all a social enterprise. The event includes coffee crawls, workshops and dinners, and proceeds benefit disadvantaged women.

What’s new at this year’s event?
Last year’s focus was coffee, so this year, we wanted to branch out and include craft cooking and baking. We’re also spotlighting women crafters—they aren’t given enough publicity. Since we seek to help marginalized women, it falls in line with what we do. Our beneficiary this year is Bukit Ho Swee Family Centre.

What are some highlights?
We have Buy-A-Meal, Give-A-Meal, a pop-up fundraising dinner catered by an all-female team of chefs. I was already friends with the ladies: Shen Tan of PizzaX, Jasmine Cheah of GastroGig, Luan Ee of Kerbside Gourmet, and Daphane Loke of Saybons. So it made sense to get them together. We wanted to hold it at a quirky sort of place and The Training Shed is not quite on most people’s radars. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain. But if it does, we have a rain plan: a rain dance and tents.

What else does the Bettr Barista Coffee Academy do?
We have a Bettr Cafe@*SCAPE. It’s small and serves the start-up community in the area. Our coffee crawls also start from the cafe and you can pick up our coffee crawl guide there. The guide was a big hit last year and we don’t charge money for it. This year, there are some new cafes in the guide like Dutch Colony at PasarBella. It catergorizes the coffee places by region like “The East” and “In Town”. Many of the cafes are actually run by alums of our coffee program.

What’s special about your coffee?
We roast all our own coffee and co-buy with other roasters. We also have a direct relationship with a farm in Panama.

How does the coffee crawl work?
It’s free and easy. Just grab the guide at *SCAPE and start whenever you want. There are nine places in total, so you can either have nine cups all at one go, or space out your coffee consumption. One lone person can do it, but you can also gather a group.

Pamela Chng runs Bettr Cafe@*SCAPE.


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Oktoberfest is here, so dig into some meaty German goodness at these joints.

Baden Restaurant & Pub
This long-standing Bavarian-style watering hole and restaurant, done up in heavy teak wood, looks like a Teutonic country tavern. It's the perfect place to dig into crisp skinned pork knuckle.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant
There’s no better place to hit if you want authentic pork knuckle and bier (beer) than this local chain. Also, try the knoblauchwurst (smoked pork garlic sausage with roasted potatoes and sauerkraut), as well as the naturschnitzel vom huhn (grilled chicken breast with sour cream sauce served on mixed salad and mashed potatoes). The choice of beers is mind-boggling.

Magma German Wine Bistro & Shop
Quietly tucked away among a row of quaint shophouses in Chinatown, Magma is a bistro that serves up authentic German nosh (including a mean pork knuckle) at decent prices. This unpretentious open-kitchen restaurant has a friendly bar area at the front where one can enjoy a few drinks as well as an attached store selling all manner of German delicacies. 

Plus: Our picks for the best Oktoberfest parties

sQue Rotisserie & Alehouse
Part of the Emmanuel Stroobant Group of establishments, this laid back joint along the Singapore River puts out a range of substantial mains like pork knuckle, oxtail stew and beef ribs.

Paulaner Bräuhaus
The high ceilings coupled with warm country-styled décor at this German eating spot make is an appealing venue to chow down on their signature pork knuckle—or gegrillte schweinshaxe. The meat is roasted to perfection with crispy crackling.

Werner’s Oven
It's been more than 20 years since Werner Hochbaum first opened this German bakery and restaurant. Today, it's still going strong with offerings like homemade sausages and German specials such as pork knuckle, all served with sauerkraut and potatoes.

more German restaurants in Singapore


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Mark International Coffee Day (Sep 29) by sampling some of these bittersweet drinks.

A harmonious mix of strong hot coffee, creamy baileys, sweet hazelnut liquor and fluffy whipped cream, this warming beverage’s a great nightcap.
$14 at Café & Bar Gavroche

Le Cafe Cocktail
Spiked with Courvoisier VS cognac and port, this nondescript-looking cupful is surprisingly potent. Though it doesn't actually contain any coffee and is served chilled, it also boasts a layer of “crema” created with frothy egg yolk. The little squares of cognac and grand marnier jelly served alongside provide an extra boozy hit.
$16 at Fordham & Grand

The Melbournite
Sip this coffee-based tipple either warm (a hot Melbournite) or iced (a cold Melbournite). Both options comprise a shot of Black Cat Coffee Absinthe—a Spanish spirit combining aniseed flavor with a good dose of caffeine— plus espresso. It works as an after dinner digestif as well as the morning after a party: the concoction serves as both hair of the dog and your morning cuppa.
$18 at Intrepid Gastro Bar


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Elisha Tan is the founder of Learnemy, an online service that hooks aspiring hobbyists up with instructors in a variety of fields, from sports like squash to Singapore Sparks Celebrating the city’s entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative thinkers career skills such as marketing.

You got your start really young. Has that helped you as an entrepreneur?
Yes, people don’t feel intimidated by me, plus I benefit from youthoriented events and schemes such as StartupMalaysia and free co-working space at SCAPE.

What are the biggest differences between Singapore and Silicon Valley?
People in Silicon Valley have a cando spirit. Singapore has not seen much big acquisition and people have no reason to take bigger risks. But with the recent Viki acquisition for $200 million, I believe that there are bigger things to come.

What are some of the most unique lessons offered on Learnemy?
A dating class by an expert coach from LunchActually, a cheerleading class from a competitive cheerleader with seven years of experience, and a clay-sculpting class by a miniature-food artist.

Where do you see Learnemy in the next 10 years?
I see it transforming education. Just imagine this: someone wants to learn to be a designer. He can schedule a web design class in the morning, logo design in the afternoon and a marketing class in the evening. There’s no need to take on a full bachelor’s degree at university. That’s the world I want to live in.


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