Published in Essentials: Food / Wine / Art / People / Places, Spring Issue 2016, p63 – www.essentialsmagazine.com.au
“Astra is a modern, stylish alpine lodge with a newly renovated cedar-lined dining room warmed by a crackling wood fire. Chef Emma Handley, recently of the award-winning Villa Gusto, has introduced a menu of classic Italian dishes to embrace the alpine cool outside. The room looks out onto a snowscape bathed in soft light at night. Excellent, quality local smallgoods feature on the antipasto plate and the two-cheese fondue is served in classic red and white Swiss caquelons. Warm up with a rich plate of lip-smacking sticky cotechino with lentil and mustard fruits perhaps served with a glass of Pizzini nebbiolo. Handley makes pasta by hand daily, serving up light and golden pumpkin gnocchi with beurre noisette, sage and toasted pumpkin seeds. Mains could be a hearty Italian lamb braised with truffled polenta or perhaps a dish of chicken cooked in milk with lemon and capers. Astra’s well-considered wine list, focused on the North East and hand-picked French and Italian wines, creates the perfect blend of High Country and European Alps.