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Byron Shire
April 13, 2021

The Good Life – food, wine and travel

Latest News

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Sick to my stomach

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Council crews working hard to repair potholes

Tweed Shire Council road maintenance crews are out across the Tweed's road network repairing potholes and other damage caused by the recent prolonged rainfall and previous flood events.

Matthew Michaelis
Matthew Michaelis

From next week, The Echo will be extending our popular existing Good Taste restaurant directory with a new section called The Good Life.

The northern rivers region is known for its great lifestyle and locals’ love of good food and wine. Perhaps because of our popularity as a tourist destination for discerning visitors, locals are blessed with a great range of interesting cafes, restaurants and bars, many of which are equal in style and quality to their big-city counterparts, and some of which are the sort of unique north coast venues loved by locals who are glad they don’t live in a big city.

We have a number of bottleshops that stock a range of wines from the good value to premium quality from all over Australia and the world. Nearby we have wine-growing regions, such as the Granite Belt, and wineries that produce ranges of organic and preservative-free wines.

There are wonderful local markets, including many farmer markets thronged with locals who value the locally grown, often organic produce that gives unique health benefits as well as helping to create a sustainable food industry.

The region also seems to be home to an unusual number of cookbooks, many with interesting photographs and ‘food trails’ such as the Byron Bay Cookbook, some catering to growing niche markets such as My Gluten-Free Gourmet Kitchen by local woman Debra Maloney, or even the slightly more underground Cannabis Cookbook.

Whether you are a person who is interested in the quality of the coffee they drink and the food they eat, like our new food writer Matthew Michaelis, or whether you just want some good tips on places to eat, or interesting local travel destinations, we think that you’ll find plenty in our new The Good Life section to inspire you to live ‘the good life’ and not just read about it.

Matthew Michaelis

Matthew has been writing for over 25 years.

Critique and experience walk hand in hand and apart from being a restaurant critic, Matthew has also been a consultant to the hospitality industry and owned many businesses in and around food.

Trained under Jean Pierre Beaudoin, he was a creative foodie well before ‘foodie’ was a noun, and at 19 he acquired the French cafe bistro in Sydney that had been his training ground.

It wasn’t long before Matthew started writing for newspapers. As a food critic and editor he had regular weekly columns in a variety of publications including the lifestyle section he created and edited for The Daily Telegraph.

For Microsoft, he has written travel reviews of some of the world’s finest eateries, both overseas and in Australia. Matthew now lives in the Byron Shire, dividing his time between the lifestyle and beauty on offer in this part of the world.

Recent stories tagged Food & Wine:

Basiloco, from Italy with love

Photos and story: Caz Parker On the Italian island of Sardinia villagers are ten times more likely to reach the age of 100 than are people born elsewhere in the world. Longevity experts believe Sardinians’ longer lives are owed to...


Au revoir La Table

After six-and-a-half years of fabulous menus and a steady and generous culinary contribution to our region, La Table Cafe and Restaurant is coming to the end in its present form – the Mullumbimby premises.


Educating the palate; feeding the imagination

Eating a nicely prepared, cooked and served meal out, these days, is as easy as filling your car with petrol.


Rising to market

What’s in a name? In some cases people sit for hours stabbing in the dark, grabbing at suggestions and generally trying to inject some meaning into a business name. Other times, you just hear the name, you see the product and you say to yourself Yes!


Making a crust

I can attest to the almost inhuman hours bakers keep while toiling for this very basic human dietary need – bread.


A northerly aspect

You’d need a couple of lifetimes to get to the end of the good things happening on the north coast.


Cafe culture by night

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote up the Aquarius cafe, bar and restaurant in Lawson Street in Byron Bay.


Managing to feed the soul

We humans are sentient beings and when it comes to sitting in someone else’s space, I know I get the jitters if the overall atmosphere is unfriendly, stiff or uncomfortable.


Bonne Santé

Santé is now open at 10am, seven days per week, for a brunch with a twist. Here, they have a rep’ for a delicate pizza crust (among other culinary choices), and using that reputation, they’ve created a brekkie hybrid that’s being introduced on the brunch menu.


Phở (‘fahr’) the love of food

Vietnamese people move in very small circles. It’s a cliquey community where ex-pats are concerned no matter where they’ve settled.





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