As we reach the shortest day of the year, winter chills creep in as the sun sinks behind the hills. We linger in tracky dacks, loathe to venture out, content to reach for comfort food in the shelter of warm homes.
The winter solstice or ‘Yuletide’ marks a turning point from which days get longer, the Southern Hemisphere getting closer to the sun each day as it approaches warmer weather and the December summer solstice.
The shortest day of the year is a perfect time to catch the late sunrise and early sunset.
It’s also time to celebrate. Time for an adventure.
It’s time for the Winter Solstice Dinner at Mavis’s Kitchen; time to don winter woollies, rug up with scarves and boots and go out to brave the elements.
The staff of Mavis’s Kitchen have set up tables in the big shed, fairy lights hung from the rafters, magnolia stems and vases of roses gracing the tables, a place set for each of us to dine with strangers who, by the end of the evening, may become new friends.
There’s excitement in the air as we meet around the flickering heat of wood-fired braziers, hands cradling a glass of mulled wine. We’re in for an evening of hearty winter food, with produce from local growers and Mavis’s Kitchen garden prepared in the restaurant’s kitchens.
Fiery sausage is roasted with garden-grown fennel and potato, soup is made richer with the winter season’s truffles, organic field mushrooms are layered thick with potatoes and Parmesan cheese. Meanwhile, the lamb roasts over glowing coals in front of us in Spanish ‘a la cruz’ style.
As we dine, a fire dancer weaves her way around the tables, twirling flames hypnotically, fire reflecting off eyes and faces, a delight for all the senses. We tuck into food cooked over coals, wine served with each course warming us from the inside to banish the frost without.
It’s nights such as this that we remember, when we’ve stepped out into the darkness, thrown off the cloak of comfort to witness the beauty of stars in the cool night air, to risk meeting new people and to celebrate the season.
Yin and yang, hot and cold; they’re natural opposites, interrelated in the natural world.
Both are to be embraced. There’s a joy to be found in every season if we seek it.
The annual Winter Solstice Dinner was held on Saturday, 24 June 2017.
64 Mount Warning Rd, Uki, NSW 2484 Ph: 02 6679 5664
You’ll find details about further dinners on the Mavis’s Event Series website page or Ph: 02 6679 5664. Tickets cost $95 pp including food, beverages and entertainment.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Mavis’s Kitchen.