Ah, July. The ‘hump day’ of winter and traditionally the most brrrisk month of the year.
But don’t let the chilly temps deter. Rug up and head out for a cosy meal at a local restaurant, some open-air sun-drenched shopping at a market, a splash of country wine tasting and a dash of Christmas in July.
Read on for some tasty and racy July highlights…
Gosford’s chic new eatery, South End Social, continues to impress with an enticing new evening menu.
The menu is packed with delicious morsels that are perfect for sharing like pork belly baklava, fries with truffled aioli, lamb tagine, Korean fried chicken and sesame crusted prawn toast.
They’re all matched with the venue’s world-class wine list so snuggle into one of their comfy booths and sip away the winter blues.
Winter Share Plates
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 4pm-9pm
South End Social, Gosford
In addition to perennial favourites like the squid ink blue swimmer crab and lamb ragout, there are a few new hearty handmade pasta dishes straight from Nona’s cookbook.
Beef lasagne arrives from the wood-fired oven in a piping hot skillet (only $15 on Wednesdays); pumpkin, macadamia and ricotta ravioli is served with sage burnt butter; and they’ve added a couple of the Italian classics that are sure fire winter warmers – a Bolognaise spaghetti with braised brisket and a fettuccine carbonara.
Calabria’s spicy salami, Nduja, has been added to the wood-fired pizza line up to spice up a cold July day, and there’s a new King Prawn pizza with zucchini, Fior De Latte and parsley. Pop in on Mondays to get three pizzas for the price of two.
Leave room for a couple of cannoli – they’re piped fresh with citrus ricotta, pistachio and local honey.
Known for its top notch drops, Rhonda’s rebooted cocktail list is packed with bellissimo beverages including a new range of spritz’s, barrelled Negronis, coconut margaritas and for something extra special – the ‘Vita Facile’, with Appleton’s rum, Macadamia Liquor, lime and mint.
Get hot to trot on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights with imported red Peronis for $5 before 10pm and DJs spinning the night away.
New winter menu
During winter, Chef Sulo is taking diners on a journey through Turkey showcasing the regional flavours of different provinces each month, and July is all about the exotic flavours of Trabzon.
In homage to this multicultural region, which was once the gateway to Persia on the historical Silk Road, the two-course menu includes black tea smoked scallops and confit lamb shanks with Corn Keskek, a UNESCO-listed ceremonial dish.
To complete the experience, the set menu also includes a glass of Turkish wine or beer.
Taste of Turkey
Thursday nights during winter
Safran restaurant, Ettalong
$40 per person – bookings recommended on 4342 7030
Mudgee makes an annual pilgrimage to Balmoral and Watsons Bay has an Orange event, and now Terrigal is set to have its own slice of country NSW with Cowra coming to the Coast.
In partnership with Cowra Tourism and Cowra Wine Region, Crowne Plaza Terrigal is hosting the inaugural ‘Cowra on the Coast’ Food and Wine Festival on July 6.
From port to pinot and chardonnay to cabernet, the region’s winemakers will travel a few hundred clicks east to show off their best drops, while produce will include preserves, cheese and meat – don’t miss the Cowra lamb spit roast.
Combining Cowra’s food and wine with Terrigal’s salt and sand, it’s set to be a brilliant day of wine tasting and gourmet grazing by the sea.
Cowra on the Coast
Saturday July 6: 11am – 5pm
Crowne Plaza Terrigal
Wine tasting for $15 (includes glass and five tokens), Meet the Cowra Winemaker is $99pp – book on 4384 9111
Lake Haven Centre is dialling up the fun during the winter school holidays.
On school holiday weekdays between 10am and 2pm, kids can get crafty with a different free project to complete each day.
Pop into Fortune Café to refuel with milk and cookies. Their jumbo choc-chip cookie and old-fashioned chocolate milkshake should keep the tiny tots going all day.
For a sweet treat, roll into Bakers Delight on July 6 for a scone making and tasting session.
On Saturday July 20, sushi-lovers can learn the art of their fave snack at a kids sushi-making workshop at Sushi Hub. Bookings are essential for this activity – call 02 4392 7800.
School holiday fun
Throughout the July holidays – check the Facebook page for daily activities
Lake Haven Centre
Greedy Guts is living up to its name this month with a ‘fat night’ putting calorie-laden street food front and centre.
We’re talking succulent dumplings, BBQ plates overflowing with mouth-watering pork and chorizo, mac’n’cheese bites, succulent burgers and for the ultimate dessert, ice cream served in a donut cone (insert drool emoji).
Mark it in the diary as this month’s cheat day – everyone needs to splurge now and then.
Greedy Guts Fat Night
Friday July 12: from 530pm
The Beery at the Crowne Plaza, Terrigal
From bespoke Central Coast branded pillows to gorgeous greenery planted and grown with love, Handmade on The Coast is a lovely market offering crafty and creative Coasties the chance to sell their handmade wares by the water at Woy Woy.
Held on the second Sunday of each month at Woy Woy Wharf Park, these markets are dedicated to products that have been handmade, designed, cooked or created by a Central Coast local.
It’s a great way to support budding small businesses while also picking up something special and truly one-of-a-kind.
We’re talking everything from cruelty-free creams to abstract art, handcrafted jewellery, gluten-free treats and eco homewares.
Grab a cup of organic coffee, sit in the shade and enjoy a few tunes from local buskers, all within a stone’s throw of Woy Woy’s sparkling waterfront.
Handmade on the Coast
Sunday July 14: 9am-2pm
Woy Woy Wharf
On the third Sunday of the month, the Peninsula Recreation Precinct at Umina Beach is the place to be with the popular Umina Beach Markets rolling into town.
With many of the event’s 90 stalls offering plant-based options, it’s the Coast’s premier vegan-friendly market.
Buying local is something Coasties embrace and these markets offer punters the chance to support their neighbours while doing some shopping by the sea.
Stalls offer everything from art with a message about animal conservation to homegrown herbs and small-batch soap.
For a pick-me-up, grab a coffee in a keep cup, try a reishi latte, crunch on some Churros or test-drive a vegan cupcake or two.
Avoid the parking craziness with a free shuttle bus from Woy Woy or Ettalong Wharfs or Ettalong Diggers.
Umina Beach Markets
Sunday July 21: 9am-2pm
Peninsula Recreation Precinct, Umina Beach
If December feels too far away, this is your chance for some festive frivolity with a day of racing, live music and free kids activities.
To really get into the festive spirit, enjoy free flowing drinks and a Christmas feast as part of a hospitality package (starting from $75 for members).
Christmas in July Race Day
Saturday July 27: 11am-530pm
The Entertainment Grounds, Gosford
General admission $10 /$5 concession (Children under-17 are free when accompanied by an adult)
One of the most popular monthly events on the Central Coast is the Avoca Beachside Markets.
Held on the fourth Sunday of the month, the cult market day sees more than 120 stalls pop-up on the grass alongside pretty Avoca Lake.
A hub of coastal creativity, emerging and established artists and artisans offer all manner of up-cycled, recycled, pre-loved, vintage and bespoke one-of-a-kind treasures from handmade soap to beautiful baby clothes, original artworks and coastal chic homewares.
The markets have a green heart with many vendors focussing on renewable and eco goods and a reusable Boomerang Bag available to steer shoppers away from single use plastic.
A live stage has been a breeding ground for some of the Coast’s most talented musical exports including The Voice contestants Ellie Drennan and Nathan Hawes who got their start busking regularly at the markets.
It’s always a busy day in the small coastal town so spare yourself parking pain and take advantage of a free shuttle bus which runs every 15 minutes from Avoca Hotel just down the road.
Sunday July 28: 9am to 2pm
Heazlett Park Foreshore, Avoca Beach