South Burnett Cuisine - from the South Burnett region of Queensland, Australia
The South Burnett's wine and food web site

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News tip?
Our web site is always interested in news about developments in the South Burnett's wine and food industries.

You're most welcome to send any news tips directly to Jason Ford via email.  Include your phone number if you have more details you'd like to discuss.

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South Burnett Wine and Food News with Jason Ford

New South Burnett Niche Pork Producer
23rd February 2006: "Would you like hormones or antibiotics with that?" Unless you want a body like the Incredible Hulk I'm sure the answer would be "thanks… but no thanks!" Over the last few years I've reported on various alternative farming enterprises in the South Burnett, and now I'm pleased to add Jestin Farms to our region's rapidly growing line-up of niche food producers. Jestin Farms is the brainchild of Clinton and Julia Butler. Their piggery is located 7km out of Kingaroy and specialises in hormone-free and antibiotic-free pork products. The couple moved to Kingaroy 3½ years ago in the hope of getting the business off the ground. Clinton has 15 years experience in the pork industry and saw the growing market in natural and alternative farming practices. "I've done a lot of market research and I've learnt a lot, mostly about the types of meat cuts and packaging consumers want", he told me. Jestin Farm's products are currently available direct from FoodWorks grocery store in Kingaroy and the pair sell their pork at Toowoomba's Wilsonton Undercover Markets every Sunday. You can also look-out for their stall at the Nanango Country Markets on the first Saturday of each month. Clinton and Julia also provide a home delivery service for the local area every Friday. I'm told that orders need to be placed 7-days prior on (07) 4162-7388 or via email.
Top Foodies Coming To Judge 2006 Regional Cuisine Cook-Offs
Fiona Donnelly20th February 2006: In a little under three weeks from now on Saturday 11th March the 2006 PCA South Burnett Regional Cuisine Cook-Offs are going to be run at the Wine & Food In The Park Festival in Kingaroy. And as the chief organiser of this event - thanks to the ongoing sponsorship of the Peanut Company of Australia - I can assure you this year's Cook-Offs are going to be the biggest and best yet! The Cook-Off's rules have changed slightly this year (as they do every year) to keep competing chefs on their toes. And each contestant will have to please a pretty tough and knowledgeable judging panel: legendary chef Alastair McLeod from Channel Ten's popular Ready, Steady, Cook show (Alastair was also a judge last year and really wowed the crowds); feature writer and well-known foodie Fiona Donnelly (pictured at right) from the Courier-Mail's Good Life; and three times Cook-Offs Grand Champion Steve Gudzinski, who'll be making a trip back from the Gold Coast Hinterland on the day to take part. The Cook-Offs will get underway under the giant PCA marquee when the gates open at around 10:00am and will run right through until the final winners are announced at around 5:00pm. Admission is completely free and if you love watching great food getting prepared by top chefs (and learning all their tricks!) the South Burnett Regional Cuisine Cook-Offs really are a must-see. Over the last 4 years they've steadily grown to become one of Wine & Food In The Park's stand-out attractions for dedicated foodies and I think this year's roll-out certainly won't disappoint! [PS: you can now get all the recipes from the three previous Cook-Offs on PCA's web site - just look at the site's left-hand side menu]
New Owners At Kilkivan's Fat Hen Farm
Fat Hen Farm products17th February 2006: I'd heard that Kilkivan's Belle Villa Farm had new owners some time ago - but I hadn't followed it up until one of my TAFE hospitality students discovered the Farm's web site and drew my attention to it. Alan and Bronwyn Wood took over the reins of the property 16 months ago and re-named it Fat Hen Farm after the adjoining Fat Hen Creek. They've since transformed it into an exciting tourism destination. Fat Hen now produce up to 2 tonnes of succulent redclaw (a fresh water crayfish) every year from 13 purpose-built ponds. The redclaws vary in size from 80g to a substantial 200g and can be purchased either live or cooked. "We sell our crayfish direct from the farm gate and also take them to the Eumundi Markets every Saturday" Alan told me. Fat Hen also has one of the oldest olive groves in South-East Queensland, with 650 trees of Spanish Manzanillo, Italian Coreggiola and Hardy's Mammoth varietals. The olives are harvested by hand and made into assortment of products including extra virgin oils, flavoured oils, tapenades, pestos and marinated table olives. Alan has a background in corporate marketing and Bronwyn was formerly the editor of a glossy homemaking magazine. But the couple found they wanted a tree-change for themselves and their young children, so they moved from Sydney to the idyllic South Burnett countryside to do it - and I think anybody could relate to that! Fat Hen Farm is located off the Wide Bay Highway not far north of Kilkivan. And because it's a working farm, they ask that anybody interested in tours contact them first via phone on (07) 5484-1372 or via email. Photo above: Some of Fat Hen Farm's olive products - you can also buy them through the Farm's web site.
What A Nutty Night Out!
Rob Patch, Jason Ford and Yvonne Webb14th February 2006: Following the success of our Nuts on the Range master cooking class last Friday night (see story 8th February), Peanut Van owner Rob Patch and I now plan to put together further nights of peanut gastronomy in the future. The 40 guests who attended our first show told us they had a really great time. They watched Rob and I prepare 5 easy peanut dishes for their dinner while they washed everything down with Kingsley Grove wines - and if anyone had any gripes they couldn't be heard over the stories and laughter, which both rolled on until late into the night. One of the most talked about dishes was the Spicy African Peanut Soup, which always gets a big thumbs-up (my recipe is available on PCA's website). I'm also glad to report that we raised $200 for the Queensland Cancer Fund's Relay For Life initiative too. Rob and I would like to thank our sponsors: the South Burnett Times newspaper, Pro-tech Light and Sound, Kingsley Grove Vineyard and the Bell Tower Restaurant. We also hope to take the cooking show further afield - possibly to Childers where Rob recently opened his second Peanut Van. So if you live up that way, watch out for us! Photo above (L-R): Rob Patch, Jason Ford and Yvonne Webb at Nuts On The Range.
Take A 1-In-5000 Chance To Win A Mountain Of South Burnett Wine
Mountain Of Wine11th February 2006: The 2007 Wine and Food In The Park Festival is going to be a very special day for someone. For a modest $6 investment in a beautifully engraved South Burnett wine glass, they'll be walking away with a staggering 42 cases of South Burnett wines from Cranes, Ziebarths, Captains Paddock, Stuart Range, Tipperary Estate, Clovely Estate and Whistle Stop Wines. Or to put it another way, they'll be getting 3,780 standard drinks - which is enough to supply two people with 5 glasses a day each for an entire year. Or provide refreshments for an awful lot of very big dinner parties! The Mountain Of Wine promotion will be launched at this year's Wine & Food In The Park Festival at Memorial Park in Kingaroy on Saturday March 11th and will run for a year before the winner is drawn at Wine & Food In The Park 2007. Only 5,000 South Burnett wine glasses will be sold in the promotion (so the odds of winning are much better than lotto). And you can be one of the first to get one at this year's Festival. After that, you'll be able to buy the glasses at most of the South Burnett's cellar doors or our region's Visitor Information Centres. The Mountain Of Wine promotion is being run by the South Burnett Wine Industry Association and all funds raised will be used by the Association to promote the South Burnett Wine Trail: an activity that directly or indirectly benefits everyone who lives here.
Go Nuts On The Range With Me This Friday!
Jason Ford and Rob Patch8th February 2006: On Friday 10th February a very special event will be held at the Bell Tower Restaurant on the Booie Range outside Kingaroy. Together with my mate Rob Patch, I'll be presenting Nuts on the Range, a fun and entertaining masterclass of peanut gastronomy. Rob Patch (pictured with me at right) is owner of Kingaroy's iconic Peanut Van and chief spruiker of Australia's vibrant peanut industry. After decades as a leader in peanut growing, processing and tourism Rob has a lifetime of memorable and often humorous anecdotes to share. And he's a great bloke as well! Guests on the night can expect amusing yarns and culinary delights as Rob and I prepare 5 easy and delicious peanut dishes accompanied by Kingsley Grove wines. Long considered the poor cousin of more sexy nuts, the modest peanut will makes its salacious debut in this original and innovative cooking class. It should open your mind to exciting and delicious possibilities you'd never have thought possible. Kingaroy is recognised as Australia's peanut capital with an international reputation for producing a world-class legume. That's right! Peanuts are actually a legume - not really a nut as commonly thought. They're very healthy and a multipurpose ingredient too. Unfortunately - to keep the event intimate - there'll be limited seating. But all proceeds will be going to the Relay For Life and the Queensland Cancer Fund. For more details and/or bookings call the Bell Tower on (07) 4162-7943. But be quick: I think there are only a few seats left.
Four South Burnett Restaurants Get A 2006 Good Life Guide Gong
The Courier-Mail Good Life Restaurant Guide5th February 2006: For the third year running, South Burnett restaurants have been included in the prestigious Courier-Mail Good Life Restaurant Guide - probably Queensland's definitive guide to the best eating in the State. And this year an unprecedented four regional dining spots have found their way into the guide's glossy pages. The Bell Tower Restaurant at Booie, Kingaroy's Burning Beats Café and Nanango's Copper Country Restaurant have all been listed in previous issues - but the Bunya Mountains' Cider Gum Restaurant made its debut this year as well. Once again, the Bell Tower Restaurant was awarded the extra accolade of a red star for its consistency in good dining experience - and only a handful of regional restaurants received the coveted red star rating this year. Paul Stoddardt, the owner and chef at Burning Beats tells me that he's proud to be chosen for listing (for the third time running) and that on numerous occasions he's taken bookings from guests who've travelled from all over Queensland to chow down on his Asian and Indian foods. "I attribute a good slice of my tourist trade directly to the popularity of the Good Life Restaurant Guide" he said. The 2006 edition is out now and is available from all good newsagents - and that's the only way you can buy it too. For some reason News Ltd (the Courier-Mail's owners) don't yet provide a way you can buy it online. This is something I hope they'll remedy in 2007.
Back To Life.... At Last! 
2006 Wine & Food In The Park Festival2nd February 2006: Contrary to rumours that this site had died and gone to heaven, I'm very pleased to announce that after a 9 month vacation South Burnett Cuisine is coming back to life from today onwards. The site has been on air but not updated since the end of May 2005. Why, you ask? Partly because I got so over-committed with my studies, exams and other work commitments in mid-2005 that for awhile I simply ran out of time to do everything I wanted to do. And partly because this web site is scheduled for a major makeover but South Burnett Online (our webmasters) have been just as overcommitted with work projects as I was. All the same, the growth and development of our region's wine and food industries has continued steadily while I've been off the airwaves and I have a truckload of stories to bring to you about this. From today onwards we'll be returning to our normal 3-day schedule. I'd like to thank everybody who contacted me about South Burnett Cuisine while we were away and assure you that all is well. In fact, right at the moment one of the major projects on my desk - apart from restoring this web site to regular reporting - is organising the 4th Annual PCA Regional Cuisine Cook-Offs for the 2006 Wine & Food In The Park Festival. There are some interesting new twists in this year's Cook-Offs and you can expect stories about that soon too. Gosh! It's good to be back!
South Burnett Gets A New, Improved Wine Trail Guide
2005 South Burnett Wine Trail Map29th May 2005: In about a month from now the South Burnett Wine Industry Association will be unveiling a new, greatly improved and completely up-to-date Wine Trail Guide for our region. The Guide will take the form of a tri-fold brochure which will tell interested visitors about the wines our region produces; give them an accurate and up-to-date wine trail map; and provide them with useful information about most - but not all - of the South Burnett's great wineries. The Wine Trail Guide is part of the work undertaken for the SBWIA over the last year by public relations whiz Alison Shaw from Smartwine and it fills a major hole in our region's tourist marketing material. Incredible but true, until Ms Shaw was hired there were almost no good photographs of our wineries available anywhere. And the only Wine Trail maps our region's Visitor Information Centres had for tourists were badly out of date because of the explosion of new cellar doors we've seen here over the last few years. The new Wine Trail Guide will certainly help address this problem and I'm sure there'll be a lot of visitors (and yes, even a few locals) who'll benefit from having a copy in their glovebox. The new Guide was paid for by SBWIA members who chipped in to subscribe to Ms Shaw's program. As a result, the Guide omits any winery that didn't - and that's probably fair. You can expect to find print versions of the new Wine Trail Guide in Visitor Information Centres and cellar doors within the next few weeks. You'll also be able to obtain a copy over the Internet through South Burnett Online's network when it's out. And if you'd like to take a sneak peek at the final draft (which may still get a few small changes made to it), it's available here right now in Adobe PDF format (947K).

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