South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > April 2003
   
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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 A La Carte Winter Menu For Bell Tower
30th April 2003: The Bell Tower Restaurant's executive chef Steve Gudzinski will be unveiling his 2003 winter a la carte menu on Thursday 8th May. As with previous menus, Steve will be offering restaurant-goers the latest in cutting edge Australian cuisine. "Our guests have come to expect a high level of quality from the Bell Tower and the new winter menu isn't going to disappoint", Steve told me. The menu will showcase the best of fresh local produce and is themed on warming diners' winter-weary appetites. Some things to look out for? Steve's award-winning Smoked Muscovy Duck with Green Peanut and Citrus Glaze was the first thing that caught my eye. This dish was last seen by spectators at the 2003 PCA Regional Culinary Competition, where it took out the top award. But a spectacular tuna nicoise salad, homemade sweet potato gnocchi, local Paradise Creek eye fillet and mediterranean-styled pork fillet weren't far behind. Fans of desserts, meanwhile, will probably rupture their tastebuds on the work of the Bell Tower's resident pastry chef Karen Ford. How about a caramelised passionfruit and banana crème brulee, roasted coconut ice cream, nougat semifredo or warm apples calvados? All I can suggest is that you phone (07) 4162-7000 and book early! [PS: The Bell Tower's fortnightly Sunday spit roasts are also continuing to do a roaring trade - you'll need to book for those too if you want to be sure of a seat] 
Australia's Biggest Feijoa Plantation Opening In 2004
27th April 2003: Jackie Casey of the Feijoa Australia Plantation at Lower Wonga will be returning to New Zealand soon for the third installment of her scholarship to study Feijoa fruit cultivation. Last October - as part of $33,000 marketing study grant - Jackie spent two weeks mastering the craft of potting, seeding, grafting and budding these exotic fruit trees. Then in January this year she returned to NZ again for pre-harvesting training. And next week she'll learn about the final harvesting process as well as meeting up with a New Zealand juice company. Jackie believes that the valuable skills and contacts she's gained from her studies will be crucial to the success of her family's Feijoa plantation, which is now the largest in Queensland (1800 trees). Feijoa fruit is a winter crop and the trees are harvestable at four years of age but hit full maturity and maximum production from five years of age onwards. Most of the Kilkivan crop is only three years old and Jackie isn't expecting the plantation's first harvest until 2004. But she tells me that - as with grapes - the South Burnett's unique geographical position could yield a Feijoa crop months before New Zealand and earlier than any of Australia's southern growers: a distinct export advantage. If you don't want to wait until next year to experience the refreshing taste of Feijoa, though, you'll be able to sample them from Jackie's stall at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival on Sunday 25th May with some fruit she's imported from a Victorian Feijoa producer.
Stan The Man Serves Up Stunning Pub Grub
24th April 2003: Zany South Burnett chef Stan "The Man" Stanaway - who helped launch the Burning Beats Cafe in September last year - has resurfaced with his own a-la-carte restaurant inside Kingaroy's Club Hotel. The new restaurant (formerly Barbella's) has been completely redecorated and now features a bright and spacious interior, cosy bar and comfortable padded cane chairs. Stan's fondness for eclectic foods is reflected in his menu which offers a small but tempting selection of dishes that cover the gamut of meat, poultry and seafood. One that deserves special mention is the Stifado Octopus that became his signature dish during the time he commanded Burning Beats' kitchen. Stan's new restaurant has now been operating for about 8 weeks and opens for lunches Tuesdays to Fridays and dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays (when it trades right through to 9:30pm at night, every night). While the food on offer is more traditional than the Beats' Asian and Indian fare, it follows all the traditions of Aussie pub grub: good, wholesome, well-cooked food and lots of it! A recent Good Friday seafood night saw a crowd of more than 40 descend on the venue where a few lucky patrons got to chow down on 1.9 Kg chilli mud crabs for an astonishing $50 while others feasted on whole fresh fish bigger than their plates for $30. Bookings at Stan's aren't 100% necessary yet but will probably be advisable in the near future.

South Burnett Restaurant Fast Facts

Restaurant:  

Stan's A-La-Carte Restaurant

Address:  

169 Kingaroy Street, Kingaroy
(inside the Club Hotel)

Contact details:  

Phone: (07) 4162-2204

Open:  

Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 12:00pm-200pm
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 5:30pm-9:00pm
(functions by arrangement)

Average entree:  

$6.00

Average main:  

$12.50

Average dessert:  

$4.00

Licensed?  

Yes
Type of Cuisine:

Fresh, locally sourced South Burnett produce (seafoods from Deception Bay) with very generous portion sizes. Meals and beverages are prepared using rain water and all salads are served with a balsamic vinegar dressing. The menu changes periodically.

Endeavour Foundation Black-Tie Dinner At Stuart Range
Stuart Range Estates Winery21st April 2003: One for your social calendar if you love great local foods and wines: Ralph Huston and Jennie Munro (ie the Car 134 Great Endeavour Rally team) are putting on a special black tie dinner at Stuart Range Estates winery in Kingaroy on Friday 16th May as an Endeavour Foundation fundraiser. After spending a Sunday afternoon with SRE's charismatic winemaker Ross Whiteford recently, Ralph and Jennie managed to persuade Ross, Stuart Range, members of Team South Burnett, the Kingaroy TAFE's hospitality students and yours truly to create a special black tie function for them. And on Friday 16th May invited guests will have the opportunity to "Taste the Magic" of the South Burnett's unique and diverse produce, all accompanied by outstanding Stuart Range Estates wines hand-picked by Ross (who'll be on hand to give a brief outline of each one and share his experiences in the art and science of winemaking while the rest of us attend to the catering). The evening will take place amongst the barrels, pipes, vats and perfumes of SRE's maturing new season vintages and Peter Cupples from Brisbane will provide the entertainment on the night. Peter is one of Australia's favourite singer/songwriters and is currently recording an anthem for the Make a Wish Foundation. Unfortunately the dinner is by invitation only - but if you'd like to attend, you could try giving Jennie Munro a call on (07) 4162-7893. Seats are very limited, though: first in, best dressed!
South Burnett Now #2 On Wine Tonnages
18th April 2003: Just how big is the South Burnett's wine industry? It's only been in existence for a decade - but according to the most recent data available from the Queensland State Government our region is now the second biggest grape growing are in the State (next to the Granite Belt, which has been growing grapes since the 1890s) and catching up fast! In fact, the South Burnett and the Granite Belt between them now account for almost 80% of the State's wine production while the remaining 7 regions put together account for the balance. Here's the official break-down based on the total area under vine at the end of 2002:
 
Rank

Region

Plantings (ha) % Of Total
1

Granite Belt

640 48.5%
2

South Burnett

400 30.3%
3

Darling Downs

100 7.6%
4

Gold Coast Hinterland & Scenic Rim

50 3.8%
5

North Burnett and Central Queensland

40 3.0%
6

Inglewood District

30 2.3%
7

Sunshine Coast and Hinterland

20 1.5%
7

Somerset Valley & D'Aguilar Ranges

20 1.5%
7

Maranoa (Roma, Surat & St George)

20 1.5%
2002 Queensland Total: 1,320 ha 100%

Hospitality Workers Forging Successful Local Careers
15th April 2003: The popular Kingaroy Hotel-Motel has a new chef! Clinton Smoothy began running the hotel's kitchen last month after a short stint at the Bell Tower Restaurant and hopes to extend the huge revival the Kingaroy has enjoyed since it was purchased from the Journey group last year by implementing some some fresh new ideas. Clinton originally did his apprenticeship at Rosellas Restaurant on the Bunya Mountains under the guidance of well known chef Rex Parsons. But when he graduated he decided to remain in the local area rather than look for opportunities elsewhere. In this regard, he represents a new breed of South Burnett chef: ones that are now deciding to forge successful careers right here in our booming hospitality and tourism industries rather than moving to the cities. It's a seismic shift in the attitude of young hospitality professionals that flies in the face of most other rural areas - but it makes sense. After all, the South Burnett is now home to many first class food service establishments with some of the most skilled staff in Queensland. So why bother uprooting? To reward Clinton's loyalty to the region he's been invited to join Team South Burnett, the group of local chefs that will be competing at the LifeStyle Channel Australian Regional Culinary Competition being held in Adelaide this October.
Eating Out In The South Burnett Over Easter
12th April 2003: Several years ago when I first came to the South Burnett I can clearly recall that the Easter break was a desert for dining. Every single restaurant in the region shut their doors for the entire four days. And when I asked why the answer was pretty much the same from Blackbutt to Bells Bridge: "Oh, everyone here goes away for Easter," I was told. Well that may - or may not - be true. But what certainly is true these days is that lots of tourists use the Easter break to come and visit us - and closed restaurants when we have high tourist traffic isn't a particularly good look. But this year I'm pleased to report that the penny seems to be dropping in our hospitality trade as more operators begin to realise the value of the South Burnett's growing tourist industry. While many restaurants will continue their long-standing tradition of closing up for the entire four days, quite a few good eateries have decided to stay open this year and trade right through the break - including several that will be opening on Good Friday. I think that's really good news! Not just for tourists, but also for the many locals who don't go away for Easter. You can find out more about what restaurants will be opening this Easter on the South Burnett's Daily Events Calendar.
Kingaroy Cheese Now Available In The Hunter Valley
Kingaroy Cheese9th April 2003: One of the South Burnett's most spectacular food success stories over the last couple of years has been Kingaroy Cheese. The company was established in the old Kingaroy Butter Factory (part of winemaker Stuart Range Estates' complex) a few years ago when the dairy industry began to be deregulated. It's gone from strength to strength ever since, with its small but excellent range of fresh specialty cheeses being picked up by a wide range of Australian food distributors. The latest addition to the company's distribution list is Redgate Farms in Newcastle - a family owned business that showcases regional produce throughout the Hunter Valley and in Sydney. They're so impressed with the products that Kingaroy Cheese's cheesemaker Chris Ganzer has been invited down to Newcastle over the May long weekend to talk about cheese and wine to local audiences. Chris will also be holding a wine making dinner at the Crown Plaza in the heart of Newcastle while he's there. When you considering that the Hunter is one of Australia's oldest cheesemaking regions and has also become one of the country's best-known wine regions over the last 30 years, this is equivalent to taking coals to Newcastle. But it's also a tribute to the increasing skills base that our region's food producers and winemakers are developing.
New Release, New Logo For Captains Paddock
Peter, Maryanne and their 2002 Bottom Paddock Chardonnay6th April 2003: Popular local winemakers Peter Eaton and Maryanne Pidcock from Captain's Paddock Vineyard at Booie have just released a new white: their 2002 Bottom Paddock Chardonnay. It's a dry, crisp unwooded chardonnay that goes beautifully with chicken or fish dishes when chilled. It saw its first public airing at the recent Wine & Food In The Park Festival in Kingaroy where it was met with the sincerest flattery any winemaker can receive (sales!) and had its second public outing last Friday night at the Wondai Shire Regional Art Gallery's monthly tastings where it also scored a universal thumbs-up. Bottom Paddock Chardonnay is made from the Paddock's own Booie vineyard grapes and was blended by Stuart Range Estates. Apart from being the first 2002 vintage release for the vineyard this wine is also special for another reason - it's the first one that carries the Paddock's striking new logo and house colours (black and gold), replacing the charcoal-grey horse that's served as the vineyard's emblem for the last three years. Next in line? A 2002 wooded chardonnay which Peter and Maryanne expect will be ready to go on the shelves in about 4 to 8 weeks after it's had time to adjust to bottling. Photo: Peter and Maryanne with their new 2002 Bottom Paddock Chardonnay, Captain's Paddock logo and house colours.

South Burnett Wine Summary

Release:  

2002 Bottom Paddock Chardonnay

Winemaker:  

Captains Paddock Vineyard, Cafe & Cabins
18 Millers Road, Kingaroy

Contact details:  

Phone: (07) 4162-4534
Web:  http://www.captainspaddock.com.au  
Email: wine@captainspaddock.com.au

GI:  

100% South Burnett

Volume:  

750ml (7.7 standard drinks)

Grapes:  

Chardonnay

Alcohol Content:  

13.0%

Preservatives:  

Sulphur dioxide

Cork:  

Ref 1A

Price:  

$14.00 single bottle ($152 per dozen)                              

Why Not Chew Into A Piece Of Paradise?
Paradise Creek Meats3rd April 2003: Back in December last year I wrote a story about Kumbia's Dandilla Pastoral Company, who were raising Wagyu beef cattle for the Japanese market and getting $3,000 a head for them at a time when most traditional beef cattle producers were lucky to get $300. So now I'm very pleased to draw attention to another innovative South Burnett cattleman: Mike Bishop, who opened Paradise Creek Meats at the old Wooroolin Butchery late last year. Rather than just be a traditional country butcher, Mike's shop specialises in smallgoods, sauces, designer pies, gourmet chicken products and ready-to-go stirfries. He also retails his own premium quality meat, which is grown on his Paradise Creek cattle property near the Nanango State Forest. The beef is Meat Standards Australia (MSA) graded, which guarantees both tenderness and consistency. Mike's beef made its public debut at the 2002 Regional Culinary Competition when former Bell Tower Restaurant Chef Michael Collins won gold for his Tenderloin Steak With Booie Rum recipe. And ...you guessed it! The tenderloin he used came from Paradise Creek. Over the last year the butchery has steadily developed a loyal following from both local residents and wholesale customers. Mike is now the exclusive supplier to Cherbourg and Murgon Hospitals and enjoys a major share of the local hotel market too. The next time you're in Wooroolin, why not drop by and see what the fuss is about? The store is located on the Bunya Highway, and you can phone them on (07) 4164-2177 or (another innovation!) contact them via email.
 

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