South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > April 2004
   
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South Burnett Wine and Food News with Jason Ford

Team South Burnett Going Back To Adelaide In 2005
Team South Burnett 200328th April 2004: Whoever said that the years seem to go faster as you get older was spot on! Today I received an official invitation for Team South Burnett to compete in the 2005 Lifestyle Channel Australian Regional Culinary Competition at Adelaide's Tasting Australia Festival. It only seems like yesterday - though it was actually 6 months ago - that the South Burnett joined the ranks of Australia's regional elite when its team of local chefs competed against dozens of other chefs from Barossa, the Yarra Valley, the Hunter Valley and Margaret River in the nation's undisputed top culinary competition. And because the team impressed the judges and organisers in 2003, our region has received a placing in the prestigious 2005 food and wine competition. I'm very happy to announce that award-winning Kingaroy chef Steve Gudzinski and myself (as Team Captain) have taken up the invitation and we'll be returning to South Australia in October next year to represent our region again - and hopefully, come back with gold! We gained quite a lot of valuable experience from last year's competition and we're now strategising our attack plan to take advantage of all the things we learned. As you might expect, the team will be approaching local organisations for sponsoring partnerships to help with the considerable costs involved in competing at a major national event of this calibre. But I think that the value of sending the chefs to Tasting Australia has been realised by the local community and raising the funds shouldn't be a problem. Anybody interested in sponsoring the Team South Burnett project should contact me on (07) 4160-4428 or via email.
Pumpkin Wine To Be Launched At 2004 Pumpkin Festival
25th April 2004: Amazing but true: you can make wine from just about any fruit - and pumpkin is technically a fruit. So when the organisers of the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival recently approached Barambah Ridge Winery to produce what must be a culinary first anywhere in the world - South Burnett pumpkin wine - they agreed. The new wine will be making its debut at the annual Goomeri Pumpkin Festival Dinner Dance held on Saturday 29th May 2004 (the night immediately before the Festival). A limited supply of five hundred 375ml bottles will then be sold exclusively through Barambah Ridge's stand at the Festival the next day. Winemaker Stuart Pierce tells me that the beverage was made from 100 kg of locally-grown Queensland Blue Pumpkins. "It's a great novelty item and if it sells well we might consider making it a permanent product for Goomeri", he said. The wine only took a few weeks to produce and is described as having sweet, fruity characteristics with a hint of honey and - no surprise! - it apparently tastes a lot like pumpkin. My own opinion is that this wine would make a natural accompaniment to winter desserts such as a warm bread and butter pudding with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. If you're interested in acquiring a bottle or two for your own cellar, though, I'd recommend you get to the Festival early: I'm sure this novelty product will sell-out like hot cakes! You can obtain more information about this year's Festival by contacting David on (07) 4168-4209, Geoff on (07) 4168-1925 or by looking over the Festival's web site.
South Burnett Cuisine... The Hottest Show On TV!
Channel 7's Queenslander Weekender22nd April 2004: If you've been anywhere near a television lately you could be forgiven for thinking that the South Burnett is bigger than reality TV. Back on March 17th I broke the news that our region would be featuring in a 4-part On The Land TV special; and over the last two weekends the South Burnett has also enjoyed a two-episode feature on the Seven Network's Queensland Weekender. The first leg of the show took viewers through the South Burnett Gourmet Food and Wine Trail from Blackbutt north to Kingaroy. Presenter Taryn Onofaro began her journey at Cherry Creek Retreat B&B in Blackbutt before moving on to Rick's Place at Yarraman for morning tea. Then she picked up some peanuts from Nanango's Peanut Wagon as she made her way to the Copper Country in Nanango for a quick wine tasting, before stopping off at Stuart Range in Kingaroy for another wine tasting and a demonstration of feta cheese making with award-winning farmhouse cheesemakers Kingaroy Cheese. In the second part of the series - which screened last Saturday 17th April - Sally Jenyns followed the trail from Kingaroy to Kilkivan. Sally started off at John and Karyn Bjelke-Petersen's Bethany Cottages with a serve of Lady Flo's famous pumpkin scones, before travelling on to Captain's Paddock Vineyard at Booie Range. Then she dropped by the 'Lil Ol' Church Restaurant at Wooroolin and Up Country at Wondai before lunching at Goomeri's Pumpkin Pie and spending the night at Bruce and Rae Hurley's Left Bank B&B and Restaurant in Kilkivan. Both of these programs have audiences in the millions and publicity like this is invaluable for our tourism, wine and hospitality industries. Little wonder that the Easter break produced record visitor numbers at all our Tourist Information Centres!
Steve's New Job At Explorers
Steve Gudzinski19th April 2004: Hospitality is one of the most mobile of all industries, so it didn't surprise me to hear this week that award-winning chef Steve Gudzinski has just made another major move forward in his career. Steve has just accepted the role as head chef at the recently refurbished Explorers Restaurant in Kingaroy's Burke and Wills Motor Inn (see story 17th February 2004). Owners Sue Maloney and Ben Kaal told me they think the appointment of Steve will help build on the restaurant's well-established reputation as one of the South Burnett's best. "We think Explorers will offer him a lot of challenges and adventures," Sue said. "Adding Steve to our team is one more step in our master plan to continue providing quality service to our in-house guests, locals and tourists alike". Recently I took my wife and children Explorers for dinner on a Thursday night and the place was packed to the rafters - the atmosphere was warm, inviting and very lively. Steve's new winter menu is expected to make its debut early next month and I can't wait to return and try it out. If you want to do the same thing, you can make a dinner booking by calling the Burke and Wills on (07) 4162-2933. Photo above: Steve Gudzinski, two-time winner of the PCA South Burnett Culinary Competition and now head chef at Explorers Restaurant.
South Burnett Hampers Now Available Online
Rae Hurley from South Burnett Hampers16th April 2004: I've been writing about South Burnett food and wine since December 2002 and - frankly - I'm amazed at how far the audience for this web site spreads. I'm also delighted to let my regular readers know that a new online service from Rae and Bruce Hurley at The Left Bank in Kilkivan is going to make at least some people's lives a little easier from now on. Last year Rae and Bruce began putting together an extension to their Cafe and B&B business called South Burnett Hampers. It's taken more than a year to get it fully operational but they now stock a wonderful range of South Burnett food and lavender products along with sweet and dry wines from every one of the South Burnett's wineries. And today they took their business into the space age by launching a web site that showcases all their stock and lets you order directly through the Net. As anyone who's visited The Left Bank knows, Rae and Bruce are fanatics about food (Rae took a prize in the Regional Culinary Cook-Off a few years ago for her Beef Claw At The Bank recipe which appears on this site; and both played key roles in creating the South Burnett's "Taste The Magic" regional cook book last year). So it's not really surprising they're now retailing the South Burnett's finest wine and food products as well. You can purchase South Burnett Hampers products in person at The Left Bank or simply use their new web site to get products shipped to you wherever you live.
South Burnett Wine Industry Hires Full-Time Marketing Consultant
Alison Shaw from SmartWine13th April 2004: Last month I mentioned that the South Burnett Wine Industry Association was looking at pulling out all the stops on its marketing this year (see story March 8th). The development of a new regional logo - in conjunction with the South Burnett Tourism and Local Government Associations - was a vital first step. And today the SBWIA embarked on the next step in the process by hiring Alison Shaw from SmartWine as their full-time marketing and PR consultant (see picture at right). Alison operates a boutique PR consultancy that specialises in the wine industry and she's done terrific work for the Gold Coast hinterland wineries and the Sunshine Coast hinterland wineries over the last few years. But when her contract came up for renewal recently and the Sunshine Coast fumbled the ball, the SBWIA stepped in and snapped her up on the spot for a 12 month trial run. Over the coming year 15 of our regional wineries will be dipping their hands into their pockets every month to pay Alison's annual fee. In return, she'll be producing a mountain of materials to assist our region market itself smarter and better, filling in many of the blanks that currently exist in the South Burnett's wine tourism promotional mix. If Alison remains true to form - and I'm sure she will - you can also expect to see quite a lot of media coverage about South Burnett wineries start appearing in the mainstream press in the next 12 months too. Her work is certainly going to help advance the South Burnett further along the road to becoming Queensland's Hunter Valley. And that - I think, anyway - is our region's ultimate destiny.
The South Burnett's New Regional Logo Explained
South Burnett regional logo10th April 2004: After 9 months of hard work and input by close to 150 different people, the South Burnett's new regional logo was officially launched at last month's Wine & Food In The Park Festival - and predictably, it hasn't pleased everybody (I doubt any logo ever could!). But what's surprised me most is that the common objection from those who don't like it is that "it doesn't represent our region". I think this indicates a failure to properly communicate what the logo is really all about. And if so, we're in good company! Years ago the Commonwealth Bank received exactly the same type of reception when it first unveiled its own logo. Many people said it was "awful" until it was explained to them that the yellow and black box we're now all so familiar with isn't a sao biscuit dipped in vegemite - it's a highly stylised Southern Cross. Well, exactly the same thing applies to our own logo. So I thought I'd break from my usual area of coverage to explain it. The swirl at the top represents the sun. The red strip below it represents one of our region's most striking features: our red soils (and yes, I know they're not universal, but they're certainly something most visitors clearly recall). And the green strip below that represents the region's most common feature: our green fields. That's easy to see when it's explained, isn't it? But here's where the logo gets really clever: apart from the sun, the swirl at the top also symbolises many of the most popular activities in our region. This could include dipping a line in either of our two Great Lakes; the swirl of wine in a glass or on top of a cappuccino; the winding trails of our back roads; or the flow of air through the trees in the Bunyas. So far from not representing our region, I think our logo genuinely captures the essence of what we're really all about. It does so in a striking, memorable, contemporary way that's unlikely to date for decades. And like any good logo, it's done it in the fewest number of brush strokes imaginable and it works just as well in monochrome as it does in full colour. I really love it. A lot of other people do as well. But if you're not one of them yet, I hope this explanation might help change your view.
Kingaroy Cheese Takes Gold At Royal Easter Show
7th April 2004: Last week I wrote a story about Kingaroy Cheese winning three prestigious endorsements from the White Hat Chefs Association for their products (see story 29th March). But today I've found that I have to put them back in the news yet again. Why? Because they've just picked up a Gold medal and two Silver medals at Sydney's Royal Easter Show: probably the largest and most hotly-contested agricultural show in the nation. Kingaroy Cheese took gold for their Kingaroy Crème Fraiche and silvers for their Kingaroy Double Cream and Kingaroy Marinated Feta (two of these were also White Hat Chefs picks). The latest wins bring the firm's tally to 17 gold and silver medals - quite impressive for a company not quite two years old - and I think they underscore just how good much of the South Burnett's dairy produce really is. Cheesemaker Chris Ganzer said he was "over the moon" about the latest win and floored by the positive reaction the cheeses drew from the judges. If you want to try them yourself, they're available in Kingaroy from the Stuart Range Winery's cellar door. You can also obtain then through Simon Johnson stores in Sydney and Spoons stores in Brisbane.
Grape To Glass Tours A Big Winner For Barambah Ridge
Noosa Beach Classic Car Club members at Barambah Ridge4th April 2004: Back in December last year I broke the news that the Barambah Ridge Winery at Redgate were going to start running Grape To Glass tours on Sundays. The tours are a fun weekend activity where visitors take a guided stroll though the vineyards and the Ridge's winery to improve their knowledge about how wines are produced; then learn the subtle art of wine-tasting; and then have lunch and party on to their heart's content at Barambah Ridge's Shakin Steakhouse. Well, four months down the road I'm very pleased to report that these tours have become such a success with tourists and locals alike that the Ridge not only intend to make them a permanent fixture but they're also going to be running a number of other innovative activities at their vineyards too. On Mothers Day (Sunday 9th May 2004), the Ridge will be staging a special Mothers Day Lunch which will include guided Harley Davidson rides around the wine-making areas of Moffatdale for a small additional fee - and an experience, I'll wager, that no Mum would ever forget! And on the first Sunday of each month (beginning Sunday 2nd May) the Ridge will also be offering Visual Arts In The Vineyards in conjunction will well-known local artist Gary Eyre: a combination of an arts class and a good old-fashioned knees-up that I'm sure will appeal to a whole new group of people. You can find out more details about all these events on South Burnett Online's Daily Calendar and on Barambah Ridge's web site. Bored on a Sunday? No need to be any more! Photo above: Members of the Noosa Beach Classic Car Club enjoying a Grape To Glass tour at Barambah Ridge in mid-March this year.
I Feel Sheepish - Runnymede Scores Top Gongs Too!
1st April 2004: It may be April Fools Day but I have to confess that the biggest fool in the South Burnett right now is probably me. In my last story I outlined how Kingaroy Cheese and Proteco Oils both won accolades from the Les Toques Blanches Association last week. But in my excitement I completely forgot to mention that Garry Monaghan's excellent Runnymede Sheep Dairy also took out three gongs in the same event: one for every entry they submitted. Runnymede have been operating for several years on their farm 30km due east of Kingaroy but only went into full commercial cheese and yoghurt production about 18 months ago. So their feat in taking three White Hat Chef awards from three entries (for their sheep milk yoghurt; their sheep milk feta and their marinated sheep milk feta) is particularly praiseworthy. If you've never tried Runnymede's products before, you can obtain their yoghurt in the South Burnett at Keith Strain's Pharmacy in Nanango and Blooms the Chemist in Kingaroy. You can also obtain their fetta (along with some of the other cheeses they produce) at Kingaroy's IGA Supermarket and at Cheese World in Goomeri. Runnymede's products are also distributed at a number of outlets in Brisbane but you'll need to conact them directly to find out their current distribution list, which is expanding all the time. You can do this by phoning them on (07) 4163-1879 or via email. PS: You can view a complete list of all the 2004 Les Toques Blanches Association Queensland winners on the Department of State Development's web site by clicking here.
 

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