South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > August 2003
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Team South Burnett Gets Put Through The Paces By Brisbane Food Gurus
30th August 2003: A group of Brisbane's culinary elite converged at the Copper Country Restaurant in Nanango last weekend to experience some of the South Burnett's gastronomic magic (and if they wanted to, to whip my butt). The group was invited to test-run Team South Burnett's competition menu as part of our preparations for Adelaide's LifeStyle Channel Australian Regional Culinary Competition in October. The team - which I'm leading - thought that testing the menu on a carefully selected tasting panel of acknowledged food experts would give us an outsider's view about how we were progressing and how we could improve our chances of scoring culinary gold. The panel consisted of Alison Alexander (ABC regional radio and Queensland Country Life Food Editor), Andreas Stossel (Swiss master pastry chef and TAFE teacher), David Bentley (Courier Mail) and Michael Foenander (food consultant) and the feedback that we received from them was positive, encouraging and constructive. In fact, a lot of the panel's ideas and suggestions have been taken on board and our team now has the next month to further practice and refine our regional menu - hopefully, to perfection! The contribution made by these acknowledged professionals was much appreciated and all our team members are very grateful for it. I think it's also another illustration of the South Burnett's expanding appeal when well-known food identities will freely share their expertise with the our burgeoning food and wine industry. Photo above: the Team South Burnett tasting panel take a breather at Burnett South's Up Country in Wondai after the Nanango presentation.
If Your Olive Oil's Pure, Is It A Virgin?
27th August 2003: A few weeks ago I mentioned that the Australian Olive Association will be holding its annual conference in Brisbane this year (see story 27th July). Dan Burnet of Spring Gully Olives in Goomeri in the AOA's Vice-President and recently he enlightened me about the key differences between Virgin, Extra Virgin and Pure olive oils. I found this so interesting I'd like to pass it along. Briefly, Dan tells me that there are two main ways to extract oil from olives. One is by using a mechanical process that doesn't involve heat and the other involves using chemicals. Under the mechanical processes, olives are crushed and the oil is extracted using either centrifuges or presses. This produces Virgin and Extra Virgin oils and the main difference between the two is the amount of free fatty acids they hold: less than 1% is Extra Virgin; less than 3% is Virgin. Under the chemical process, by contrast, crushed olives are bathed in a chemical much like petrol which actually dissolves the oil from the macerate. When the chemical is later evaporated, the resulting oil is a colorless liquid that usually has a bit of virgin oil added to it before it's placed on sale as "Pure" olive oil (sounds fairly repulsive, doesn't it?). The really important difference between the two types of oils, though, is what they can do for your health. Mechanically-extracted olive oil is high in anti-oxidants; has no cholesterol; and - uniquely - actually reduces the incidence of "bad" cholesterols in your body without affecting the level of "good" cholesterols. Chemically-extracted oil, by contrast, has almost no anti-oxidants and loses the ability to distinguish between "good" and "bad" cholesterols: it lowers both. The short message? If you want to eat healthy olive oils, go for Virgin or Extra Virgin every time. If you want to do a quick fry-up, use Pure - but certainly don't put it on a salad!
Kingaroy Gears Up For 2003 Peanut Festival
2003 Kingaroy Peanut Festival24th August 2003: The South Burnett holds several festivals devoted to food every year: Wine and Food In The Park (held in Kingaroy every March); the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival (held in Goomeri every May); the Dairy Heritage Festival (held in Murgon each June); the Kilkivan Beef Festival (held in Kilkivan each September); and the Shakin Grape Wine Festival (held in Murgon and Moffatdale each October). But the grand-daddy of them all - Kingaroy's Peanut Festival - is coming up on Saturday 6th September. The Peanut Festival celebrates the fact that the South Burnett lies right at the heart of Australia's peanut industry. And while our national industry is small by global standards, it's still big enough to ensure that all Australians can get to enjoy domestically-grown peanuts and peanut products without needing to resort to imports. Furthermore - thanks to the great work being carried out by the Peanut Company of Australia's research labs and by growers in the field - our country's peanuts lead the world in terms of size, taste and quality. This year the Peanut Festival will be preceded by a Peanut Industry Dinner at Kingaroy Town Hall at 6:30pm on Friday night, September 5th. The dinner - which is open to anybody - will present awards to people who've really made a difference to the industry over the last year and it looks like being a great night out. Team South Burnett will be doing the catering for this event so if you're there and I get a break from the kitchen be sure to say hello. If you'd like to come along yourself, a few tickets (at $30 per head) are still available. Call Amanda at PCA on (07) 4162-6311 to book.
Barambah Ridge Releases Award-Winning 2001 Reserve Shiraz
Tom McKenzie21st August 2003: In early July this year I reported that two South Burnett wines had picked up gold and silver medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Show. The wines were entered in the competition by Canungra Valley Vineyards but were actually made from South Burnett grapes grown on Barambah Ridge's property at Redgate and brewed up in their winery. These two outstanding reds beat more than 4000 competing entries from 20 countries - and that's no mean achievement! Barambah Ridge have now released their own house-branded version of the wine that took silver in San Francisco: their Barambah Ridge 2001 Reserve Shiraz. I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle this week with the Ridge's affable Tom McKenzie and I can honestly say that if you like a good red, this release will take some beating! Barambah Ridge also recently exhibited at the Ekka and sales to eager Brisbaneites were so outstanding the company's already reserved space at next year's show. The 2001 Reserve Shiraz is available right now from Barambah Ridge's cellar doors, distributor outlets or online through their web site. [PS: Yesterday Barambah Ridge started selling cleanskin case specials to help make space in their cellars for their upcoming releases. You can pick up dozens of their Ridge Red and Ridge White for $96; or dozens of their Classic Dry Red or Chardonnay Semillon for $120. The offer lasts until the end of September, unless sold out] Photo: Tom McKenzie pours some award-winning 2001 Reserve Shiraz at the Redgate cellar door.

South Burnett Wine Summary


Barambah Ridge 2001 Reserve Shiraz


Barambah Ridge Winery
79 Goshnick's Road, Redgate via Murgon


Phone: (07) 4168-4766


100% South Burnett


750ml (8.5 standard drinks)


100% Shiraz






Ref 1A


$30.00 single bottle ($360 for a dozen - includes extra bottle free)                              

Ekka Gongs For South Burnett Beef and Cheeses
18th August 2003: EKKA - the State's agricultural show - has come and gone for another year, and I'm pleased to report that two South Burnett food producers did very well out it. Durong Country Beef were once again selected as finalists in this year's Red Meat Innovation Awards for Best Branded Product, which will help raise even more awareness of their brand in Brisbane (where Durong Country Beef is developing an expanding market in quality butcher shops). And Kingaroy Cheese, fresh from their triumph at the State Dairy Conference (see story 9th August), walked off with another five medals: three golds in the Farmhouse Cheese division for their Greek Feta, Marinated Greek Feta and Marinated Cows Milk Feta; a silver in the Open division for their Kingaroy Washed Rind Cheese; and a bronze in the Open division for their Kingaroy Triple Cream Brie. Since Kingaroy Cheese get their milk supplies from Sameway Fresh Milk and Walters Goat Farm, both located near Nanango, this was really a win not only for Chris Ganzer and his team but also for our other fine regional dairy producers. Good work!
A New Dining Option In Goomeri: The Grape And The Olive Cafe
15th August 2003: The next time you're in Goomeri - perhaps this weekend - make sure you drop in to sample its newest café. The Grape & The Olive Cafe (formerly the Railway Café) was purchased several months ago by Steve and Allison Magro. The couple have designed a new menu and renamed the popular café, inspired by the area's successful olive and grape-growing industries. Steve - a chef in the Australian Navy for seven years - has put together a regionally-themed sandwich menu. Open-faced sandwiches come with novelty names such as the Wide Bay Wonder, the South East Feast and the Burnett Beauty and are topped and grilled with ham, tomato, onion, capsicum and cheese. I'm very happy to see that an all-day breakfast also takes pride of place on the new menu. Anyone who's ever done shift work can appreciate the convenience of a cooked breakfast at the time of their choosing. The café also caters for functions (in fact, Steve tells that they had three functions in first week of operating - that's keen!) Allison is originally from the South Burnett but met Steve in Sydney twelve years ago. While recently stationed at the Cairns naval base, the couple decided they'd like to own and operate their own food service business. "There were plenty of opportunities to buy an establishment in Cairns", Steve said, "but we felt that the South Burnett presented us with better value for money and had an overall positive future from an investment standpoint". The café also stocks a number of South Burnett products including Kilkivan tapenades and olive products.
South Burnett Cookery School Starting Soon!
Karen Ford12th August 2003: Anyone flicking through the pages of glossy food and wine magazines would be well aware of the popularity of cooking schools. The growth of cooking classes is mostly due to people becoming less competent in the kitchen over the last few decades. For many years now, fast food and convenience products have been seen as an important part of the modern lifestyle. People cite longer working hours and less quality family time as the main reasons for not spending more time in the kitchen. But oh! How we miss really great home-cooked meals! So in recent years a number of cooking schools have established themselves by providing keen home cooks with all the skills and knowledge they need to prepare quick and simple meals. Kingaroy TAFE is now looking for expressions of interest in a number of short programs they're putting together which will be designed especially for people who yearn for the fresh flavours of a home cooked meal. Kingaroy chef Karen Ford (my wife) will be teaching classes in home bakery, Asian cuisine, designer pizzas and BBQs with style - just to mention a few. Karen has over fifteen years experience and has cooked in many well-known establishments including Brisbane's Siggi's at the Port Office and the Mt Coot-tha Summit Restaurant. Karen is currently working at the Copper Country Restaurant in Nanango and the Bell Tower Restaurant and will be teaching students the tricks of her trade and the enjoyment that cooking can bring them, their family and friends. If you think you'd be interested in taking part feel free to send me an email or phone me direct on (07) 4160-4428 for more details. Photo above: Karen Ford will be launching South Burnett cookery classes at Kingaroy TAFE soon.
Kingaroy Cheese Wins 3 Medals At State Dairy Conference
9th August 2003: Several months ago I wrote about the impressive collection of awards that local cheesemaker Chris Ganzer is notching up for his wonderful Kingaroy Cheese. Last Tuesday the company added another two golds and a silver medal to its tally when it exhibited at the Queensland dairy industry's annual Dairy Conference held at Brisbane's Sheraton Hotel, beating out a large number of established cheesemakers in the process. Kingaroy Cheese scored gold and silver for its feta cheese and another gold for its Creme Fraiche (a cultured cream). "I was pleasantly surprised that our feta won two medals," Chris said, "but the award for Creme Fraiche was confirmation of its market acceptance. It's been a strong performer for us and many major restaurants in Sydney and Brisbane now use it on a regular basis." Kingaroy Cheese was established at the beginning of 2002 and is located at the Stuart Range Estates winery in Kingaroy. The company has won a large number of awards including gold medals at the 2002 Speciality Cheesemakers Awards and the 2002 Brisbane Ekka, and silver medals at both the Ekka and the Melbourne Show. The company was also a finalist at the prestigious Australian Grand Dairy Awards run by Dairy Australia. Kingaroy Cheese is distributed by Black Pearl Epicure in Brisbane and Simon Johnson Foods in Sydney - but South Burnett residents only need to travel as far as Stuart Range's cellar door in William Street, Kingaroy to access the full range.
Bell Tower Restaurant Goes Drive-Through
Ralph Huston at the launch6th August 2003: Last Thursday 31st July the Bell Tower Restaurant hosted Huston Ford's launch of the luxurious new Ford Fairlane G220. In what was definitely a regional first, the jet black car was driven directly into the restaurant and displayed in its Gallery Room. Invited guests indulged in fine South Burnett wines and hors d'oeuvres, largely unaware that they were witnessing a new alternative to the tradition of launching vehicles at dealer showrooms. "The restaurant has vehicle access and has been structurally designed to accommodate this kind of function," a Belltower spokesperson said. "We can easily handle all kinds of launches like this - anything from small boats to motorcycles". Fresh back from the latest Endeavour Rally, Huston Ford owner Ralph Huston said he was very happy about showcasing the new vehicle inside the restaurant. "It's great to have this kind of venue!" he said. Ralph has other reasons to be happy too: his "Gralph's Grumps" team has just been presented with the Endeavour Supreme Promoters Award and the Second Highest Fundraiser Award. Ralph is also the lucky owner of the first Fairlane G220 to roll into Kingaroy. Photo above: Ralph Huston prepares to tuck into an hors d'oeuvre at the recent launch of the Ford Fairlaine G220 at the Bell Tower.
Captain's Paddock Debut South Burnett Verjuice
Peter Eaton with Captains Paddock Verjuice3rd August 2003: Back in May this year when I wrote a story about The Last Shiraz at Captain's Paddock I also mentioned that the Paddock were going to be producing some verjuice as well. This week a reader sent me an email to remind me that I hadn't followed up this particular story (thanks, Jennifer!). So today I made tracks to Captains Paddock to see how things were progressing. For those who might not know, verjuice is medieval vinegar: an acidic grape juice that was widely used in cooking up until comparatively recent times (in fact, verjuice has been a staple of French provincial cooking for close to a thousand years). Paddock owners Peter Eaton and Maryanne Pidcock made their own verjuice by picking grapes last November at veraison (the point just before sugar begins to form), then had them cold-pressed by John Crane at Cranes Winery. This minimal filtration technique gives a very fine, pale golden colour and clean, crisp taste to the verjuice with just a few tiny specks of sediment. So what does it taste like? Surprisingly, very much like "green" grape juice. It has the tartness of lemon and the acidity of vinegar without the harshness of either, along with a very pleasant aroma. Peter and Maryanne tell me that the Bell Tower Restaurant are experimenting with the product right now and I'm sure there are a lot of other people who'd like to as well. The verjuice release isn't fully labelled yet but you can obtain it from the Paddock's Booie Range cellar door for $10 per 375ml corked bottle. [PS: If you'd like more ideas about how to use verjuice, Australian cookery guru Maggie Beer released a book called "Cooking With Verjuice" in 2001. It's published by Viking Press and you can order a copy through any good bookstore] Photo above: Peter Eaton from Captains Paddock shows off the Paddock's new verjuice - a unique South Burnett gourmet food product.

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