South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > July 2003
   
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South Burnett Wine and Food News with Jason Ford

Conservative Meets Alternative At Backyard Blues Day
Blind Dog Donnie and The Reverend30th July 2003: Last Sunday Kingaroy's Burning Beats Cafe held its first "Blues In The Backyard" event (as forecast in this column back in mid-June). More than 70 people from all walks of life gathered in the slightly chilly winter air for an afternoon of eating, drinking and listening to great music. I'm pleased to report it was so successful that monthly music afternoons are now set to become a regular feature at the Cafe, with the next one scheduled for Sunday 7th September. Several things about this event were also very pleasing to see. One was the eclectic mix of people from all ages and walks of life coming together to relax and have fun in the Cafe's back yard for the afternoon, including children. Another were the large number of South Burnett wine bottles I saw on tables. And the third was the two enthusiastic standing ovations the band received at the end of the day, which show how greatly appreciated a facility like this is. About the only down side was that two tables of four didn't show up: a common problem for restaurateurs anywhere in the region. As a result, owners Paul Stoddart and Kerry Cotter have decided that bookings for future backyard events will entail a non-refundable $5 deposit. This is both to help ensure the cost of the entertainment is covered and provide an incentive for no-shows to appear. Note: The Cafe will be closed for two weeks from Sunday 3rd August to Tuesday 19th August while the owners undertake a crash study tour in Thailand. They'll be spending their time learning the finer points of Thai cookery from local experts, so expect something to come out of this in the Spring. Photo above: Blind Dog Donnie and The Reverend performing live at last Sunday afternoon's "Blues In The Backyard" event.
Opportunity For Regional Food Producers At Australian Olive Show
27th July 2003: On Thursday 2nd October the Australian Olive Association is holding its annual conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Olive producers from all corners of the country have been invited to showcase their products to Brisbane's chefs and take part in various seminars and activities. Queensland's own celebrity chefs - David Pugh and Stefan Manfredi will be on hand to demonstrate their use of Australian olive oil before an audience of their peers. Although the event is primarily concerned with olive products, I've been told that the organisers have decided to invite complementary regional food producers to participate. Because of this, Vice President on the Australian Olive Association - Dan Burnet of Spring Gully Olives in Goomeri - is beginning to co-ordinate a regional offering from the South Burnett. Dan believes that this opportunity will give our regional cuisine and produce unprecedented exposure before a vast amount of food service professionals. Personally, I'd like to see as many local producers as possible support this initiative and provide the South Burnett display with quality regional produce. If anybody would like further details about how can contribute foods that could suitably accompany olive products, feel free to email me.
Kingaroy Big W Annual Charity Fundraising Dinner Will Help Newborn
Julie Smith, Davis England and Darhnell Bywaters24th July 2003: Next Saturday August 2nd, Kingaroy's Big W store will be holding a very special fundraising dinner and charity auction to help newborns in the South Burnett. They want to raise funds to buy a humidicrib oxygen regulator for Kingaroy Hospital. This device costs $3,000 and is usually only found in major metropolitan areas - which means that at the moment, any South Burnett newborns who need this kind of help often have to be air-lifted out of the area to get it. And that's stressful for both the child and its parents. The dinner will be held at Kingaroy Town Hall and will include savouries on arrival, a two-course meal and Kingaroy Cheese selection to cap off the night. All catering fort the event will be undertaken by the good people from Nanango's Copper Country Restaurant. Chef Steve Winter has prepared a warm and hearty winter menu of dishes such as chicken wrapped in parmesan and herb crust, lamb rack with garlic and thyme on potato rosti, a tropical fruit pavlova and a decedent chocolate gateaux. Organisers Julie Smith and Darhnell Bywater from Big W have also accumulated some highly collectable sports memorabilia for the auction including signed swimming caps from Matt Welsh and Petria Thomas, a signed Bulldogs cap and a signed Holden Racing Team flag just to mention a few. Two hundred tickets to this event at $35.00 per head have already been sold, but there are still 25 tickets (or less) remaining. To secure your place at the table please contact Julie or Darhnell on (07) 4162-3935. Entry will be by pre-purchased ticket only. Photo (left to right): Big W Fundraising Dinner organisers Julie Smith, Davis England and Darhnell Bywaters.
Swickers Lend Support To Team South Burnett
Collin Sands, John Coward, Jason Ford and Clinton Smoothy21st July 2003: Anybody who's been regularly driving along Haly Street in Kingaroy couldn't miss the colossal growth of the Swickers meat processing facility over the last few years. What might not be commonly known is that they're now Australia's largest pork exporter, supplying product to both the Japanese and Singapore markets. And as part of the company's strategy to develop a complete supply chain, they recently acquired the Sunpork Food Company from the Cameron Hall McLean Group. Swickers Managing director John Coward said that the acquisition of the Sunpork brand - which will now become Swickers' commercial marketing arm - completes the company's "Pen to Plate" concept. In keeping with Swickers' significant expansion, the company has also sponsored the Team South Burnett project, where I'll be leading a group of local chefs when we compete in Adelaide's LifeStyle Channel Australian Regional Culinary Competition in October. "Swickers felt that this initiative is the ideal vehicle to demonstrate the company's commitment to both South Burnett regional cuisine and the food service industry in general", Mr Coward said. As captain of the team, I believed the sponsorship was a natural partnership - and considering that Swickers has also become the second largest pork processor in Queensland,  it's obviously going to appear on the team's competition menu. The simple fact is that nowadays pork is as much a signature South Burnett food as peanuts and navy beans! The team sincerely appreciates Swickers sponsorship and we intend to prepare and present the South Burnett's quality pork to the public in a new and attractive way. Photo (left to right): Sunpork Manager Collin Sands, Swickers Managing Director John Coward and Team South Burnett members Jason Ford and Clinton Smoothy.
Kingsley Grove Setting A New South Burnett Benchmark
Patricia and Mike Berry18th July 2003: Back in March this year I reported that a new winery had opened up in our region: Michael and Patricia Berry's Kingsley Grove, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility located on the outskirts of Kingaroy on the way to the Bunya Mountains. The couple - who spent 25 years in Hong Kong operating their engineering business - decided to undertake a two year Diploma of Viticulture at Melbourne University before moving to the South Burnett and planting their first vines in 1997. Their vast property now has eight grape varieties (approximately a hectare of each) along with olive trees and a fig plantation that yielded tonnes of fruit last season. Right now Kingsley Grove's 2002 vintage collection consists of Hilltop Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Cabernet Shiraz, Chardonnay and Semillon. But three more wines will be released over the coming few weeks. These will be a Sweet Verdelho and two of the most stunning reds I think the South Burnett has produced to date: Sangiovese (meaning Blood of Jupiter) and Chambourcin. The Sangiovese has an immediate tart fruitiness and the complex Chambourcin is rich in blackberry. Both have been aged in American and French oak. These wines will only get better with age and are a clear indication of the South Burnett wine industry's ability to produce innovative and world-class vintages. At present you can only buy Kingsley Grove's wines via the Internet or through mail order. However a spectacular cellar door and restaurant is now under construction and - all being well - should be completed and open to the public as early as October 2003. In the meantime, you can taste Kingsley Grove wines at the Kingaroy Shoppingworld Bottleshop (enquire instore for details). Photo: Mike and Patricia Berry with the new Sweet Verdelho and Sangiovese they'll be releasing in a few weeks' time.
Durong Country Beef Launch Online Beef Cooking Club
Durong Country Beef15th July 2003: Cooking is popular right across Australia and now you can get some extra help from a new online cooking club - Tender Bytes - that was launched a few days ago. Tender Bytes is the brainchild of innovative Durong Country Beef Marketing Manager Georgie Somerset and its free email newsletter is full of tips, hints and information on just about everything you need to know about beef. The club's aim is simple: to help people enjoy beef more often. "Some people find cooking beef pretty daunting," Georgie said. "We want them to feel at ease with whatever cut they buy and whatever dish they want to eat." Durong Country Beef work with quality butchers right across southeast Queensland and regularly receive feedback from people who enjoy eating their great-tasting South Burnett beef products. "We're sure people will find it even easier to enjoy beef when they're receiving regular information about how to cook it along with recipes, hints and tips for entertaining." Mrs Somerset said. Tender Bytes was launched by Brisbane food personality John MacDonald on Saturday afternoon."We've already had people from interstate subscribe and although we obviously encourage people to buy Durong Country Beef because we can guarantee its tenderness and taste, we also want people to simply enjoy eating it," Georgie said. You can subscriber to Tender Bytes yourself by visiting Durong Country Beef's web site and simply filling out the online subscription form. DCB supply the famous beefsteaks at the annual Burrandowan Picnic Races. You can also obtain it from Gaedtke's Butchery in Nanango.
Gourmet Ingredients From Burning Beats
Ginger12th July 2003: My wife and I recently went to Kingaroy's Burning Beats Cafe for our twelfth wedding anniversary and as usual weren't disappointed with the wonderful food. While eating our spectacular chicken stir-fries, I noticed a blackboard deli list. The products available are speciality ingredients, not commonly available in your local grocery stores. Some of the items that caught my eye were:
  • Galangal - a type of ginger used in Thai style soups
  • Palm sugar - a great sweetener for Asian desserts like tapioca
  • Shrimp paste - a pungent smell, but a flavour to die for
  • Kecap Manis - a thick, sweet Indonesian soy sauce
  • Fresh coriander - the refreshing taste in many Thai and South American dishes
  • Superior Soy - a premium Chinese soy sauce
  • Fish sauce - a must for many Asian dishes
  • Kaffir lime leaves - awesome with steamed fish in coconut cream
  • Indian pickles and chutneys - traditional accompaniments to spice up your life

If you - like me - love making exotic dishes at home, you'd normally need to travel to Chinatown in Fortitude Valley to acquire these kind of ingredients. Burning Beats owners Paul Stoddart and Kerry Cotter have removed this inconvenience by buying bulk amounts of sauces, herbs, spices and pastes for both their own menu items and for separate sale to the public - a godsend I say! Paul travels to Brisbane every month to pick up his supplies so if you have any special requests let him know in advance on (07) 4162-3932 or via email: info@burningbeats.com.au [PS: If you're planning to attend the Cafe's inaugural Blues In The Backyard session on July 27th - see story 18th June, further below - book or miss out. As of today more than 50 people have booked in for it and the maximum the Cafe can take isn't much higher]

Stuart Range's Semillon Ready For The Long Haul
Ross Whiteford9th July 2003: It's not often you're offered the opportunity to buy a wine you shouldn't drink for 8 to 10 years but Stuart Range's winemaker Ross Whiteford is doing it right now. In the latest update to the company's web site, Ross is advising Stuart Range customers looking for a savvy wine purchase to buy the company's 2001 Semillon and then cellar it for the next decade. If they do, Ross believes that this particular vintage is going to turn into an "extraordinary" wine (and - I can only presume - a very fine wine investment too). For those not up on their semillon lore, Ross also explains what to look for in a good semillon and outlines why he believes the 2001 is going to age to supremely well. "This was one of the first South Burnett vines to impress me when I took up the winemaker's position at Stuart Range," Ross says, "and we're certainly going to be setting some of this aside ourselves to sell as a museum release in 2011". Given that Ross helped pioneer the Coonawarrra and has had more than 20 years experience in most of Australia's "name" wine regions, I'm more than prepared to bow to his extensive knowledge. The price? A giveaway $10 a bottle ($120 a case). You can read what Ross has to say by clicking here.
Pottique Launches Lavender Liqueur
Anne Zalenski-McBride and Lindsey McBride 6th July 2003: Pottique at Coolabunia has been a South Burnett success story for more than two decades - and it's now bigger, brighter and more popular than ever. Owners Anne Zalenski-McBride and Lindsey McBride have been very busy diversifying and expanding their landmark pottery and craft business into an old-world wonderland recently. And along with their spacious antique and reproduction furniture showroom, hundreds of teddy bears, gifts and craft supplies, Pottique now also has a cellar door with tastings and sales of both Barambah Ridge wines and their very own house label. The Pottique wine collection features a shiraz, an unwooded chardonnay, a sweet white, a sweet red, a port and the newest addition: Lavender Liqueur. The liqueur is also the latest in their range of speciality lavender products like jams, rock candy and honey (after all, the property is one of Queensland's largest lavender farms!) I've tried the liqueur and it completely exceeded my expectations: it's a sweet fruity fortified semillon with just a hint of lavender bouquet. Being a chef, I've also thought of dozens of culinary uses for this unique product - it's an absolute delight! Visitors to Pottique can also indulge in Devonshire teas or a light lunch of gourmet toasted sandwiches, all in a tranquil English garden setting. The damper with syrup or lavender scones with jam and cream are a must! There really is so much to see at Pottique that it may be worth visiting again if you haven't been there for awhile - and if you've never been it's easy to find: just keep an eye out for the roadside lavender garden on the Kingaroy/Nanango Highway. 
South Burnett Wines Win Awards In San Francisco
Barambah Ridge3rd July 2003: Two South Burnett produced wines have just won Gold and Silver at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Show. Canungra Valley Vineyards successfully took out a Gold Medal for its 2001 Shane O'Reilly Reserve Shiraz and a Silver Medal for its 2001 Viola O’Reilly Reserve Cabernet at the show - and both of these wines were made by winemaker Stuart Pierce at Redgate's Barambah Ridge Winery. You begin to realise the magnitude of this achievement when you consider that over 4000 wines from more than 20 countries were entered in this event, which is regarded as the largest and most prestigious wine competition in North America. Canungra Valley Vineyard's Managing Director Shane O'Reilly (who's also a Director of the Queensland Wine Industry Association) said he was very pleased with the result and the International recognition it will invariably bring for Queensland wines. “The profile of the Queensland wine industry was raised in the world arena last year when our 2000 Shane O’Reilly Shiraz won a silver medal at the same show. Receiving recognition for a later vintage of wines today indicates just how quickly the quality of Queensland wines are progressing. I think this will help the Queensland industry expand its export opportunities". Both wines are available from Canungra Valley Vineyards right now.

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