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

Region's Smallest Winemaker Back With A Vengeance
Kingaroy Ridge's 2004 releases28th June 2004: Last year I wrote a story about the South Burnett's smallest winemaker: John Cahill from Kingaroy Ridge. John had produced his first release - a slim 30 cases of shiraz - and after the story appeared here it was picked up by all manner of people because not only was the wine very good, but it was an incredibly quirky tale in its own right: one small winemaker with a half dozen rows of grapes taking on the big wine producers. Well roughly two weeks ago John quietly unveiled his second annual release - another shiraz ($19.95), a port ($19.95) and a beautifully gift-boxed port in a presentation case with a bonus glass ($29.95 - all pictured at right). As was the case last year, both wines have been produced from John's own Kingaroy Ridge vineyard grapes by legendary winemaker John Crane of Crane Wines; all bottles are individually packed and hand-labelled; both wines are only obtainable from the Carrollee Hotel's bottle shop in Kingaroy (where John works part time); and both are in incredibly short supply. But what about the wine itself? I can honestly say that if you enjoyed John's initial release last year - and I know many people did, including me - you'll be even more pleased with the second vintage. The wine has benefitted from the drought conditions it grew under and it's a very intense, full-bodied drop that will really start to bloom if you can manage to keep it in the cellar for a few years. Any remaining bottles from last year's release are already collectors items and I can't see this year's being much different. Still, be quick if you want some: it's been selling like hot-cakes and I doubt it'll be all that long before it's sold out.
Indian Cooking Class At Kingaroy On July 13th
Indian spices25th June 2004: After a short fortnight's break I was glad to return to the South Burnett Cuisine desk today. And the first story I have on top of my swollen In Tray is one of my own. If you're a fan of exciting cooking, I'm pleased to advise that another round of exotic cooking classes is going to be held at Kingaroy TAFE over the next few months. The first will be "The Indian Banquet" and it's being run on Tuesday 13th July. I'll be hosting the class with guest chef Paul Stoddart from Kingaroy's Burning Beats Café and I'm sure everyone who attends will thoroughly enjoy it. I can vividly recall my own introduction to Indian cuisine when I began work as an apprentice chef at an Indian kitchen in Brisbane many years ago. The restaurant employed an authentic Indian chef, fresh to Australia from her native home in Delhi. She delighted in converting me from traditional stodgy European food to the exciting world of tandoori, korma and garam marsalas (hot spices) - it was a party for my palate! However, Indian cuisine isn't just limited to curries! There's a wealth of quick light meals, condiments, salads and exquisite desserts to explore. Paul and I will be showing students traditional Indian cooking methods, flavours and the presentation of a five-course Indian banquet. Other courses currently in the pipeline are "Healthy Eating Around the World" and "Thai Cuisine Part Two", a follow-up to the sensationally popular Thai cooking class we ran earlier this year. If you're interested in joining in with any of our cooking classes, feel free to email me or phone or me on (07) 4160-4428.
Vintage Wine Dinner Axed
11th June 2004: Earlier this week (see story 5th June) I leaked the news that the Kingaroy Rotary Club was planning to relaunch our region's Vintage Wine Dinner this coming July. The Dinner was going to be run in conjunction with the South Burnett Wine Industry Association's Barrels to Breakers promotion to give locals the opportunity to join in the fun. But I'm sad to report that things have changed. On Wednesday night - after trying for several weeks to get caterers - the club decided the deadline was too tight and cancelled the function. While I'm unhappy to report this outcome it certainly underscores the point that one area where the South Burnett could do with some improvement is our ability to cater for big functions (ie 250+ people). At present there are only one or two venues in our region that can accommodate knees-ups of this magnitude and there's no company in the region that's set up to handle this type of work at all. This means that whenever we have a big catering do (and there are a number of these every year) the venue is always a compromise and the catering team always has to be assembled from several different business houses. If we want to grow our region's convention business in the future - an area where there's potentially big dollars to be made - I think this is a shortfall that's going to need to be addressed. Until we do we'll be restricted to functions for 100 guests or less. This is about the level that roughly a dozen venues across the region can handle by themselves right now.
New Owners At The Pumpkin Pie Café
8th June 2004: Just over a month ago Alan and Libby Beresford took over the reins of Goomeri's iconic Pumpkin Pie Café. They told me that after paying off their house in Sydney they wanted to make the most of the booming southern housing market and move to Queensland. And on a trip through the South Burnett, a quick revival stop at the pie shop sealed their fate! Libby said: "We had a traditional pie, peas and mash, and just loved them… the look, the taste and the construction was fantastic! Alan is a Welshman and self-confessed pie connoisseur. And when he discovered that the pie-shop-come-café was on the market the rest, as they say,  is history". In fact, Alan's new catchcry is "we loved the pies so much we bought the company!" Since they took over the reigns the pair have introduced some exciting new products to the menu including a Mexican pie (plenty of flavour, but not too much fire). Most of the old favourites remain, though, including beefsteak, steak and kidney, high top apple and - of course! - the Cafe's legendary pumpkin pie. Alternative meals like vegetarian lasagne and quiches are also available. And a future project the couple hope to undertake is to open a second hand bookstore next door with a display of antique cooking journals. " We feel a lot of Australia's culinary heritage is being lost and a collection of old cattle station cookbooks could make a great new attraction for the South Burnett", she said. I agree! If you'd like to visit The Pumpkin Pie, they're in Boonara Street in Goomeri. Large orders and family pies can be pre-booked on (07) 4168-4477.
Vintage Wine Dinner Making A Come-Back?
5th June 2004: South Burnett residents - and quite a lot of visitors - will probably recall our region's annual Vintage Wine Dinner with some fondness. These dinners were held every winter between about 1999 and 2002 and showcased the best wines our region had produced every year. The dinners were originally organised by former Copper Country restaurateur Steve Winter (who also played a pivotal role in the annual Wine & Food In The Park Festival) so they also tended to showcase some of the best cookery we had to offer as well. But sadly, the Vintage Wine Dinner came to a halt a couple of years ago: not because it was unsuccessful but simply because Steve couldn't handle the workload involved in catering for 300+ people with all his other commitments! However, I'm pleased to report that the Dinner could well be coming back. Right now the South Burnett Wine Industry Association are organising their inaugural Barrels To Breakers promotion where they'll be doing a gala unveiling of new releases at Noosa. And as part of this event, the Kingaroy Rotary Club are looking at running the Vintage Wine Dinner in the South Burnett so that locals can get to join in the fun too. Quite a lot of things (date, time, venue, ticket price etc) are still up in the air at the moment. But providing all goes well, you can expect to see a relaunch of the Vintage Wine Dinner some time in the next few months. And hopefully, it will return to being an annual event after that. I'll let you know more as soon as updated news lands on my desk.
Queensland To Splash Out $2 Million On Wine Industry Development
Wine Industry Minister Margaret Keech2nd June 2004: After the February State election this year Premier Peter Beattie showed how seriously his Government is beginning to view the Queensland wine industry by appointing Margaret Keech (pictured at right) as Australia's first Minister for Wine Industry Development (along with Tourism and Fair Trading). Yesterday the Government began to flesh out this new portfolio by earmarking $2 million to be spent over the next 4 years on - and I quote from the press release - "initiatives (that) will focus on viticulture, research and development, regional promotion and development, web information, investment and promotional opportunities for Queensland wines". This latest announcement comes hot on the heels of related news last week that the Government will be spending $1.2 million to build a College of Wine Tourism at Stanthorpe. This brings the Government's total contribution to the wine industry to $3.2 million - which is about the cost of two or three 25-acre wineries these days. But given that the South Burnett now accounts for at least 40% of the State's wine industry, simple maths tells me that if the State Government is serious about its commitment, some $1.28 million of the $3.2 million should flow into this region (and if we exclude the Wine Tourism College from the pool, the South Burnett's equitable share should still be at least $800,000). This sounds like good news, doesn't it? I certainly hope so. And I hope you'll join me over the next few years as we catalogue where this investment gets spent.
 

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