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

Bob Hansen and Jason FordPCA Backs South Burnett In Regional Culinary Quest
30th May 2003: I was delighted yesterday when the Peanut Company of Australia (PCA) came aboard as the final major sponsor for Team South Burnett, the group of four chefs I'm heading up who'll be competing in the LifeStyle Channel Regional Culinary Competition that's being held in Adelaide this October (the other three team members are Steve Gudzinski, Clinton Smoothy and Adrian Hauritz). PCA came to the rescue of the Regional Cuisine Cook-Off Competition at the Wine and Food In The Park Festival earlier this year and their support for Team South Burnett means we no longer need to spend time fund-raising. Instead, we can concentrate all our efforts on winning culinary (and publicity!) gold for the South Burnett. In the competition we'll have three hours to prepare a gourmet meal for 4 people using fresh regional produce, evey course matched to a South Burnett wine. And since peanuts are one of the South Burnett's best-known crops, you can naturally expect that we'll be incorporating them in our entry! Photo: PCA General Manager Bob Hansen hands over a sponsorship cheque outside the company's signature peanut silos in Kingaroy (photo courtesy of the South Burnett Times).
Captains Paddock Harvests The Last Shiraz
Captains Paddock27th May 2003: Here's one for your diary: today Captains Paddock at Booie harvested an acre (which works out to something between 1.0 and 1.5 tonnes) of what are likely to be the very last shiraz grapes picked anywhere in Australia this year. Shiraz grapes are normally cut off the vines in March and because of the drought most of the South Burnett's crop actually got the snip in late January 2003. But Peter Eaton and Maryanne Pidcock at the Paddock decided they wanted to try something different. So in December they pruned the immature grapes off the vines and made ver juice out of them (I'll have a story about this once its labelled and available). This early pruning forced the vines to regrow. And by leaving them to ripen all through the summer and autumn, the fruit that was harvested today has a deep, intense flavour that's likely to produce an absolutely outstanding shiraz when it's finally released in early 2005. Peter tells me he's going to call the wine "The Last Shiraz" when he bottles it. And with only an acre's worth their won't be much to go around. But it's certainly one to watch out for [PS: Paddock fans should note that they've now run through all their old cellar and their 2001 stock is now the earliest they have available. So if you want one of their old reds, best be quick about it!]
South Burnett Wine Industry To Set Basic Quality Benchmarks
24th May 2003: The South Burnett Wine Industry Association (SBWIA) has announced a far-sighted plan to set a basic quality benchmark for the region's wines. Under the plan, the SBWIA will establish a technical committee who'll vet all the South Burnett's new releases each year to ensure they avoid the three most common winemaking faults: oxidisation, excessive sulphides and volatile acids. All these faults can be corrected before a wine is released and removing them would mean that consumers could be assured that any wine with an SBWIA stamp of approval was going to be technically correct. The commonsense reasoning behind the plan is that a lack of quality standards in the early years of the State's wine production has acted to the long-term disadvantage of all Queensland wines - as I'm sure anyone who's encountered a bottle of turpentine can only agree (and sadly, hasn't that been almost all of us at some stage?). The SBWIA want to set the South Burnett apart in consumers' minds as quickly as possible and think that one of the best ways to do this is to simply avoid repeating the same dumb mistakes that other wine-making regions have made. Ensuring that South Burnett wines are a synonym for quality is an obvious step in the right direction and I'm sure everyone can only applaud this visionary initiative.
South Burnett Cuisine Web Site Goes Into Print
21st May 2003: As most people in the South Burnett already know by now (but I'll still say it for the benefit of the few who were away on holidays last week), excerpts from this web site can now be found in every edition of the South Burnett Adviser. Barry and Wendy Campbell - the owners of this popular paper - recently moved their printing presses from Nanango to Kingaroy to centralise distribution and news collection. They now distribute 8,500 copies every fortnight to all thirteen towns in the South Burnett from Blackbutt through to Goomeri. The Adviser's broadened content also reflects its whole-of-region distribution with articles and advertising coming from every corner of the area. Barry felt that the phenomenal growth of the South Burnett's wine and food tourism industries warranted the inclusion of a dedicated wine and food news column and I must say it's nice to see a major newspaper lending its weight to this subject matter. If you're a new visitor to the site after reading our first column in the South Burnett Adviser last week, a very warm welcome! Check in for a new story every three days.
Endeavour Foundation Dinner A Raging Success
The Barrel Room at Stuart Range Estates18th May 2003: Last month I mentioned that the Car 134 Great Endeavour Rally team were putting on a special black tie dinner at Stuart Range Estates winery in Kingaroy. Well, that dinner happened last Friday night (May 16th) when dozens of wine and food lovers turned up at the winery for a great night out. The theme of the dinner was "Winemaking in the Outpost" and SRE's winemaker Ross Whiteford entertained everyone with stories of his winemaking experiences. Describing his love of fine port, Ross recalled waking up many mornings with a sore head, an empty chocolate wrapper and an empty bottle of port. "Chocolate can have that effect" he warned diners. The six-course menu - featuring regional produce - was prepared by Team South Burnett and served by Kingaroy TAFE Hospitality students. One of the night's meals which won rave reviews (and a round of applause from diners) was a Tennessee-inspired Spicy Peanut and Watercress Soup. Hosts Ralph Huston, Jennie Munro and Josh Shatte thanked everyone involved in organising the event and made a special note of thanking the real beneficiaries of the dinner: the inspirational Endeavour Foundation clients. And Ross Whiteford said he was so pleased with the night that he now plans to make this kind of fundraising dinner an annual event. Photo: Diners soak up the ambience of the Barrel Room at Stuart Range Estates.
Winter 2003 Releases And A South Burnett Wine Club
15th May 2003: If you like wine - especially South Burnett wine - I have two bits of information that may interest you. The first is that we're going to see a swag of new wine releases from our local winemakers from about June onwards. This will be when they'll really start rolling out a lot of their 2001/02 reds and 2002/03 whites. So while we've seen a couple of very exciting new releases in the last few months (eg: Stuart Range's April One, Barambah Ridge's 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Captain's Paddock's 2002 Bottom Paddock Chardonnay), the real bulk is going to begin appearing in winter. The second bit of news I have is that moves are currently underway to create a South Burnett Wine Appreciation Society. While plans are yet to be finalised, the core idea is that members would gather for dinner and a night out with one of the region's winemakers once a month, sampling the product and getting a better understanding of just what makes each wine different from its brothers and sisters. Cost? Probably $15 to $20 per annum for membership, and about $35 to $40 per head every meeting (which would be held at one of the region's top eating establishments). If you think you'd be interested in something like this, send me an email and I'll let you know when things are getting more concrete.
Art Gallery Shows South Burnett Wine Is Just Fine!
Josh Gadischke, Jade Young and Alison Iszlaub12th May 2003: In February this year the Wondai Shire Regional Art Gallery launched an initiative that - I think - has been long overdue. Gallery curator Alison Iszlaub began holding wine tastings with each exhibition opening, inviting a new South Burnett winery along every month to show off their wares. So far this year attendees have sampled drops from Barambah Ridge, Ziebarth Wines, Captain's Paddock and Stuart Range Estates. And Alison hopes to be able to showcase every South Burnett wine producer in the Gallery over the months and years ahead ...then do it all over again! The Gallery's initiative has been very well received and many attendees have been surprised at the depth and quality of the wines on show. Many others have taken the opportunity to get to know the local winemakers better too. I can only hope that some local restaurants who don't currently stock South Burnett wines take a good, long look at the Gallery's move and change their cellar policies. We're going to have a sensational wine industry develop here in the next decade - but the time to start getting 100% behind it is right now. Photo above: Josh Gadischke from Stuart Range Estates with Jade Young and Alison Iszlaub winning over hearts and minds for Sourth Burnett wines at the Wondai Shire Regional Art Gallery
South Burnett To Re-Invent Australian Pork
John Coward, Wendy Morgan and Terry McMahon 9th May 2003: Two days ago I was invited to the inaugural meeting of a pork product development think-tank hosted by Swickers Managing Director John Coward. The think tank included representatives from Hans Continental Smallgoods, Woolworths, Swickers, a nutritionist and professional chefs. Its aim is to develop a range of value-added pork products to compete against the more successful chicken, seafood and red meat markets. Right at the moment pork sits about fourth on domestic meat sales and consumption figures. But producers are dismayed by the amount of pork imported into our country (currently around 5000 tonnes a year). And with domestic sales well below their potential, the think-tank is keen to develop new product ranges, brand names and an effective marketing strategy for the meat to secure its place on the Australian dinner plate. Although Swickers is taking a lead role in this bold initiative - and since they're now the second-largest pork processing plant in the country, it's probably right that they do so - they're quick to point out that the entire Australian pork industry needs to embrace a pro-active role in product development. Swickers plans to work closely with Australian Pork Limited and I'll keep you up-to-date on the progress of this groundbreaking initiative in future bulletins. Photo above: John Coward (Swickers Managing Director), Wendy Morgan (Innovations and Solutions Nutritionist) and Terry McMahon (Hans Continental Small Goods National Marketing Manager) plot the future of pork in Australia.
Belle Villa Farm Opens Tasting Room
Belle Villa Farm6th May 2003: Kilkivan's Belle Villa Farm took another step in its development as a South Burnett culinary tourist attraction this week when it officially opened a new tasting room on the premises. The farm - run by Allan and Margaret McGrigor - raises olives, redclaw crayfish and Wiltshire sheep. It's been offering guided farm tours and morning and afternoon teas for awhile now and its reputation as a "must see" has been steadily growing as the enterprise has expanded. Belle Villa is also part of the new "Taste The Magic Of The South Burnett" bus tours that take in Clovely Estates Winery at Moffatdale, Barambah Ridge Winery at Redgate and The Left Bank at Kilkivan (see story 27th March 2003). The new tasting room allows visitors to sample the wide variety of products produced at the farm which - apart from redclaw and olives - now include infused oils, dukkah, olive and lemon myrtle tea, tapenades and a range of natural skin care products. Belle Villa is located about 1 km off the Wide Bay Highway near Fat Hen Creek. If you'd like to make a booking yourself, you can phone them on (07) 5484-1372
Team South Burnett Gets $3,000 Sponsorship from SBLGA
Jason Ford and SBLGA Chairman Noel Strohfeld3rd May 2003: Regular readers of this web site are probably aware that I'll be attending the LifeStyle Channel Regional Culinary Competition in Adelaide later this year along with three other local chefs. We're going to be representing the South Burnett in a national cook-off that has the potential to draw huge amounts of publicity to this area. What you may not be aware of is just how expensive this operation is. So I'm very grateful to the many sponsors who've come forward with all sorts of support for this concept over the last six months. The most recent was the South Burnett Local Government Association who presented our team with a $3,000 sponsorship cheque at a special ceremony filmed by WIN-TV earlier this week (watch for it on air soon). The SBLGA represent all the Councils in the South Burnett and this organisation plays an enormous role in developing the region. In fact, the internet network you're reading this on now (the South Burnett Online network) wouldn't be possible without them. And if you're using Burnett.Net.Au as your ISP, that wouldn't exist either. Nor would the recently-released Regional Cuisine Cookbook. Or many other things you might take for granted. I'm very grateful to all the sponsors who are getting behind our quest to whip the rest of the nation, and it's nice to know that this level of backing goes all the way to the top. Photo: SBLGA President and Rosalie Shire Mayor Noel Strohfeld presents the SBLGA's sponsorship cheque.

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