South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > October 2004
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South Burnett Special On Queensland Weekender
Bridget Adams29th October 2004: Fans of Channel Seven's Queensland Weekender program would remember when the popular lifestyle show aired a two-part special on the South Burnett's food and wine trail back in April this year. Well, I'm pleased to be the first to break the news that they returned this week to film an upcoming half hour special about the delights of touring our region. Segment producer Lynette Haas and her crew have been in the area since last Sunday, spending the full week travelling the South Burnett to visit our wineries, restaurants, accommodation and recreational destinations. The show's reporters Bridget Adams (pictured at right) and Martin Bowerman will be using a "his and hers" theme when the program airs over the summer. Bridget started her tour on Sunday by wining and dining her way through Kingsley Grove, Crane Wines, the Booie Range Distillery and the stunning Bell Tower Restaurant. Martin's strategy was to pan for gold at the Prophet Gold Mine in Kilkivan, then wet a line in some of the region's great fishing spots like the Bjelke-Petersen Dam and the Yallakool Tourist Park. After filling his pockets with gold and his esky with yellowbelly, I understand he'll be regrouping his forces at some our great local pubs. The Queensland Weekender program is the 6th or 7th TV special that's been filmed about our region this year and - as always - South Burnett Cuisine has been only too pleased to help. Meanwhile, fans of the Courier Mail's Good Life should also keep their eye out for a cover story on the South Burnett wine and food trail. Well-known journalist and Good Life supremo Nick Bray was also in our part of the world this week to keep abreast of all the exciting developments happening here. He'll be reporting his findings this coming Tuesday, November 2nd.
Get Ready For The Long, Lazy Lunch
Clovely Estate26th October 2004: One of the nicest things about living in the South Burnett - which I think many of us are coming to appreciate more and more over time - is that we can enjoy a relaxed day out at any of our region's cellar doors any time we like (most especially on weekends!). It's so easy to do that we often forget this is a privilege that tourists travel here to enjoy. And our wineries are increasingly catering for both markets (ie locals and tourists) by staging special events designed to please both. The former Sunset Ridge pioneered this idea several years ago with their Jazz Sundays. Barambah Ridge were next off the mark with their very popular Grape To Glass Tours and a number of other events they now regularly run at their Redgate vineyards. And over the last year Dusty Hill have been going great guns with their periodic all-you-can-eat-and-drink parties. Now Clovely Estate are introducing a new, fun event as well: The Long, Lazy Lunch (LLL for short). The first LLL is going to held this coming Saturday 30th October at their cellar door in Steinhardts Road, Moffatdale. It will run from 1:00pm and 5:00pm and for $17 per head for adults (or $8 per head for children under 10) you can get to enjoy a gourmet BBQ lunch washed down with your favourite Clovely Estate wine, along with live entertainment. Clovely plan to make the LLL a regular 4th Saturday of the month event and I take my hat off to them for doing it. It's another great addition to our region's cellar door activities and looks like being a lot of fun to boot! If you want to attend the inaugural LLL, you can make a booking by phoning Clovely on (07) 4168 4788.
New Menu At Explorers Restaurant
Steve Gudzinski23rd October 2004: It always thrills me when award-winning chef Steve Gudzinski (pictured at right) launches a new menu at the Burke and Wills Motor Inn's a la carte restaurant Explorers. Since Steve took the helm about a year ago this landmark dining spot in Kingaroy has made a name for itself by serving up innovative modern Australian cuisine. And the restaurant's latest menu - launched last week - is no exception. South Burnett regional produce has a strong presence and local vintages feature prominently on the restaurant's extensive wine list. I had dinner there the other night and tried out a surprising dish of couscous-crusted lambs fry with pumpkin mash and a blueberry demi sauce. Wow, what a treat! Other features on the new menu are a designer steak option where you can pick your own meat cut, sauce and side dish. There are also choices of pasta, seafood, modern salads and pizza and - really - there are dishes to suit every taste and budget. The average price of a main is $25.00, and I think this is great value considering the generous portions. The chocolate semi-freddo would have to be my choice of dessert, lovingly served with mango and strawberry salsa - but there are a lot of equally delicious competitors. If you'd like to experience the delights of Explorer's summer menu yourself, you can make a booking by phoning them on (07) 4162-2933.
Amy Ballin: The South Burnett's First Michelin Chef
Amy Ballin20th October 2004: Regular readers will know that I've been posting updates about the progress of my former Kingaroy TAFE pupil Amy Ballin over the last few months. Amy (who's currently in the UK) was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Gordon Ramsay Scholarship earlier this year and recently competed in the finals of the even more prestigious UK Young Chef Of The Year competition. As things turned out, Amy didn't take out the top gong. But she did win high praise from the judges who told her that she had the best menu "perfectly priced for today's competition". And now I'm very pleased to report that it looks like Amy is going to be working in a Michelin restaurant in Europe to continue perfecting her craft anyway. Why? Because many of the people she was competing against already do work in Michelin restaurants - which shows just how much of an honour it is to be a finalist in that particular competition - and they're always on the look-out for first-rate talent (for those who don't know this, Michelin are the acknowledged guide to the very best restaurants in Europe. They issue one, two or three-star gradings and being listed in the Michelin Guide is the acme of any European restaurateur's career). Amy is now being interviewed by prospective Michelin employers and says that she wants "to learn from chefs who'be reached the top and stayed there". And after as few years in Europe she hopes to go across to the USA and perhaps even open a restaurant on the West Coast. I honestly couldn't be more proud of her and I'm sure her many friends in the South Burnett will be too.
Tickle Yourself Pink!
17th October 2004: Back in June I reported the sale of Goomeri's iconic Pumpkin Pie Cafe to lan and Libby Beresford, formerly of Sydney and now (I understand) very happily ensconced in the Pumpkin Capital. Well the Pumpkin Pie's original owners Patsy and George Geddes haven't been resting on the laurels since the sale either. A little over a month ago they opened a new venture in Wondai called Tickled Pink. The new establishment is a trendy coffee shop - something of a first for Wondai - and it's already begun attracting the same type of loyal following that Patsy and George built up in Goomeri. Patsy told me that she and George were looking for a new challenge after the Pumpkin Pie. And since they already lived in Wondai, it was logical to open the doors there. "We love Wondai," Patsy told me. "It's a really friendly and progressive town.". The coffee shop is serving-up a selection of decadent cakes, quiche and salad, gourmet sandwiches and great coffee and tea. And as you'd expect, Patsy has just produced a signature pie called "Pinks Pie" (a homemade beef and beer pie). Want to try it yourself? The bright pink shop at 76 Mackenzie Street is hard to miss - and yes, Tickled Pink accepts phone orders too: (07) 4169-5187.
Stuart Range Bumper Wine Sale Coming This Saturday
Stuart Range Winery14th October 2004: If you like wine there are two great advantages about living in the South Burnett. One is that you can go visit a winery in person any time you like. The other is that you can get to take advantage of specials that aren't available to anyone who can't drop by a cellar door in person - especially clearances to make way for new product coming out of the tanks. One of these opportunities will be coming up this Saturday 16th October when Kingaroy's Stuart Range Winery hold a pre-Christmas clearance sale that may set a new standard in local wine sales generally. For one day only between 9:00am and 5:00pm (or earlier if stocks run out) you'll be able to buy any of the company's award-winning wines for between $3 and $8 per bottle. When you consider that Stuart Range's wines normally sell for $12 to $20 per bottle, this means that nearly everything is being sold at cost. Stuart Range have been taking medal after medal at Queensland and interstate wine shows for many years now. They're also one of our region's foundation wineries and with harvest tonnages rising each year the problem of what to do with excess stock just gets tougher as time rolls by. But for savvy local wine buyers, the Range's stock storage problems are your gain. I'll certainly be taking the trip to 67 William Street early this Saturday morning - perhaps I'll see you there?
Nanango Gets Its Third Stake In The South Burnett Wine Industry
11th October 2004: If you were fortunate enough to attend Nanango's Pioneer Festival on Saturday 9th October you may have been surprised to discover a new South Burnett wine you've probably never heard of before: Arabesque Wines from Nanango. Arabesque is the latest player in the South Burnett's wine industry and they were on hand at the Pioneer Festival with tastings of their new shiraz. Arabesque is owned by husband and wife team James and Melinda Taylor (Melinda is already well known as the proprietor of Miss Melinda's Dancing Academy - "Arabesque" is a french term for a ballet pose and the source of the new company's logo). James and Melinda planted two hectares of grapes at their Nanango property in 1999 and they made the new shiraz there at their own winemaking facility (Nanango's first winery!). Prior to moving to the region James was involved in wine making for five years in the Hunter Valley. He feels that the South Burnett is a growing area and is more than living up to its potential. In case you didn't try it, Arabesque's new shiraz is medium to full bodied, has a fruity aroma with good length, vibrant purple hues and sweet plum and cherry flavours - James tells me that it's ready to drink now! Builders permitting, the pair also hope to have a cellar door outlet operating at the winery shortly after Christmas. But until then you can find out how to purchase their wine by calling them directly on (07) 4171-0365 [PS: I've been away for a week's much-needed holiday and forgot to pre-announce this before I went. I'm now back at the desk with a bag full of stories and the normal 3-day broadcasting schedule for Cuisine resumes immediately]

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