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New Publicity Opportunity For Regional Food Producers
Australian Online Farmers Market29th September 2003: Regional food producers - and that includes our wineries and restaurants - may be interested to learn about a new web site that's just been launched to promote Australian produce and dining. It's the Australian Online Farmers Market and I understand that it's been set up as a private venture with assistance from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, who are always keen to promote the State's primary industries. The site hopes to make its future running costs from the sale of advertising but if you're a food producer or restaurateur it's quite free to join and get your business listed in the Farmers Market's database right now. The Internet is becoming an increasingly effective marketing medium every year but it's also becoming a lot more crowded, and doing so at a frightening rate. Back in January 2000, for instance - and that's only three years ago - there were around 17 million web sites on the Internet. Now there's 44 million. So the task of actually getting your business found on the Net is really getting harder by the day. That's why it makes sense to have a listing not only in the general web site search engines like Google, Yahoo and others (if you have a web site) but also to get your business listed in specialty sites like this as well (and this works even if you don't have a web site, since the Australian Online Farmers Market lists all your offline contact details as well as the online ones). No-one's going to do this for you, though, so I can only suggest you get cracking and do it yourself.
Team South Burnett Begin Countdown To Regional Culinary Cooking Competition
Team South Burnett26th September 2003: Long-time readers of South Burnett Cuisine are already well aware, I suppose, that in about 10 days from now I'll be leading a team of South Burnett chefs in Adelaide when we represent our region at the LifeStyle Channel Regional Culinary Competition. The competition will be held from October 6th to 10th and all four of us (Clinton Smoothy, Adrian Hauritz, myself and Steve Gudzinski - the four men in the photo at right) will be representing the South Burnett's foods, wines and culinary skills against much better-known regions like the Hunter Valley, The Barossa and Margaret River. We've received fantastic support to do this from an enormous range of sponsors at all levels of our region and outside it. Support from people who share our belief that the South Burnett is the Next Big Thing in Australian food and wine. And after working towards this goal for most of the year I can assure you that the pressure is certainly starting to build up on all of us! The good news is that thanks to the Internet, we hope to be able to provide you with daily reports from Adelaide about how things are progressing while the competition is in full swing. I'll be taking my laptop and digital camera with me and I'm sure that whatever venue we stay at should be able to email materials back to the South Burnett so we can give you news literally as it happens. This will be a first for our region - probably a first for something like this in Australia - and if all goes well you'll know how we went before we even get back. Stay tuned!
See South Burnett Food and Wine At Catering 2003
23rd September 2003: Several South Burnett food and wine producers will be showcasing their quality products at next month at Catering 2003 - the giant catering industry trade fair that will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 26th to the 28th October. As part of the industry event, Queensland regions have been invited to occupy a precinct of the exhibition hall to promote their region's cuisine with the potential to acquire lucrative supply contracts. Exhibition organisers Eventcorp and Food Circus made a trip out to the South Burnett earlier this week and were astounded by the amount and diversity of product available from the area - so much so that they decided one day wasn't enough to see all the local producers. So they'll be returning shortly to arrange stall space for more South Burnett businesses. Stallholders currently signed up for the event include Stuart Range Estates, Kingaroy Cheese, Clovely Estate Fine Wines and Paradise Creek Meats. The Catering fair will also show what's hot in innovative products, hospitality equipment, hospitality consultancy and food and beverage. A central arena (hosted by renown chefs Peter Howard and Alison Alexander) will provide visitors with cooking demonstrations, product launches, cooking competitions, seminars and presentations. Personally, I've attended every one of these catering fairs since 1986, and they never disappoint So if you're a South Burnett food or wine producer and would like to arrange an exhibit area for your company, contact Eventcorp on (07) 3846-5858 or email Or if you're in the catering industry and would like to attend, register for your free industry invitation now at
Kingaroy Hotel Launches Red Earth Restaurant
20th September 2003: Fans of award-winning South Burnett chef Steve Gudzinski - the former Head Chef at the Bell Tower Restaurant who was recently profiled in The Good Life (see story below) - will be pleased to hear that they can now enjoy his unique Australian cuisine at another location. Steve has moved down the road to the Kingaroy Hotel's new Red Earth Restaurant and he's already launched an exciting new menu there. Steve tells me that he intends to continue the tradition he established at The Bell Tower of only using the freshest and best local produce he can lay his hands on, and the new menu reflects this (though he does include a few seafood dishes - the seafood is couriered up to the restaurant from the coast every day). The Kingaroy Hotel was purchased from the Journey group earlier this year and since then new owners Bruce and Kelly McLennan have put a lot of thought, effort and money into extensive renovations and refurbishments right through the building. The Red Earth Restaurant (which is situated at the rear of the hotel) is still being developed as I write - but future plans include dressing the food service staff in uniforms made by Mud Gear Australia and developing a wine and food bar that will serve up our first class locally produced vintages along with freshly shucked oysters, Kingaroy cheeses and antipasto platters. Red Earth is open for lunch and dinner most days of the week and most main meals are in the $12 to $20 range.  
South Burnett Scores More Major Media Coverage
17th September 2003: South Burnett residents who read yesterday's Courier-Mail may have been surprised to find a well-known face on the cover of the paper's Good Life section: Steve Gudzinski, the former chef at The Belltower Restaurant (Steve now runs the Red Earth Restaurant in Kingaroy and I'll have a story about that very soon). Yesterday's Good Life profiled four regional chefs in its centre spread and discussed the growing trend for capital city cooks to leave the smog and traffic snarls behind and get deeply involved with regional foods instead. Moving to the regions used to be considered career suicide. But in the 21st century when we all yearn for top quality Australian foods skillfully prepared from prime local ingredients, it's now considered the vanguard of culinary adventurism. It's certainly a movement that Steve and I are both very proud to be part of. And it's even more wonderful to see that the same things that drew us to the South Burnett - top quality foods and rapidly evolving wines - are now being recognised in the urban markets we left behind. Next week you can expect to see even more about the South Burnett in the Good Life (you'll have to buy the paper - I'm not giving anything away!). And if you live in the region you'll also find some interesting material appearing over the next few weeks in both the South Burnett Times and the South Burnett Adviser. One of these is a regional foods cookery supplement that the Times are printing up. As for the others... well, you'll have to get both papers to find out too! Photo: Red Earth chef Steve Gudzinski on the front of yesterday's Good Life supplement in Queensland's Courier-Mail
Captain's Paddock Takes Out 2003 Tourism Award For Regional Winery
Maryanne Pidcock and Peter Eaton14th September 2003: Last night I assisted chef Steve Winter from Nanango's Copper Country Restaurant prepare the food for the 2003 Fraser Coast South Burnett Tourism Awards dinner which was held at Kingaroy Town Hall. The FCSBTA Awards are the major tourism gongs in our area (which - for Tourism Queensland's purposes - includes Hervey Bay, the Fraser Coast and Maryborough as well as the South Burnett) and I was as delighted as every other local when South Burnett operators walked off with 13 of the top 24 awards on offer (about 55%). This is a pretty remarkable achievement when you consider that we comprise less than 25% of the total membership! While every winner was deserving and had something valuable to say, Peter Eaton from Captain's Paddock (which won the 2003 Wineries Award and received a high commendation in the Hosted Accommodation category too) made a big impression on the crowd by pointing out that as far as the region's wine industry goes, the real competitors aren't other regional operators but other wine regions. Peter and his partner Maryanne Pidcock (pictured at right) have been strong proponents of developing a "wine culture" in the South Burnett ever since they took over the Paddock in 2001 and are active members of both the South Burnett Wine Industry Association and the South Burnett Tourism Association. Maryanne is also one of the directors on the board of the Queensland Wine Industry Association. So it was great to see them receive some well-deserved recognition for their efforts (PS: Congratulations must also go to Barambah Ridge and Clovely Estates, who both received high commendations in the Wineries category; and to the Bunya Forest Gallery who won the Eateries and Cafes section, narrowly beating last year's equally worthy winner Dimities Cottage into a highly commended).
South Burnett Cellar Doors To Expand By 20% In Next 6 Months
11th September 2003: If you're a fan of South Burnett wine you'll probably be as delighted as I am to hear that the number of cellar doors in the region is set to expand by more than 20% over the next 6 months. Projects currently on the boil that I know about include:
  • Kingsley Grove's new cellar door and restaurant at Goodger (expected in October/November)
  • Kingaroy Ridge's new cellar door at Booie (expected towards the end of 2003/early 2004)
  • The Whistlestop Cellar Door in Nanango (expected towards the end of 2003)
  • Moffatdale Ridge's new cellar door/eatery outside Murgon (expected to be in operation by Christmas)
  • Tipperary Estate's new cellar door/eatery at Moffatdale (expected late 2003/early 2004)

Most of these projects are either currently before their local Councils gaining building approval and/or waiting for the State Government to grant them liquor licences. They'll make a substantial addition to the South Burnett's 16 existing cellar doors. They also represent a pretty big leap from the 6 cellar doors that existed in 1999 and show just how fast our wineries are expanding. The new facilities will mean that locals will have even more outlets to choose from on a weekend (some of the plans I've heard about are really delightful!). And they also mean that tourists - whose numbers expanded by a whopping 35% in the last year - will also have more options to choose from in the very near future. This year the South Burnett's grape crush was almost double the Granite Belt's. It was also bigger than the crush of all other Queensland wine regions put together. These exciting new projects illustrate the well-founded confidence our winemakers have in their products.

New Peanut Products Launched At Annual Industry Dinner
Queensland Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk8th September 2003: You may think that just about everything that could be done with peanuts was done long ago. Not so! The Peanut Company of Australia proved it to a crowd of close to 250 people on Saturday night when Queensland Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk launched two completely new peanut products at the annual Peanut Industry Dinner held at Kingaroy Town Hall. The first of these - "Light and Bubbly Peanuts" - are a new line of extra fresh, extra crisp peanuts designed for aficionados who love the taste of these wonderful nuts but are hungry for something really different. These new nuts go especially well with beer (watch out beer nuts!) and are initially being released by The Peanut Van. Expect to see them on their web site shortly. The second product was a peanut-and-grape flavoured ice cream developed jointly by The Peanut Van, Ziebarth Wines and Childers-based Mammino Gourmet Ice-Creams. Mammino developed two peanut-flavoured ice-creams for The Peanut Van about a year ago and they've been such runaway sellers that the companies are now expanding the range. Minister Palaszczuk found he couldn't stop at a single mouthful at the launch - and neither could the 50% of dinner guests who had this ice cream served up to them for dessert (the other 50% received a dark and light mousse). You'll be able to obtain the new peanut-and-grape ice-cream this season at The Peanut Van and at any of Mammino's expanding number of outlets. Photo: Can you stop at one? Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk found he couldn't when he tried the new peanut and grape ice-cream on Saturday night.
South Burnett Scores Major Coverage In Courier-Mail
5th September 2003: I may be a little behind in mentioning this, but congratulations to the wine, food and accommodation operators who were featured in the Saturday 23rd August edition of the Courier-Mail Travel Guide. Almost two weeks on people are still talking about the high praise dished out to our region by Courier-Mail journalist and travel writer David Bentley, who wrote that "...the South Burnett district is becoming a beacon for tourists seeking good food, wine and country hospitality". Mr Bentley visited the Murgon-Kilkivan end of our region and dropped in to see Barambah Ridge Winery, Belle Villa Farm, Cloveley Estate, Dusty Hill Vineyard, Tipperary Estate, Nev Sweeney's Kilkivan Butchery and Camille Mortaud the cheesemaker - all while enjoying the hospitality of Bruce and Rae Hurley at The Left Bank. David Bentley was one of Team South Burnett's menu testers recently and he's certainly not one to mince his words! Particular acknowledgment must go to the Hurley's who made a major impact on the tone of the Courier Mail's article - particularly (and much to my satisfaction) its focus on South Burnett's regional cuisine. This isn't all too surprising, though. As mentioned in the feature, the Left Bank prides itself on using fresh regional produce and last year this focus earned the couple an award at the South Burnett Regional Culinary Competition for their signature dish of Beef and Red Claw (the recipe appears on this website). A gigantic thumbs-up to everyone involved in this glowing article. Keep up the good work!
Dusty Hill Wins Three Medals At 2003 Melbourne Wine Show
Dusty Hill 2001 Shiraz2nd September 2003: Moffatdale winemaker Dusty Hill Estate took out three bronze medals at the 2003 Melbourne Wine Show recently - a pretty stunning accomplishment for a wine off 4-year-old vines exhibiting at one of Australia's top three wine shows. Dusty Hill took a bronze for their 2001 Merlot, another for their 2001 Shiraz and a third for their 2001 Forbidden Shiraz. The competition wasn't lacklustre either! This year's Show judges said the field was "extraordinarily difficult" because the quality of wines was so uniformly high (and they were submitted from right around the nation). As a result, differences between the winning entries often came down to a matter of a point or two. Dusty Hill's viticulturist Joe Prendergast said that he was "delighted" with the wins - partly because of the prestige of the Melbourne Wine Show itself, and partly because it's a tribute to the semi-organic growing methods he's been pioneering in the Estate's vineyards, where he uses a mixture of organic fertilisers and a regime of low-toxicity, pre-emptive spraying to coax the vines into producing top-quality fruit. "These vines probably won't reach their full potential for another 4 to 6 years yet," he said, "so it's very encouraging to get these sorts of results right now." If you want to try the 2001 Merlot, it's available from the Dusty Hill Estate Tasting Room, or on their web site for $16 per bottle right now (but you'd better hurry: Dusty Hill only produce limited quantities of most releases). If you want to try the 2001 Shiraz and the 2001 Forbidden Shiraz, though, you'll need to wait until next Autumn: they're still aging up to maximum release state.

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