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CLOSE ENCOUNTER

American Realist Chuck Close

Dal Zotto

Prosecco Pioneers

Peak Season

2010’s best alpine food issue 18 mid-winter 2010

www.essentialsmagazine.com.au


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It’s not only about quality of materials and manufacture.

Wilko Cabinets Pty Ltd. - Adventurous Living


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specific thespecific suitthe tosuit design to innovative design It’s innovative requirements of site. the site. of the requirements

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curved It’s abrighten an interesting to beallowing going and always wassocial, This house pacious, durable light to project. reflect and space — to thistake beautifully andfrom extravagant kitchen is perhaps one featuring Ranges, the Warby in views housethedesigned Wilko Cabinets’ excitingcontrasted and innovative creations. masonry. The with stone materials, lines andmost clean,ofmodern Backing greens adjacent Golfincluding Club in entire house, theirWangaratta for the cabinetry wanted coupleonto professional regional Victoria, the ‘fairway’ idea was for the owners to invite friends their own individual offices. It would have been inconceivable to inside to enjoy the convivial atmosphere after playing a tidy 18 holes. the not acknowledge as a separate element each Ample treat communal bench project, space inand Corian Rain Cloud solid designisconsiderations. and onsite dining architectural surface with step-down a feature, as are custom-routed slope-tosink drains and a tough, two-pack gleaming gloss cupboard paint finish. A challenge for Wilko, in this case, was to seamlessly integrate appliances design. window into the fits seamlessly the bench the kitchen, In to appear ‘hidden’, while opening the space to while createthe a minimalist, high-gloss stonework, architectural to the respond topsas Bench modern look. capture and reflect natural light. We carefully selected colours to surfaces Meticulously using The advanced soft-close draw is concealed drinks bar landscape beyond. house andconstructed, with the meld systems with motorised touch sensor opening and an ultra-clean spacepurposeIt was space. a small utilisesthe doors and retractable behind saving design, the invisible becomes functional when enjoying this a wine storage refrigerator, and is made from integrate created detailed,torelaxing design. because were avoided, handles Draw Stringybark. Red recycled Every part of this kitchen is smartly integrated: fromsimplicity the dual to are shaped thatdouble bookcases angular offices feature the key. The was solid-surface under-mount stainless Abbey ‘Quadrato’ squarebowlcurvature sinks, to sleek built-in Miele steam oven, microwave and one another, mirror designs their and while of the building, the warming materials draw column. reflect the taste of each individual. Throughout the different approach has created a user-friendly anda creating are integrated, and detailing materials whole,can-do as aWilko’s house satisfying kitchen space that sympathetically considers its glorious sense of unity and flow. fairway views beyond. If the idea of unique design, suited to your individual requirements, your individual to available design suited unique optimum the idea of making Ifrequirements, use of space and light, and combining light, andtalking and appeals, available space of high-quality useand optimum making combining innovative materials to us could be rewarding. and high quality materials, appeals, talking to us could be innovative Wilko Cabinets — yet again, a hole in one! rewarding.

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cabinets

55 Devil’s Creek Rd, Buckland Valley, Victoria, 3740. Tel. 03 5756 2260 Mob. 0419 575 374


Feel happy... Stop, unwind, taste and enjoy

Plunkett Fowles Cellar Door Cnr Hume Fwy and Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel T 03 5796 2150 W www.plunkettfowles.com.au


Plunkett Fowles Cellar Door Cnr Hume Fwy and lambing Gully rd, Avenel VIC 3664 t 03 5796 2150

11/12/09 4:01 PM

tastings • wine & food flights • lunch daily Open. 9am – 5pm, seven days


managing editor | content Jamie Durrant

sub editor

Lisa Maxwell

arts editor Ivan Durrant

advertising | sales Jamie Durrant Tel. 0419 006 391

graphic design | art direction Jamie Durrant

advertising creative

Created inhouse by Essential Media

writers

Caroline Pizzey, Emma Gardiner, Varia Karipoff, Julia Wilson, Gilbert Labour, Jamie Durrant, Ivan Durrant, Jacqui Durrant

recipes

Michelle Micheli, Michael Newby, Megan Chalmers, Nathan Ackland, Maria Frischmann, Tom Corry, Hamish Nugent, Shane Lewis, Richard Verrocchio

La Famiglia, Dal Zotto’s Trattoria kitchen 22 Katrina Pizzini’s a Tavola! 12

photographers

features

additional photographs & content

15 22 30

Jamie Durrant, Charlie Brown, Matt Hull, Clare Plueckhahn, Varia Karipoff Essentials would like to thank the following contributors for additional content and images: Chuck Close, The National Gallery of Australia, Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway, Bridge Road Brewers, Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown, Australia Dreaming Gallery, Bright Spring Festival, Dal Zotto Wines, Bec Deslandes editorial jamie@essentialsmagazine.com.au production jamie@essentialsmagazine.com.au jamie@layoutlooks.com [larger files] our website www.essentialsmagazine.com.au www.issuu.com/essentialsmagazine publisher Essentials Magazine Pty Ltd ACN: 132 426 576 PO Box 967, Benalla, Vic 3672 Tel: 03 5762 3485 All photographs and text are the property of Essentials Magazine and or the rightful copyright holders. Under no circumstances are they to be reprinted or published by any means whatsoever without written permission of the editor. While we always try to clear and confirm all editorial content (both text and photographs) before publishing, we welcome the opportunity to correct any errors or omissions. The opinions of the contributors and/or columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher. Essentials aims to please and support the North East region via pleasurable and positive content. Every effort is made to confirm event and calendar dates and factual information, although at times please understand that errors can occur – we’re only human! Essentials strongly recommends travellers phone event managers and tourist operators to confirm dates and events prior to enjoying the fruits of this region. We welcome your reviews, letters, feedback and support.

Price in Australia: FREE at selected tourist locations, $24.95 12-month subscription via www.iSubscribe.com.au This issue: No. 18 – mid-winter 2010 (‘I believe all sin, love, glory are this: when you slide down the knotted sheets, escaping from Gestapo headquarters, and she hugs you, there, suspended, and she whispers that she’s always dreamed of you. The rest is just sex, copulation, the perpetuation of the vile species.’ — Umberto Eco)

Essentials Magazine is printed in Australia by GEON Impact Printing.

magazine winter 2010 page 6

Peak Season – 2010s best alpine food La Famiglia – Dal Zotto Wines’ Trattoria kitchen Ice Dreams – Summit Ridge, Falls Creek

food & drink 10 12.5 14 60 62 64

The Green Shed – Gets an exotic makeover Beer ‘n’ Pizza – Bridge Road Brewers Taste It – The art of new food, Georgina’s Restaurant, Benalla Alpine Caravanserai – Taste of two Regions, Canberra Winter Hibernation – The Stanley Pub On the Snow Road – Sam Miranda, King Valley

art & fashion 40 47

Close Encounter – Chuck Close Pelicans – Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown

discovery & adventure 36 38 44 49 53

Salvation Island – A trip to Russia’s arctic islands In Between Days – Bogong Alpine Village The Value of a Friendly Face – Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway Dazzling, Delightful, Delicious – Bright Spring Festival The New Australians – Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

regulars 8 9

Canberra Cool Essential News

COVER: Chuck Close, Bob, 1970 275.0 h x 213.5 w cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1975 © Chuck Close


reader dinner Pictured clockwise, from top left: Ciccone Estate Reserve Cabernet;Ciccone Estate/Wine Alliance degustation at Konoba will feature classic Italian fare; kitchen/dining views, Konoba; winemaker Pat Ciccone

Ciccone Estate Launches in Canberra With a range of premium wines being released into the Canberra marketplace, Ciccone Estate and Wine Alliance team up to celebrate with an exclusive degustation dinner event at Konoba Restaurant, Hotel Realm.

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f you feel like tasting southern Italy without having to leave the country, we’ve got just the thing for you. Ciccone Estate is bringing its wines to the ACT, and to celebrate, they’ve paired up with local distributor Wine Alliance to hold an Italian-styled degustation dinner at Konoba restaurant in Hotel Realm. Ciccone Estate is a family-run producer of cool climate wines, located in the King Valley at the foothills of the Victorian Alps. The vineyard owes its beginnings to Tony and Pina Ciccone, who arrived in Australia from their hometown of Monsoretto, Calabria (on the ‘toe’ of the Italian boot) in the late 1950s. The pair made their home on a pristine stretch of the upper reaches of the King Valley, initially share-farming tobacco. Before long, Tony had also planted an acre of shiraz grapes — a fledgling vineyard that was expanded in 1992, when their enthusiastic son, Pat, began planting additional varieties such as merlot and sauvignon blanc. True to their Calabrian heritage, the Ciccones make fresh, fruit-driven wines — crisp citrus-zest rieslings, blackberry and dark chocolate-laced shiraz — designed to be enjoyed with food. ‘Our wines reflect not only our personalities, but also our region. The Calabrian influence is very important to us,’ explains Pat Ciccone. ‘Our wines have a southern style. We like our wines to have silky textures with ripe fruit and soft tannins.’ Located in the ever-so-chic Hotel Realm, Konoba restaurant, recent winner of the AHA best hotel restaurant; Konoba takes its name from the Croatian word for ‘cellar bar’ — the traditional rustic eatery that is the essence of Croatian dining. Konoba’s interior may be one of polished minimalism, but true to its name the restaurant mixes modern and classical Mediterranean cuisines in a suitably relaxed atmosphere.

The Ciccone Estate/Wine Alliance degustation at Konoba will feature classic Italian fare, such as roasted corn fed chicken breast on truffle polenta with warm tomato and olive salsa, and tiramisu with fanciful ‘chocolate spaghetti’. These courses will be matched with aged wines from Ciccone Estate’s Reserve range, as well as some fine examples from southern Italy. Cheeses from specialty North East Victorian producers Milawa Cheese will complete an exceptional food and wine experience.

Ciccone Wines/Wine Alliance Dinner Friday 3 September, 2010 Tickets $90 per person Bookings: Konoba Restaurant, Hotel Realm 18 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra Tel. 02 6163 4723 konoba@hotelrealm.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 7


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canberrracool WORDS GILBERT LABOUR

GOINGGRAZING I N G U N D A R O O

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ot quite the horror book cliché ‘dark and stormy night’, but on a cold and misty Canberra night, we ventured to Gundaroo, a mere 35 kilometres from the CBD. The heritage-listed Royal Pub, built around 1830 and lovingly restored by current owners Jennie and Mark Mooney, cocoons Grazing restaurant with its rustically welcoming log fire and original native timber reception bar – an instant impact of homely warmth and anticipation. As it happens, hatted and multi-awarded chef Tom Moore greets us and we are soon seated next to another toasty log fire and quickly engaged in the serious moment of contemplating his current seasonally honed menu over a glass of locally brewed porter beer. In such mellow mood, we were impressed by the attention to detail in preserving the building’s history and character. One could almost hear the neighing of horses tethered to the outside rail, while the squires laconically enjoyed a wee dust-settling drop of the amber fluid. About two years ago, Tom and Chrystal Moore, who also own Knead Patisserie in Belconnen, brought their well-deserved, previously hatted reputation and experience to Grazing. There, they established an organic environment growing flavoursome heirloom fruits, herbs and vegetables literally in the backyard. Such is the freshness of delivery that diners soon learn not to get too gooey over the friendly chooks as they could soon end up on their plates. Tom’s insistence on using only the freshest of his own and neighbouring products and the deft handling and respect of his regional produce has allowed him to bring subtlety, lift and integration of flavours to his apparently homely but deceptively multi-layered dishes. This commitment to quality has also seen him become a finalist for the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Young Restaurateur Award. Tom modestly describes his menu as ‘pub grub’ but his delivery transcends into a cutting-edge exemplification of fine modern Australian rural cuisine… hence the plethora of awards festooning the restaurant’s walls. However, any good meal should resonate with the synergy of good wines. The Mooneys, with their own oenological background, astutely formed a partnership with multi-awarded winemaker Andrew McEwin, of Kyeema fame, and wife Marion, to establish Capital Wines. Andrew, commonly known as Mr. Merlot for his impressive collection of silky smooth winners of that variety, brings with him a long pedigree of medals and trophies. The Ministry Series of Capital Wines, with their quirky caricatured labels that teasingly intrigue patrons into playing guess-the-pollie games, deliver varietal typicity and value with aplomb. The range offers good match and fit to Tom Moore’s hearty menu. The Mooneys, Moores and McEwins have formed a symbiotic triumvirate which will consolidate the reputations of Capital Wines and Grazing at the highest levels. With the imminent establishment of a cellar door and proposed development of accommodation on the premises, Grazing can only continue its rise as a much sought-after destination for foodies. The Royal Hotel Corner Cork and Harp Streets, Gundaroo, New South Wales Tel. 02 6236 8777 www.grazing.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 8


winternews

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L I LY ’ S B O R N T O S K I Falls Creek-based skier thirteen-year-old Lily Newton Brown, has recently won 5th place in the Junior World Downhill Skiing Championship at the Whistler Cup in Canada. Now in its 19th year, the Whistler Cup is the largest and most important ski race in North America, and internationally, for athletes aged 11 – 14 years. Earlier this year Lily was given the opportunity to go to Canada for 3 months as part of the Australian Olympic development team, and her recent performance has far exceeded expectations. Lily’s mother Justina Tomkinson owns Julians Lodge at Falls Creek, and Lily has been skiing since the age of four. However, her success is not only owed to experience but also to discipline and an ability to focus. ‘I’m really nervous at the gate, but when I ski it at all comes together,’ she says. ‘I’m not nervous, once I get going.’ Essentials magazine wishes her luck in next years’ Whistler Cup, and before then, looks forward to seeing the results of her next meet at the 2010 Victorian Championships.

Lily Newton Brown

NIGHT SKIING AT FALLS CREEK Additional snowmaking and the installation of floodlights along Wombat’s Ramble ski run at Falls Creek has added yet another option for skiers and boarders at Victoria’s largest alpine resort. The Quay West Resort and Spa, located at the foot of Wombat’s Ramble, has also benefited from this nocturnal activity with an influx of additional resort guests popping in to tomdickandharry’s for a hot chocolate (or something stronger) in between schussing down the 2.2km snow-covered trail. Another new adventure this winter is a journey to Mt McKay in a purpose-built snow coach which is similar to the oversnow vehicles which operate in Yellowstone National Park. This is yet another activity which has expanded the smorgasbord of guestfriendly experiences at the European-style village. It isn’t just a winter playground for hard core snow enthusiasts, it’s an alpine resort which caters for guests of all ages and interests. www.fallscreek.com.au Wombat’s Ramble, Falls Creek - photo Matt Hull

RO S E H I L L E S TAT E MERLOT The Milawa micro vineyard and winery, Rose Hill Estate, recently released it’s premium 2008 basket-pressed merlot which was awarded a tidy 4.5 stars in Winestate Magazine May/June edition.  Winemaker Jo Hale says that 100 percent of the wine’s fruit was hand selected from the estate’s two acre vineyard, and pressed gently with no bitter, firmly-pressed juice going into the wine. Pouring with a beautifully inkydeep luminous purple tone, the 2008 Merlot displays a stunning and complex nose of cherries, chocolate, mocha, tobacco and spice. Well suited to rich Italian foods, its full-bodied, distinctive savoury palate is

impressively created, and features clean forest berries and soft tannins.  A visit to cellar door, conveniently located just 200 metres from the rear of the Milawa Cheese factory, to sample this limited release rare gem of a wine comes highly recommended. Jo and partner/vigneron Kevin de Henin also produce a well-respected méthode champenoise merlot and a big boys durif that rivals many of the Rutherglen icons. Open Friday - Monday 10am-5pm 1400 Oxley Flats Road, Milawa Victoria Tel. 03 5727 3930 www.rosehillestatewines.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 9


DELICATESSEN? We don’t think she’s scared! Chefs with attitude: Nathan Akland and Megan Chalmers

WHOLE BABY SNAPPER, baby bok choy, sweet chilli and kaffir lime glaze, crisp basil leaves

magazine winter 2010 page 10


thegreenshed

foodbiteswinter

gets an exotic makeover

winterrecipe

WORDS EMMA GARDINER PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

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wo of Beechworth’s top chefs, Megan Chalmers and Nathan Ackland, have joined gastronomic forces to open Beechworth’s first Asian fusion restaurant. Described as ‘a world spice journey around China, the Middle East, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Lebanon, Morocco and North Africa’, the new venture is located in the iconic Green Shed, a former printery that was built in 1891. Chef Nathan Ackland says, ‘Our patrons in Beechworth have been asking us to open an Asian restaurant for years, so Megan and I finally decided to go for it.’ The pair, who are first-time restaurateurs, met when they were working on Hamilton Island together in the late ‘90s. They moved to Beechworth three years ago to take up executive chef roles and fell in love with the local produce. Megan says, ‘We’re so privileged up here with the food and wine. We use Murray Valley Pork from Corowa for the claypot pork belly, and locally grown apples, figs, homemade preserved lemons, chestnuts, homegrown herbs and wild-picked pine forest mushrooms.’ The Green Shed’s wine list boasts local favourites such as Kristy Taylor’s Cirko-V Ringmaster viognier, Rick Kinzbrunner’s Giaconda chardonnay and Beechworth classics such as Golden Ball, as well as high quality imports such as Moroccan Syrocco Syrah 2007 from Zenata, and Poderi Colla Nebbiolo. Appetisers start at nine dollars, entrees at $17; mains start at $30, sides at seven dollars and desserts start at $14. Signature dishes include pork belly claypot with sweet soy, ginger and Malaysian rempah paste and Chinese broccoli; master stock spatchcock marinated in chermoula, mograbiah tabbouleh and hummus; and a baked-whole baby snapper with baby bok choy, sweet chilli and kaffir lime glaze and crispy basil leaves.

PORK BELLY CLAYPOT

Open for lunch and dinner Wed–Sun 37 Camp Street, Beechworth, Victoria Tel. 03 5728 2360

Method

with sweet soy, ginger and Malaysian rempah paste Serves 4-5 Rempah paste 4 tablespoons corriander seeds 2 tablespoons cumin seeds 2 tablespoons fennel seeds 2 inch cinnamon quill 10 tablespoons roasted peanuts 6 inches ginger, sliced 3 tablespoons tumeric 6 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped 5 long red chillies, roughly chopped 2½ lemongrass sticks, sliced 10 kaffir lime leaves 3 tablespoons shrimp paste, roasted 4 tablespoons fish sauce 4 tablespoons soy sauce 8 tablespoons coconut, grated Peanut oil

In a pan, gently toast all seeds and cinnamon quill until aromatic, then pound in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. PORK BELLY CLAY POT with sweet soy, ginger and Malaysian rempah paste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend, slowly pouring peanut oil in to form a paste-like consistency. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. The paste will keep for a few weeks. Pork belly claypot 1kg pork belly, diced 4 tablespoon rempah paste 3 lemongrass, thinly sliced 5 kaffir lime leaves 5 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced 1 knob ginger, peeled, julienned 600ml kecap manis 600ml soy sauce 500ml chicken stock 1-2 bunches Chinese broccoli, washed, chopped Peanuts, roasted, chopped, to garnish Crispy shallots Spring onion, thinly sliced Coriander leaves Method In a large pot heat 5 tablespoons peanut oil. Add rempah paste and sautée, stirring constantly. Add pork belly and cook until slightly browned. Add lemon grass, ginger, garlic and whole lime leaves, stir. Pour in kecap manis, soy and stock, bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the pork becomes soft and the liquid is reduced to sauce consistency. Stir in broccoli just before serving. Garnish with peanuts, coriander and spring onion, serve with jasmine rice.

magazine winter 2010 page 11


Maria’s Pizza Dough Recipe Makes 10-12 Pizzas Ingredients 700g pizza flour (pizza flour is harder i.e. has a high gluten content) 250g semolina 6 cups of lukewarm water 2 level tablespoons dry yeast ¾ stubby of Hans Klopek’s Hefe Weizen (chef to drink the rest) 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 level tablespoon salt Method Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl or on a pastry bench. Mixing with hand, create a well in the centre. Add lukewarm water, yeast and beer, a little at a time, and bring together. Add olive oil and lightly knead together to form a dough. Set aside the dough in a warm place for 30-40 minuets to prove. The dough should double in size. Use your fist to punch the dough down. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out thinly to make your pizza base. Tip: Add extra virgin olive oil to the base of your pizza tray and to the top of your pizza base, aiding in a crunchy golden brown final pizza. Top with premiumquality ingredients of your choice.

magazine winter 2010 page 11


foodbiteswinter

bridge road brewers

beernpizza

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

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eer ‘n’ pizza — does it get any simpler, or better? I’m sure we Australians don’t give it all that much thought, yet it sometimes seems to be a Friday night ritual: Get your order in, have an easy munch and knock back a couple of nice cold ones. But what if, just maybe, the beer and pizza were like, really, really good? Enter Bridge Road Brewers of Beechworth: not your average brewery, and as a bonus, not your average pizzeria! Perhaps one of Victoria’s most adventurous microbreweries, making all sorts of fancy ‘bevs’ including Belgianstyled farmhouse ales, fresh hop-harvest ales, beers made with spices, beers that taste of chocolate and coffee, easy drinking beers, serious hop-head — let’s call them punchy and challenging — beers; the list goes on. With so much creative and colourful brewing going on, somehow the heavens started calling for fresh pizza, and in a flash the gourmet Gods came to the rescue. With pleasure, I’d now like to introduce these almighty beings, a group of calm-mannered ladies who manage the Bridge Road kitchen with skill and ease. Number one, we have Lucy Taylor: focused, friendly and forthright — and in hot pursuit of perfectly managed orders, cooked just so — lock, stock and two smoking barrels, Lucy is a goer! Two, Lara Adams: young, bright and, well, beautiful really; Lara’s pizza dough rolling speed is nothing short of formidable, she is hardworking and, put simply, she knows food. And finally, three; Maria Frischmann: New mum to Lily, partner to Ben Kraus (head brewer honcho), and the princess of all things baked, including Bridge Road’s original and famous pretzels (fat, tasty and moreish), fresh breads (again very moreish), and the super crispy, crunchy, designed to ‘bite’ pizza bases (and premium toppings) that make beer and pizza at the old coach house so much fun (mmm... yep, you got it — moreish). Begging to be matched with a perfectly different pizza (and the ladies can deliver a good match), I take my seat inside the warm coach house — packed with beertasting tourists — and sip a new brew poured for me by Ben Kraus. A Beechworth stringybark honey beer, Ben explains its full name to me: ‘Megachile Pluto Braggot. The Megachile Pluto is the largest of all bee species,’ he informs me. ‘Oh... right,’ I reply with a little chuckle, guessing that Ben and his team may be, just a little, somewhat proud of this new fat ‘n’ spicy beer. It’s a class act, I might add, and a beer that was brewed by yet another female. It seems girl power is winning the day at Bridge Road — guys, pick up your act! So to lady number four, Nardia McGrath: Confident, creative, passionate and cool, Nardia further explains the braggot brewing process to me.  ‘It’s like the Biere de Garde, spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg, brewed also with the trappist yeast strain, which invites spicy esters and produces distinctive fruitiness and plum characteristics. We ended up having to keep the brew warmer for a lot longer, we had so much honey, it was  blocking up all the pipes,’ laughs Nardia.  Dark in colour, similar to a deep cherry and golden syrup tone, the Megachile Pluto is full-bodied and complex. For those who have tried the Beechworth Honey product Honey with Pollen, you’ll immediately warm to the Megachile’s earthy, drier tones. It’s certainly not all sweet, yet does fill the palate with a cooked fruitcakeyness — almost intentionally designed for sweet winter fireside canoodling!   On this day, the specials board features pizza toppings of apple and Italian Gorgonzola; fungi, sweet potato and prawn; and my pizza, a robust and tasty pork meatballs with roasted fennel, garlic and shaved parmesan.

Although a simple pizza, it’s lifted with the floral-aniseed fragrance of the milder-than-fresh roasted fennel. I sip the braggot and find its brash yet not in any way bitter taste a good match to the pizza. With my second and later, third glass, I move onto the iconic Chestnut Pilsner. I love this beer. With just subtle hints of sweet chestnuts, the flavour profile is all about clean nuttiness blended with fresh green and grassy floral hops. Although it’s a floral and very ‘now’ cool person’s beer, it is simple and balanced enough to please just about anyone and would make a great session beer. Ladies, take note! With simplicity in mind, I end my visit transcribing Maria’s wheat beer wetted pizza dough recipe and ask if I can pass this on to Essentials readers. With grace, I’m told this should be fine. So now with thanks to thy holiness, all of us can order a Bridge Road beer (via the brewery’s Posse mail-order club) and make a thin and crunchy, sexy-beast pizza wherever we may be. Thank you, ladies!   Old Coach House, rear of 50 Ford street, Beechworth, Victoria Tel. 03 5728 2703 www.bridgeroadbrewers.com.au

Maria Frischmann baking her famous pretzels

magazine winter 2010 page 12.5


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TASTEIT WORDS JAMIE DURRANT

THEARTOFNEWFOOD The fine art of function cooking, executed with style – no easy task. I remember the chaotic pre-Christmas scene at the end of 2009, when on one bleak, windy and chaotic night, the Essentials team and several party-loving friends got together to sample the perks of owner/chef Tor Kirk’s humble abode, Georgina’s Restaurant in Benalla, Victoria. Wines flowing, the best of the King Valley, Rutherglen and Strathbogie Ranges were that night gulped rather than sipped elegantly. The mood was upbeat, with dancing, laughing, meeting new people and generally celebrating the year that was. Tor’s impressive food, however, was really one class act that soon stole the show. Plate after plate of carefully created fragrant and delicate tastes were presented, including some ‘go-getter’ oyster shots, pickled baby octopus starters and some robust Greek mains that we’d requested. Without a doubt, Tor delivered. We thank him. The Essentials crew managed to push the boundaries reasonably hard that night (for example, dancing with a whole 15 kilogram octopus covering your face was not to be snuffed at), and regardless, we were all collectively treated not only as humans, but as some very special ones — now that’s service! You’ll understand my sentiment, therefore, when I mention how it’s always a wonderful feeling to return to a place that has inspired so many happy memories. Recently, I checked back into Georgina’s to sample the winter menu, noting some stunning, new and exclusive produce items — some that are pretty much a first for any Victorian restaurant. Given this, I have yet again experienced feelings of enjoyment and adventure — and no, sorry to disappoint, I’m not talking about horse meat! First up, cool product/dish number one: grilled Canadian scallops served on buttermilk blinis with an avocado, tomato and basil salsa. Never in my life have I eaten better, fatter, sweeter more satisfying scallops. ‘How can this be possible?’ I hear you asking. Fresh from Canada? Well, not exactly... The answer to this one is a little technical, however is also simple and totally logical. They’re snap-frozen on the boat, and in the restaurant can be thawed in an instant. Snap-freezing if executed correctly, can be an amazing treatment with fish, and this is proved at Georgina’s. How does it work? Seafood items that are snap-frozen — blast-chilled to below minus five degrees Celsius quickly — show no change in cell structure; technically stopping the protein oxidation of the fatty acids, and avoiding a denaturing of the texture of the fish. Not only this, it’s pretty much impossible for bacteria to find a home to breed in — it’s just not there! Putting it simply, good snapfrozen fish is perhaps as good as eating fresh fish; although, yes, the matter is still arguable! Fresh eating on the boat right after the catch is certainly great if you can be there; however if the transporting distance is far — let’s say from Westernport Bay, to the Melbourne fish markets, and on to Benalla for example — the fish won’t be fresh. I don’t care what you say! If proof is in the eating, then I, for one, am certainly convinced. These scallops tasted goddamn fresh! The salsa and ‘hey, look: baby pancakes’, as one enthused customer called them, were a dream match to the fat little Canadians — a blissful summery salsa feel, with some light and fluffy textured blini bites to excite the palate. Cool product/dish two: slow-cooked wallaby shanks — yep, wallaby shanks — cooked tagine style and served with a fresh herbed couscous. This creation is Tor Kirk at his utter best — a bloody fantastic dish. Tor explained the taste of the wallaby meat to me, saying that ‘it has a very subtle gamey flavour’, however I found it just sweet, earthy and pleasing. Initially somewhat firm, once broken with the fork it falls apart with an easy and super-soft stringy texture. Jampacked with flavour, the shank is cooked in a clever balance of spices including cinnamon and cassiabark — a bit like a nutmeg, however with a much sweeter and perhaps slightly aniseed spark. Finishing the dish off with fresh herbs, couscous and some chopped shallots makes this a clean, heathy and very moreish option. Certainly special! So if you’re out on the prowl and looking for some very exciting new food ideas to get your gnashes around, a winter visit to Georgina’s is a must. Save me a seat, as I will return again. 100 Bridge Street, Benalla, Victoria Tel. 03 5762 1334 www.georginas.net.au magazine winter 2010 page 14


peak season From rustic hearty dishes to delicate Japanese-inspired winter fare, Essentials hits the winter slopes to sample some of the best in food and wine on offer at Victoria’s ski resorts this season. WORDS JAMIE DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY CHARLIE BROWN & JAMIE DURRANT

JULIANS LODGE, FALLS CREEK


julians restaurant & bar julians lodge, falls creek 18 Slalom Street, Falls Creek, Victoria Tel. 03 5758 3211 www.julianslodge.com

Rosemary lamb burger


ROSEMARY LAMB BURGER with fresh rocket and mint jelly yoghurt, roasted tomatoes, and home made chips.  Recipe Tom Corry Serves 4 1 sprig of rosemary 3 cloves garlic 1-2 eggs  500g lamb mince  Plain flour 4 Roma tomatoes Virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 4 large potatoes (washed with skin on) Mint jelly or fresh mint 200g natural yogurt Rocket leaves, or salad mix 4 fresh ciabatta buns Method Finely chop rosemary and garlic, then mix through with the lamb mince using the eggs for binding.  Make 4 moderate to generously-sized burgers patties, dust will a little flour.   Slice roma tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with virgin olive oil and bake on a moderate heat for 15 minutes. 

julians restaurant & bar

While the romas are baking, mix the mint jelly or roughly-chopped mint leaves with the yogurt and sit to one side. 

Looking for simple and flavoursome bites, cool interiors and a funky wine list to indulge in? Look no further, as Julians Restaurant and Bar, situated in the heart of Falls Creek Alpine Village, is the ultimate ski-in, style-it-up place-to-be this season. Step from a cool winter chill into a sleek and toasty-warm, modernist, open-plan environment. Here, classic Eames dining chairs sit smartly alongside a patchwork of intimate tables, wall-lined crocodile-skin booth seating and one gigantic stainless steel-flued open fireplace — just perfect for those après-ski vinos. Teardrop chrome-glass pendulum lights illuminate stunning recycled spotted gum communal tables, and marry well with the ‘mountain-cool’ rough-cut pine timber feature wall. A must-try is chef Tom Corry’s brilliant and super-fresh tapas tasting plate — an alpine secret that’s destined to be a much-loved social appetiser this season.

Cut the washed potatoes (skin on) into thick chips and par-boil until soft, yet still slightly firm; next shallow fry the chips in oil  - giving them a little love as they cook until golden brown. In a hot pan, drizzle a small amount of olive oil and cook burger patties to your liking.   To plate up, spread a generous amount of the mint yoghurt to the bottom of the ciabatta buns, layering as you go,  adding rocket or salad mix, the burger patties and roasted roma tomatoes.  Serve with fresh chips, layered up log cabin style.  Enjoy.

tom corry


hamish nugent

CABBAGE AND MUSHROOM OKONOMIYAKI Recipe Hamish Nugent Serves 4

tsubo

Okonomiyaki, bonito and dashi are all words that you’ll come to know and love at Tsubo. Tsubo is perhaps more Japanese in its approach rather than being strictly a Japanese restaurant, and chef Hamish Nugent this year continues to deliver a menu of thoughtful and clean-flavoured Asian tastes, designed with skill and an appreciation for delicate and rare ingredients. The aptly titled ‘feed-me’ option, $65 or $85 per head (depending on just how big your appetite is), is a great way to experience Tsubo. Bites like octopus cooked in three vinegars and the somewhat controversial citrus yuzu are sweet and tangy; the dry aged beef with braised daikon, lush, rich, yet not overpowering or heavy; and the chawan mushroom soup with dashi custard, a textural and joyous event. An icon of Dinner Plain Alpine Village, Tsubo is a class act with a relaxed and sociable feel. A must-visit, lively, in-your-face and super cool spot.

4 eggs 20g bonito flakes (dried fish flakes) ½ bunch sliced spring onion 160g shredded Chinese cabbage 60g sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons flour Dark soy to taste Japanese mayonnaise Method Mix all ingredients together, pour into a preheated pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Shape into a ‘pancake’ using two spatulas while keeping the heat moderate. When the pancake has formed structure, it is time to turn and cook for a further four minutes or until it is firm but not dry. Place the pancake on a plate, garnish with Japanese mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, red pickled ginger and bonito flakes. As the heat rises off the pancake, the bonito flakes will start to move. Okonomiyaki sauce 80ml tomato ketchup 80ml worcestershire sauce 60ml dark soy 1 teaspoon mirin 140ml dashi (basic Japanese fish stock) 2 tablespoons corn flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water Method Heat the ingredients together and then thicken with the corn flour. Allow to cool.


tsubo

dp central, dinner plain Big Muster Drive, Dinner Plain, Victoria Tel. 03 5159 6622 tsubodp@yahoo.com.au

cabbage and mushroom okonomiyaki


black cockatoo restaurant mt buller chalet, mt buller Summit Rd, Mt Buller , Victoria Tel. 03 5777 6566 www.mtbullerchalet.com.au

hero food image lobster-tail tortellini name


TORTELLINI OF LOBSTER TAIL with fennel salad and lobster bisque Recipe Shane Lewis Serves 4 Ingredients  4 lobster tails (keep shells) 40g ocean trout 100ml cream Salt Pepper 3 eggs Basic pasta dough (rolled into thin sheets) 10-12 prawns, peeled and deveined (keep peelings) 1 onion 1 fennel bulb 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 bunch chervil 1 bunch purple micro herbs 1 lemon Unsalted butter Lumpfish caviar (as garnish) Pernod (to serve)   Method  Tortellini Filling Remove flesh from lobster tails and chop roughly; do the same with the trout and mix together. Add a generous dollop of cream and season well. Place in blender to make a mousse, add eggs and allow the mousse to rest. Make a basic pasta dough and fill with mousse, shape into tortellini (see below). Lobster Bisque In a pot, heat onion, fennel, lobster shells and prawn peelings. Cook on a moderate heat until shells are pink. Add tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Next turn heat down to very low, cook for 2 hours. Strain shells, fennel and onion, and place liquid back into the pot. Reduce (slow simmer) until the liquid becomes thick. Add a little cream — balanced to colour and flavour.   Fennel Salad To make the salad, shave half a fennel bulb (paperthin slices) and place in iced lemon water for a few minutes to flavour. Strain fennel shavings and mix with chervil leaves and herbs. To Serve In a pan, cook prawns on a high heat in a little butter, season with salt and pepper and add a touch of Pernod for fragrance. Cook for 30-40 seconds each side. Plating up, gently spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the lobster bisque into a warm bowl, arrange tortellini and prawns in a circular pattern (3 of each per serve), place fennel salad in centre and garnish tortellini with caviar. Making Tortellini Cut some circles in the rolled-out pasta dough — use a wide-brimmed wine glass as a template or punch. Place the filling on top in the middle in of the circle and then fold one half of the circle over the other, wrapping in the filling. Close the edges by pressing them together, making sure all the air pockets are removed. Then place the tortellini between the ‘pinky’ and ring finger of your hand and bring the two corners of the tortellini together with your other hand. It’s easiest to do this in two steps — first, one corner onto the pinky and then the other corner onto the first corner, and press. Then remove the tortellini from the pinky finger.

black cockatoo restaurant

We’ve found it: an alpine restaurant that aims high and, with ease, simply delivers. The Black Cockatoo, nesting in the heart of the Mt Buller Chalet, manages to source the utmost in premium food produce, steer it up-mountain in icy conditions and finally provide an intimate and detailed dining service that also features some classic locally produced wines and a well chosen selection of international vintages imported from afar. This season executive chef Shane Lewis presents contemporary, ‘styled-up’ examples of some of the best traditional European classics. The Agnolotti of quail and foie gras is pure melt-in-the-mouth bliss; the porcini and herb gnocchi with pea volute a colour and textural delight; while the tortellini of lobster tail (pictured), is a dream example of delicate, and refined palate-teasing exploration at its best. One of country Victoria’s more adventurous sommeliers, Mat Picone, is on hand to guide you through key vintages such as the 2001 Louis Jardot Echezeux Grand Cru, Burgundy; and the minerally 2007 Domaine William Ferve Chablis. Local gems, the 2005 Delatite Gerwurztraminer and the 2002 Pizzini Nebbiolo are wise offerings that are displaying grace and just the right amount of bottle age. What more could you ask for?

shane lewis


Polenta chips with aioli, marinated EV olives, pear and fennel salad, sliced salami and prosciuitto, L’Immigrante Prosecco and NV Pucino Prosecco


WORDS CAROLINE PIZZEY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT RECIPES MICHELLE MICHELI

I

have just had the most enjoyable few hours getting to know the Dal Zotto brothers, Michael and Christian, one responsible for the winemaking at Dal Zotto Wines, the other the marketing and restaurant. Sitting around a table in their newly fledged trattoria, we’ve talked and laughed the morning away. I’ve learned about their extended family, new-release wines and love of food; I’ve met Elena (mother, Nonna, gardener and chief gopher), Michael’s small son, Christian’s fiancée Simone (who runs the cellar door and wine club) and I’ve discovered that Michelle, the chef, is married to an old friend of Michael’s and that her mother-in-law, Silvana, makes the pasta, while Simone’s butcher brotherin-law supplies the meat. The only person missing is Ottorino Dal Zotto, the patriarch of this lively bunch. And where was he while we were enjoying ourselves? In the vineyard, of course. What a wise choice Otto made when he relocated from north-east Italy to North East Victoria back in the late 1960s. Coming from Valdobbiadene in Italy’s Veneto region, with its spectacular landscape, terraced vineyards and long history of producing cool-climate wines, Otto saw similarities in the climate of the

King Valley. It’s a familiar story, so to cut it short, he spent the requisite time growing tobacco, married the girl up the road (Elena Pizzini), had a family and switched to grapes. Otto has come full circle now, and the family vineyard and winery are producing classy food-loving Italian varietals, most notably Australia’s first and much lauded prosecco, the signature wine of Valdobbiadene and now of Dal Zotto. Prosecco encapsulates the Italian approach to wine and food: fresh on the palate, it wakes up the tastebuds and piques the appetite. It’s the wine that Italians stop for in bars on their way home from work. ‘What’s next?’, it seems to be asking. As does the latest release from Dal Zotto: Barbera Frizzante — ‘Babs with bubbles!’, laughs Christian. With soft tannins and gentle acidity, barbera seems made for sparkling — the fine bead and plum–cherry flavours of this example overlay a typically stinky barbera nose, making this wine absolutely, totally and — in case there’s any doubt — completely delicious. But it’s not the knock-you-down-dead, over-the-top sparkling red that’s put me off this style in the past — this is light and savoury with the vaguest hint of sweetness. These are food wines, and we’ve done nothing but talk about what we’d eat with which wine as we’ve tasted our way from

arneis through pinot grigio to sangiovese and barbera. ‘We want our wine and food to complement each other,’ explains Michael, ‘not compete.’ It makes so much sense, and goes some way to explaining why I am so very hungry. Christian races to the kitchen for some pillowy gnocchi — he’s particularly proud as this is his creation, and it’s on the menu! ‘We love swapping roles,’ says Michael. ‘There’s always a Dal Zotto in the trattoria. It’s fun — I love being told what to do! After a busy week in the winery it’s a bit of R&R.’ ‘Besides,’ adds Christian, ‘it’s instant feedback, seeing people having an amazing time. See that old lady over there? She was in here a fortnight ago and I ended up having a glass of wine with her as she’d been here for hours, and I wanted to thank her.’ This attention to detail, this love of people — in tandem with a serious commitment to innovation – has resulted in the Dal Zotto family being awarded Family Business of the Year Victoria 2010. ‘They are the nicest family,’ waiter Peter ventures, unprompted. It is obvious family matters here. There’s a gentle hum as diners settle in for lunch, but a toddler is not so sure about [continued page 27] magazine winter 2010 page 23


FETTUCCINE

with duck and mushroom cream sauce, Dal Zotto L’Immigrante Barbera 2006 Serves 6 We always have pasta on the menu — last week it was with beef and pork ragu; this week it’s a rich duck sauce. You only need meat from half the duck — leftovers can be frozen for the next time you want to make this dish. We use Pasta Adele fettuccine — made by Silvana Micheli, my mother-in-law; it’s available from Dal Zotto Wines and other North East outlets. 1 duck 1 orange, cut into quarters 1 head garlic, cut in half 2 star anise 250ml chicken stock 100ml olive oil Salt Freshly ground black pepper 15g dried porcini mushrooms 500g mixed mushrooms 50g butter 1 tablespoon chopped thyme 1 tablespoon chopped sage 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary 1 onion, finely chopped ½ carrot, finely chopped 1 stick celery, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 bay leaf 100ml dry white wine 400ml cream 60ml pesto 500g fettuccine Finely chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan, to serve Method Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Stuff the cavity of the duck with the orange, garlic and star anise. Put the duck into a roasting pan with about 100ml of the stock, then drizzle with a little of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Slowly roast the duck for 5–6 hrs — keep basting it so it doesn’t dry out (you may need to add some more stock or water). Remove the duck from the oven and allow to cool a little. Once the duck is cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the carcass. Reserve half the meat for the sauce (freeze the remainder or use in another dish). Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Shortly before the soaking time is up, chop the fresh mushrooms and fry in a little of the oil with the thyme, sage and rosemary. Lift the porcini out of the liquid and add to the cooked mushrooms. Add some of the soaking liquid and the remaining stock to the pan and simmer gently until the liquid has reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. While the water is coming to a boil, start the sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan with the remaining oil, then add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaf and cook gently until the vegetables just soften. Stir in the white wine and cook for a few minutes until the wine has reduced. Stir in the cream and pesto, then turn the heat down and let the sauce reduce and thicken — this should only take 3–4 minutes. Add the cooked mushroom mixture and duck to the pan. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce in the pan. Serve garnished with parsley and parmesan.


Caramelised fig and white chocolate semifreddo, Dal Zotto Elena 2008


BORLOTTI BEAN

and bacon soup, Dal Zotto Arneis 2009 Serves 6 This soup came about because we had stock we’d made the previous week. We like to garnish it with parsley and parsnip chips. 600g dried borlotti beans 150ml olive oil 200g onion, finely chopped 200g carrots, finely chopped 200g celery, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 bay leaves 5 sprigs thyme or 1 sprig rosemary Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 ham hock 350g smoky bacon, chopped 1–1½ litres chicken stock 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 4cm cubes Method Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Next day, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook gently until the vegetables have softened, then add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Drain the beans and add to the vegetable mixture along with the ham hock and bacon. Stir well and continue to cook for a few minutes, then add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes until the beans start to soften, then add the potato and cook for another 20 minutes or until cooked. Remove the ham hock and strip any meat off the bone. Return the meat to the pan and discard the bone. Put a stick blender down one side of the pot and blitz quickly, leaving the soup a bit chunky. Check magazine spring 22 the seasoning and 2009 servepage immediately.


[from page 23] being trapped in a high chair, and I sense his parents’ unease at what might unfold. In an instant, waiter Simon is asking whether the little boy would like ice-cream. A bowl appears from nowhere; the child spoken to kindly and quietly. Order is restored, the parents relax, and lunch resumes. A calm restaurant floor breeds contentment. And calm oozes from the Dal Zotto Trattoria kitchen. The hatch that affords diners a head-and-shoulders view of Michelle Micheli and her all-girl team allows a discreet culinary soundtrack to blend with the upbeat music out on the floor. ‘We really want to capture the mood of an Italian trattoria,’ says Michael, adding they’re keen to introduce a communal table. Michelle and her sidekick, Nicky, love the concept too and the challenge of a menu that changes weekly but always features antipasto, a pasta and a braise. They respond to what’s

to hand: produce from the restaurant’s own garden, chookhouse and, one day soon, small Wiltshire-cross sheep flock. ‘If we are given some last-minute produce we really can put it on the menu, like the persimmons Elena had this week. We’ve had chicken on, so I might do a soup with the stock next week. I like to be able to strip down a dish and reinvent it — it’s so Italian.’ Antipasto arrives on a board made locally from an old wine barrel and includes hot polenta chips that crunch on first bite to reveal a gorgeous, creamy centre — perfect for dipping into silky aioli. The pasta comes with a fragrant beef and pork ragu, and the pancetta-wrapped veal involtini — with asparagus snuggling in its tender depths and a white-wine braise of aromatics blanketing the whole — is lip-smackingly good, as is the parmesan mash. The persimmon pannacotta with lemon curd and pistachio biscuits is a textural delight, wobbling seductively on the plate. It is nursery food taken to a whole other

plane — I feel cosseted and nurtured, and utterly replete. ‘The trattoria is really just an extension of what we’ve always done as a family,’ Michael observes. The brothers nod in agreement, and they reflect on growing up as part of the Dal Zotto family and of working together expanding their domain. ‘We are lucky’, says Christian. He stops, looks at me, and says it again, this time with emphasis: ‘we are so lucky.’ Luck? When Otto made that decision to head Whitfield way some 40 years ago, he knew what he was doing. Just as Michael and Christian Dal Zotto know what they’re doing today: doing things as a family, and doing them well. Cellar door open 7 days, 10am–5pm Dal Zotto Trattoria open Sat & Sun, 11am–4pm Main Road, Whitfield, Victoria Tel. 03 5729 8321 www.dalzotto.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 27


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ice dreams s u m m i t r i d g e , f a l l s c re e k WORDS JAMIE DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY CHARLIE BROWN RECIPES MICHAEL NEWBY

If there was ever a restaurant to make a winter pilgrimage to, it would undoubtedly be Summit Ridge, an alpine food icon softly nestled within the icicle-draped snowgums and white, powdery folds of Victoria’s glamorous Falls Creek village. Essentials’ Jamie Durrant hits the alps to sample the winter season on a plate.

T

o clarify its description, the word ‘pilgrimage‘ — I feel — is an aptly chosen one. The journey deeper into Victoria’s steep mountain valleys, swathed in a devil’s-delight, howling landscape of winter’s transcendent portrait is akin to choosing self effacement, thereby allowing one’s soul to become engulfed and meld within the darker side of nature’s wilder methods. Travelling alone, as I did, and constituting a far more rewarding experience than I’d admit to many, the journey for me came gifted with an ethereal dance, a view of the world that I had not previously paid to much attention to. Witnessing the grace of low-lying cloud and mist formations hovering in the eucalypt forests, and saying a solemn last goodbye to a patch of blue sky peeking its way through a tiny gap in the afternoon’s stormy sky, I felt closer to the heavens and somewhat freed, having truly experienced each new and very icy vision. The bleak chill, the grey and blue tones of winter began to unfold as art before me: ghostly water vapour happenings played out like magic,  constantly evolving and magazine winter 2010 page 30

changing patterns, from fine, thin layered mist to enclosing, dense fog, to harder rain and thicker and heavier sleet — and next, almost in an instant, changing its behaviour and morphing into soft-as-a-feather, gentle snow drifts smoothly switching direction in perfect formation with bird-flock desire, emotive ballet grace. Regardless of an impeccably designed gourmet prize at the point of journey’s peak, I had felt my emotions (and driving skills) were to be tested during both my icy drive toward the summit and later, as I was slowly winding back down the mountain, to a point where I would welcome the vision of more protected and populated, flatter, greener, more nurturing valley pastures. It is from these fine lands that Summit Ridge’s restaurant gains its clean, fresh and flavoursome produce. Naturally grown trout and salmon, organic farm-fresh eggs, grass-fed beef, lamb and pork, and a vast collection of artisan cheeses, wines, olive oils, vegetables and nuts. Perhaps this very direct connection to its region, aiding in the design of its menu, is one of the restaurant’s key strengths. I simply cannot

think of one finer way to sample the fruits of the winter alpine landscape than to travel to and dine at Summit Ridge. Another standout strength you’ll notice when visiting is the utterly refreshing, positively spirited team that is the driving force behind the restaurant. Although I was initially amazed at the food knowledge and passion of chef Michael Newby, I soon noticed a more complex collective effort at play. Seamlessly working together, developing and designing new and more inspiring menus each season, owners Simon and Wendy Rawlings, together with Michael, make a fantastically dynamic and creative team. Further to this, as I begin to taste the food, it soon becomes apparent that Wendy (also restaurant manager) is a skilled maître d’ — she knows the food insideout and talks me through each dish with youthful excitement. Wendy is a delightful and inspiring personality. She is the sort of person you’d only wish you had discovered in that flashy city restaurant — and Michael, with incredible skill sets, having trained under top chefs both locally and internationally, seems to act as her willing and very able sidekick. Thinking further, eventually I twig. [continued page 32]


PANFRIED GNOCCHI Spanish ham, cherry tomatoes, spinach purĂŠe, sage foam

magazine winter 2010 page 31


[from page 30] There exists an inexplicably warm and familylike connection between them. They both share an enthusiasm for customer service (a real willingness to please) and an obsession for great food and detailed presentation. An underlying natural expressiveness in exploring and putting together perfect flavour profiles seems to be a daily hobby for these two and, thankfully, they have also made it their profession. Without a doubt, all of this positive foodie charm and cheffing talent certainly adds a big tick beside Falls Creek on the comparison chart when choosing which mountain you might be sliding down this winter. Don’t get me wrong, however — to ski or not to ski, it really makes no difference — Summit Ridge is a destination within itself. Add to this the joy of crunching and sliding yourself along Falls Creek’s terraced, zigzagging snowy village streets, sucking up precious breaths of impossibly clean mountain air while admiring the glitterwhite, sparkling snowgum landscape. Tip: remember to suck the air in hard, as it’s superthin in the mountains, and some degree of endurance and stamina is required to move through the hilly streets at pace. With a thought to endurance, larger food portions (where required) and the understanding of exactly how to refuel guests with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and necessary vitamins to revive the most weary skier, is a skill well played at Summit Ridge. Active and hungry beings may fear not smaller degustation ‘tasting portion’ plate sizes, as this place has found a neat alpine balance, taking the concept of ‘petite’ and expanding its width and girth slightly, all the while managing to intrinsically retain the subtle scents, tastes and textures — impressive. If you’re a fanatical foodie, wishing to purely dine and relax as I did, more moderately plated serves can be presented. However, after a good afternoon’s walk around the stunning alpine playground, you’ll welcome Summit’s smartly plated and luxurious creations. For myself, ‘luxury’ is a word that quickly comes to mind when dinning at Summit Ridge. From the very first bite of warm house-baked rosemary and Murray River salt bread, dipped in the divinely tropically-fruity, silky-textured olive oil (lifted with an amazing peach-flavoured life) from local growers Kiewa Estate, you know you’re in for an amazing meal. As a clever little alpine starter, the chestnut and parsnip soup with toasted pine nuts, crème fraîche and olive oil drizzle is pure winter-warming, slow-sipping perfection — this soup has it all. The round, earthy flavours of the locally grown chestnuts, the clean, sharp parsnips for body and brilliance, the crunch and sweet bite of the pine nuts, the added salty tang of a homemade chicken stock base and, finally, the crème fraîche and olive oil, adding some clean ‘cut’ and fruit lift to finish the dish. This soup is a cool little number and is made all the more exciting by the ultra-fine purée texture: exactly edible liquid velvet — a dream! With passion, owner and awardwinning wine list designer Simon Rawlings, recommends a stunning little sip of the limited release Giaconda (Beechworth) 2008 Aolia (roussanne). This new release is a very sought-after wine, one that is utterly exciting and classy. I was amazed at the nose of this wine — goddamn big, yet with Rick Kinzbrunner’s epic winemaking balance. With scents of floral, citrus, peach and a warmer, more syrupy caramel undertone, I was convinced that this wine was going to be extremely full bodied and perhaps too heavy on the palate. Surprisingly, it was the opposite: light, clean, and elegant on the magazine winter 2010 page 32

PRODUCE WITH HEART Rich and earthy flavours colour the menu

palate, offering the most gentle touch of oak integration. The slight youthfulness and acid balance made it the perfect pairing to the soup, adding an additional layer of cut to the richness of the chicken stock and chestnuts. This wine immediately outlined to me Simon’s understanding of thoughtful food and wine matching, and to what lengths he will go in order to source the best wines for the restaurant and its menu. If you think I might be overstating this fact a little, simply check out his wine list and allow your imagination to take you on a sensational wine journey. If you’re looking for extremely detailed and select wines to indulge in and study, Simon’s meticulously planned (and nothing short of massive) wine list reads as a vigneron’s dream. Wanna try a six-vintage vertical tasting of Rockford Basket Press? Can do. What about a trans-Tasman pinot noir comparison? From premium French champagnes to German and Aussie rieslings, through to fragrant red blends and a killer shiraz selection... you will, without too much time, clearly understand what I’m talking about. Visually and architecturally speaking, Summit Ridge — the lodge and restaurant — appears to welcome you in with open arms. Its red-cedar timber exterior is happily clumped under seemingly perfectly positioned snow mounds; its front entrance in stone and glass guides you into a warm and modern foyer/ reception area. Upon my arrival, sweet, subtle scents of house-roasted pork loin filled the air — a sensation that would next heighten my dining senses and go a long way to making me feel utterly at home. I’ve always said that if a food dish transcends its destination, it’s a magical offering. This light, sweet and soft, succulent pork was served on a bed of richer, more wintery-textured pork belly and bean hash with a side of fresh apple and chervil salad. Finishing the dish with a zing and an acidbalancing summer fruit ‘taste-of-crunch’ was an impressive lime-green Granny Smith apple purée. It was at this point the food had me gasping with excitement. How the hell did they manage this? From the very depth of winter’s still and silent ice folds, I had been instantly transported to a warm and relaxing undulating orchard landscape far, far away. Handpicking and munching on

bright, flavour-packed, beautiful summer apples as I strolled the rows of trees, I had literally left my dining table for sunnier, dreamy scenery; I was all the more rich for it. This sort of food genius is rare. The dishes never seem to be visually overstated, yet always over-deliver with taste; a method to a madness that I truly love. The Cargill eye fillet with du Puy lentils and 16-hour slow-cooked ox tail ragout is lifted with the simplicity of fresh parsley — perfect. A side of slow caramelised onions reduced in butter, thyme and speck is a triumph of basic cooking executed with style and skill. The pan-fried gnocchi with Spanish ham, cherry tomatoes, spinach purée and sage foam was tangy, salty and sweet, all in the same mouthful. And I had loads of fun squishing the slightly crunchy golden potato dumplings onto the roof of my mouth — a very private and sensual food experience, and one I simply adored. At a time where many city-slick restaurants are attempting over-engineered theatrical plates of totally calculated, wannabe abstract form, Summit Ridge allows our palates and imaginations to create more vividly realised visual cues, making dinning at Summit Ridge an extraordinary affair. One last great, taste-sensation example of this is the house-pacotized (that’s super-finely sliced and mixed frozen items churned at a super-high speed and low temperature) liquorice ice-cream. Simple enough, yet with a silky, creamy texture and screaming with loads of flavour and fun. Remember being a kid at the supermarket and snacking on a huge bag of fresh liquorice? Summit can take that glorious childhood memory, whip it into something a little cooler and present it with flair. Does it get any better? With good vibes and a positive inhouse team more like family, including the generous and detailed table service of Jason Geach and the calm and well-paced restaurant management of Wendy Rawlings, Summit Ridge has, this year, yet again positioned itself as one of Australia’s most exemplary must-visit alpine dining retreats. 8 Schuss Street, Falls Creek, Victoria Tel. 03 5758 3800 www.summitridge.com.au


CARGILL BEEF TENDERLOIN with du Puy lentil and ox tail ragout, caramelised onion and broccolini

magazine winter 2010 page 33


PORK LOIN

with pork belly hash, apple purée and chervil salad Serves 4 4 pork tenderloin steaks Cook the pork tenderloin to medium and rest the meat for a minimum of five minutes in a warm place. Hash ½ cup slow-cooked pork belly, cut into 1cm cubes ½ cup 1cm potato cubes, cooked till tender in salted water ½ cup green beans, blanched and sliced into 2cm lengths ¼ cup Spanish ham, sliced 1 knob butter ¼ red onion, sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed 2 tablespoon parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon simple lemon dressing Salt and pepper In a heavy-based non-stick frypan over a moderate flame, fry off onion and garlic. Add pork belly, potato, green beans and Spanish ham and fry until ingredients turn golden brown.  Finish with lemon dressing, parsley and season to taste. Toss well and set aside. Green apple purée 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped 1 litre clear apple juice 1 knob butter Place apple, apple juice and butter into a heavybased saucepan.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook apple until tender. Drain apple, reserving liquid.  Place apple into a blender and blitz on high speed — adjust the consistency by adding reserved liquid, a little at a time. Chervil salad 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into batons 1 large pinch of chervil, chopped 1 teaspoon simple lemon dressing Toss ingredients in a bowl. To finish Lay apple purée across the plate and place hash over it. Slice the pork loin and lay atop the hash. Place apple and chervil salad to the side of the meat.

magazine winter 2010 page 34


SUMMIT RIDGE Après-ski dining at its very best

BACK COUNTRY Exploring the alpine wilderness

A HAPPY TEAM Wendy Rawlings with chef Michael Newby

magazine winter 2010 page 35


salvation island A Trip to Russia’s Arctic Islands WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY VARIA KARIPOFF

U

p on the deck of our ridiculously unseaworthy boat, the wind pummelled me in the chest, the salt was a familiar scent and I got my sea legs back. My aunty was below deck, praying that we make it across — the water gets rough this time of year. She’s a nun, not like Fräulein Maria or the Flying Nun; she’s neither cute nor comical. She’s bona fide Russian Orthodox, dressed in head-to-toe black, similar to an Iranian woman with just her face and hands ever exposed. Mother Anna became abbess at the Gethsemane Convent in Jerusalem at just 26 years of age; she spent ten years trying to keep the place afloat during mounting tensions and the first Intifada. I’m proud to be her niece, though travelling in Russia with a nun elicited glares from maître d’s in Moscow and awkward questions such as, ‘What organisation are you from?’ and ‘Can you pay for your meal?’ With us also was another nun, Sister Nektaria, an active Muscovite, ex-architect in her sixties with a hilariously asthmatic laugh. We’d formed a bond over art discussions, teasing each other and shooting conspiratorial nods in the direction of anything containing cacao beans. And then there was Lyuba, an upright Russian woman, with picture book brown hair down to the small of her back, perfect olive skin and a hands-free kit permanently in her ear as she channelled calls from Moscow. Lyuba made things happen for us. Despite typical Slavic disarray, we’d make our connections, magazine winter 2010 page 36

be put up in the houses of locals and ride in the backs of old trucks to get places. We’d spent seven hours chugging uncertainly from the northeast of mainland Russia, the ship going out into the autumnal air of the Arctic and this… A great, tragic beauty of an island appeared. While Western cruise ships are known to stop at one of the smaller islands, Anzer, to view stone-age labyrinths built by Finno-Ugric tribes as part of ‘Ancient Shores’ package deals, Solovki has a permanent population and caters to Russian pilgrims. Both are part of a chain of islands called Solovetsky and were once an intrinsic link in the Gulag archipelago made notorious by Solzhenitsyn’s first-hand accounts of Soviet concentration camps. For centuries now, the Solovetsky islands have been considered one of Russia’s holiest places. With the arrival of Saints German and Savvaty in 1429 the islands began their religious blossoming. During the great communist experiment that resulted in labour camps and disappearances, Orthodox clergy were killed alongside Muslims, Jews, artists and intellectuals. They were housed in the ancient monastic buildings — in the kremlin that dominates the island of Solovki and the manifold wooden sketes and churches scattered throughout the islands. Though communism never managed to, death renders us equal. The main island, Solovki, is dirt poor: there are trodden footpaths in fields as roads between houses, and the motor

vehicles look like they have been repatched and reconditioned since Khrushchev. Intricately carved wooden homes and studios stud the foreshore, with peaked roofs and a kindly, honest air. Most people seem to exist on meagre forms of income: fishing, carpentry and mechanics. After settling into a rented flat, we headed to a tiny restaurant that had only soup of the day and fish katleti (rissoles); both went down with relish. We were told that tomorrow there would be blini (pancakes). Cows roamed the fenceless flat paddocks contentedly; the dairy here is incredibly rich. There is a certain kind of peace on the island, strangely enough. The late afternoon light penetrates dense cloud with a sort of biblical effect — rays of light spray out like heaven’s daggers across the still cold water of the sea. Almost instinctively I could find the right dirt path home from the edge of the kremlin. Sister Nektaria said I have the sense of direction of a dog and it didn’t sound at all like an insult. The kremlin’s walls, I learnt on a guided tour, are 14 feet thick. The solid stone walls withstood British canon fire during the Crimean War. The island’s kremlin is essentially a stronghold that houses several churches, monastic cells and a whole beehive of self-sustainable civilisation. At the time, the kremlin was being restored and the monastic community had resumed life there. A small section has been converted to a museum. Russians are not very good at marketing grief and tragedy. There are no grotesque displays


THE OLD KREMLIN Solovetsky Monastery, Solovki, Solovetsky Island, White Sea, North Russia

The seaworthy nuns, harbourside

Horse and cart, Anzer Island

or dioramas as testament to the estimated 14 million people who passed through the gates of Gulags, most of them perishing. There are a few plaques with examples of farewell letters written on the prison walls. Russians have folk sayings to get them through instead, like ‘the past is not yet passed’ — just these small reassurances and quiet resilience. No one was ever put to trial for the deaths of millions during the Gulag era, there was no recompense, no Nuremberg. Only recently Stalin’s grandson wanted to sue a newspaper for defaming his forbearer. Walking around the island is a wonder. My hands itched for a sketch pad when I spotted decaying wooden boats and the silhouettes of onion-domed churches. We met an artist in an aeroplane hangar when we took shelter there one particularly windy afternoon. He was young, with a brash intelligence; he’d been volunteering on the islands and was waiting in the hangar for a boat back home. He passed the time with us, challenging the nuns on religious points, I watched the squally grey sea through the open door wondering how we’d get back to civilisation. When the artist heard that I was heading to visit my grandmother in a Siberian city, he dropped the name of an art collective and an underground club, Truba — The Pipe. My fellow travellers saw that the weather had quietened and hurriedly farewelled the artist. I suppressed my frustration; I was compelled to follow them: the island was notorious for sheltering bandits.

That evening, a man knocked on our door. Sister Nektaria answered. He wished to speak to the ‘girl’. Glancing around at my middle-aged companions, I reluctantly got up to go meet the stranger, ambling out into the cluttered corridor outside our apartment. ‘Are you a nun, too?’ He looked like the type of guy that, back home, would be outside a pharmacy on Carlisle Street before 9am, eagerly sniffing at the closed doors to get his methadone supply.  ‘No,’ I replied.  ‘But you believe in God?’ When I nodded carefully, appraising a blue tattoo peeking out of his flannel sleeve, he asked why. I don’t remember my answer; how do you talk about something as personal as faith? Whatever I straggled out in uncertain Russian seemed to satisfy him.  ‘I’ve done bad things,’ he began and lit a Pyotr 1 cigarette. He told me about his life as a bandit in Odessa and the people he had hurt. His life had led him to murder. He wanted me to understand that clearly. Since then I’ve often wondered why he chose me to be his confessor — was I close enough to the nuns without actually being as threatening as one? I stood beside a broken bicycle on an island near the Arctic and heard the regrets of a fugitive. I’m certain I responded with nothing more than a mixture of platitudes and conciliatory noises. We agreed to meet the following evening on the garden bench outside the block. 

Varia Karipoff Botanical Gardens, Solovetsky Island

I awoke to discover dread-heavy limbs. For all the raw beauty of the island, a stain of violence coloured it. I watched the arc of the low lying sun, the time until evening seemed close already. I was barely out of my teens and I felt underqualified to discuss salvation and sin. The bandit, as I dubbed him, had refused the counsel of my aunt and Sister Nektaria. I tried to listen to a tour guide but all the details of 16th century church life and architecture were lost on me this time around. One detail did stick. The monks had been extraordinary botanists, not only did Solovki boast the northernmost botanical garden in the world, they also managed to grow watermelons in winter by placing heating pipes under the garden soil. I climbed rickety ladders into bell towers and watched dully as ladies in headscarves whitewashed great boulders of stone that make up the kremlin’s walls. Exhausted and full of fresh air, I trudged to the bench after dinner. My companions warned me not to stay up too late chatting to bandits and went inside the apartment for tea. I watched the light in our place turn on, glanced at the marigolds and carnations on their last legs. A Ural motorcycle churned the dirt as it came down the side lane. Stray dogs with shaggy coats sniffed around front yards with carved picket fences. I waited until the sea breeze flipped direction with the onset of night and I could not see the slightly funereal flowers any more. Then I got up and joined the others for tea. magazine winter 2010 page 37


MAN VS. NATURE Clockwise from top left: Moss-covered concrete beams at the base of the Lake Guy dam wall; the last of autumn leaves cover garden stairways; Lake Guy walking track via the internal heart of the dam wall

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in-between days BOGONG ALPINE VILLAGE WORDS JACQUI DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

The place is temporarily deserted. The autumn leaves are gone. But in the lead-up to the ski season, Jacqui Durrant still finds plenty to like at Bogong Village.

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ate May is an in-between time at Bogong Village. Come Queen’s Birthday weekend, its cottages will be gaily lit by the glow of windows; with filaments of wood smoke rising from chimneys announcing the presence of holidaymakers toasting marshmallows with garrulous abandon. They know that ‘charming’ is too pedestrian a word to describe this alpine hideaway, which has an ambiance extracted from macerated fairy wonderlands and emulsified cuckoo clocks. But I’ve arrived in the limbo weeks before the official opening of the ski season, and Bogong is empty of visitors, lending it an air of patient waiting. Set in a natural amphitheatre that pays homage to the rounded peaks of Mount Bogong that run down to Lake Guy, Bogong Village was originally constructed to house post-war European migrants who were put to work excavating tunnels through mountains and building dam walls for the Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme. When not working, some assuaged their homesickness by skiing at nearby Falls Creek: if not for this introduction, locals might still be regarding snow as a seasonal inconvenience that hinders the mustering of cattle and taming of wild brumbies. While the exteriors of the cottages are now conserved as a part of the nation’s cultural heritage, inside, the kerosene stoves have been magically replaced with stainless steel Euro appliances — and thankfully no one is using them to cook mutton stew. Creative anachronists looking for an authentic historical experience will find it too comfortable here; but they usually prefer to dress up as faux bushrangers anyway. Although the last big gust of wind has stripped most of Bogong’s autumnal postcard gardens of their reds, yellows and clarets, I find that all is not lost. From the windows of my welcoming A-framed chalet, glaucous clusters of scarlet Rowan berries bend neatly rounded boughs, and silver birches defiantly hold onto their golden teardrop leaves like a child with a oneeyed teddy bear. The Village side of Lake Guy is filled with drifts of fallen leaves, creating a familiar Old-World pondage that summons images of John Everett Millias’ Pre-Raphaelite Ophelia and the

Arthurian Lady of the Lake. However, halfway across its glassy black surface the scene switches to a perfect mirror image of the magisterial eucalypt forest on the opposite bank. Among the phalanx of towering blue gums and peppermints are trees untouched even by the 1939 bushfires, making them over 300 years old. There is a well-tramped path that circumnavigates the Lake, so before the charcoal smudge overhead sets to rain, I start walking. Along the way, I hear every variety of falling water. It begins with the companionable gurgle of the creek that runs through the Village’s rhododendron gardens. Then, at the low end of the Lake, the path takes me through the dam wall, where a bunker of concrete deadens all noise except the echo of my own footsteps, interspersed by a catacombs-of-Paris-styled dripping. This contrasts with the top of the Lake, where bridges span the cannonading confluence of the boulder-strewn Happy and Pretty Valley creeks, waters a-gushing, enough to test the mettle of the most exuberant trout. At this time of year the forests around Bogong are impeccably moist. Anything inanimate is covered in moss, and the forest floor sucks up water like an Englishman’s hunting tweeds. The damp, fern-quilted gullies are habitat for the endangered broad-toothed rat; a tubby mouselike creature, which, according to the Australian Rodent Fanciers’ Society, eats 50 to 70 percent of its body-weight in grass every day: hardly the most glamourous of the threatened species, but exceedingly cute nonetheless. Among the grey-green foliage, there are surprisingly festive flashes of colour. By some Darwinian quirk, every variety of fungus here has opted for a shade of orange. Carmine-breasted King Parrots forage in the shrubby understorey, and the native Royal Grevillas in the forest hang with the last of their spidery festive red flowers — an indigenous hint that Christmas pudding and brandy custard really should be served during the Antipodean winter. With this thought in mind I return to the chalet to light a fire. The chimney coos and murmurs as the darkness falls outside. In late May Bogong Village is a little disconsolate, but the lurching stillness is not such a bad thing. The maddening gortex-clad crowds can wait. Bogong Village, Bogong, Victoria Tel. 03 5754 1131 www.bogongvillage.com magazine winter 2010 page 39


CLOSE

ENCOUNTER

WORDS IVAN DURRANT WORKS PUBLISHED COURTESY OF CHUCK CLOSE

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he suave French art lover and dealer, Georges Mora, played a large hand in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, acquiring Chuck Close’s painting Bob in 1975. The mid ‘70s were great times at Georges’ Tolarno Galleries, especially for me, a Realist painter. Janet Fish, Audrey Flack and Chuck Close had shows there, and I was lucky to exhibit with them and others in a group show in New York, even selling one — ‘that’s it,’ I thought, ‘I’m off.’ October 1976: it was my second day in New York. I’d just moved into a loft — the fifth floor of an old mafia warehouse in Soho, a couple of doors down from leading lights, Chuck Close and Janet Fish — and was heading off for a morning vodka and coffee with Janet. ‘Hi Chuck, I’m Ivan, Janet’s friend from Australia.’ Feeling a little nervous and at the same time completely baffled: how come he’s the lift driver? His paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I need a part-time job, not him. As it turned out, whoever used the lift last got the door. ‘Hop in, I’ll take you up to Janet’s, she lives on the floor under mine. How do you know Janet?’ ‘She stayed with me in Melbourne when she exhibited at Tolarno last year, you know, Georges Mora’s gallery — he showed you a couple of months back.’ ‘Oh, you paint the jockeys.’ ‘Yeah, Georges is my dealer, too. He’ll be over next month.’ Overcome with the adoration of a true believer, I didn’t know whether to salute, curtsey or shake hands. I wanted to tell him his portrait, Bob — well, hardly a portrait, more like a giant topographic map of a face — was the greatest painting hanging in any Australian gallery. Still is, but I held back. — hocked, startled, intrigued, drawn in and, most of all, struck by awe, lots of awe: I was lured into a scientific search and confused by ‘what you think you see isn’t what you get’. Senses bombarded, I was taken to an unfamiliar place, a new way of looking. At two-and-a-half metres high, such a close encounter made me feel like an ant walking slowly past an enormous crusty mountain — so lost in the detail I had to quickly rush back 10 metres to remind myself it was Bob; Chuck’s Bob. There are basically two branches of art. One, exemplified by van Gogh and Caravaggio, draws its power and emotion, its poetry, from the viewer’s response to their interpretation of the real world, solid objects, people, landscapes etc. The other branch, more academic in a sense: hardedged abstract: Joseph Albers’ Homage to the Square, Mondrian’s coloured squares and black lines, and other works more considered

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magazine winter 2010 page 40

than emotional — getting their response from pure shapes, non-organic references, colour, aesthetics and calculation. Close’s genius is to work in this latter academic field, making technique itself the subject of the painting, yet still deal with the most recognisable and organic subject matter, the most commonplace subject matter we know, the first thing we see as a baby opening our eyes: the human face. Chuck photographed his sitter with no expression, no hint of artistic interpretation, no pretense of revealing the inner soul of Bob. In fact, his aim was to take every hint of ‘art’ out, just concentrating on the placement of paint — the technique. In the ‘70s, for many critics and the general art world, Close’s portraits were hard to take. It was never understood he wasn’t a portrait painter, but a conceptual artist only interested in the process of manufacture; totally alien then, to the idea of personal expression. To quote Close, ‘My invention is an invention of means, rather than an invention of shape or other things’. There lies Bob’s wonderful bewilderment: no matter how hard we want to see it as a portrait, Chuck locks us in to the Close close-up, where we fall in love with, and marvel at his superhuman technique. He’s taken us on a new and most intimate journey into every pore of the skin that makes up the face. — ’d just arrived back from Janet’s, and staggered up five flights of stairs, feeling the effects of too much vodka, when I bumped into Jud Nelson, coming out of his girlfriend’s loft next to mine. After a few quick introductions, our conversation soon got onto Chuck Close. I thought I was a disciple, but a minnow compared to Jud. He’d been trying to get to meet Chuck for years, even taking a part-time job assisting a friend preparing Chuck’s canvases. As he explained, they had to be undercoated and sanded down at least 15 times for a glass finish: the canvas tooth was an interruption, visual noise. It turned out, they’d also prepared the canvas for the Bob painting. As arranged, the next morning I went to Jud’s studio to pick him up for coffee, and have a look at his work. He’d just finished six sculpted pairs of reading glasses. Dead flat white, they were carved with jeweller’s drills and tools, using all sorts of minute measurers and calipers to make sure the lens’ shape and thickness was optically accurate, even though it couldn’t be seen through, being made from the finest, densest styrofoam available. I marvelled at the detail, especially noticing the thread on the screws that attached the arms. He’d built a telephone box-sized, glassed-in working space with an enormous industrial dust extractor to avoid breathing in the microscopic scraped and sanded-away particles of foam — ‘It’s deadly’, he said.

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‘Jud, Why do they have to be so optically accurate — who’s going to know?’ ‘I’ll know, that’s the point. It takes me over three months to carve out one pair, and the joy is in the challenge, in the detail. If I push too hard, cough, or even breathe too hard, I could snap one of the arms: it’s like microsurgery. I’m doing something no one else can do.’ At the time he was working on the fourth of six drawings on a white A4 sheet of paper. Each were to have the word ‘the’ one centimetre square, bang in the middle. The ‘the’ was cut from the heading ‘the stock exchange’, from that section of The New York Times, photocopied, resulting in countless minute graphite dots making up the new image. Jud’s aim was to copy this new ‘the’ absolutely accurately using a magnifying glass and dots from a sharp black graphite pencil. He was making clones. ‘I’ve just got to put in one more dot before coffee, can you hang on?’ Well, he sharpened his pencil and tested the fineness of dots for about half an hour, then finally, in a nervous sweat, took the plunge and placed the mark. After desperately checking back and forth from the original to his, he looked up in relief and smiled. ‘Perfect, let’s have coffee.’ — ’ve always admired great technicians with an abundance of artistic skill who are prepared to put a fair slice of their life on the line — a real commitment. Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel ceiling took him over two years lying on his back. To me, Chuck Close and Jud Nelson are modern day equivalents, and remain the two artists with the greatest influence on my work. No wonder I felt so happy to invite Jud to a dinner of American Super Realist artists hosted by Georges Mora, where he could finally meet Chuck. As it turned out, they became good friends and Chuck produced a fitting portrait of Jud in 1982, using glued-on, varying shades of paper-pulp pieces. Interestingly, Chuck constructed Jud’s portrait from dots, albeit a lot larger dots, and a lot larger size than Jud’s work. As for Jud, he eventually made the big time and is now up there with Chuck, with works in the New York Met and the Guggenheim. So, the next time you’re in Canberra, go to the National Gallery of Australia and have your own Close encounter with Bob. Wallow in his detail — the madness in his method. I energise from my twiceyearly encounters — for the last 35 years — then again, there’s a method in my madness.

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national gallery of australia parkes place, parkes canberra, australian capital territory www.nga.gov.au


Chuck Close, Bob, 1970 275.0 x 213.5cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1975 Š Chuck Close magazine winter 2010 page 41


Chuck Close, Jud 1982 Pulp paper collage on canvas, 243.8 x 182.9cm Š Chuck Close magazine winter 2010 page 42


THE ATRIUM RESTAURANT Chocolate French tart with chocolate truffle, forest berries and double cream

magazine spring 2009 page 58


friendly face The value of a

PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

When you’re a long way from home, there is nothing quite like checking into Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway, writes Emma Gardiner.

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rom the outside, this property looks like a hundred other four-and-a-half star business hotels: smart exterior, welcoming foyer and a well-designed layout that gets you where you need to go with the minimum of fuss. Set right in the heart of historic Wangaratta, this hotel is a short drive from world-class vineyards and the snow, making it the perfect base from which to explore North East Victoria. Exceptional location aside, however, there is one thing that makes this property stand out: its personalised service. From the moment you check in, you sense that there is something very different about this place. It could be down to all of the fresh country air and sunshine, but everyone who works at Wangaratta Gateway seems genuinely happy. Not in a saccharine, would-you-like-fries-with-that kind of way but in a way that makes you feel like you really want to stay. As in, move to Wangaratta just so you can become friends with everybody here. While this might seem a little extreme, it is this very phenomena that sees the town’s population expanding rapidly every year. Visitors come for the weekend and can’t bear to leave. It seems that Wangaratta possesses some sort of spooky magnetic power that lures exhausted urbanites into its open arms and rejuvenates them in such a way that the prospect of returning to the city loses all of its shine.

Having now decided that you are probably going to relocate here (and wondering how you’re going to tell your partner), you then move onto the next pleasure: checking into your room. The Gateway property offers 76 suites that range from luxury kings through to threebedroom terrace houses, meaning that it can cater for groups of all sizes and sleeping configurations. New conference facilities and suites were built in 2009 to complement existing facilities — the refurbishment is chic and contemporary with vast rooms swathed in coffee, charcoal and French white. Gauzy lampshades with glittering chandeliers hidden inside them illuminate a luxe boudoir that is all satins, feather pillows and 1000-count Egyptian cotton. The bathroom features sandy tones with shiny glass, sea foam green mosaic tiles and white fluffy towels. In summary, everything is at is should be and a little bit more. After a quiet little nap it’s time for dinner in The Atrium Restaurant. The low lighting softens the edges on an elegant room with oversized white bouquets of flowers, brass light fittings and a maroon and grey colour scheme that has hints of The Orient Express. There is soft music and a gentle welcome from Merrill, the maître d’, who has been working at the hotel for over 20 years. Executive Chef Lyndon Dodd has built a solid menu of hearty fare tempered

with Asian influences, fresh local produce and a touch of French savoir faire. I order the saffron prawn linguine to start and a medium-rare beef fillet with a chermoula crust for main. My linguine arrives in no time at all and it the best thing I have put in my mouth all year; silky, laced with garlicky butter and parsley, tinted with saffron and heavy with fat prawns. I could eat this for the rest of my life. My friend and I order a bottle of local wine under the expert tutelage of Robert Curcio, the hotel’s dashing Restaurant Manager, resident sommelier and co-owner. He points us in the direction of the 2006 Rutherglen Warrabilla Reserve Durif, a viscous, ruby wine. The palate is rich, luxurious and extremely generous, and features complex liquorice, black fruits and chocolatey nuances, made ever more pleasurable by its silky tannic mouthfeel; the perfect foil for the wintery red meat dish that I have ordered. I find myself relaxing more than I had planned, happier than I had expected. Robert, who has worked at the hotel since 1994, started out as a trainee and has worked his way up in what can only be described as a meteoric rise. It’s easy to see why his success has been so swift. Robert is polished, sharp witted and in possession of an encyclopaedic knowledge of North [continued page 46] magazine winter 2010 page 45


Photo Courtesy Quality Hotel, Wangaratta Gateway

Nearby historic Beechworth Photo Courtesy Quality Hotel, Wangaratta Gateway

Two bedroom apartment

[from page 45] East Victorian regional wines. To his credit, he has collated an exquisite wine list strong on local content, featuring several smaller boutique wines from the King Valley, Alpine, Beechworth and Rutherglen regions, as well as a selection from around Australia and overseas. I ask all sorts of stupid questions to which Robert patiently responds. He has the unflappable air of an old hand who can handle anything. After we finish our mains, Chef Lyndon Dodd emerges from the kitchen to greet the diners. To my total delight, he pulls up a chair for a chat and I learn that he grew up at La Trobe at Beechworth, the son of two of Australia’s foremost psychiatric nursing academics. It turns out that scientific brain power runs in the family. Lyndon tells me that he makes his own bio-fuel with recycled oil from the kitchen. But what does he do with it? With a cheeky grin, he says that he magazine winter 2010 page 46

uses it to power a troop carrier that he drives to the snow on his days off. The night flies and before long Merrill is back, urging us on to the wickedness of dessert. ‘Why not?’ we think. We’re so happy and content; why stop now? Our choice arrives (we share — the dishes are so big we can’t imagine eating another full serve) and once again, Merrill is right on the money with the dish she recommended. The coconut banana fritters are impossibly light and golden crunchy. Drizzled with honey and paired with creamy macadamia ice cream, this is the perfect finish to a truly great meal. The Atrium Restaurant at Quality Hotel Wangaratta is open seven days a week, and the same kitchen caters for the large conference and event facilities, so you know the food will be good, no matter what you’re doing at the hotel. In addition to excellent food and wine, the hotel has a 24-hour reception, complementary newspapers, undercover parking, a heated pool, spa, sauna and

fully equipped gym as well as state-of-theart conferencing facilities. It really doesn’t matter if you’re travelling for business or pleasure, you will be very happy here, because everybody’s happy here. That’s just Wangaratta for you. ESSENTIALS PACKAGE One night’s luxury accommodation in a King Suite, inclusive of two-course dinner and fully cooked breakfast in the Atrium Restaurant, a bottle of Dal Zotto Prosecco plus late checkout at 11.00am. Package rate $290 for two (subject to availability). Call us and quote ‘special Essentials package’ 29-37 Ryley Street, Wangaratta, Victoria Tel. 03 5721 8399 www.wangarattagateway.com.au


Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown , Pelicans, 2008 acrylic on canvas, 183 x 137cm

PELICANS – TREVOR ‘ TURBO’ BROWN WORDS VARIA KARIPOFF PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT WORK PUBLISHED COURTESY OF AUSTRALIA DREAMING ART

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hree pelicans, rising with the sun,’ Turbo considers his 2008 painting and seems to drift far back, perhaps to his childhood on the banks of the Murray. Despite his all engrossing reverence for native fauna, growing up in Mildura was anything but a rural idyll. Born in 1967, he was not spared the harshness of being removed from his family or a time spent homeless in his youth with animals as his sole companions. His paintings, with a naivety and openness in the brush strokes, speak with more ease of his dreams than lumbering human language. With the exception of two

portraits of Indigenous Australian notables, Turbo only ever paints our native wildlife. His animals have an expressiveness that conveys relationships and even emotional gravity to the viewer. His pelicans, here, with their astoundingly detailed eyes, appraise the viewer knowingly. When pressed whether they are nervous, Turbo agrees about their distrust of humans — ‘they’re saying, “stay on your side”.’ He knows something of that, too. Now residing in suburban Melbourne, he prefers the company of his large clique of dingoes to people. Watching him paint a sizeable canvas in under an hour, a world comes alive, filled always with characters that interact and live within the surface of the canvas. There’s something approachable about the resulting work. Although very firmly rooted in his Indigenous heritage, there is a free

and illustrative quality about the pieces that references tradition without being overly constrained by it. Receiving the nickname ‘Turbo’ after a character in an ‘80s break dance film, there is also often a kind of street, graphic aesthetic about his paintings that recalls Reg Mombassa’s iconic designs for the surf label Mambo. Turbo could have also been named for the way he works: fast. He applies unmixed acrylic with fervour and an almost preternatural understanding of composition. Relatively new to the art world (he has only been painting for 10 years), his work can be found in almost every collection in Australia’s major galleries. By rendering his native animals he links his culture to the future of Australia — both have a precarious foothold in it. ‘When I paint, dreams can come true. I’ll still be around with these animals in one to two hundred years time.’ magazine winter 2010 page 47


ABC Gardening Australia’s Angus Stewart will be running two workshops, plus launch his new book

Patrizia Simone will host a herb and flowers spring luncheon

BRIGHT DAYS With blooms in the valley, it’s time for some walking and cycling

SPA ON THE ROCKS

CHEF CHRISTIAN BEATTIE Will team up with Patrizia Simone and the ‘young guns’ of Bright

magazine winter 2010 page 48


BRIGHT SPRING FESTIVAL 22 OCTOBER – 2 NOVEMBER, 2010

dazzling, delighful, delicous BRIGHT SPRING FESTIVAL, 22 OCTOBER – 2 NOVEMBER, 2010 WORDS JULIA WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY BRIGHT SPRING FESTIVAL

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n the past, I have waxed lyrical about the seasons within these pages. (‘Autumn in all her glory’, ‘winter wonderland’.) How can I not, when I find myself waking up in the beautiful North East every morning? ‘Live in each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each.’ This quote from Thoreau encapsulates my feelings of the spring season. ‘Let them be your only diet, drink and botanical medicines.’ Soon it will be time for spring to push winter aside and the days will begin to gain on the nights. It is a time of regeneration, and the season brings with it new sensory stimuli, interplay of light, fragrances, tastes and sounds. The march of seasonal produce that begins in spring — while not quite the equal of summer’s bounty — is more than enough to whet my appetite for what’s to come (the feast of freshness). Although we can purchase foods from the ‘other’ hemisphere (their summer/ our winter), it’s somehow not the same as receiving what comes into its own locally, in sync with everything else that is changing around me. At every meal spring’s bounty is in evidence — tasting this fare heightens our awareness of what we consume. Nothing epitomises the simplicity of such seasonal produce as asparagus.

Leaves of lettuce and spinach begin to arrive and, above all, the very first strawberries. Served with mascarpone, whipped cream, crème fraîche or the very best ice cream. A little ‘crack’ of freshly ground pepper can really pull the fruit and dairy flavours together. With blooms in the valley and the last of the snow on the peaks forming a picture postcard backdrop, it’s time for some walking and cycling. Both are a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood. The rivers are bubbling, and soon buds will begin to burst on the vines in the vineyards. Daffodils herald spring — the name ‘daffodil’ possibly derives from ‘affodyle’, an old English word meaning ‘early comer’. Year-round, all over the country there are festivals large and small, whose entire reason for being is to mark the changing of the seasons. Celebration implies food and food also implies celebration. It makes sense to celebrate the peak season of produce, but not all festivals are for food alone. The Bright Spring Festival is a fabulous way to get an overview of local produce and is certainly a wonderful event for gardeners — there is a sense of celebration and renewal as the apparent lifelessness of trees and shrubs gives way to a new world of colour and scent. Nineteen

dazzling gardens feature at this year’s festival, and visitors are encouraged to relax in the spring sunshine and experience the warm hospitality of the locals. The Festival runs from 22 October to 2 November and promises to be dazzling, delightful and delicious! Angus Stewart is the author of three books; he also writes for Gardening Australia Magazine, is a presenter on Gardening Australia and regularly give advice on ABC radio. He runs his own horticultural business, New World Plants, and has somehow managed to find the time to host several events during the festival. Angus will be running two workshops, ‘Propagating & Planting’ and ‘Understanding Bulbs & Bulb-Like Plants’. Both sessions are to be held in exquisite gardens as part of the open garden program. He will also be launching and signing copies of his new book, Creating an Australian Garden, at Country Tales Bookstore in Bright. No wonder monikers such as ‘Doctor of the Dirt’, ‘Surgeon of the Soil’ or ‘Professor of the Paddock’ are used to describe him. Patrizia Simone is without doubt the matriarch/doyen of all things food in the North East. Together with husband, George, she created an oasis of seasonal Italian food in Bright. They were pioneers! Long before the North East was known for gastronomy, magazine winter 2010 page 49


Patrizia was sourcing local produce from the valleys. Twenty years later, and Simone’s is one of Victoria’s best regional restaurants — awarded two hats in The Age Good Food Guide. Nibbling on a nasturtium or tucking into a tulip is no longer a sign of losing your grip. Once the stuff of flowerbeds and florist shops, they are now culinary ingredients. Delicious and imaginative dishes created with fresh flowers and herbs echo the vibrant floral notes of spring. Have you ever tasted borage? A taste between oysters and cucumber, the leaves are gathered early in the day when at their freshest. Patrizia will host a ‘Herb & Flowers Spring Luncheon’ on Tuesday 26 October. She will be teaming up with the young guns of Bright — Patrick Heanue from Poplars (also listed in The Age Good Food Guide) Frank Martinez from Sole e Luna, Doug Badrock of Beanz and Christian Beattie, with apprentices from Wodonga TAFE. This is definitely not a case of ‘too many cooks’. Not satiated with all the food and flora? How about a little folly? Have you ever wondered why women dance in a circle around their handbags flung in a pile on the dance floor? And just what is the Melbourne Shuffle? These questions and more will be answered in the Regional Arts Victoria touring play, The Cave to the Rave — The Story of Dance. Damian Callinan takes us from the earthen floor of prehistoric man to the modern parquetry dance floors of today with a few side steps and knee slides along the way. For quilting enthusiasts, a threeday Stitch & Quilt Expo starting on 22 October promises a weekend of workshops, wine and laughter with leading Australian tutors. Culminating in a spectacular fireworks display, the Bright Spring Festival simply begs visitors to savour the gastronomic and everyday joys of life — in moderation, in season and, above all, with pleasure.

SPRING BITE Delicious and imaginative dishes created with fresh flowers and herbs Nickthe andvibrant Davidfloral at Pistachio echo notes of spring

CANBERRA COOL Nick O’Leary and David Keeley

For more information and a detailed program of events visit www.brightspringfestival.com.au or phone 1800 111 885 or 03 5750 1233.

BRIGHT CHEFS Warming into spring with a Bright Brewery Ale, chefs Anthony Simone, Patrick Heanue, Doug Badrock and Frank Martinez

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BRIGHT SPRING FESTIVAL 22 OCTOBER – 2 NOVEMBER, 2010

ringer reef winery T

he North East Valleys of Victoria have come of age. When you drive around the area today, you can hardly turn a corner without being directed to another cellar door. Only a short journey along the rail trail from Bright, you will find Ringer Reef. A beautiful boutique winery, with commanding views over the vineyard and the Ovens and Buckland Valleys beyond. It is the perfect spot to sit on the landing and enjoy a sunny spring afternoon. Bruce Holm is quickly attracting attention for producing high-quality red wines. In addition to these quality reds, Bruce and wife Annie produce wines to get you in the mood for summer. Their newly released sauvignon blanc, a rosé to take you to Provence and the very popular sparkling merlot. People have also been known to travel from all over the North East for Annie’s homemade breads. Her biscuits with a cuppa aren’t too bad, either! Ringer Reef cellar door will be open every day during the Bright Spring Festival. The annual Melbourne Cup luncheon is always a sell out, and this year they are holding a special event for the Festival: a French-style day in the vineyard. On Sunday 31 October, Phillipe the Accordionist, a roving musical entertainer, will create general merriment. Open from 12pm to 5pm, small plates of French-inspired fare will be on offer as the music percolates up from the vineyards below. So set off in search of culinary adventure during the Spring Festival — eat, drink and explore the very region from where these good things originate. 6835 Great Alpine Road, Porepunkah, Victoria Tel. 03 5756 2805 www.ringerreef.com.au

country tales bookstore

ike many other ‘bibliophiles’, I delight in looking into closed L bookshops in the still of the night, the warm faint glow of secondary lighting illuminating the shelves of knowledge and

opinion. Country Tales is a magical, wooden-floored, purplelined, lime-fringed bookstore; opened just in time for those wintry afternoons, curled up by the fire with a good old book. A source of fascination and discovery, the themed window displays’ books that compliment each unfolding season. A self-confessed architecture and design lover, she greets me with a warm smile and such openness, that I find myself divulging my innermost thoughts, and off she goes in search of my perfect book. Her knowledge of the stock is celebrated and sincere. I don’t mind being left to my own devices, with sounds of European jazz creating a comfortable ambience for browsing. It felt great to be in this shop surrounded by books. Country Tales is an independent bookstore and, historically, independent stores have supported and cultivated the work of independent authors and poets. It’s not surprising that you are spoilt for choice. Stocking best-sellers, beautiful coffee table books and an eclectic mix of titles, it is easy to find the perfect gift. Complete with a huge selection of children’s books to open up the joys of reading at the beginning of their lives — Country Tales is an enchanting place. I love it here — it’s fun to talk about books. Talking about the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you want to read. And since books cover every conceivable subject, you never know which way the conversation will go. Anyway, talking about books is much better than talking about the weather. The ‘salons’ associated with literary movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were gatherings of people under the roof of an inspiring host, cultural epicentres and hotbeds for new ideas. With events such as ‘readings’ and ‘signings’ planned for the future, Bright may get its very own salon! 1 Barnard Street, Bright, Victoria Tel. 03 5750 1199 bright@countrytales.com.au

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The New Australians Australian extra virgin olive oil is taking on the world in freshness, quality and taste, but a hard battle is being waged on home soil to get Australians to understand what good oil really is. WORDS EMMA GARDINER AND JAMIE DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT AND CLARE PLUECKHAHN

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orget what you think you know about supermarket olive oil because chances are you have been fed myths along with inferior oil masquerading as a healthy Mediterranean staple. On June 30 2010, consumer group Choice unearthed some startling facts about the olive oil that Australians buy from supermarkets. Labelled ‘extra virgin’, it turns out that many of these products were anything but. Well known imported brands failed the Choice test miserably, with up to 50% failing to meet International Olive Council (IOC) standards. The main points of contention were deterioration and production; the oil simply wasn’t fresh and, in some cases, it wasn’t even virgin, let alone extra virgin. So how can you tell a firstrate oil from a shonky import? Michael Freudenstein, the President of Olive Producers, North East Victoria, says it’s simple. ‘An extra virgin olive oil has got to be freshly processed as soon as possible after picking, have a free fatty acid content of less than 0.8 per cent, a peroxide index of under 20 (the measure of the oil’s chemical degradation is the organic peroxide level, which measures the degree to which the oil is oxidized), it must be mechanically

extracted, not chemically extracted and it also has to pass an organoleptic tasting panel test.’ What, you may fairly ask, is that? ‘Organoleptic’ refers to any sensory properties of a product, involving taste, odour and feel. Subsequently, this method of testing involves inspection through visual examination, feeling and smelling of products. In terms of extra virgin olive oil, this relates specifically to an organoleptic tasting panel made up of people accredited by the IOC (International Olive Council). These people must do a number of tastings per year to keep their accreditation, and are sent oil samples from the IOC in Europe as part of an examination procedure. The professional tasting panel assesses extra virgin olive oil based on its pungency, fruitiness and bitterness. Furthermore, for an oil to be considered truly ‘extra virgin’, it must be cold-pressed, by the traditional extraction by pressure method alternatively olives and pips mechanically crushed into a paste, with the oil extracted by centrifugal force without heat. Michael Freudenstein, who has been growing olives at Homestead Estate for the past 10 years, says that the Olive Producers, North East Victoria (OPNEV)

aims to lead the way with consumer information and consumer confidence, and to help producers with marketing and business development. He says, ‘OPNEV was established because people had come to the region, planted olives and yet didn’t have any relevant, local information. They only had access to Northern Hemisphere content, so this group of people got together, shared their stories and learnt all about planting and establishing olive groves. As the industry matured, that base of knowledge now includes pruning techniques, pest and disease control, plant health; all those sorts of things. This organisation has actually grown with the industry in North East Victoria. ‘Our members who planted in the ‘80s and ‘90s are now at a stage where they’re trying to market their oils and other products. Linking our organisation with the Australian Olive Association and sharing resources allows us to help growers with business development and to improve the Australian industry as a whole.’ In keeping with OPNEV’s advocacy objectives, the group launched the Australian Golden Olive Awards 11 years ago. [continued page 54] magazine winter 2010 page 53


[from page 53] Michael says, ‘The first awards were a very humble affair held at the Violet Town Hotel. It was more of a social “show us your oils” challenge — there were six entries. Back then, the oils weren’t tested, but these days, the event has high credibility. ‘Last year, there were 90 entries from all over the nation, most of which came from Victoria. A little known fact is that this state produces 48 per cent of the total olives grown in Australia.’ Entry into the awards allows producers to have their oils tested by an International Olive Commission accredited lab. If a product gets the tick of approval, the producer may then apply for the new The Australian Olive Association (AOA) Australian Extra Virgin certification label. Table olives are also entered into the awards and are stringently lab and taste tested, then graded by Professor Stan Kailis and his team from the School of Plant Biology at the University of WA. The Australian Golden Olive Awards is now recognised as one of the most credentialed shows in Australia. It provides producers with quality information about their oils and table fruit, and the consumer with the opportunity to participate, by incorporating the Peoples Choice Award. At various locations around North East Victoria, consumers are given the opportunity to taste the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and vote — the results are often quite different to the official judging panel. The key to capturing the right kind of flavour is the ripeness of the fruit: green fruit produces a grassy, peppery oil and riper fruit produces an almost peachy, tropical golden oil. Harvesting and processing are very important facets of the production process, the North East has several high quality processing facilities, with some individual growers having their own small plants. EV Olives at Markwood, The Wicked Virgin at Rutherglen and Alpine Olives at Gundowring provide processing for many of the North East’s producers. Eberhard Kunze, of EV Olives, is a founding member of OPNEV and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. On the history of the olive growing business, he says, ‘There are two main phases of olive oil production in Australia, or actually three. The first stage was during the late 1800s, when Australia exported all the oil. Then the depression era hit and Europe stopped importing. ‘In the 1950s, migrants started planting and setting up groves. If you drive around this region where the Italians settled, you’ll see little groves behind the houses. But it wasn’t commercial; it was mainly for private domestic use. ‘This current wave is the third phase. Because of the way the world works now, Australia exports olive oil to all over the world, not just Europe.’ With rapidly increasing production and international export comes an intensified focus on benchmarking the industry. In the absence of government regulation, organisations like OPNEV and the Australian Olive Association have taken matters into their own hands with the introduction of certification and awards programs. The real win for them, though, will be the hearts and minds of consumers. Michael says, ‘When Australians start to seek out and buy Australian-grown certified extra virgin olive oil, not only will the industry win; so will the people who have too often been sent home with rancid, blended or incorrectly labelled oils.’ www.vicolives.com www.australianolives.com.au magazine winter 2010 page 54


Extra Virgin Facts • There are around 500,000 olive trees currently growing in the North East Victorian region. • The range of products made from olive fruit includes extra virgin olive oil, varietals and blends, table fruit, plain olives, flavoured, dried, stuffed, tapenades of various flavours, olive leaf extract, olive jerky, soaps and body lotions. • A little-known fact is that extra virgin olive oil is actually a fruit juice. • Extra light and pure olive oils are refined oils and are processed mostly from olive waste and second-grade fruit  using heat and chemical processes. They have little or no flavour or health benefits. Extra light oil has no flavour, no colour and no aroma; pure oil has some virgin oil added to provide colour. • Extra virgin olive oil contains a wide variety of antioxidants that are not found in other oils. Epidemiological studies suggest that extra virgin olive oil has a protective effect against certain tumours, has been effective in lowering blood pressure, bolstering the immune system and, when combined with the Mediterranean diet, has beneficial effects on the stomach, hepatobilary system, pancreas and intestines. It also helps with anti-aging, osteoporosis, cognitive function and skin damage. • Unlike wine, extra virgin olive oil does not improve with age. It is best consumed within 18 months of pressing. Air, light and heat are its enemies. Store oil in dark containers in a cool cupboard. • The colour of extra virgin olive oil is dependent on the pigments in the fruit. Green olives harvested early give a green oil because of the high chlorophyll content. Ripe olives, harvested later in the season, give a yellow oil because of the carotenoid (yellow/red) pigments.

Olives 101 Species common to North East Victoria: For Oil:

Frantoio, Correggiolo, Manzanilla, Mission, Barnea, Navadillo, Picual, Koroneiki, Leccino.

NEW AOA LABEL Currently being introduced into the Australian market, consumers can now look for the Australian Olive Association’s new Australian Extra Virgin Certification logo, added to certified Australian olive oil products.

For Table Fruit:

Kalamata, Sevillano, UC13A6, Hardy’s Mammoth, Picholine, Verdale

Flavour:

The darker/riper the fruit is when it is picked, the more tropical/peachy the oil will be. The greener the fruit, the more peppery and grassy it will be. The ‘hot pepper’ in the oil comes from the flavenoid polyphenols in the oils: the natural antioxidants that contribute to a bitter taste, astringency and resistance to oxidation. The more polyphenols in the oil, the better it is for you.

magazine winter 2010 page 55


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the wicked virgin

ohn and Laurel first moved to Rutherglen in 1988 when they bought the Victoria Hotel, one of the three remaining gold rush-era pubs that stand in the bustling little town. After 10 years of hospitality hours, they decided it was time for a change and the Nowackis invested in a 50-acre block two kilometres from the main street. Twelve years later, and 20 of those acres are under olive trees, 10 nurturing grape vines and, Laurel laughs, ‘...a few are under weeds’. Rutherglen classics, shiraz and heritage durif, are supported by the Nowackis’ adventures into various winemaking styles, as well as the naturally fermented table olives and extra virgin olive oils for which The Wicked Virgin is renowned. There is the added bonus of a thriving orchard that boasts white peaches, pomegranates, cumquats, blood oranges and quinces, just to name a few of the fruit that flourish on the property. Never one for idle hands, John and Laurel also create their own pickles, jams and preserves. Marjie’s Pickled Eggplant is a ‘signature’, now produced by those wicked people. Wicked Virgin’s extra virgin olive oil is processed on site, minimising the carbon miles, with a processing plant located a short walk from the grove. The Nowackis don’t just produce award-winning Wicked Virgin Olive Oils, there are other local growers with awards for oils from their press. Another benefit of processing onsite is the ability to run separate batches so they can explore the flavours of many olive varieties. ‘The taste sensations are similar to grapes, each harvest is different. It’s always an adventure.’ The Wicked Virgin Layback Manor Hopetoun Road, Rutherglen, Victoria Tel. 02 6032 7022 www.thewickedvirgin.com

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mt buffalo olives

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he landscape around the foothills of Mt Buffalo has taken on a distinctly Tuscan appearance since the arrival of Elisa and Colin Bertuch in 1998. The pair took a radical approach to establishing their plot and, with a bulldozer, carved out 22 north-facing terraces. Over a decade later, their olive grove is home to 900 trees of 10 different varieties, producing multi-award winning extra virgin olive oil. Every May, the Bertuchs swing open the farm gate to a dedicated contingent of family and friends who spend a week handpicking the crop. The olives are pressed locally and the olive oil is bottled on the farm. It is sold at the farm gate and to selected local retailers. Mt Buffalo Olives achieved silver, bronze and the coveted Peoples’ Choice Award at the 10th Australian Golden Olives Awards 2009, and won a Gold Medal at the 13th National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards held in Canberra in 2009. The Bertuchs’ property, Karoonda, also offers relaxed self-contained cottage accommodation, blessed with some of the most outstanding Ovens Valley views Essentials has seen thus far. Mt Buffalo Olives and Karoonda Olive Grove Retreat 307 Mt Buffalo Road, Porepunkah, Victoria Tel. 03 5756 2143 www.mtbuffaloolives.com.au

homestead estate

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deep-seated love of the countryside and a lifelong interest in agriculture were the driving factors in Michael Freudenstein and Noela Dawes’ move to North East Victoria in 2002. Eight years on, and the pair will tell you that life on the land is challenging and at times heart breaking, but that producing quality wine and extra virgin olive oil is deeply satisfying, rewarding and very different to their former professional lives in Sydney. Michael, who studied viticulture and winemaking and grew up as the son of a station manager, tends a grove of olive trees (mostly corregiola, frantoio, koroniki and some UC 13A6), two acres of sangiovese, two acres of savagnin and 10 truffle-infused oaks that were planted in 2009. The homestead, which was lovingly restored over a two-year period by Noela and Michael and helpful family members, was originally built by Irish squatters in 1869. Today, it is a luxurious bed and breakfast that can host up to four adults at any given time. In addition to the elegant accommodation, Homestead Estate runs cellar door tastings of its award-winning extra virgin olive oil, handmade dukkah and wines. Homestead Estate Open most days, 10am-5pm 713 Happy Valley Road, Rosewhite, Victoria Tel. 03 5753 5318 www.homesteadestate.com.au

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gooramadda olives

hen Jos Weemaes first moved to Australia from Holland 30 years ago, ‘looking for adventure and a better climate’, little did he know that his journey would lead to country Victoria, a wife named Kathy and 860 olive trees. Jos, a former electronic engineer, and Kathy, a former draftsperson, run their property with the precision you would expect from such a highly qualified duo. Despite having such a broad knowledge base, the couple knew absolutely nothing about olives when they started out. Jos says that this was actually an advantage, because ‘Kathy and I had to work it out from scratch. We weren’t hindered by a legacy.’ After years of research and testing, the Weemaeses naturally ferment table olives in brine, manufacture olive oilbased soaps and creams and press their own multi-award winning extra virgin olive oil from handpicked fruit. Jos says that his youngest picker is 63 and his oldest is 74, and they all come back year after year because they greatly enjoy the work and are proud of their combined achievements. Gooramadda’s tasting room positively gleams with trophies, including Best in Show at the 2009 Golden Olive Awards and Gold and Silver Awards from the 2009 Australian Olive Association Awards, a fact that Jos is characteristically humble about. ‘It all comes down to the customers: if they think the products are good, then we are content,’ he says. And it seems they are very happy customers, with repeat business making up 80 per cent of sales and regular orders from Japan, USA and Europe. Of his country life, Jos says, ‘The best thing about what Kathy and I do is that we enjoy our lives very much and we make people happy.’ Gooramadda Olives 1468 Gooramadda Road, Gooramadda, Victoria Tel. 02 6026 5658 www.olivesandoil.info

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Grape &  Grain

elegant wines • handcrafted beers • relaxed atmosphere • excellent service

BAR  AND  LOUNGE

Shop 3/104 Gavan Street, Bright Victoria. Tel. 03 5750 1112

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Alpine Caravanserai Taste of two Regions - Canberra

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rneis, piccolit, fiano, verduzzo, vermentino, prosecco, touriga, tinto cao, souzao, nebbiolo… not names of grape varieties that easily roll off the tongue. There is a belief in wine marketing circles that the average wine customer is reluctant to order anything that he or she is hesitant to or cannot pronounce for fear of embarrassment. Similarly, family names such as Pizzini, Ciccone, Dal Zotto and Politini, among others, may not strike immediate and ready recognition or rapport across the broader wine drinking populace. These families, however, have a long and well-established history in Victoria’s magnificent alpine regions of Milawa and the King Valley. The roots of these pioneers can be traced back to the tobacco road days of Australian lore. In the 1970s, cold commercial reality and survival dictated that the tobacco industry made way for grape plantings in these areas. Those migrant families had always dabbled in artisanal winemaking for home use from varieties inherited from their homeland. They discovered that these varieties were most appropriately suited to the dips and swales of the valleys and hills of the region and were able to coax some semblance of varietal definition from the cultivars. That was then. Now, we move on to the next and current generation. In typical Gen Y fashion, these trailblazing modern pioneers are full of confidence and technological righteousness. However, they have all, perhaps subconsciously, absorbed the lessons and realities of their forefathers and are  wisely blending the traditional methods and with their boundarychallenging visions technology. So it was then, that the chilling high country winds swept along the long black tops of the various highways that gravitate towards Canberra, bringing with them a group of winemakers from the King Valley and Rutherglen wine regions for their yearly visit to the expectant embrace of this nation’s wonderful capital for a wine expo weekend: ‘A Taste of Two Regions’, held at the Rydges Lakeside, Canberra, in May this year. As explained at a series of workshops by the current generation of young hotshot winemakers from the Pizzini, Chambers, Dal Zotto and Cofield families, and the perennially young at heart David Morris, Mediterranean varieties have found favour both geographically and viticulturally in these regions. The areas’ subtle variants of terrain, soils, slopes and climatic pockets — call them ‘meso climatic nuances’, (at this stage, the Francophiles would arrogantly bandy about that terrible terroir analogy) — have been exploited in retained and respected traditional ways to coax and nurture the best varietal expressions. Leading the charge in white sparklings, the Dal Zotto, Chrismont and Sam Miranda teams displayed their versions of prosecco. Now, here is a wine that has slipped under the radar in the shadow of the more recognized pinot chardonnay-based and even the Asti ones. figures show that Recent magazine winter 2010 page 60

WORDS GILBERT LABOUR PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

g n i l l i h c e h t t a h g t , n o n l e a h t t p s so it wa ntry winds swe e various u o th c f o h g s i p h s o d t r k a c w a o l t b the long s that gravitate highway a r r e b n a C prosecco sparkling wine has had, comparatively, the highest increase in sales volumes worldwide. This is probably in part attributable to the resurgence of appreciation, both quality- and value-wise, of the product, especially as champagne prices escalate to ridiculous levels fuelled by the economic woes of some European countries. Okay, what is prosecco? Sounds like a type of salami or condiment — when it is actually a grape variety from the Veneto region of Northern Italy. Anecdotally, it is traditionally meant as an aromatic, light and cheery, refreshing, palate-tingling sparkling wine, meant to match antipasti and seafood dishes. In other words, an undemanding crowd-pleaser or, as one of the presenters declaimed with tongue fully planted in cheek, a ‘peasant wine’. A wine meant to be made in true artisanal crushedfermented-drunk-early style, trapping all the lovely, lively effervescence of pears and apple flavours with an uncluttered finish. A style made by the charmat method of tank fermentation. With its relatively lower alcohol content this is definitely a two-bottles-afterlawn mowing-on–a-Sunday product. The Dal Zotto and Chrismont wineries claim to have pioneered this variety and introduced it commercially in Australia. While apparently popular at cellar doors as mail orders and in a limited retail market mainly to the cognoscenti, it has not achieved the broader recognition of the French and even Asti styles. The wines made in the charmat method by both families exhibit all the expected apple-pear crispness but the Dal Zotto example has a definite and intriguing waft of jasmine flowers and orange blossom, which, I’m told by the winemaker, is part of the aromatic profile of the grape. In order to create interest and cater for the varied tastes of appreciators of sparkling wines, the Dal Zotto and Sam Miranda teams have also created a méthode champenoise version of the wine whereby the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. I wonder whether such a departure from the traditional product might cause confusion

in the market, especially at the price point necessary to produce this version. Keeping with the ‘P’ varieties, the much-vaunted, most-likely-to-burst-thechardonnay grape, pinot grigio (or pinot gris) still elicits much confusion on the Australian market, both in terminology and varietal identity. Traditionally, pinot grigio is the uncomplicated, no-frills unwooded vinified of the grape, while the more opulent, barrel-treated pinot gris French version appeals to a vastly different market and food matching profile. However, currently on the Australian scene there seems to be a case of confused identity between the labellings. Nonetheless, the King Valley/ Rutherglen exemplars cater for all palates. On this  point, I must admit to not having tasted all the others, but both of Pizzini’s pinot grigios struck a mouth-wateringly satisfying chord. The other two whites of note were the overall examples of arneis on offer. This is another beautifully fragrant grape, and its savoury profile offers undeniable food-matching promise. However, marketplace awareness and success will all come down to the price-pointing demands of producing and retailing such a worthy wine.   The other white wine to engage my interest was Politini’s grecanico: a special ‘baby’, lovingly nurtured by family members and second-generation winemaker Luis Simian from a very small parcel of this intriguingly named obscure grape variety. Obscure? Really? A quick scratch below the surface of wine nomenclature reveals that its avatar is the well-known garganega grape from the Soave region and the main grape of that appellation. History has it that cuttings of garganega were taken by the Greeks and propagated in their homeland under the grecanica moniker. Somehow, later they brought the variety back to Italy and passed it to the Sicilians — perhaps the Greeks, even then, were going broke and needed a quick fix from the then version of the EU?

Ala


ng ng ous ards

Anyhow, back to the wine itself. Politini’s grecanico is a fulsome, mouthfilling wine with plenty of oomph to give some better examples of sauvignon blanc and even fruit-laden unwooded chardonnays a decent fight. Luis Simian is still playing around with, and will produce, a wooded version of this variety; certainly something to look forward to. However, the caveat is once again the pricing as it costs over $20 per bottle as an unwooded wine.   Another white grape that is currently tweaking interest is fiano. My first experience of the Australian version of this Italian grape was some years ago at the Alternative Varieties Wine Show, where the Coriole winery version made its mark. Not to be outdone, Marc Scalzo’s Rutherglen Estates fiano certainly delivers classily with its refreshingly clean, crisp white peach and vanilla overtones – another interesting work in progress definitely worthy of attention and following. Of the reds, the usual array of shiraz, durif, cabernets and sundry blends thereof were on full display from the Rutherglen winemakers. The ‘sit-up-andtake-notice’ moment for me came with the first sip of Campbells’ The Sixties Block — an intriguing, ‘it’s all there’ red wine experience. With this venture, the younger members of traditional Campbell family winemakers pushed the boundaries with this potentially watershed wine for that area. Cop this, if you can: here we have a unique blend of the Portuguese tinto cao and souzoa, French carignan, malbec, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and the contentious Italian primitivo/zinfandel. A mongrel of a wine, perhaps reflective of the developing Australian cultural pot pourri and a promising portent of what the future generations of wine appreciators will demand.   The wine itself is an absolute delight. A youthful display of assertiveness, enough feral grunt to satisfy even the diehard fans of the old-fashioned Rutherglen reds and yet with a deft blending touch to encourage the ‘drink now’ brigade. A good food wine for the immediate market but with plenty of everything to be enjoyed for many years. As a food match, think of potted hare, the odd chunk of skippy and even a slice of still mooing Maisie. Oh, deer! Yes, please. (Okay, Gil, I’ll have to join you for a sip, Ed.) However, this wine had a precursor, with Ann and Steve Killeen crafting and releasing their tribute to the legendary Chris Killeen, husband and father respectively. Steve has moulded an homage wine called ‘The Prince Reserva’ around the Portuguese varieties, namely souzao, tina roriz, touriga and tinto cao. Chris Killeen, the acknowledged prince of ports, who unfortunately left us far too early, has long nurtured Portuguese varieties in the Rutherglen area as a base source for his renowned vintage fortifieds. As expected, a youthful primary red fruit profile underpinned by rustic herbaceousness and wafts of violet aromas currently come to the fore, making the current release of Stanton & Killeen’s The Prince Reserva eminently gluggable. Given a couple of years in the bottle, it should round out as a very solid refreshing food wine as well. But still roaring at the mountain top is the old lion, Fred Pizzini, with his unbelievable Coronamento nebbiolo. This is a wine that I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many vintages with Fred, the two of us propped up against dusty barrels

Prosecco, a style made by the charmat method of tank fermentation. The Dal Zotto and Chrismont brands claim to have pioneered this variety in Australia. Dal Zotto and Sam Miranda teams have also created a Méthode Champenoise version.. and  prone in silent meditation over a lineup of the nebbiolos, while fending off son Joel Pizzini’s protests that we were guzzling his inheritance. These are unique wines that inspire awe and restore faith in the benevolence of the great vinous deities, albeit as a result of the Pizzinis’ deft, obstinate and pedantic masterly touch to extract the fullest expression of that demanding, feisty and belligerent grape variety. The current release lives right up to that ethos. A delivery of almost ethereal wafts of liquorice, rose petals and earth tarriness, which immediately indulge and engage but keep evolving, enticing and teasing at all levels. At the risk of being accused of gushingly waxing lyrical, I feel that this is a wine of class and pedigree which the Pizzinis should be justifiably proud of. To me, the Pizzini Coronamento epitomizes the best and truest version of an Australian expression of a barolo that I’ve enjoyed. A wine to be sought out and cellared.   All the strange-sounding grapes mentioned so far, and which have been part of the European wine scene without fanfare for centuries, are now set to challenge, tease and re-educate our precepts of wine. Not only do they fit into the Australian wine landscape as a robust drink but more importantly as the food accompaniment they were traditionally meant to be. The future of Australia’s wine panorama is bound to change dramatically as climatic conditions dictate relocation of plantings to fit in with production demands. Could we soon see ripening of cabernets in Tasmania ? Is the Barossa still suited to shiraz? And will tempranillo be the next shiraz?   The current generation of astute winemakers from the King Valley and Rutherglen regions are anchoring their conviction  in the potential commercial acceptance of these still-esoteric grape

varieties, albeit without ignoring or denigrating the well-proven established money-spinner varieties and blends. This new wave of wines is crying out for more exposure, hence the yearly promotional pilgrimage to Canberra, statistically the nation’s highest per capita wine purchasers.   Long may that alpine wind keep blowing the King Valley and Rutherglen caravanserai towards the warm welcoming arms of cuddly Canberra. www.rutherglenvic.com/wineries/ www.kvv.com.au

Joel Pizzini

Alapine

magazine winter 2010 page 61


STANLEY STYLE Pictured clockwise from top left: chef Ludovic Baulacky, with owners Shane and Annemarie Harris; herb gnocchi, baby vegetables, parmesan foam; in van Gogh’s colours: twilight at the Stanley Pub; fireside dining; apple tarte Tatin

magazine winter 2010 page 62


winter hibernation

stanley pub WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT

A

decade ago, there must have been a special clearance run-out deal on exterior wall render and egg yolk bright yellow paint, as everywhere I turn in Stanley — a tiny mountain hamlet a few kilometres out of Beechworth, Victoria — I see yet more and more farmhouses, outhouses, hen houses and sheds, all splashed in this rustic fresh butter treatment. It feels almost as though Vincent van Gogh had previously dropped into town, unfolded his easel, picked up a brush and wham — the whole place is magically painted to appear happily cocooned, sleeping within his bedroom at Arles.  A restful place dotted with apple and chestnut orchards, farm homes for holiday rent and soothing, undulating, flowing hilly pockets of mountain forest, Stanley is a dream. When I really think hard about just how to describe this place, I laugh as the age-old ‘let’s run away together’ concept springs to mind; meaning if you were to actually run away with someone special, Stanley would be the ideal destination.  After admiring an inky deep blue star-dotted sky outdoors and welcoming the warmth from the crackling log fire and muted chatter, taking a seat inside, a total feeling of calm is apparent. This is how the charming Stanley Pub presents itself. It’s a beautiful little place, lively and refreshing. The dining space is dressed in gleaming polished cutlery, fine stemware, the soft flickering of candles, polished timber tables and the divine candy-apple glow of flames from the granite fireplace reflecting in its more urban and upbeat polished concrete floor. A simple and smartly designed wine list is presented, and without a moment’s fuss, the by-the-glass King River Estate sangiovese is chosen — a classic spicedriven wine with delicious accents of tobacco and mocha. A great example of real value for money, this wine by the glass is a gem. It is soft, with darker, forest berry fruits including mulberries, and is made ever more lush and complex with warm cherry tones and a hint of black pepper. Setting the pace for a great evening, the sangiovese drinks incredibly well. If you enjoy reading and exploring menus, the entrée of seared scallops with warm lentil salad and coriander foam will appear as a dream find this far out in the country. Super-fresh and cooked gently, the scallops are perfectly ever-so-pink in the centre; just the way they should be. The bed of warm lentils offers a fine textural balance and is sweet, cooked in citrus and a light stock. As a simple garnish, the foam is light and visually oceanlike, while the pea shoots falling across the dish paint an honest, fresh, country garden feel. The look is striking and artful, and is a good example of the expressive plating-up talents of the pub’s new head chef, Ludovic Baulacky. The thing that really grabs me about the menu at The Stanley is its underplayed feel. It’s written cleanly and to the point, reminding us that we are in fact dining in a relaxed, albeit upmarket gastro-pub environment. Don’t get me wrong, however — when the food does arrive, you’re sure to be delivered something that outshines its basic written description. 

SEARED SCALLOPS with warm lentil salad and coriander foam

A connection to local produce and perhaps a respect for the town’s heritage is also evident. Owners Annemarie and Shane Harris seem to use their hospitality knowledge and exacting skills in a positive way, sourcing appropriate premium food ingredients, ales and local wines, presenting their customers with a totally unique experience. Suppliers Beechworth Butchery, Gundowring Fine Food and Snowline Fruits are thanked on the restaurant menu. Beautifully tropical-scented, new season L’Oliveraie Beechworth extra virgin olive oil is a nice touch, as are the famous Stanley apples, used in the apple tarte Tatin and beautifully created pork dishes, which seem ever so rich and wintery warming. It is perhaps with the most delightful of memories that I mention the desserts. Quite simply a must-eat ‘event’, Ludo’s talent in this area cannot be ignored. The frangipani tart with poached prunes is a total and utter knockout — and that’s coming from somebody who usually avoids sweets. Light and lush, and made just that little bit richer with blackberry jam melting away inside, this is one dessert to come back to. Warm and steaming as I cut into it, it actually reminded me of the light and fluffy pudding my mother used to make for me as a boy. Now if that doesn’t make The Stanley seem homely, nothing will! Add to this the impressively coiled dollops of double cream, layered with caramel candy slivers and plated with perfectly-poached flavoursome prunes. Believe me, it does not get any better than this. Finishing touches such as Beechworth’s organic Pennyweight Gold and Old Tawny Port dessert wines sit nicely alongside refreshing cups of Herb Barn Aussie-styled teas. These are served with Australian wildflower-designed cups and saucers in soothing pale pink and sweet lemon yellow. A simple and pleasing way to warm the soul and perhaps spend time getting to know a new friend. Perfect.  Luxurious Accommodation Onsite 1 Wallace Street, Stanley, Victoria Tel. 03 5728 6502 www.thestanley.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 63


Chefs Barry Taylor and Richard Verrocchio in the kitchen garden

CHARGRILLED BLACK ANGUS EYE FILLET

raw & roasted celeriac bound with aioli, olive & chorizo braised celery with smoked paprika Serves 6 250g per person of beef eye fillet 1 teaspoon smoked paprika for dusting Celery braised with olive & chorizo 500kg celery, peeled and sliced into batons 50g chorizo, diced 50g pitted kalamata olives 125ml dry white wine 500ml beef stock 1 bay leaf Peel/zest of 1 lemon Olive oil

DELICATESSEN? We don’t think she’s scared! Chefs with attitude Nathan Chargrilled blackAkland Angusand eye Megan fillet Charmers

Heat a frypan and add a small amount of oil, sear the celery in small batches. Place the celery in an ovenproof dish. Continue to do this until all the celery is seared. In the same pan, fry the chorizo and olives — when fragrant (approximately 5 minutes), deglaze with the wine, add the aromatics and reduce until the olive and chorizo are frying again. Place this in the oven-proof dish with the seared celery and the beef stock. Cover and cook in a hot oven (220°C) for half an hour. The sauce will need some reducing if the beef stock is a light one. Aioli 2 egg yolks 1 teaspoon Dijon ½ lemon, juiced 1 head garlic, roasted Pinch salt and pepper 200ml olive oil Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Add oil gradually, until all has been added and allow to mix thoroughly. Aioli will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator. Roast celeriac Pre heat oven to 220°C Peel and dice 1 celeriac into 1cm pieces, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Raw & roasted celeriac bound with aioli Peel and grate half a celeriac into a large bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix (this will prevent the celeriac from oxidizing). Once the celeriac is cooked, add it to the raw celeriac and combine with enough aioli to bind it together. Check the seasoning.

magazine winter 2010 page 64

Truly perfectly barista’d coffee


onthesnowroad

W

inter in all its glory has seriously come out to play in North East Victoria. Cold days, heavy, foggy nights and some serious dumps of snow on the nearby peaks have sent skiers and boarders into a mad frenzy. All of this excitement of course does require some travel (to and from the slopes), not to mention the urgent need to ‘cram’ in the energypacked foods and perhaps a little wine, for good measure. If you’re in the car, chains and skis at the ready, might Essentials suggest a refueling stop at Sam Miranda’s cellar door, on the view-to-athrill Snow Road in Oxley? Yes? You’re there? Great! If not only stopping for a perfectly barista’d coffee and dessert or to stock up on the newly released Sam Miranda ‘Super King’ Sangiovese Cabernet, a bite of chef Richard Verrocchio’s daily lunch menu is pretty hard to pass up. This season, tastes such as the chargrilled black Angus eye fillet, with celeriac, aioli and smoked paprika (pictured) might entertain the eye as much as the palate, while the exceedingly succulent and perfectly fragrant lamb forequarter braised in white wine with borgal anchovy salad promises to fill your body and soul to the brim with all the right stuff to get your ski legs ready. Add to this the fresh-daily food items and the everpopular antipasti selections — including prosciutto-wrapped nashi pear and Gorgonzola, spiced almonds, chorizo and chickpea stew matched to your choice of 2008 Sam Miranda Chardonnay or 2009 Sangiovese Rosata — and you have a pretty neat deal. Tastings from 10am-5pm daily Restaurant open until 3pm daily (lunch from 11am) 1019 Snow Road, Oxley, Victoria Tel. 5727 3888 Freecall. 1800 94 750 www.sammiranda.com.au

RECIPES RICHARD VERROCCHIO FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT CHEFS PHOTOGRAPHY BEC DESLANDES

BOBBO’S MOCHA-CINNAMON BONET Serves 4 425ml heavy cream 175ml full cream milk 500g castor sugar 2 cinnamon quills 20g whole espresso beans, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon Callebaut cocoa powder 5 large egg yolks 1 large egg Pinch of salt 175ml water 40g crushed amaretti Whipped cream Method

Bobbo’s mocha-cinnamon bonet

Preheat oven to 165°C. Have ready a large, flat-bottomed roasting pan that can comfortably hold 4 x 142ml ramekins with 5cm of space in between them. Place the heavy cream, milk, 55g of the sugar, cinnamon quills, chopped espresso beans and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, egg, salt and 55g sugar. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the saucepan, then slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan and whisk thoroughly and cook until it begins to thicken. Strain the custard through a fine sieve. Set a side the custard to cool while you caramelise the ramekins. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Prepare the caramel for the ramekins. Place the remaining sugar and 175ml of water into a heavy-based saucepan. Place the mixture over a high heat and cook until you have a golden caramel. You need to pour approximately ¼ cup of the caramel in the ramekins, then swirl the caramel around to coat the edges. If you get some caramel on your fingers, immediately plunge them into the ice water. You need to work quickly as the caramel will harden fairly briskly. Place the ramekins in the roasting pan, and divide the amaretti between them. Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins, leaving about 4mm space from the top. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Rotate 180° and bake for another 15 minutes. The custard will jiggle like jelly when it has been cooked long enough, there should be no liquid movement at all. To get to this stage it will take approximately 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover and allow the custards to cool in the water. When they are cool enough to touch, place them in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 4 hours. To unmold, run the tip of a sharp knife around the rim of each custard. Turn it over and shake until you feel the custard drop down. Allow the caramel to pool around the bottom and drizzle some Vin Cotto around the caramel. Serve with whipped cream and some crushed amaretti biscuits for texture. magazine winter 2010 page 65


cabernet king ‘This is Australia’s new super cabernet’ — Jamie Durrant, Essentials Magazine

Tastings of the 2004 Reserve Cabernet are available Thurs–Sun or by appointment.

Yileena Park | Premium Boutique Wines 2 4 5 S t e e l s C r e e k R o a d , Ya r r a G l e n , V i c t o r i a Tel. 03 9730 1977 Web. w w w.yileenapark.com.au

TREMONTI a s t a t e m e n t i n j e w e l l e r y Karin Tremonti jewellery with an original creative message www.tremonti.com.au

Jewellery Gallery: 44 Ford Street, Beechworth, Vic. Tel: 03 5728 1003 Studio: 638 Kiewa Street, Albury, NSW. Tel: 02 6041 6310 e-mail: karin@tremonti.com.au

magazine winter 2010 page 66

magazine autumn 2010 page 51


0 page 51

Out for a duck...

Roi’s

177 Kiewa Valley Hwy Tawonga, Victoria. Tel. 03 5754 4495



Essentials Magazine mid-winter 2010