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Capital i Country Villages a The cool climate food and wine trail


Inside NSW’s top tourism restaurant AUS $7.95 inc. GST

Win Gourmet Safaris and cool climate wine


ISSN 1832-6781


Cafés with class, pubs with tales to tell, winemakers, rabbitohs, pork pies, fine preserves. Plus products, producers, events and markets from around Australia

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For our photograph Mandy suggested we use

“The Saveur background” …the old laundry door The Guide, page 75



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“We’re making a thing of beauty here, you know.” Winemaker Tim Kirk, page 42



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“On a weekend we can have a line of people stretching out the door...



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Robbie will get them a coffee and a scone and sit them on the brick wall� Chef Warrick Brook, page 46

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He said

“Dom, we don’t do it that old fashioned way anymore in Italy” Baker Dominic Carbone, page 58



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Let’s not get too romantic;

“the guys in the Akubras and Drizabones are queuing up behind you at the ATMs” page 22

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Issue 2: Capital Country Villages


Our MagniďŹ cent Seven Seven enterprises, one aim: to make regional food something special.

69 The Guide to Capital

32 Open for crunch

Country Villages trail through Braidwood, Bungendore, Collector, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman and Hall.

50 12

Apples from Loriendale organic orchard are sweeter than the rest.

69 50 A Capital Country mixed dozen Twelve Canberra Region labels you need to know.



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On Our Cover

Complex well made red, with superb depth of colour, pronounced fruit characters, residual sugars (and pips) Apple Grower, Owen Pidgeon says “The Sundownerr apple is a cross between the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams varieties

produced in the W.A. Department of Agriculture Breeding Program in 1979. The fruit is medium size, has good colour and flavour. The flesh is white, crisp, juicy and sweet. It is a very good keeper with a long shelf life.” Glass: ‘Rocco’ by Luigi Bormioli from David Jones


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Discover villages that date back to 100 years BC (before Canberra).


Back roads of history

A cut above the competition The Bungendore Country Butcher and his champion sheep dogs.

Open for crunch Apples from Loriendale organic orchard are sweeter than the rest.



Grazing country Discover the New South Wales Regional Tourism Restaurant of the Year.

A strong sense of place Why people love Collector’s classic Lynwood Café.


Lynwood Preserves, Episode 2 Robbie Howard has preserving in her blood.


The fire this time An Italian baker follows in mamma’s footsteps.


Here’s to old times Tales of ghosts and bushrangers in Capital Country pubs.



Plague or plenty Rabbits: a pest in the paddock, pleasing on the plate.

The beer around here


Braidwood Classic Ales owe their character to the local water.


Harvest Our round-up of people, places and produce from Darwin to Perth, Bellata to Bondi


The business of Poaching What happens when a stockbroker takes up smoking?


42 Wine and spirit Why Tim Kirk puts his heart and soul

Calendar Food and wine events around the country, plus a preview of Tasting Australia

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Season’s best What’s fresh for spring? Farmers’ Markets Our updated list, plus a run down on the 2nd National Conference


Wine with Christina Tulloch Marsh Estate: It’s all done on the property, without irrigation!

103 into his Clonakilla wines.

From plot to plate The case for restaurant gardens.

Reviews How to cook a parrot, cooking for kids and two for the coffee table.


URLS we love Follow up our stories or just go browsing with these web addresses


Big issues Scott Watkins-Sully asks “Can real ale survive in Australia?”


Real and utterly forgettable Dr Barbara Santich explains why ‘real food’ doesn’t have to be plain and simple


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Oily business The local olive oil industry is hotting up Regional recipes A couple more. Yes, we know you want them! Refrigerate after opening The foods we love to hate Last writes The bits we couldn’t fit in anywhere else. R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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Lunch. A co-production

“THE CITIZEN MUST FEED HIMSELF and also the farmer. Because if someone eats badly there will be bad agriculture. But if the farmer knows how to eat well, he can help determine a new agriculture. I think that a lot of you are producers in this room. So if as Wendell Berry says, the first agricultural act is to eat, I say to you producers, to cultivate food is a gastronomic act. When you grow food you have to be gastronomes too. Have pride in what grows from the earth with the help of your hands.”


E N D E L L B E R RY has long been a hero of ours. He farms in Port Royal,

Kentucky, with his family. He is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, essays, and poetry. He doesn’t own a computer but you can’t hide from Google.

Carlo Petrini heads Slow Food and that’s part of his speech earlier this year to the non-profit W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There’s more, but that’s the essence of the important principle of co-production. We as eaters have a responsibility to the growers to ensure they can keep growing the food we love. That’s a financial obligation we have, as well as requiring us to offer encouragement and praise. Farmers’ Markets are obviously an immediate face-to-face way to do that. The growers and producers in return have a responsibility to give us the best they can produce. To know what that is, they also have to be able to experience the same pleasures in eating and drinking as we do.

On being a Gastronome


L O W F O O D began with a particular science which is gastronomic science.

When I say I am a gastronome, people laugh and say “Oohh, you’re a gastronome, eh?” The logic is that you’re fat, you really like living well, you’re always happy, and you are a professional at eating. This is the general conception of gastronomy. And for three centuries there has been this widespread conception. If you turn on the TV and look, you see people with these food shows, giving recipes, recipes, recipes. And these glossy magazines. No, this is not my idea of gastronomy. This is pornography! It’s a kind of self-gratification.“ The full Carlo Petrini speech with rants and jokes is on

One of our tasks at Regional Food magazine is to make that process of co-production, real and interesting to you the reader. If you read Tim Kirk’s description (Page 44) of the dinners that follow their wine judging, it sounds like our wine makers understand the responsibilities of co-production just fine. We trust you’ll enjoy our second issue. It is again full of the pleasures of eating and drinking, but we doubt you could call it food porn (although we do have recipes).


I L L K E I T H K E L L O G G ’ S familiar signature has been on cereal boxes

in Australia since 1924. He guided the cereal company through the Depression (he increased advertising while others cut back), and in 1930 he started his philanthropic work, donating his personal fortune, over $66 million, to the W.K.

Fred Harden 14

Kellogg Foundation.


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R EGIONAL FOOD Management | Marketing Mark Kelly Editorial | Content Fred Harden Contributing Editors Jan O’Connell Jackie Cooper

Contributors We first saw w Christine Salins’ byline as ‘Editor’ of the Canberra Times Food & Wine section, which she did for nine years. She’s written for pretty much all the food magazines and regularly for some of the industry’s hospitality titles, so we knew she’d get the Business of Poaching story just right. She’s got a website with lots of writing samples. You’ll notice that there are a lot more contributions from around the country in our Harvestt section. Christine Salins contributed the South Australian figs story and an old friend Glenn Chandler living in Darwin offered the Bush Tucker tale. We welcome your submissions: see our guidelines page on the Regional Food website’s About Us section before you send anything. We loved Phil Selby’s emailed travel tales from a recent trip through Europe, which included lots of pub stories. We urged him to visit some of Capital Country’s finest in a similar vein. He headed his story: “Consider this a disclaimer, of sorts: I’m just an advertising copywriter in everyday life. A single, male one. Put simply, you wouldn’t expect an editor of this fine, food-lovers’ magazine to request me to write an article for them. But they did. I was so surprised, I nearly spilled my bowl of two minute noodles.” Phil’s humour also comes through in his cartoons on Jan O’Connell’s ‘Refrigerate after opening’ page. Thanks also go to regular TV reviewer Peter Cotton and to Barbara Santich and Scott-WatkinsSully for their contributions.

Sub Editor Margaret Kelly Publisher | Advertising John Borger – 0418 119 569

Photographs The flippant note about last issue’s photographs was silly, because I then had to explain dozens of times that the reason no photos were credited was because I didn’t want to see my name on every page. The same goes for this issue, I’ve taken most of them. Aurore Harden (yes we’re related) provided the photographs (and features almost romantically) in the story on our Historic Pubs. Writing/Photographing for Regional Food As you can imagine there have been lots of people who want to contribute to the magazine. I ask each of them to send me an email with their details and where they live or the region they know and what their story type preferences are. That’s so that we can call on them as we prepare to visit that area. It’s not really a ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ because we’re serious about trying to find people who live in an area and know it well. At the same time we’re planning our next issue which looks at People, Places and Produce around the whole of Australia so we’ll need your input. And we’re planning to increase the Harvest section as well, so it offers lots of opportunity for small pieces. We pay at the lower end of the industry scale, so you’ll never retire on the proceeds but we want good stories and photographs and we do pay for them. See the online Guidelines. Email us

Advertising | Director Linsey Bamping – 0419 212 898 Advertising | Sales David Elliot – 0437 470 656 Designer | Art Director Diagram—Christopher Waller Assistant Art Directors Matt Scully Jason Lipscombe Subscriptions | Circulation Bruna Rodwell Contributors Christine Salins Christina Tulloch Barbara Santich Scott Watkins-Sully Peter Cotton Television Development Greg Sneddon Website Producer Joh O’Dell Farmers’ Market liaison: Jackie O’Connell Finance: Linda Vrckovski Email | Addresses Editorial Advertising Production

Regional Food Fax: +61 2 822 19814 Marketing mail to: PO Box 1113, Glebe Point NSW 2037 Editorial mail to : PO. Box 317, Bungendore NSW 2621 Marketing Phone: +61 2 9660 9737 Editorial Phone: +61 2 6238 0020 Regional Food Australia magazine is published by Regional Food Communications Pty. Ltd. ABN: 25 113 738 079 Registered offices: Suite 19 / 18 Oxley Street Glebe NSW 2037 and 47 Rutledge Street, Bungendore NSW 2621. Our websites: Our advisory board members are Steve Allen, Fiona Chambers, Mark Lincoln, Maeve O’Meara, Mark Patrick (there are lot’s of Mark’s on RF) and Gawen Rudder. We thank them again. All photographs and text are copyright and the property of Regional Food Communications P/L. They are not to be reprinted or used in any media without permission. While we always try to clear all editorial copy and photographs before publications we welcome the opportunity to correct any errors and omissions. The opinions of our columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher, otherwise it would be boring. We welcome your feedback. Price in Australia is $7.95. Subscription rates: 1 year (4 issues) $31.80. 2 years (8 issues) $50. NZ $9.95 inc GST. For overseas subscriptions send us an email or see our website. This is Vol. 1 No.2 (we told you we’d be back). ISSN 1832-6782

Subscriptions Regional Food Australia is printed by Offset Alpine, 42 Boorea Street, Lidcombe Website NSW 2141.


For your FREE Wine Regions of Victoria guide, call 132 842 or for more information on Victoria’s food and wine regions R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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Back roads of history IT ALL STARTED 100 YEARS BC (Before Canberra). In the 1820s, long before Federation was even thought of, or a national capital planned, European settlers arrived in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.


OR MORE THAN 21,000 YEARS, the Ngunnawal, the Ngarigo and the Walgalu people had flourished in these lands. Every year, in late spring, they gathered to feast on the plump Bogong moths that flew south to escape the coming heat. People from many aboriginal nations travelled lightly on their traditional roads to the high plains, where rich food was there for the taking. The Europeans, drawn by the fertile valley grazing lands, brought sheep and cattle and built rough homesteads. They made their own roads: serious roads, wide roads for the bullock dray and the horsedrawn carriage. Along these roads hamlets sprang up, their locations determined by the length of a day’s journey. As the homesteads became more gracious and the developing country gentry needed more goods and services, the hamlets became villages, with churches and post offices, banks, general stores and schoolhouses. Goulburn grew into a thriving town. Yass, Queanbeyan and Braidwood were rapidly settled; the villages of Collector and Gundaroo, Bungendore and Tarago, Hall and Murrumbateman became important coach-stops. Many of the old coaching inns survive today; some, like the Old Carrington Inn in Bungendore, are still operating as public houses.


HEN, IN THE 1850S, CAME GOLD. Fortune-hunters came in their thousands and travelled through the area on their way to the diggings. Braidwood’s population swelled from 1500 to 15,000. A building boom followed. The number of hotels soared, to cater to an itinerant population. Walk through any of the villages today and you’ll see some impressive buildings from these heady days. R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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Along with gold came the bushrangers. The Braidwood area became one of the wildest and the most infamous of all of the gold rush areas. Chief among the villains were the Clarke family and Ben Hall, who regularly held up gold consignments out of both Braidwood and Araluen. Every town here has its bushranger story. Outside the Collector pub, a member of Ben Hall’s gang shot and killed the local constable. Bushranger’s gold is still rumoured to be buried in the vicinity of the Loaded Dog Hotel in Tarago. Echoes of this wild and colourful past can still be heard as you travel through the Capital Country villages. Unfortunately they have often been drowned out by the much more strident tones issuing from the Johnny-come-lately of the area—Canberra.


LTHOUGH CANBERRA’S ‘FIRST PEG’ was driven home in 1913, building didn’t commence in earnest until the 1920s. In 1927, Federal Parliament moved north from Melbourne. Virtually in an instant, a modern, planned city had been plonked down in the middle of a self-sufficient grazing area. New highways changed the routes people travelled. Motor cars whizzed past the old villages to reach the new capital. The traffic wasn’t all one way. In its early days, Canberra was a dry town. The Federal parliament, from the safe distance of Melbourne, had passed a law prohibiting alcohol in the new territory. Those who wanted a drink had to cross the border to one of the New South Wales pubs. There are stories told of much weaving about on the river road that linked Queanbeyan to Canberra. Once Parliament moved north, and found that the no-alcohol law applied to politicians as well as working men, it was rapidly repealed.



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Ironically, while Canberra may have initially cast a shadow on the villages around it, today it helps to provide the reason for their existence. More and more of the capital’s highly paid professionals have decided that, while Canberra is a great place to work, they wouldn’t want to live there. It’s their money that’s going into the local villages; their insistence on eating well that’s encouraging a new food consciousness; their appreciation of the past that’s helping to preserve a sense of history. It’s the sea-change (or, as they say these days, tree-change) you can have without giving up your day job.


HEN, OF COURSE, there are those who have given up their day jobs. The burgeoning local wine industry has attracted doctors, lawyers, scientists; and what began as a hobby became a passion. John Kirk, formerly a CSIRO scientist, is now seeing his Clonakilla wines win medals all over the country. David Madew worked for 10 years as a technical director in theatre before moving to the ‘Westering’ Vineyard (now Madew Wines) overlooking Lake George. These days, the wineries are probably the biggest drawcard of the area. Most have cellar doors where you can actually talk to the wine-maker. Some are quite unsophisticated, while others incorporate very stylish restaurants. The marriage of good food with wine is becoming an important part of the regional experience here, with several restaurateurs concentrating on local wines and seeking out local produce. This, in turn, encourages local growers to concentrate on quality, sure of a market for specialty product. Two of the local restaurants, Grazing at Gundaroo and the Lynwood Café at Collector have consistently been recognised with good food awards. (See our stories on pages 26 and 36). Both are located in historic buildings and both offer open fires, polished service, and food that is appropriate to its setting and cooked with impeccable technique and flair. R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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OWEVER, your visit to the Capital Country villages can be more than a culinary exercise. It’s a chance to remind yourself of a very early part of our history. After all, most of the villages here are older than Melbourne! Gunning has links to Hume and Hovell: it was from here that they set out on their famous walk to Port Phillip Bay. Hume was actually one of the first winemakers of the district and you can visit his cottage, just off the Barton Highway between Murrumbateman and Yass. Somehow the smaller villages capture that sense of history most strongly. The old store-fronts, bank buildings and verandah-ed pubs rub shoulders with the sheep-studded paddocks and clumps of old grey gums—they’re not yet surrounded by suburban brick veneers. Let’s not get too romantic here; the guys in the Akubras and Drizabones are driving Toyotas and queuing up behind you at the ATMs. But people do still greet each other in the street and there is a genuine feeling of community.


HESE VILLAGES may be close to Canberra. They may even owe their continued existence, and certainly their prosperity, to Canberra. But they are not part of Canberra and they can point to proud traditions of their own. Visit the Bungendore Rodeo, the Murrumbateman Field Days or the Gundaroo Bush Races and you’ll experience the life that flows through this area quite independent of the cultured capital. Staying at a local B&B, where you can chat to your host and get an ‘insider’s’ view, is your best introduction to the many treasures of Capital Country. By all means ask about opening hours, because many of the wineries and restaurants focus on weekends. And when you head home, feeling several kilos heavier and with the boot full of wine, be ready to field questions about where you’ve been for the long weekend. Say Gundaroo. Say Braidwood. Say “those villages down past Goulburn”. You don’t even have to mention Canberra. R F 22


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SHOP WHERE THE CHEFS SHOP PYRMONT 181 Harris Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009. Tel 02 9552 2522 WOOLLAHRA 55 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025. Tel 02 9328 6888 CASTLECRAG Quadrangle Shopping Village, 100 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag NSW 2068. Tel 02 9967 9411 FITZROY 12 - 14 St David Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. Tel 03 9486 9456 TOORAK 471 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC 3142. Tel 03 9826 2588 SUBIACO 169 Rokeby Road, Subiaco, Perth, WA 6008. Tel 08 9388 7780

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Magnificent Seven






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Magnificent Seven: Producer

Grazing country T H E R E A R E S O M E V E RY G O O D regional restaurants in Capital Country, and a few that are destined to be great. This is one of them.

TOP AND CENTRE: Grazing’s Chef, Jodie Johnson. LEFT: Warm chocolate fondent with shortbread and King Island cream. RIGHT: Preparing the Tartlet of potato gnocchi, onion marmalade and blue cheese. OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: Beef Wellington—Bungendore grain-fed sirloin with an Asian influenced wild mushroom ragout and the pate, and the pastry. All separate.



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This is the food at the Best Tourism Restaurant in NSW. Isn’t it time you booked a ticket?


T’S NO SURPRISE that Grazing, the restaurant in Gundaroo’s historic Royal Hotel seems to fit so comfortably in a wine making area. Jennie and Mark Mooney, who own the business, gave up their dream to start a winery to start this restaurant. Making sure it had a huge wine list of only local wines has won them both praise and awards. The food, from chef Jodie Johnson draws extensively from local suppliers and fits right in to the mix, making this restaurant a very special place. I sat on a cold afternoon by the open fire with Jodie and Jennie, and we tried to define what the ingredients in their success were. What makes this place one of the best examples of what I believe a country restaurant should be? Jennie looked across at Jodie, apologised and began by admitting that –“The wines probably came first in the concept. We moved down here to grow grapes. Mark is a country boy from Condobolin and wanted to get out of the city. So this was our escape. We were very familiar with the local wines when we started our vineyard. We used to drive past this pub every weekend when we went up to Sydney, and thought ‘what a great cellar door that would make’. We kept asking in the local shop and they said, ‘I think it’s sold’. One day we saw a new estate agent’s sign outside.

“We had 4,000 vines. I decided that that was 3,999 too many to manage with a baby and a restaurant” Jennie Mooney Before we’d even got to the vineyard we turned around to look at it. We stepped inside the door and Mark said ‘Oh no, I know that look on your face’. It was love at first sight. “Mark and I had talked about having a great restaurant in a wine region that was as good as any in the Barossa or McLarenVale. Where the wine district draws the tourists. From the start we said it had to be the best local wine and the best local produce for the place to have its own identity. We realized that we’d found the place, then we needed a chef who could carry out the vision.” They found Jodie via a Melbourne employment agency, even though she was only working half an hour away. Practically a local, Jodie was born in Goulburn and her mother lives in Canberra. She had gone to Queensland where she trained and worked in Brisbane CBD restaurants, but she says “Mum nagged at me to come back, so I worked in Murrumbateman for a while and then

THE ROYAL HOTEL, Cork Street, Gundaroo.

went to Lynwood Caféé as a sous chef. Then I got a phone call from Mark and Jennie. I met them and was very happy with the ideas they had, about calling it Grazingg and wanting me to be part of the branding.” Then they started to build relationships with local suppliers. Paul Darmody, the Bungendore butcher was an important one. “Paul is excellent to work with,” Jodie said “a top guy and down to earth like me. If there are any issues you ring him up, we have a joke and he delivers the produce. You ring him back then and say “thanks” because that’s part of the relationship. With the bigger suppliers you have more difficulty because of the care factor, you’re more of a number. It’s the mass production that doesn’t let you be precise. It’s much better working with the local people, and it’s your community you’re looking after.” Another of the local suppliers is Joyce Wilkie. “We look at what’s coming into season with people like Joyce, and she’ll say ‘I’ve got eggplants coming on, there will be carrots for the next three months’. We change the menu at least with the seasons, sometimes more often. We do that also because it’s cheaper. Joyce supplies our mescalun and our rocket and there’s a huge difference in the taste. If we get it from town, it’s dead within four days and doesn’t taste of much at all. Joyce picks it before our weekend and it still lasts a week and a half.” “I put any extra things we are offered on as specials,” Jodie said “there’s a standard size for the main menu items, but we take as much of the seasonal and variable items as we can. Sometimes you just can’t get things at all.” Jennie offered yabbies as an example, something that had been on their menu from the start. They had been locally supplied from dams near Wagga and towards Braidwood until the drought really hit. Instead of sourcing R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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Magnificent Seven: Producer

outside produce they took them off the menu. Jennie felt people understand that, and appreciate that this is a local product. “We buy all our beef from Paul, the lamb back straps, his bacon, his ham, the sausages are really good, we get heaps of comments about those. Some game. We use Richard Gilbert, a providore in Bowral for ducks and spatchcocks. He also sources kid from Cootamundra for us,” as I raise my eyebrows Jennie laughs, “which is sort of local. Closer to home, we’ve been ordering up seeds of heritage varieties of lots of different vegetables to plant in our new kitchen garden here. Mark is out the back digging that over right now”. The ongoing reputation of the restaurant (with recent wins in the Regional and NSW Restaurant and Catering Awards) has made Grazingg a local focus. In the last two years the district wine makers have had a vintage tasting at the restaurant. Everyone brings their barrel samples and half made and fully made wines, and it’s a great opportunity for the vignerons to bench mark each other. Impressed by her de-constructed Beef Wellington, where the ingredients are all separate, not wrapped in pastry, I asked Jodie about influences in developing her menu. Jodie explained “These are pretty much all old school traditional items, like the braised oxtail, and I’ll just put a modern twist on it with the coconut braise. When quinces were in season we did a fresh quince salsa. That’s why I was so keen to work at

Lynwood, they had a reputation for classics and that’s something I’d never done. They did it really well at Lynwood.” Grazing’s menu wine matches, which are all available by the glass. had introduced me to wines I’d probably never get around to trying. I asked Jennie how she went about picking them. “I’ve got a chef who uses an extraordinary range of flavours and textures and I’m often scratching my head saying ‘what am I going to put with that!’ I’m lucky that I know from my training and my experience what is going on in the wine and I can say this should match with that. And then I just MARK MOONEY at the bar try it.” We talked about future plans but Jennie felt it was too soon to comment. “It’s been just two years since we started Grazingg and it’s all new, we feel like we’re still evolving. I do know that the village is an awesome place to live, and we’ve got an eight month old son who I want to see grow up here.” R F Fred Harden

THE ATTRACTIVE young serving staff are all locals, and the cameraderie is evident. Jennie says “That could be because they were all in the same year at the Gundaroo school!”



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Magnificent Seven: Producer

From plot to plate N O T E V E RY C H E F is prepared to change menus to suit seasonal produce. Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane put the case for restaurant gardens.

JOYCE WILKIE AND MICHAEL PLANE and the ever-present planning charts. RIGHT: Rows of late winter crops at Allsun Farm.


UST OUTSIDE GUNDAROO, Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane grow organic vegetables. Their Allsun Farm supplies several local restaurants, including Gundaroo’s Grazing, Canberra’s Silo and The Gods restaurant at the Australian National University. At one time Joyce was also involved with Lynwood Caféé at Collector and laments the fact that the Lynwood vegetable garden is no more. There’s obviously some tension between the idea of a restaurant growing its own produce and the need to deliver a consistent menu. Not every chef is prepared to change things around to respond to seasonal changes in varieties and volume. Joyce understands Lynwood’s reluctance to continue with their garden, but argues for a wider view. “When you do the budgeting, gardens never make huge amounts of money”, she explains. “There’s a lot of grunt but not much in return in the mark-up on a vegetable, whereas when you take them into a kitchen and go chop, chop, chop, three lengths on a plate or three leaves on a plate, suddenly the value of the garden grows huge. The real value of the garden at Lynwood was its magnetic quality. It drew the people there. The message was ‘there is fresh food growing and we’re going in here to eat it’. There’s got to be a connection” she insists. Joyce told us about their visit to Primo in the United States. This restaurant in coastal Maine employs a master gardener, and vegetables, if at all possible, are picked that morning from

their extensive gardens. “You drive into a place where you’re going to eat and you’re surrounded by gardens which are full of food. You can be surrounded by any kind of garden, but if it’s attached to a restaurant, why not make it vegetables? If it’s going to be beautiful, you have to pay a gardener, so it might as well be growing food. Michael and Joyce suggest that any JOYCE collects salad greens. surplus vegetables produced could be sold to visitors. “Just have a market stall at the front door with an honour system” suggests Joyce. “It makes a special connection for the clientele.” The pair have high hopes for the just-planted garden at Grazing. “It may work there because Mark Mooney is great at growing vegetables and you need someone with a passion to grow and who will bend themselves backwards to convert the chef.” Passion to grow isn’t lacking with Joyce and Michael. “We have a ‘no retirement’ policy” Michael laughs. “Neither of us are interested in retiring, we’re interested in dying on this job.” Joyce and Michael share their methods and experience in planning and tending café gardens in their CD Growing Annual Vegetables. See our Harvest section page 88 for details. R F Fred Harden


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2/10/05 2:11:46 AM


Magnificent Seven: Producer

A cut above the competition I T T O O K A R E TA I L R E VO L U T I O N to bring the Bungendore Country Butcher, Paul Darmody, back to his home town.

PAUL DARMODY and Digger ‘out of the office’ .


H R I S T M A S B R I N G S a special satisfaction to Paul Darmody. The Bungendore Country Butcher smokes all his own hams. “It’s a great part of our lives to be able to sell the Christmas hams” he tells me. “When I had the shop in Queanbeyan, I used to buy them off processors and sell them… you never knew what you were selling people. Now people just come back after Christmas and tell you how good your ham was, that satisfaction… that’s what it’s all about.” The smoker system was there when Paul bought the shop in Bungendore ten years ago, after running a series of successful retail butcher shops in Queanbeyan. The previous owners were just experimenting with the smoking process, and he has made it an


important part of his business. Now, as well as the hams, he has smoked chicken breast, smoked beef and a range of other specialty products. Although Paul was Bungendore born and bred, it took a retail revolution to bring him back to his home town. When he began in the trade in the early 70s, there were 24 butchers’ shops in Queanbeyan. According to Paul, “That was before Woolworths opened and they all survived quite successfully and all had their own clientele. There were six in the main street and now in Queanbeyan there’s only maybe two or three small retail shops left… and that’s part of history gone.” Supermarkets were kept at bay for a long time in that they had restricted trading hours, the same as the retail butchers. But when


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“Keep it sweet, keep it neat and keep it in your own doors. That’s why people come here to shop.”

they were given 24-hour trading, everything changed. “You had Woolworths taking the same quantity of money as ten butchers’ shops were taking and so ten butchers’ shops just had to go.” Paul shakes his head and ponders the economics of it all. “A retail butchery sells meat and meat only. A supermarket is a conglomerate; they’ve got cornflakes and confectionery, everything in a system, so they can offset the prices of their products. If meat’s dear, they can make their profits over a large range of items. A supermarket might have thousands of lines in a shop. A butcher shop might have a hundred.” In Bungendore, there is no Woolworths and the small supermarket buys its packaged meat from Paul. “This is a different town in that you’ve got double income people who’ve come out from Canberra looking for a change of lifestyle” he said. “In Bungendore we still have our sausage eaters and then we have our fillet steak eaters. We have a good broad demand at both ends of the scale. And that’s great, because in a butcher’s shop where you supply your own product you need to be able to sell 100% of that product… profit is made in butchery from not having wastage.” Paul explains the advantages of supplying the meat for the shop from his own farm: “I own a farm, I own a butcher shop, you’ve got to make the farm do something and why not supply your own meat? I can sell my meat with confidence to people over

“I own a farm, I own a butcher shop, you’ve got to make the farm do something and why not supply your own meat?” the counter. We keep our cattle stress free, we ensure they travel well, they don’t stand around in yards for days before they’re slaughtered and that’s what helps us make our meat better.” The Canberra abattoir closed down nine years ago so Paul sends a load of meat to Cootamundra every Tuesday for slaughter. It’s hung there for a few days, brought back to the shop towards the weekend and then hung into the next week. This means most of the meat is hung for around 10 days before it goes over the counter to the customer. One of Paul’s most appreciative customers is the awardwinning Grazingg restaurant, at Gundaroo. Paul points out that, because his business depends on selling every part of a beast, he’d prefer not to service too many restaurants. He likes to keep the

THIS IS where both the sausage eaters and fillet steak eaters shop.

numbers small and do it well. “Grazing is a good restaurant,” he explains “and it’s got a good clientele so you’ve got to keep a high standard of product going into that restaurant. Jodie’s a very good chef and she knows what she wants.” ––––– – C H A NG E T H E subject and ask Paul a leading question: “Obviously, if you’ve got a farm, you need dogs?” He grins. “Yeah, and if you’ve got a butcher shop, you need a way of getting out of the office, so you go dog trialling.” Paul and his sheep dogs are familiar figures at trials, not just locally, but internationally. He gives his current dog, Digger, all the credit: “He’s about to represent Australia for the third time and we have a chance to do it for the fourth time. And no dog has ever done that, so he’s a freak, but you get one very, very good dog in your life and I have mine at present.” Dog trialling may not be an Olympic sport but, for Paul, it might as well be. “My greatest thing is I’ve captained the Australian side and I’ve thought, well, to me, representing Australia at the dog trials is as good as going to the next Olympics.” So how does he see the future for a butcher in Bungendore? “Well, we live in a little village that people would like to remain as a village but let’s be realistic, we’re within 20 minutes commuting distance of Canberra. The population of this town will continue to grow whether we want it or whether we don’t. If I can do my job right, if I can give a relationship to a customer, if I’m able to help… well, we can grow with the town and kill off the threat of a Woolworths. Keep it sweet, keep it neat and keep it in your own doors. That’s why people come here to shop.” R F Fred Harden



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2/10/05 2:13:08 AM


Magnificent Seven: Producer

by Fred Harden

Open for crunch O W E N A N D N O R E E N P I D G E O N never intended to grow apples, yet he chose to farm a place where apple crops were the stuff of local legend.

OWEN AND NOREEN and the little red tractor.


W E N ’ S FA R M I NG B AC KG R OU N D is sheep and wheat, first near Lake Cargelligo then Cowra, but his father, having farmed through the depression and wartime and seen a bushfire destroy much of his property in the late Fifties recognised the many challenges when pursuing a life on the land. “Dad said ‘You’d better go away and study so you’ve got something to fall back on, because if you’re a farmer you may always be very poor’” Owen told me, wryly. In the early seventies, Owen took up a cadetship with the Reserve Bank of Australia for university, married Noreen in Sydney and their first two children were born during a secondment to the Bank of Papua New Guinea. Moving back to Australia, he and Noreen settled in Canberra in 1982 and they also looked


around for some land, “somewhere that had semi-decent soil.” “ We finally discovered this small block of 33 acres just north of Hall village and immediately said we would buy it because, even though it was the end of the ’82 drought, there was still some signs of clover in evidence.” Owen recalled. “So, there was something here to begin with but we really didn’t have a great plan for orcharding. We just wanted to have a nice solar passive house and have a bit of space.” Owen’s smile is infectious and as he told me of the orchard’s history, a subject he obviously enjoys recounting, his eyes lit up even more. “The connection to apples was in fact just down the road. There was a famous gentleman in the valley, from a pioneering family called Mack Southwell. He sat talking with me


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Canadian Red

20th Century Nashi


one day and said there used to be an apple orchard nestled into Mount Spring, owned by a chap called Charlie Butt. Mack told of the orchard producing great quantities of high yielding, wonderful tasting apples for Canberra in its early days. There was one Granny Smith apple tree he remembered which would produce fifteen bushel cases each year. Big commercial orchards aim to produce three cases, possibly four, of quality fruit. In a really good year you might be able to get six. So, the idea of this Granny Smith apple tree with fifteen cases of fruit sounded magical.” In the Depression times, Owen said that Mack recalled collecting wood ash as a lad to sell for 2/6d a bag to Charlie Butt who used the ash to sweeten the apples. And he told him of the Bolton family (who are still there) who paid for all their land through trapping thousands of rabbits.

D’Anjou pear

Cox’s Orange Pippin

They grow varieties with exotic names like Geeveston Fanny, Lord Lambourne, Grimes Golden and Stayman’s Winesap

produce reliable volumes or do not pack or store well, are ripped out and forgotten. A boutique operation such as Loriendale Orchard can take the time to keep these varieties alive. Interest in Owen’s apples is growing, with organic outlets in Bowral and Wollongong being supplied and now the Sydney market. A buyer from the Northern Beaches wants to take 10-15 cases a week of the many varieties next season and people will drive hundreds of kilometres for a couple of kilos of the Cox’s Orange Pippin. Like most people on the land, Owen and Noreen have had their share of doing it tough. When their production started to rise, they then had seven years with one major disaster after another: a late hail storm, late frosts and then four years of drought. Owen says he couldn’t have kept going without the WWOOFers. That’s not like woof as in the vineyard dog, WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms. It’s an international organization, and Owen and Noreen have welcomed lots of ‘willing workers ‘ from many countries including Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Japan and France. Generally the WWOOFers are young people who work a half day for their keep, enjoy time with an Australian family and get to explore the region. Owen mentioned a French fellow who wanted

Owen has heard other locals speak of the legendary sweetness of Charlie Butt’s apples even though, sadly, the orchard was pulled out at the end of the Fifties. These days, people are saying the same thing about Loriendale’s apples. He wonders if it’s something in the soil but he knows that growing his fruit organically helps produce apples with delectable taste. “Every year we have families who say ‘my children don’t eat much fruit, but once they bite into your apples, they’re hooked’ so maybe there’s something to it.” The very first apples the Pidgeons planted were the Cox’s Orange Pippins, the royalty of English heritage varieties. The architect who designed their house was an Englishman and lamented that he couldn’t find Cox’s anywhere. Owen brought the trees up from Tasmania, the only place he could source them. These days, at Loriendale, they grow more than 110 varieties of apples originating from 20 countries and with 24 varieties from Australia, many with exotic names like Geeveston Fanny, Lord Lambourne, Grimes Golden and Stayman’s Winesap. They also grow cherries, nectarines, peaches, European and nashi pears, hazelnuts and a selection of berries. Big orchards can’t afford to grow unusual varieties of apples, because the yields are often lower and some produce a full crop only every second year. Large operators need a crop every year, so they limit their plantings to the top six or seven varieties that can be relied on for regular yields. Even modern cultivars that do not

to work on a farm close to Canberra. “He rang me up and he put this very unusual proposition. ‘I’ll work all week for you, so long as I can have a half a day each week to go into the National Art Gallery.’ He stayed a month and just loved it. The other beautiful thing about that guy was, whatever you asked Olivier to do, he was keen to do it because he wanted new experiences. He’d say ‘Owen this is so wonderful, it gives me a new opportunity’. So he’s a lifetime friend now.” Loriendale has been organic in its production methods since it started, despite the considerable challenges it poses. They run poultry underneath the apple trees to clean up the codling moth with the moth being the major insect pest for all apple producers. The moths can overwinter in old fence posts and the bark of older trees, and they can be found even in the joints of timber trellises


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2/10/05 2:14:12 AM

OLIVIER’S ENTRY in the Loriendale visitors book

So the trellis cross beams attached to support taut wires for netting have had to go, even though it makes netting more cumbersome. The high point of the Loriendale calendar is the annual Open Day, held in April. It began as a fundraising event with the local church. In the first year, they sold $200 worth of apples. This year, the fifteenth year of the event, sales of apples topped $4,500 in one afternoon. It’s a real family occasion, with each member of the Pidgeon clan doing their part, along with another 50 or 60 helpers from the local churches. Owen even has interstate volunteers who just want to enjoy the community spirit on the day. The Open Day is a chance for visitors to discover heritage and unusual fruit varieties and it also gives people the chance to see how an organic farm operates. A team of helpers crank up the juice press to make delectable hand-pressed apple juice and they sell hundreds of home baked apple pies and jars of home made organic jams. There’s also the Loriendale recipe book: a slim, spiral bound, home-produced (with their daughter Felicity) volume entitled ‘Fruits of the Orchard’. “About ten years ago when we started to pick and supply these unusual varieties” Owen explains, “people would say they taste nice, but what can you use them for? And another thing you should understand is that there are wonderful early, mid and late season apples, all with their distinctive taste and uses. Most city people are not so familiar with this any more. One challenge is to have some good green skinned apples for sale early in the season as most of the early season apples have red skins. One such variety we grow is Earligold, maturing in mid February, green skin with a real tang.” As well as an encyclopaedic collection of sweet and savoury fruit recipes, ‘Fruits of the Orchard’ contains a chart detailing the peak time for Loriendale’s various apple varieties and some history and usage suggestions for the main types. A number of the WWOOFers have emailed home to ‘Mama’ for local recipes and these have been added. It’s not the kind of cookbook you put on your coffee table, more the kind that ends up on the cookbook shelf, well thumbed and with the odd food stain from constant use. The long drought has meant that Owen has had to work a double shift, holding down a policy job in Canberra and keeping the farm going. But the wonderful recent winter rains have filled the dams and rejuvenated the orchard. With a good water supply for this growing season, Noreen and Owen have even more reason to smile. RF


RECIPE Swiss Preachers Cake Ingredients 50gms butter 3/4 cup castor sugar 2 eggs 250gms ground hazelnuts 1 cup of apple sauce zest of one lemon 1 cup plain flour 2 tablespoons baking powder 4 small apples (Abas, Jonathan, Spartan) 1 tablespoon raw sugar Method

 Cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until light and creamy, then beat in eggs.  Gently stir in hazelnuts, apple sauce and lemon juice. Sift flour with baking powder and gently fold through.

 Pour into a greased ring pan. Peel, core and halve apples. Cut lines

in each to 1cm from the core side. Arrange on the cake and sprinkle with the raw sugar.

 Bake on the lowest shelf of a moderate oven for 1 hour.

From Fruits of the Orchard 2nd Edition 2005. Loriendale Orchard. See for purchase details.


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Enjoy the Ginger Room, a convivial fine dining restaurant with an inspired menu by master chef Janet Jeffs and a spectacular wine list, open from Tuesday to Saturday evenings. Turn up the atmosphere at Café in the House any day for coffee, brunch, lunch or rock in for Friday happy hour. Plan a special function for 40 or 400 in the prestigious of venues of King’s Hall or the Members’ Dining room. Five 2005 NSW/ACT Restaurant and Catering awards speak volumes about the quality you will find here.

The Ginger Room.....................................................................(02) 6270 8262 Café in the House.....................................................................(02) 6270 8156 Ginger Catering........................................................................(02) 6273 4366


29/9/05 11:11:29 AM


Magnificent Seven: Producer

The beer we used to drink around here S C O T T W AT K I N S -S U L LY was looking for an escape from the city, but now he’s back in town marketing his Braidwood Traditional Ales.


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“Australian brewing was hijacked by Americans, Germans and Czechs in the early 1900s. They arrived with refrigeration and pressurised gas.”


C OT T WAT K I N S - S U L LY TA L K S with an intensity and an impressive depth of knowledge about his beer. I’d always been a home brewer but I never could see why people brewed kit beer. The aim of the kit is to give you something that tastes like the commercial stuff but cheaper. So I started mash brewing, the result was better beer than what was commercially available, fresher and real ale.” The term, real ale, comes up in conversation with Scott at least every few minutes. That’s not surprising because this is what he does, makes beer brewed in the style of ‘real’ traditional English ales, cask conditioned and drawn without using gas. “Real ale has to be fresh, it’s an essential part of it.” He says that the home brewer’s stories about making a bad batch of beer and three years later tasting it and saying it was fantastic is an urban myth. “Bottles do last longer, but in cool conditions a cask will last a few months, and that’s it.” We first experienced Scott’s beer when he was marketing it in bottles. We even attended an evening held at the Lynwood Café where Scott and chef Warrick Brook created a menu based on using the different Braidwood beers in cooking. We drank his beer, not wine with them. But he doesn’t sell beer in bottles any more, instead he’s selling his Braidwood Extra Special Bitter in casks to local and Sydney pubs, to be hand drawn at the bar. He explained the economics. “The bottling rig was too small, very basic and time consuming. We had great support regionally, but the local pubs here took the product on but they weren’t doing a lot of sales. In the region, Lynwood Café, é Grazing and Lamberts all supported us and it sold well.” “It’s volume that you need. I’m now selling twice as much product in casks as I was in bottles. It costs me a quarter to make it. I don’t make as much per litre because you sell it cheaper in bulk, but it works out better. You have to face the fact that Australia is a tap beer culture. People will drink what’s in front of them in a bar.” When we said that we didn’t do a lot of standing in bars, Scott laughed, “You’re part of only 5% who will look at what the pub has in bottles.” “I’ve gone back to teaching in Sydney to teach TV production one day a week. I brew 450 litres which is what I’m selling each week, I drive up early to be in Sydney at 9.00 for school. I make my deliveries the following day and then come home.” We discussed how ‘regional’ the beer truly was if it used imported hops (with wonderful names like Fuggles and Kent Golding). Did it have any different characteristics? Scott laughed. “It’s not to justify a place in your magazine, but yes. I don’t have sophisticated water system to filter our water, I don’t have sophisticated temperature control so all those things affect the ale.

TOP: Scott in his Braidwood brewery. BOTTOM: For the Winter Brewer’s Feast at Lynwood, d Warrick Brook created this bread and butter pudding with brioche and using one of Scott’s ales, reduced to a syrup.

We get our town water from the Shoalhaven, it has a lot of temporary hardness, almost like the Burton Midlands pale ales, they have the water from the River Trent which is a lot like ours. So we are getting a regional style.” “Australian brewing was hijacked by Americans, Germans and Czechs in the early 1900s. They arrived with refrigeration and pressurised gas. If that had been applied to the ale we were already brewing, it would be a different story. But they all drank lagers and made those when they came here. There are only a few people, like Cooper’s who persisted in making bottle conditioned beers. “If we can just recover the sense that this was as much part of our Australian brewing culture as it was English, I’d be happy.” RF Fred Harden


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2/10/05 2:16:19 AM


Magnificent Seven: Producer

by Christine Salins

The business of Poaching I N A N E A R L I E R L I F E Susan Bruce was a stockbroker and merchant banker in London, earning what she describes as “really serious money.” It’s a world away from her life now on a property north of Canberra, where she and her husband, Robert, make a range of gourmet smoked foods, run a flourishing cafe and produce wines from their own vineyard.




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Susan Bruce identified a niche in the market and began selling to leading hotels, restaurants and catering companies throughout Australia.


H E I R H A R D W O R K and business acumen has seen the Poachers Pantry operation grow to the point where they now have 25 employees, including 10 full-time. For Sue, this means the pressure is much the same as in her first career. “I’ve always woken up in the middle of night and thought, ‘oh my god, I haven’t done this or that’.” With three children who have grown up around the business: the youngest, 14, born the year she set it up, she has faced the inevitable challenges of juggling her personal and professional life. Living on site means that work is “only a stone’s throw away” and even if the business ever did reach a point where it generates an income comparable with her previous one, “it wouldn’t account for the 14 years in between”.

They considered farming everything from wildflowers to emus but it was a love of smoked foods that won But is Sue complaining? Not on your life. Apart from the fact that they live in a rather idyllic setting and are passionate about the product they have created, Sue cites numerous advantages, from the kids spending time outdoors while she works, to eliminating travel time to and from work. In any case, she said, “When you create your own environment, you have an opportunity to set out the rules.” The couple set up Poachers Pantry when recession forced them to look for alternative ventures for their 300ha sheep and cattle property, Marakei. “We were very good bulk commodity producers but it was very hard to build on that. This way we’re in control of our products,” said Sue. They considered farming everything from wildflowers to emus but it was a love of smoked foods that won over English-born Sue. Envisaging a “little cottage industry”, they installed a smokehouse and invited Sue’s brother, chef Michael Stride, to experiment. He learnt the techniques for curing and smoking the meat by trial and error, reading extensively and travelling abroad to see how it was done. Guided by his palate and remembering the smoked foods he had enjoyed in England, he created a range of smoked foods that quickly captivated chefs.

THE SMOKEHOUSE CAFE has an area for tasting the Bruce’s produce and wine together and can cater for large groups.

The innovation of Poachers Pantry was soon recognised by the Federal Government, which gave it a Best Practice Award and a grant that enabled the Bruces to further expand the business. They added two smokehouses which they designed themselves, allowing them to produce both hot and cold-smoked products with a delicate, unique flavour. The products are vacuum-packed and have a shelf life of four to 12 weeks. Although Michael left the business in 1994 to resume his career as a chef, the products he created remain the backbone of the business. Andy Beyer, who Sue credits as having “a great eye for detail”, now oversees the manufacture of more than 20 products, including honey-cured ham, peppered sirloin, prosciutto, turkey breast, lamb sausages, pork hocks, chicken, duck, quail and lamb racks.


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Magnificent Seven

ON SUNNY N DAYS dine in the outside garden areas with views of the hills and vineyards.

Sue says they sell an “awful lot” of kangaroo prosciutto, possibly because of its novelty value but also because it has a great flavour. Also popular are the smoked tomatoes and smoked garlic which, like the smoked meats, are ideal in salads and on antipasto platters and canapés. Each year at Christmas, they produce hams on the bone; for the rest of the year, there is the Poachers Little Ham, a 1.5kg ham without fat or rind. Sue identified a niche in the market and began selling to leading hotels, restaurants and catering companies throughout Australia, but they had a major setback in the wake of the Ansett collapse in 2001. “Ansett was our largest customer and we were doing hundreds of kilos, if not tonnes, on a weekly basis (for them), so the collapse was felt very badly.” To make matters worse, they were owed a lot of money. Sue fought back by pursuing retail opportunities, taking it to delicatessens, supermarkets and small independent retailers. The retail side of the business is still growing strongly, boosted by the opening in October 2002 of the Smokehouse Cafe in an old farm cottage overlooking an 1870s slab woolshed on their property. Sue received a grant from AusIndustry’s regional network program to help develop the café: welcome assistance since they had worried about the risk of putting a cafe “out in the middle of nowhere”.



H E I S P R O U D of her success in securing government grants. Not only did they provide funds so that consultants could be hired for professional advice, but the paperwork was a hand on the shoulder. “It makes you create timelines, document your achievements and monitor your achievements. It keeps you on track. I suspect I might not have been as rigorous if it had been my own money.” The combined cafe, cellar door and farm shop makes much of its rural setting. Cast iron kettles, farming implements and other items add a rustic note, while a paved terrace offers a delightful spot to relax outside. Chef Mel Hanns, who previously worked at Canberra restaurants such as Ottoman and Chairman & Yip, incorporates the Poachers Pantry products in an impressive lineup of modern Australian dishes which can be enjoyed with the Bruces’ Wily Trout wines. They planted their first vines in 1998, and just over half of the crop from their 50 acre vineyard goes to the Hardy Wine Company. The rest goes into their own label, including a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a sparkling red and white. Before they opened the cafe, selling the products in shops was always a challenge, “because it’s expensive and people didn’t know what to do with it”. Since then, the retail side of the business has “exploded”, according to Sue.


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“When people see what we’ve done in the cafe, it often spurs on their creative skills, and they buy the ingredients to take home.” They also follow up their visit by seeking out the products in local markets and delicatessens. Sue says the beauty of selling at the farm gate is that she doesn’t have to worry about freight or wait for accounts to be paid. Her next challenge will be to lift sales in Sydney and Melbourne, and explore opportunities in Hong Kong. “One of the tricks is to try to focus on one thing at a time. I’ll really push at Hong Kong to check that it’s viable, and I’ll give it all my support, and we’ll see how it goes.” The cafe receives 30,000 visitors a year but Sue believes it would be closer to 100,000 if she was in the Hunter Valley. “I’m just dying for this area to take off like that.” A seasoned promoter of Canberra, Sue established the Poachers Trail, a self-drive route taking in local wineries, food producers, cafes, B & Bs and other attractions, including the Smokehouse Cafe. A brochure was printed and a website created (

They planted their first vines in 1998, and just over half of the crop from their 50 acre vineyard goes to the Hardy Wine Company. If Sue could offer other small producers one piece of advice, it would be to aim for low-volume, high-margin products as she has done. While Robert is not involved in the day-to-day running of the business, Sue says “his ability to fix anything; make anything” has been a great help. Her ability to focus on administration has also been an asset. “One of the things that was unusual about us is that I’ve never been hands-on in production and I think that the business has benefited in that we’ve always had someone who could focus on that without having to worry about administration, marketing, promotion and invoicing.” She is also particularly conscious of stock control. “Not all small producers understand the business of having to have product always ready for chefs tomorrow.”

RECIPE Smoked Lamb Rack with crushed potatoes and tomato relish Ingredients 4 Hot Smoked Lamb Racks 4 Medium potatoes 8 egg tomatoes 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 medium onion Method Dice onion and garlic finely and sauté in olive oil to soften. Chop up tomatoes and add to the saucepan, along with the tomato paste and thyme and reduce. Boil peeled potatoes being careful not to overcook. After removing the water from the pot, gently crush without mashing. BBQ, grill, pan fry or oven bake the lamb racks (oven baking requires a hot oven for ten minutes)

 On a bed of crushed potato arrange four hot smoked honey cured

lamb cutlets adding a generous dollop of tomato relish to each serve.

Serves 4

PPoachers Pantry and the Smokehouse Cafe are in Nanima Road, off the Barton Highway north of the ACT border. The Poachers Pantry farm shop is open daily from 10am to 5pm. The café is open 10am to 5pm Friday, weekends and public holidays. Bookings are recommended: (02) 6230 2487. RF


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2/10/05 2:18:11 AM


Wine and spirit T I M K I R K W O R K S H A R D to make his distinguished cool climate reds. Yet he feels like he’s always on holiday.



ROM TIM KIRK’S face, you can see there is a seriousness and reserve. The reserve disappears quickly when he knows you’re not being frivolous and when the subjects of the conversation turn to things he holds as core values. One of those, as you’d expect, is wine. Telling the history of the Clonakilla winery is something that he knows we need to know, but it comes out with a practised re-telling. Only interrupting nudges him to add some more personal aspects of the story. Clonakilla was established by John Kirk in 1971. Like Edgar Riek, who established a vineyard at Lake George in the same year, he was a CSIRO scientist. Oddly, the two foundation vintners of the district weren’t even aware of each other’s existence. That’s a


statement we laugh about: one that says much more about the insularity of the departments in the organisation, than the size of the Canberra offices. Working in the CSIRO’s Division of Plant Industry, John saw the potential for a wine industry in the cool southern tablelands around Canberra. He bought a 44-acre farm near the village of Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of the city, and named it Clonakilla (‘meadow of the church’) after his grandfather’s farm in County Clare, Ireland. The soil consisted of sandy clay loams over friable clay subsoil, with a climate not dissimilar to the Bordeaux region and Northern Rhone valley in France. John proceeded to plant


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“I think that whole sense of celebration around a table, being together and sharing good food…is something that we have to try and recapture.”

1.2 acres each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling grapes. Further plantings of Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir followed, and in 1976 Clonakilla produced the Canberra region’s first commercial vintage. While John Kirk still owns the company, one of his six sons, Tim, is now the general manager and winemaker at Clonakilla. “I think my brothers have got more sense than to try and make a living out of winemaking and grape-growing,” Tim jokes. “They’re pretty happy to leave it to me because obviously it’s something that I’ve shown a bit of a flair for.” Tim Kirk’s first calling wasn’t to the vineyard. His theology degree originally led him to a teaching position at Melbourne’s prestigious Xavier College. But even this seemed fated to bring him back to the family business. “Of course the good thing about being a schoolteacher is you get these holidays,” he explains, “and one holiday period always falls around Easter time, April. So I used to come back here and work with Dad on the winemaking in the school holidays. I became more and more engrossed in the whole winemaking enterprise and I found that I had a capacity for understanding aromas and flavours.” A turning point for Tim was a trip he and his wife Lara took to France in 1991. The couple visited a number of Rhone Valley producers, in an area known as Côte Rôtie. Côte Rôtie is one of the oldest wine-growing areas in France, dating back to the Romans. It produces a warm, robust, full-bodied, richly coloured red wine. Two grape varieties dominate the production, Viognier and Syrah (our Shiraz). At the famous house of Marcel du Guigal, in the middle of the Côte Rôtie, Tim Kirk was able to taste one of the very greatest Shiraz Viognier blends, wines that now sell for $400 or $500 a bottle. “When I tasted those Côte Rôties out of the barrel it was a revelation to me just how marvellous those vines were.” Tim paused as he remembers the experience. “Here were wines with glorious vibrant perfume and silky tannin, lovely ‘softness to the mouth’ feel, really classic and beautiful Shiraz wines. They were things of real beauty. I began to form the thought back then that, if we were able to produce something like that here at Murrumbateman, wouldn’t that be a fantastic thing? And in an extraordinary providential moment, my father had planted Viognier here in the mid-eighties. “One of my brothers had suggested to Dad that we should try and find a variety that we could specialise in and it would give us a point of difference. Dad thought this was a very good idea and then read the books carefully and stumbled upon Viognier, which almost no one had heard of, let alone planted. Dad managed to use his CSIRO connections to find some Viognier cuttings and

got these very feeble-looking little vines that after years managed to be coaxed up to the wire. It’s very slow to establish, Viognier: it’s tricky to grow. “I knew Dad’s vision had been to make a white Viognier, but when I tried the Côte Rôtie which was a Shiraz, I knew this was what I wanted to do. So with the ’92 vintage, we started to include a little bit of Viognier with our Shiraz.” ––––– –


OHN KIRK GAV E Tim the freedom to develop the style, and Tim began to read very carefully about producers in the Rhone Valley: how they grew the grapes, how they made the wine. He started to include some of their winemaking approaches, like including whole bunches in the ferment and cooling the crushed grapes down before the fermentation process. He began using entirely French oak, finding it married better with the finer, cooler-climate spicy and savoury character of the fruit. Year-by-year Tim fine-tuned the style. To his surprise and delight the wines won critical acclaim, and Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier started to win gold medals, trophies and numerous five-star reviews. Tim’s vision to make a wine modelled on the great Shiraz Viognier he tasted in France has been so successful that, allowing himself a touch of pride, he claims, “Very good palates in a blind line-up on wines will often mistake our humble Murrumbateman Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier for a very good example of the Côte Rôtie.” While the Shiraz Viognier is the spearhead of the business, a second Shiraz made from fruit grown in the Hilltops district around the town of Young has developed a following in its own


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“ of the great things about being a successful small producer is that other successful small producers are more than happy to swap wines. “There’s a lot of cooperative activity,” he says. “We’re not guarded or suspicious of other winemakers.” right. It has just been selected for International Business Class on Qantas and is exported around the world. Clonakilla also produces a straight varietal Viognier, a Riesling, a Cabernet Merlot and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. In 1998, Tim and Lara bought the block next door to Clonakilla and along with vines, planted a small olive grove and are now making extra virgin olive oil. I pushed a little further about his tasting skills and he affirms the importance of winemakers tasting widely. Enthusiastically, he described his experience at the 2003 Len Evans Wine Tutorial. A week-long course held once a year at Tower Lodge in the Hunter, the course accepts just twelve of the hundreds of applicants. It’s designed to develop skills in younger people in the industry, particularly those who may have potential as wine judges in the future. Leading lights of the industry, including James Halliday, Ian McKenzie, Brian Crozer and Gary Steele, put the participants through their paces in a week of tasting and exercises, showing judging situations and benchmarking of wines from around the world.

T HIS WINE has cemented Clonakilla’s reputation as a leading Australian boutique winery. It was named the NSW Wine of the Year in 1999, the Penguin Wine Guide Wine of the Year in 2002, and voted one of the top ten Australian Shirazes (Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine June/July 2003). There’s a list of the recent ones on their website


“It was just a fantastic experience,” Tim said. “Can you imagine sharing great wine with articulate people like that? Since that time I’ve been invited to judge at wine shows and of course I taste hundred and hundreds of wines. That’s work and you approach it seriously,” he smiled and added, “but an important part of the wine show scene is the dinners that the wine judges have together after a long day’s judging. We bring out our own very best wines and share other great wines with good food. We just talk about them and see what we can learn.” I pointed to the airfreight stickers on the opened boxes of wine that surround his desk, one from Beechworth’s Julian Castagna, and French and Spanish labels I’d never seen. Tim observed that one of the great things about being a successful small producer is that other successful small producers are more than happy to swap wines. “There’s a lot of cooperative activity,” he says. “We’re not guarded or suspicious of other winemakers. We all try and work together and learn from each other as much as we can. It really is a fantastic industry, there’s a lot of friendliness and warmth between winemakers.” There’s no doubt that you’re talking to someone who loves his job. Tim Kirk regards himself as being one of those lucky people who have been able to find a career in the thing that they most love doing. He offers that it is perhaps because he first got involved in winemaking during school holidays that he now feels it’s like being on holidays all the time. A devout Catholic, Tim sees life as a gift and a blessing. He speaks about his craft with reverence: “We’re making a thing of beauty here, you know. It’s just been marvellous the way it’s worked out. Dad’s been able to work for so many years building up the vineyard here with very careful viticulture, and I’m able to step into this role where so much is established and then really work on making these marvellous wines and building the brand.” We finished by talking about our families and the values of the Slow Food movement. I bemoaned the fact that Australia had none of the richness of the traditional customs of Italy that linked sharing food with significant religious or rural seasonal festivities. Tim agreed, adding that he would love to see Australian families rediscover the joy of sharing a meal. “I think that whole sense of celebration around a table, being together and sharing good food, that Slow Food idea, is something that we have to increasingly try and recapture in this country. It’s so important to try and recover some of those basic values: eating together, sharing together and celebrating each other. That this echoes for me the religious significance of sharing bread and wine gives my life added meaning.” R F Fred Harden


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TRAVEL, EAT, DRINK, WIN WIN World in a Day Tours from Gourmet Safaris - 5 double passes to be won! Discover the best bakers, pasta makers, butchers, greengrocers, cheese makers, delis, specialist liquor stores, spice shops, ice-cream makers, sweets palaces & many more, when you join Gourmet Safaris World in a Day Tours. Regional Food Australia has 5 double passes to give away. You and a friend will get to join Gourmet Safaris for a day long bus tour of wonderful food finds across 30 different nationalities and meet the passionate people producing some of Sydney’s best food To see all the tours available from Gourmet Safaris, visit www.gourmetsafaris. It’s easy to enter! Just fill in the coupon below.

WIN a dozen bottles of Cool Climate wine The twelve winemakers that Jennie Mooney from Grazing selected (see page 50) to represent the Capital Country Villages region, have all provided bottles of their favourite wine to make up a Regional Food mixed dozen. There are 10 to be won, and they come with special tasting notes and photographs we’ve put together to make it more personal. With a mix of red and white varieties, you’re in for a Cool treat.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY Y for Regional Food Australia Cool Wine Dozen/Gourmet Safaris World in a Day Competition- Spring 2005 1. Information on “how to enter” and prizes form part of conditions of entry. Enter as many times as you wish on an original entry form only. 2. Entry is open to all residents of Australia except employees and immediate families of the promoter, associated companies and agencies. The promoter is Regional Food Communications, 19/18 Oxley Street, Glebe Point NSW 2037. 3. The competition commences on 15.10.05 and closes on 13.1.06. The winners will be the best five entries selected at the promoters’ premises on 16.9.05. 4. Total prize values (prizes are not redeemable for cash) Prize 1. Gourmet Safaris - approximately $1000, as at 4.9.05 and consists of 5 x double passes for the Gourmet Safari World in a Day Tours in Sydney, valued at $200 ea. Winners must be make their own way to Sydney. Accommodation, meals, spending money, transport to and from departure and arrival points and all other ancillary costs are winner’s responsibility. All tours must be taken within 6 months of the draw date and are subject to availability. Winners under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Prize 2. Cool Climate Wine mixed dozens – approximately $2500 as at 24.9.05 and consists of 10 cases of 12 wines selected by the winemakers in our Cool Guide feature. They are valued at $250 each. Prize includes delivery within Australia by Australia Post courier to a daytime address. Winners must be over the age of 18. 5. The judges’ decision in relation to any aspect of the competition is final and binding on each person who enters. Chance plays no part in determining the winner. No correspondence will be entered into. 6. Winners will be notified by mail and their name will be published at 7. All entries become the property of the promoter and may be entered into a database for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes, unless otherwise stated by the entrant. Promoter reserves the right to publish photographs of winners. 8. The promoter shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered, including but not limited to direct or consequential loss, or personal injury suffered or sustained during the course of prize winning trips or in connection with any other prizes. Any change in value of the prizes occurring between the publishing date and date the prizes are claimed is not the responsibility of the promoter.

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It’s easy to enter! On a piece of paper, please tell us what your favourite part of Regional Food d Australia’s second issue has been and why. (No sucking up now, but waxing lyrical and creative doodling is ok. Anyone who cuts out bits of our nice magazine loses immediately!) Fill in the coupon below or write the details clearly on the page. If you cut it out, don’t run with those scissors. Attach it so we don’t lose you and mail it to: Spring Safari and Cool Wine Competition, PO Box 317, Bungendore NSW 2621 I’d like to win a Sydney Gourmet Safari I’d like to win the Cool Climate Wine Dozen and … I am over 18 years of age (Proof of age may be required) Title (Mr, Mrs, etc)





Address Suburb Daytime Contact no. Email address Entries Close 13 January, 2006 Please tick if you do not wish to receive any offers or information from Regional Food or its partners.

4/10/05 11:12:19 AM


A strong sense of place T H E C H E F O F L Y N W O O D C A F É , Warrick Brook, clearly loves being part of a country restaurant. He likes the isolation for a start.



T ’ S G O O D NOT having a restaurant across the road that you have to competitively watch all the time to see what they’re doing.” He adds quickly, “but it’s just as busy as in the city. Saturdays and Sundays are full-on here. We can have 140 people inside and in the garden and do three sittings. I’ve had staff come from Goulburn who are used to 120-seat restaurants and they can’t believe it. On a weekend we can have a line of people stretching out the door, standing by the fire and happy to wait for forty minutes for a table. Robbie will get them a coffee and a scone and sit them on the brick wall ...that’s keen.”


Warrick’s introduction to Lynwood came through a six month stint with Lynwood Stores, doing the gourmet prepared meals for their four Sydney outlets. The chain was run by the late Anders Ousback and part owned by Lynwood Caféé proprietor Robbie Howard. Warrick remembers that “When I heard that the chef at the Lynwood Café had left, bells rang in my head. I called Robbie, came to Collector on a Tuesday and looked around. Robbie said ‘Right’ so I went back to Sydney packed my clothes and I never went back to Sydney. That was four years ago.”


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“On a weekend we can have a line of people stretching out the door… happy to wait for forty minutes for a table. Robbie will get them a coffee and a scone and sit them on the brick wall.”

Before joining Lynwood Stores, Warrick was sous chef at The Wharf for six years, so he has a strong background in fine dining. It may be in the country, but the popularity of Lynwood brings pressure to deliver a consistent and good quality product. Then there’s that chef’s hat rating in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide which has its demands as well. “That’s why I don’t use a lot of local suppliers” Warrick explains. “Robbie’s got a great herb garden and we raid that, and we work the Lynwood Preserves products into the menu all the time. It’s hard being here in Collector to get to fresh markets, so I use a lot of Sydney suppliers. For seafood I use Blue Seas in Canberra, they have beautiful seafood that comes down from Sydney. It’s not that I’m using overly expensive product it’s just that I can get it down fresh from Sydney rather than two days later get it from Canberra, who also get it from Sydney.” “The Sydney suppliers have chefs on staff so they can talk to us about what’s coming up, about what to use, and what’s new. Every week I sit down with their rep and talk about things like cheeses and what different products are coming on. I read all the magazines, although we’re off the highway and an hour out of Canberra, I don’t feel left out.”

“I don’t think it’s nostalgia, I think people are interested to see these traditional items in the context of the a la carte menu” Warrick says that a lot of his meals at the moment are seventies and eighties style. He tried corned beef with Dutch carrots, peas and mustard sauce and found he couldn’t have made enough of it, so it’s now on the menu. He had meatloaf on the menu and Gourmet Travellerr came and did a piece about the kitchen and the meatloaf. “I don’t think it’s just nostalgia”, Warrick says. “I think people are interested to see these traditional items in the context of the à la carte menu; they appreciate that it’s well cooked and it works.” Lynwood gets a lot of people that Warrick describes as “the food crowd from twenty years ago”, who go for morning or afternoon tea and the scones, and appreciate that they’re done well. He gets a lot of satisfaction from that.

SWEEPING SPRING BLOSSOM from the entrance.

“The country for me is such an important part of why I like it” Warrick says. “And Lynwood itself just feels right to be in. The back garden, the view of the lagoon, the cows in the paddock beyond. We only open Thursdays, Fridays and weekends so I get time off to visit friends down the coast. I rent a little cottage nearby from a farmer who doesn’t hassle me when I’m late with the rent one week. “I love it here.”


HEN YOU VISIT Lynwood Café, as you should, it’s hard to miss the presence of Robbie Howard. The feeling of a constant guiding hand is there and she makes running a busy restaurant look relaxed and easy. If she comes from the activity in the background to greet you, it is a special treat and you feel that she really enjoys your company. Robbie has been the guiding presence since they opened in 1999. Alan (who was an architect) also has a pivotal role (on weekends he’s the barista—just don’t ask for a soy latte) but you can see Robbie has charge of the vision. Talking about the stages of how the café evolved doesn’t come easily, but conversation about the feelings that were involved flows much more freely. Robbie remembers, that “A chef friend of our son Rob, Darrell Taylor, came to stay with us. He had been working at The Walnut Tree in Wales and told us the story of this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere in the countryside that was wildly successful, and about the old women that work there and how it has a really nice atmosphere. He said it wasn’t smart and trendy, but it had a really homey feel. I said ‘well come and I’ll show you a little place I think would be great where you could do


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that.’ We drove to Collector and the timing was right. I’d done a bit of homework on what the property values were and we rang the owner immediately. I’ve always had a gut feeling that some places… I think it’s the atmosphere. It’s in the ground. I can remember when I first started the cafe thinking ‘why are they all so happy’, because we don’t really know what we’re doing and I was always amazed that people looked happy and relaxed sitting by the fire. But I think the sense of place here is a big part of the success.” The ‘place’ is an 1840s building on the edge of the road, near the bridge. You’d imagine that it had been an inn or a public place in a past life. “No” Robbie says “it was a family home. The Poidevin family owned it and they brought up eight children in this house. There weren’t many places for the kids to sleep really, they must have all been in one bed together I think.” “Anyway, years ago, all the kids came to visit, for afternoon tea. They were in their eighties and it was very odd, they were all very stiff and didn’t talk and sat around in their wheelchairs. I was thinking, ‘what can I do to make them feel more at home’? This should feel right for them. Then I lit the fire and they all wheeled up and sat around and that was the thing that made them relax. Then the stories poured out, about which room Uncle slept in, how he had his false teeth by his bed, etc. “I think it’s also like a home to us because our family have been very much involved in it. The kids come and go and at various stages of their lives they have all worked here; Rob owns a restaurant in Sydney, Mil (Emily) has gone on to do textile design and Kate still does the books and is a potter. Kate used to do the veggie garden when we had the veggie garden.”



While I had visited when the garden was active, and already knew quite a lot about it, I asked Robbie for her story about the vegetable garden. “It was great and we had some fabulous people who worked it and it was fine when they were around, but the minute they left you, it was this mammoth thing and I used to just think, ‘I don’t have time to manage this.’ Then you get a drought.” “Joyce Wilkie advised us how to set it up and helped us get it going, but we hadn’t thought how we’d handle the gluts of things. At the end of summer you’d come in with buckets of tomatoes and the chefs would look at them and say ‘and when am I going to work with that?’ So from that point of view, there’s a conflict, although people think ideally it’s a great thing to have your own garden and it’s obviously a great synergy. You’re not doing it to save money; vegetables are so cheap in this country. But unless you’re physically doing it yourself for the pleasure of it, it never stacked up on the sums. So we used to just call it advertising or something, and we thought ‘well the veggie garden is our advertising’”. While there may have been challenges for the restaurant in dealing with garden abundance, the same does not apply to Robbie’s Lynwood Preserves. She seeks out local fruit, sometimes just from one or two trees. “There’s a fabulous old orchard near here which, funnily enough, belongs to the grandmother of the apprentice I have” Robbie tells me. “She’s got all these beautiful old apricot trees which are on their last legs, but they are just apricots you never see. She says they’re called a bush peach, but they are bigger and dryer than a normal apricot and absolutely orange inside, but the flavour’s beautiful.” “I do like that ethic of preserving” she continues, “and I was just reading up Mrs Beaton last night and you see just how much they relied on that whole preserving of food to exist. It doesn’t mean you’re slightly mean in your character, it’s just that you can’t bear to see that waste.” We had been sitting talking in the Jam room at the café. It is a long narrow room with a full length glass cupboard wall with her jams. It was an early week-day and we had to set up for a staff and family lunch. That ‘family’ seems to extends to past and present staff and their parents who drop in and end up helping make jam, gives you an inkling that running this restaurant is a team event. Of course I was invited to join them. Robbie talked as we laid the table. ”People love everything in this Jam room. Somebody once said to me ‘Not many people would be game enough to have paint splattered all over their floor, they’d try and cover it up’.” Robbie said she stopped and looked down. “It was the first time I’d noticed it. But I think in a way that actually makes the whole place quite relaxed, it’s not forced or intentional.” R F


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Lynwood Preserves L I C K Y O U R F I N G E R S. Robbie Howard is getting serious about taking her jam to the world.

ROBBIE HOWARD in the Lynwood Café Jam Room.


O B B I E H OWA R D G R E W up with a fig tree outside her back door. Every morning, it was her little brother’s job to climb the tree and beat the starlings to the ripe figs. Robbie suspects that the preserving ethic is in her blood. “The day your mother and I got married” her father once told her “your grandmother was bottling apricots in the morning because she couldn’t bear to waste them”. “I do love the land” Robbie confesses. “And for me one of the most beautiful days I could have is to go out with a bucket and pick some fruit. You find an old tree and often they’re much harder to work with because they’re knobbly and the fruit’s hard to peel, but the flavour is really good.” Robbie began making jam after she closed her restaurant in Goulburn. The Hume Highway bypass had reduced takings by 20% and she was restless and looking for something to do. A friend and mentor Anders Ousback suggested jam-making, and gave her a beautiful copper pot, and she started doing seven jars in a batch. Seven jars at a time however, is a slow way to make jam for sale. Lynwood Caféé began as an outgrowth of that jam-making. “We were thinking in the beginning we would just do scones, jam and cream or something here” Robbie recalls. Now, with the café firmly established Robbie is putting her energy into relaunching the Lynwood Preserves range of jams and preserves.

“It’s something that I’ve been working at for ten years and I’ve never really had time to concentrate on its own identity. I’d just like to take it to the next stage” she explains. “What I want to try and do is actually really work on the fruit and on the flavour and I think it’s got to be of a good quality if I’m going to do it. I’m not interested in mass production for the sake of it, so it’s going to be quite hard to manage that. I’m getting all the recipes much tighter, even having them on the computer, with everything catalogued and organised. You can’t just say we’ll make commercial quantities by throwing it in a 44 gallon drum and hoping it works.” As Robbie explains, there is science in jam making. You need to have the correct pH, you have to know what the Brix (sugar) levels are and you use a refractometer to do that, and you need a certain temperature. When you get those three correct, your jam will set. “You come back to the classics, because the old people knew what worked. If you try and be too clever and mix exotic fruits in with it and things …” Robbie leaves the thought in the air, then continues. “There’ve been generations of people who cooked from the CWA cookbook, and I don’t think the CWA are ever given enough credit. I could spend a lot of time saying, ‘I’ve adapted this from the CWA cookbook’.” R F Fred Harden YYou can buy Lynwood Preserves from the Lynwood Café andd through Nicholas Foods. 44 Clovelly Road, Randwick. NSW Ph: 02 9399 6632. Lynwood Preserves also have their own website, www.lynwoodpreserves. u with ordering details. (We must declare here that Regional Food are helping Robbie with her new website.)


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!2 YOU’D BE FL AT OUT visiting all the wineries in the Canberra region in one trip. Start with this mixed dozen, selected by Jennie Mooney from Grazing Restaurant. Then come back for more.




N OUR LAST ISSUE, when we visited King Island, our ‘hero product’ was, quite naturally, cheese. This time the hero is definitely wine. The first vines in the region were planted near Yass in the 1850s and wine was even exported to the UK during those early years. These days, the official Canberra District extends from Yass to Lake George, and south to the fringes of the ACT. The climate is cool for Australia, with considerable variation depending on elevation. The lower elevations are able to ripen varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in most years, and the higher are among Australia’s coolest, well suited to varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. The Canberra District has more than 40 wineries and close to 150 vineyards. So how could we do justice to so many producers, without becoming a wine magazine rather than a food magazine?


Our solution was to pass the task to Jennie Mooney of Grazing in Gundaroo. Jennie’s a wine professional in her own right. She studied viticulture at Charles Sturt University and, although the vineyard that she and husband Mark bought four years ago has now been sold to another winemaker, it’s an itch that won’t go away. Their restaurant Grazing has just won a number of 2005 NSW Restaurant and Catering Awards, including for Best Wine List—Southern Region. The choice for the diner is daunting with a comprehensive list of local wines, many available by the glass. To help, the menu has matched wines with dishes that themselves show a strong leaning to local produce. We asked Jenny to choose just a dozen regional wineries and winemakers. A hard task we suggested, but she was happy to pick them based on what she knows the public like, and what sells in the restaurant. That is the ultimate test for a winemaker’s labour.


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w in e m ake r

wi nemaker

Tim Kirk

David Madew

“Tim is just phenomenal. The Shiraz Viognier is a very special wine. It’s almost an icon for the district. Clonakilla is definitely one I would pick in a mixed dozen. One of the wonderful things with Clonakilla is that they are really old vines and their pruning methods are truly traditional. I think they’ve even got some bush vines up there, so that’s where you get the amazing flavour from.”

“I think David Madew would have to be mentioned in our list, definitely, if for no other reason other than his Belle range of wines. I particularly adore the Riesling and the Pinot Gris. They’re very hard to get though: he sells them very quickly. They’re wines produced off the old part of the vineyards and we had the Belle Riesling on the menu here. They’re his babies, those wines; and he nurtures them. The other reason I think David needs to be mentioned is that he’s been another great voice for the industry down here. They’ve taken huge risks, he and Romily, doing wonderful things like Opera by George and Day on the Green and again it’s about raising the profile of the region. They’ve been big players in that and they both deserve that recognition.”

CLONAKILLA Maker of the 1999 NSW Wine of the Year and the 2002 Penguin Wine of the Year. The flagship Shiraz Viognier is a national treasure. “…one of the leading small wineries in the country.” Huon Hooke. (For more about Clonakilla from the perspective of its winemaker, Tim Kirk, see our article on page 42.)

Helm wi nemak er

Ken Helm “Ken is such a character, and I love characters. Ken’s passion is Riesling. He’s done some really interesting things with the variety and there’s a vintage he produced, where they picked the grapes really early, almost to the point they were unripe and had a play with fermenting them in a real Rhine style, influenced by the wines of Mosel and Rheingau. It was a really amazing floral Riesling, just beautiful. Ken was instrumental in bringing the National Riesling Challenge to Canberra. He’s lobbied really hard for the wine industry. The other thing is, he’s just an extraordinary person. If you visit his cellar door, don’t expect to just make it a quick visit because he’ll engage you in the most extraordinary conversations.” HELM WINES Established in 1973 the Helm’s tasting room is an 1888 schoolhouse that is adorned with wine awards. Set in a beautiful valley close to two excellent restaurants.

MADEW WINES The Madew philosophy is “we make wines that we like”. Madew produces both a varietal range and the acclaimed Belle label. The winery hosts many outdoor events and is home to grapefoodwine restaurant.

Jenny matched Ken Helm’s 2003 Riesling with Jodie’s Tartlet of potato gnocchi, onion marmalade & blue cheese served with a pear and rocket salad.



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“I’m doing this for me…I’m not doing this to hand it on to my children, or to expect them to come into this. I’m living my dream. I want them to be able to live theirs.” David Madew


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Ta l l a g a n d r a H i l l

Brad Schafferius “This is the most local one. They have an unbelievable Rosé, a spectacular wine and that’s Gundaroo’s own so we’re pretty proud of that. Brad is a perfectionist, the vineyards are the most manicured vineyards I’ve ever seen and it’s beyond belief how they do it, because they’ve got three young boys and they’re doing a fantastic job to get their wines out. We took the Rosé to Brisbane to a trade show there, their media up there loved it. So I think they’re certainly again an up-and-coming ‘watch this space’”. TALLAGANDRA HILL Established in 1998. Current releases include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Rose, Chardonnay and Riesling. They have modern Cellar Door opening soon.

“I remember one day, it was really lousy weather, freezing cold and we were pruning, someone drove up and when I walked down, he thrust a handful of notes at me and said ‘I’ve just had some of your fantastic wine at lunch, how many bottles will this buy me?’ That makes you feel pretty good.”

Jennie is pleased when people are surprised with the way that Tallagandra’s 2004 Rosé matches the Crackling coated pork neck with green apple, daikon and cucumber salad. An unusual combination that really works.

Brad Schafferius 54


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w in e m ake r

wi nemakers

Andrew McEwan

Ruth AND Steve Lambert

“Kyeema don’t have a cellar door. They only do mail order, but they’re probably some of the best reds in the district. The actual vineyard is in Murrumbateman. I’m pretty sure Andrew’s won more awards for Merlot than any other wine maker in Australia which is pretty impressive. His Merlots are his passion, all his reds are his passion and I couldn’t speak more highly of them. He has this extraordinary, big rich peppery Shiraz, wonderful fruit. I think he’s got a trophy for virtually every vintage of Merlot that he’s produced, and because he doesn’t have a cellar door he’s a little bit of a ‘best kept secret’ so for the people who know about him it’s a huge cult following. He also contract makes for a lot of the smaller cellar doors that don’t have their own winemaker.”

“Another up-and-coming winemaker to watch in the district, producing some beautiful wines. I think for their first vintage they took out an award for their Shiraz at the Small Winemakers Show, which is pretty impressive. Their Pinot Gris 2004 is just spectacular. It’s a prime example of what this district can produce in the cool climate variety. They’re making really clever wines and they’ve got an amazing cellar door and wine facilities. Mike Stride is the talented chef in their restaurant. The Lamberts have just bought a second lot of vineyards. Wamboin’s very high, so the risk potential for a vineyard up there is huge, it only takes one massive frost or one nasty hailstorm, so they’re spreading the risk around the district a little bit.”

KYEEMA WINES Kyeema has produced many gold and trophy winning wines, including its renowned Shiraz and Merlot.

Ravensworth wi nemak er

Bryan Martin “Definitely one to watch. The Sangiovese is special, his Shiraz is pretty spectacular too and we have a Marsanne on the menu which is just amazing. Bryan was a chef, he’s got an amazing palate and it’s flowing through to his wine making. He’s making wonderful big fruitdriven wines. Sangiovese is a food wine as all the Italian varieties are, they just seem to marry to anything. His is really good, it’s very savoury, it’s got a lovely fruit characteristic through there. I find with some Italian varieties, while they are food wines they can be quite neutral and sometimes they can be a bit of a nothing. I think it takes a talented wine maker and grape conditions to produce a really good wine. The Italian wine making techniques use a lot of open fermentation so you get a lot of oxygen contact with the grape, which adds a level of complexity to the wine itself. In Australia we make everything very clean and it takes a good wine maker to do that but also bring out some of these characteristics in the grapes.”




Enjoy Lambert’s award winning wines with excellent food in the architect-designed winery. The tasting room overlooks an impressive tank and barrel room.

R AV E N S W O R T H Ravensworth wines are grown and produced by Rosehill Vineyard situated 3km South East of Murrumbateman. Their 7ha vineyard spread over two sites is in the heart of the Murrumbateman sub region, taking advantage of the regional climate: persistent cool nights throughout the growing season, a dry autumn with moderate daytime temperatures and volcanic soils all make for perfect growing conditions.


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Mount Majura


w in e m ake r

wi nemaker

Frank van de Loo

Alex McKay

“In a similar vein to Lamberts, this is a very confident, snappy, up-and-coming winery that’s making some really clever wines. They have some Tempranillo which they’re just about to release, the ‘04 it must be, we have the ‘03, and the depth of flavour in it is incredible; it’s all spicy and liquorice and just this really wonderful, thick, full bodied red. Obviously playing with a varietal Tempranillo, which is a Spanish grape, it’s something a little bit interesting.

“I think a lot needs to be said about Kamberra, because it was the first time a major wine company (BRL-Hardy) has invested in the region. I think that was really important because the district’s small, it’s boutique vineyards, they don’t have a mass presence or shelf space in liquor stores. The Meeting Place wines and the Kamberra wines are the way that the Canberra district has got itself out commercially into the retail outlets, plus their location where they are, they’re like a gateway into the district. They promote every other winery in the region which is really good so they would have to be included in there. They’re getting fruit from Tumbarumba as well, but a lot of it is only until the Canberra district vineyards kick in fully. Alex McKay’s the wine maker, a really lovely young guy who’s doing a great job. I think Gourmet rated their sparkling as one of the best in its price bracket in Australia.”

Many districts around Australia have had a play with all these different varieties and often they’ve come out a non-event. It’s good to see someone who takes a boutique focus on an unusual variety and puts a bit of time into it. Mount Majura have a very good Pinot Gris as well and they have a Chardonnay that you would absolutely walk over hot coals for. We’ve just taken on a whole lot more Mount Majura wines because they’re so good; the Chardonnay, though, is just amazing and it’s getting quite a following in Sydney.”

Brindabella Hills wi nemak er

Roger Harris “Brindabella is one of the oldest wineries in the district and Roger Harris has played over the years with his various vintages. They make a beautiful Shiraz and in the past have been really well awarded for that. I think it’s the wine that they’re known the best for, but you can’t look past their Riesling and others, they’re all-round nice wines. If there’s one other thing to say about Brindabella, it’s worth a visit because the views from the winery are just extraordinary over the Murrumbidgee.” BRINDABELLA HILLS The winery is situated with stunning views of the Brindabella ranges and the river at its foot, 25km north of Canberra. Picnic and BBQ facilities available. Pictured above: Roger and Faye Harris

K A M B E R R A W I N E C O M PA N Y Undertake a wine tasting, enjoy lunch in the café, or take a tour of the winery (charges apply). Kamberra have live jazz in the cellar door, last Sunday each month.

M OU N T M A J U R A V I N EYA R D Sited on red volcanic soils containing limestone it provides a unique site for the production of single-vineyard wines of the highest quality and character.

Brindabella Hills 2002 Shiraz is matched to Jodie’s Grain-fed aged Bungendore sirloin ‘Wellington’ with a creamy mash, wild mushroom ragout & chicken liver pate. But separate!



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Lark Hill wi nemak er

Sue Carpenter

BRINDABELLA HILLS 156 Woodgrove Close, Hall ACT 2618 Tel 02 6230 2583 Email Open 10am-5pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays


Long Rail Gully w in e m ake r

Richard Parker “Long Rail Gully Wines at Murrumbateman is owned by the Parker family. They’ve got a very large vineyard. Richard’s gone and educated himself properly and done wine science down at Charles Sturt and he’s really making some beautiful wines. You have to look at consistency across the range and that’s the thing with Long Rail Gully, they have a lovely range of wines that are all excellent. We’ve got Long Rail Pinot Gris, a beautiful wine. Again, Pinot Gris is an important one to talk about. It’s a very up-and-coming variety and the climate in this district is perfect for it. If you go to New Zealand and you sit down at a restaurant they’ve got a massive wine list for Sauvignon Blanc followed closely by Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, so they’re doing wonderful things there with it as well. There are also reds, they’ve got a Cabernet, a Merlot and a Shiraz which I think all have medals on them in various capacities, and that’s from what’s essentially a first vintage.” L O N G R A I L G U L LY W I N E S The drive to Long Rail Gully from the highway is lovely, the winery is surrounded by vines on the banks of a 6-acre trout-filled dam. Perfect for a lazy Sunday picnic.

“Lark Hill have this fantastic reputation for their Pinot Noir. Past vintages have done incredibly well, and in the London Wine Show. It’s great to have a female winemaker in Sue. Their Riesling which we have on the menu at the moment is the trophy winner at the National Riesling Challenge, the Chief Minister’s Trophy. Their Chardonnay is fantastic too. Being really high there at Bungendore, they’re doing the typical cool climate thing really well.

Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Tel 02 6227 5877 Email Web Open 11am-5pm, 7 days

HELM WINES Butts Road, Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Tel 02 6227 5953 Email Web Open 10am-5pm Thursday to Monday

K A M B E R R A W I N E C O M PA N Y Cnr Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road Lyneham ACT 2602 Tel 02 6262 2333 Email Web Open 10am-5pm 7 Days

KYEEMA WINES 2918 Barton Highway, Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Tel 0407 913 912 Email Web Open Mail Order only


The thing I love about Sue is that she and David have an almost organic approach to their vine growing. She uses a lot of things like mulch and she’s dabbled in biodynamics. I think that’s great that they know they have to protect the ongoing welfare of the vineyard.” LARK HILL WINES Lark Hill wines are recognised for their pristine fruit and clear varietal definition. Enjoy a wine tasting with the winemakers, or stroll through the vineyard where there really are larks singing on high. Pictured above: David, Sue and Chris Carpenter

AND CAFÉ 810 Norton Road, Wamboin NSW 2620 Tel 02 6238 3866 Email Web Open Tasting and sales 10am–5pm Friday to Sunday and public holidays

LARK HILL WINES 521 Bungendore Road, Bungendore NSW 2621 Tel 02 6238 1393 Email Web Open 10am-5pm daily except Tuesday

L O NG R A I L G U L LY W I N E S PO Box 141 Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Tel 02 6226 8190 Email Open 10am-5pm Saturday, Sunday or by appointment

MADEW WINES “Westering” Federal Highway Lake George NSW 2581 Tel 02 4848 0026 Email Web Open 10am-5pm Wednesday to Sunday

M OU N T M A J U R A V I N EYA R D RMB 314 Majura Road Majura ACT 2609 Tel 02 6262 3070 Email Web Open 10am-5pm Sunday and long weekends


But don’t stop there... Discover more Canberra Region wineries with the help of the Canberra District Wine Guidee and its comprehensive wine map. Pick up a copy from the Canberra and Region Visitors’ Centre just north of the city on Northbourne Avenue (Federal Highway), or download a copy from The website also has details of wine tours (by coach, car or helicopter) and wine events including Wine, Roses and All That Jazz (11-13 November), Harvest Festival (1-2 March) and the Fireside Festival (August). RF

Patemans Lane, Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Sales 1 300 302 292 email Web Open Mail Order only

T A L L AG A N D R A H I L L 1692 Murrumbateman Road, Gundaroo NSW 2620 Tel 02 6236 8029 Email Web Open 10am-5pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays


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OR A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS of Italian kids growing up in Queanbeyan, the taste of a Carbone’s loaf was the taste of bread. Their mothers sought out the loaves from Signora Carbone’s wood-fired oven, shunning the white sliced bread most Anglo families consumed. Now Dominic Carbone carries on the family tradition and the demand for his bread extends well beyond the Italian community.


HE LOAVES IN THOSE DAYS were all big” Dominic remembers. “A big family needs a big loaf of bread. Now with the kids grown, we’re doing mostly smaller loaves.” The plain white paper bags have a simple stamp that says the ingredients of Dom’s bread are Flour, Yeast, Salt and Water. There are no additives. It’s bread that has to be eaten fresh. Each day another fresh baked loaf. The stamp on the bag also gives the bakery address. Wickerslack Lane, Queanbeyan. The lane is a long narrow sealed road that was once a lot more remote from the now encroaching edges of town. On a dog-leg at the end, there’s a modern building that houses the large domed ovens, and it smells good as you approach. The Carbone business began with a brick oven in the family back yard. Initially, it was used to make bread for themselves, then a loaf or two for neighbours and friends. Its popularity grew through word of mouth and, when Dom’s father injured his back in the building trade, they began to bake commercially. Everything was done by hand, Dom remembers. His parents started their day at 2am and worked through until 3pm. “They mixed the dough by hand, let it rest to rise and then baked it in the brick oven. Because it was wood-fired, just keeping the oven going all the time was a big job.” These days the machinery and equipment has changed but the basic techniques are the same. Dom’s four ovens are gas-fired, but a couple of times a week he stokes up the wood fire inside and when it dies down, makes a second loaf. Called Dom’s Wood Fired it has a thinner crisper crust and a different texture from the slightly denser Carbone product. It’s still a family affair. His two brothers are involved in the business and various nieces and nephews come in on Saturday morning (the busiest day of the week)

to help dust off the flour on the bottom of the loaves, and pack the bread into paper bags. Dom is the baker, though. He learned the tricks of the trade from his mother and says it has taken years to perfect the art. “You have to leave the dough for just the right amount of time and mix it the right way… it’s not just about reading a recipe book” he says. Talking to him while he works means that you follow someone moving constantly. He pitches a handful of flour onto the brick floored oven, checks back to see how quickly it goes brown, adds heat or cuts it, sprays water from a hose to humidify the air inside. He tells stories of one apprentice’s lack of attention and having to throw out dozens of loaves. He also tells of a visit from a relative in Italy who instead

Dominic Carbone bakes commercially six days out of seven. But he puts his own name to the produce of his wood-fired oven. of approving his adherence to tradition, berated him saying ‘Dom, we don’t do it that old fashioned way anymore back home’. Dom’s ‘day off’ is Sunday. He bakes only a few regular bread loaves, but creates dozens of special focaccias, some with fetta and sun-dried tomato, olive and herbs. He tries different combinations. These he sells from a stall at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra. “It’s great” he says. “I talk to the people I bake for, they tell me what they like. If I sell out, I get to go home early. Otherwise I swap my leftover bread for other stall holders’ produce.” There would have been a time when the village markets were always like that. I don’t suppose they do it like that ‘back home’ anymore. RF


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story by Phil Selby. photographs by Aurore Harden.

W HAT I K NOW A B OUT FO O D I could write down on one side of a napkin. If I owned any napkins. But I know about pubs. And so, armed with a notebook, a parching thirst, and a designated driver named Holly, I set out to discover regional pubs in Capital Country. By the time we were through, we’d have all learnt a little more about those stony-faced, colonial ancestors of ours, and the places they would drink away their sepia-toned scowls. 60


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The Gundaroo Colonial Inn (top) and the Bushranger (below).

UN D A R O O . It’s a quaint little town, with a relaxed country air, and friendly, smiling locals. But there’s a tragic past behind those smiles. You see, for 80 odd years—all the way up until 1995—Gundaroo was a town with no beer. The only pub in town for a long time – what is now the Gundaroo Colonial Inn – was actually a wine bar, and held a liquor license that allowed the sale of spirits, wine and cider… but no beer. What sort of town must it have been? Those poor men. I mean, come on… cider? Were the residents all teenage girls? Thankfully, the Gundaroo Colonial Inn now sells beer, so I ordered a round for myself and my travelling companions and took a brief stroll around the establishment. Inside, the pub is divided into Crowe’s Restaurant (a reference to its notorious past as Crowe’s Wine Bar) and the Star Saloon Bar. The restaurant is a small but cozy affair, with a roaring fire and a few small tables. At the tables sit beanie-clad couples, mostly Sunday drivers from Canberra, escaping from their bigger country town to visit a smaller one. Through a door from the restaurant is the Star Saloon Bar. The owners have been renovating for some time now, using a variety of timbers ranging from Black Butt to Yellow Box. You can’t help but notice the beautiful natural-form Iron Bark bar; it’s practically art. Speaking of art, there are a number of colourful paintings by local artist Michael Fitch on display—and for sale—throughout the pub. After chatting with the friendly bar person, I learned that Michael Fitch was only in his mid-thirties and in perfectly good health, so I decided it wasn’t the investment I was looking for. They’re nice paintings… but I prefer my artists old and sickly. On the menu at the Gundaroo Colonial Inn, you’ll find good bistro-style pub food, including burgers, steaks, fish and chicken mains, as well as light meals like breads and dips, steak sandwiches and more. After lunch, it was time to move on. I said goodbye to the bar staff and asked them to call me at any time if Michael Fitch took a turn for the worse.



E A R RIVED in Collector without, to the best of my knowledge, any of us shooting anybody. But not everyone in this tiny town’s history was as polite as we were. On January 26, 1862, Ben Hall and his gang swept into the quiet town of Collector, taking prisoners and holding them hostage in the Bushranger Hotel (then


known as Kimberley’s Inn). Only one man stood to foil the Hall Gang’s plans—Constable Samuel Nelson, the lone policeman in Collector. Perhaps due to loneliness brought on by not having any other policemen to talk to, Constable Nelson had been drinking heavily the night before, and was in no fit shape for a gun battle. With a monster hangover, he bravely marched up the road to confront the town’s assailants. Sadly, Constable Nelson had not even fired his weapon when a gang member made the poor policeman’s aching head considerably worse by shooting a hole in it. With events like this taking place in and around the Bushranger Hotel, it seems the old building has been left supernaturally “charged”. After ordering a beer, I had a bit of a chat with the owner of the hotel, a friendly bloke by the name of Bill. He shared with me just a few of the strange events that have transpired.

 While reading in the lounge room, a voice whispers in his ear… but he is alone in the room. What the ghost whispers, I didn’t ask. But I’m guessing it was “I’m onto the next page, hurry up”.

 A woman in red has been seen walking through walls… even in the toilets. Well if I’m going to have the crap scared out of me, I suppose that’s rather convenient.


Bill and his wife took over the pub, light globes all over the hotel were blowing. Apparently this happens for a week whenever new owners move in.

 Hysterical laughter has been heard emanating from empty rooms.

 People playing pool have had their pool cue pushed and pulled while trying to take a shot. Personally, I reckon “It was the ghost’s fault” is a pretty poor excuse for losing a game of pool. If the ghosts don’t scare you, the stuffed kangaroo in the corridor near the toilets will. The mummified marsupial has apparently been a guest of the pub for around 40 years… and he’s showing his age. But it’s curiosities just like this that makes a regional pub like the Bushranger so special. Old Skip, he’s an air-dried emblem of Australia. If, like Old Skip, you’re all skin and bones, then you ought to tuck into a hearty meal like the counter meals served at the Bushranger. From Wednesdays to Sundays, there’s a lunch and dinner bistro menu. Think pizzas, steaks, BLTs, burgers, calamari, salads, and a mixed grill with more cooked meat than a burned-down butcher’s. On Saturday nights, the hotel’s upmarket eatery—The Colegdar Restaurant—offers an A la Carte menu. The Bushranger Hotel offers guest accommodation. Following renovations, the upstairs accommodation section is pleasant and clean, yet still strongly retains


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its colonial identity, with winding stairwells, creaking floorboards and narrow hallways. And if you’re feeling extra ballsy, then consider spending the night in the attic; it’s one of the more haunted parts of the building. Just pack spare undies. On a final note, you may notice something strange across the road from the Bushranger; it’s called “The Dreamer’s Gate”. Loved and hated in equal parts by the locals, it was constructed by an enigmatic artist named Tony Phantasies, who, before finishing his masterpiece, left town—most probably pursued by a mob wielding torches and pitchforks. How can I describe The Dreamer’s Gate? Imagine Satan got into installation art. And he really sucked at it.



BV I OU S LY Ben Hall and his gang didn’t rob ALL the pubs in the Southern Tablelands. After all, everybody needs a local, and Ben Hall’s local was a pub that is today known as The Loaded Dog in the town of Tarago. This pub was an infamous safe house for the bushranging community. In fact, there’s even a rumour that some bushranger’s loot may still be stashed somewhere on site (the owners today may tell you it’s ‘hidden’ in the several poker machines in the gaming room). We arrived to find the bar area itself is quite small, and that we had also arrived in time for the evening rush of locals. We got a few stares as we entered, though not threatening ones. We were simply being checked out, probably because it was half time on the telly and there was nothing else to look at. Eventually their interest waned. We ordered some drinks, but alas, there was nowhere to sit. Next door was a beautiful dining room with an open fireplace. This was more like it; the perfect hideaway from a cold winter’s day in the country. In this room you can enjoy counter meals from the Loaded Dog’s bistro-style menu - food tastes just that little bit better in surroundings like these. We were unable to try any of the food on offer, however, as the kitchen was not yet open for dinner (FYI, counter dinners are served daily, and counter lunches are served on weekends or by appointment). The bushrangers may have gone, but a sense of mischief remains. Just ask our photographer, Aurore. She attracted the attention of some of the locals as she snapped away, and was unexpectedly serenaded by a hefty looking bloke with a rousing performance of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”. If the chap in question hadn’t pulled up his shirt to expose his sizeable beer gut for the duration of the performance, it might well have been one of the most romantic things I’d ever seen.

T H E R OYA L H O T E L BUNGENDORE, NSW E X T S TO P : The Royal in Bungendore. I’d been here once before some years earlier. It was practically a TAB shopfront back then, and I remember losing a bit of money on the dogs that day. The dogs I chose seemed to like coming last. In fact, the only thing missing from the dogs I chose was an old woman leading them by a leash. But I continued to lose and drink and bet and lose and shout at the telly all evening and, to be honest, it was loads of fun. That’s what the Royal used to be like. Big boofy blokes betting on the horses and the dish-lickers. You’d have a few coldies, have a yarn with your big boofy mates and when you got hungry, you could have some of Bev the owner’s home cooking. It was just so bloody Aussie. Of course, that’s not a bad thing... it’s just that when you see the place now, after the extensive renovations undertaken by more recent owners, you realise this great old building had so much more to offer. Nowadays, The Royal has a bit of something for everyone. There are plenty of places to sit, which was a relief after the close confines of the Loaded Dog’s bar area (bigger town, bigger bar, I suppose). Take your pick of the Royal’s front bar, back bar, beer garden, lounges, or restaurant. There’s even a kid’s playground to keep your kids distracted whilst you play a game of pool or just flop on a lounge by the fireplace. While Bev’s cooking was certainly not without its charms, the food on offer at the Royal today is a lot different. Thanks to the opening of the restaurant – Harvest - in the rear of the building, you’ll be ordering dishes like goat’s cheese, roasted capsicum and spinach tartlet on a salsa verde, slow roasted lamb shanks, or even homemade venison and roast parsnip pie. The old pub favourites are still there, of course; I was in a bangers ‘n’ mash mood, and they were happy to oblige. The Royal may have modernized, but you know you’re still in a country pub when the chef brings out a complimentary tray of cooked sausages, plonks it on your table and says “Pass ‘em around guys,” before returning to the kitchen. It’s a nice touch that makes you feel less like an “outsider”. And who’d have thought it, but presenting someone with a giant tray of cooked meat is actually a great conversation starter. So there you have it. Four terrific pubs in one day. Without a doubt, the most rewarding pub crawl I have ever been on. Now that it’s over, I think I finally understand why everyone in those old photographs always looked so surly; with great pubs like these in your town, you’d be constantly hungover too. R F


The Loaded Dog (top) and the Royal Hotel (below).

The Gundaroo Colonial Inn Cork Street, Gundaroo NSW (02) 6236 8155

The Bushranger Hotel 24 Church St, Collector NSW (02) 4848 0071

The Loaded Dog Hotel Braidwood Rd, Tarago Lake Bathurst NSW (02) 4849 4499

The Royal Hotel 31 Gibraltar Street, Bungendore NSW (02) 6238 1219


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History Introduced for sport by would-be country squires, rabbits soon became the scourge of Australian farmers. But during tough times, their very abundance helped keep people alive.

plag ague or

F A message on the back of the lorry on the next page says: “Dear Reg, just a card of the lorry I am Driving now With rabbits 2500 pairs From your loving Brother in law Will Gourlay.”” and “Snowie as (sic) left Malones and driving this lorrie I am sending you and getting a good pay.” The truck was a Fiat owned by H.Waters, Moruya.


I V E TA M E R A B B I TS arrived in Australia with the First Fleet. The ones that did the damage, however, were the English wild rabbits mported by people like Thomas Austin of Barwon Park, near Geelong, in an endeavour to create English gentlemen’s estates in the colonies. Austin imported his rabbits in 1859; by the 1870s, the colonies were passing rabbit control laws and the rabbit was officially a pest. The first wild rabbits were reported in the Braidwood area in the 1880s and all early methods of eradication proved futile. It was a dilemma for the landholders. They needed the rabbits kept down, but men made such a good living as rabbiters that it drove up the cost of agricultural labour. The rabbiters sold the carcasses to canning works. Canned rabbit was even exported, although this had its problems. In 1878 passengers on one voyage had to endure an appalling stench when 20,000 cans of rabbits exploded in the heat of the Red Sea. There had to be a better way to “bring the swarming and devastating legions of Australian rabbits and the red lane of English throats together”. In 1875, Thomas Sutcliffe Mort had successfully completed works for the freezing of meat for export. From the 1890s onwards, freezing works were established in country towns. Rabbits from the Braidwood Refrigeration Company could be landed by rail in Sydney in good condition, even after going by

pl enty

road to Tarago. Bungendore also had a freezing works and the advantage of the railway coming through the town. The price being offered at the time was sixpence a pair (why rabbits always seemed to be sold in pairs remains a mystery). During the depression years of the 1890s, many relied on rabbiting to feed their families. The trade continued to offer the working man a good return. The Braidwood Review wrote in 1907 “Hundreds of people find remunerative employment in the industry who would otherwise be obliged to accept the starvation rate of wages hitherto offered by the great majority of land monopolists.” In the 1930s, when the great depression threw many out of work, rabbiting again helped people survive. When it was discovered that rabbit fur could be felted to make hats, the price of skins began to exceed the price of carcasses. The meat trade declined. The introduction of myxamotosis in the 1950s put paid to the wholesale trade in wild rabbits for meat. The meat that was once the prerogative of English country squires and sporting gentlemen retains, for many older Australians, an association with grinding poverty and desperate times. Many younger Australians have simply never eaten it. However, the farmed rabbit of today is a far cry from the stringy survivors that ate the pastures from under the sheep and cattle. Maybe it’s time to let bygones be bygones. R F


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Master Class


A N G UN D LACH RUN S the Flavours Culinary Centre situated in Canberra’s Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets. He served his apprenticeship twentyy five years ago in Germany and was certified a Master Chef in 1986. He was awarded a MICHELIN star in his first Chef de Cuisine position a year later. He started the Flavours Culinary Centre two years ago and runs cooking classes, demonstrations, corporate functions and has built a lively food and wine community around the impeccably-designed centre. We asked Jan to show us how to joint a rabbit, and to offer us a recipe.

First catch your rabbit If you purchase your rabbit at your friendly butcher’s, he will probably cut them into pieces for you. It’s easy enough to do yourself, just a bit more fiddly than cutting up a chicken.

Start by removing the large back legs, cutting through the hip joint. Remove the front legs. You can debone these if you prefer. Slit along the bone with a sharp knife and peel the meat back.

Open the carcase and remove the kidneys, and just a bit of the fat around them. Separate the two belly flaps from the backbone. There are two small tender ‘saddle’ strips along the backbone that come off easily.

Recipe The Best of Rabbit, Natural Jus w i t h S a f f r o n & B r a i s e d Ve g e t a b l e s Ingredients 1 rabbit, portioned into leg, shoulder, belly flaps, loin and kidneys 3 medium onions

White peppercorns to season 4 small Roma tomatoes, halved and de-seeded 1 red bell pepper, cut into

1 bulb garlic, halved 8 sprigs thyme 1 sprig rosemary 3 sprigs oregano 60g extra virgin olive oil Murray River salt to season 1g saffron

large squares 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large squares 2 zucchini, cut into paysanne (cubed) 4 trimmed button artichokes ½ litre rabbit stock (or use chicken stock)

Method Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Break rabbit into its parts as shown. If you wish, partially de-bone shoulders and legs. Sear justsalted shoulder and legs in heavy pre-heated roasting pan or skillet until golden. Sear loin and kidneys, keep aside.

 Add peeled onions, cut vegetables, garlic, herbs and

saffron to the rabbit. Add additional drizzle of olive oil and the rabbit stock to just cover all ingredients and to allow for braising.

 Braise rabbit for 15 minutes in pre-heated oven. Turn This recipe doesn’t use the ribs but don’t waste them. Chop down with a heavy knife and cut the rib section into pieces and use it for making stock.

Assemble the ingredients, saffron, peppercorns, herbs, onion and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt. Follow recipe at right.

Keep the the meat and braised vegetables warm while you reduce the stock. Combine in a warmed deep plate and serve immediately.

ingredients after 15 minutes so the tops of the rabbit pieces don’t dry out. Add loin and kidneys, braise for another five to eight minutes.

 Remove pan from oven, drain the delicious broth into a

2 litre pot and reduce on top of the stove to about 50% of the original quantity. This will intensify the taste and richness of the liquid that eventually becomes rich saffron and herb infused natural jus. Keep the meat and vegetable composition in the switched-off oven and covered with foil until jus is perfected. Transfer ingredients to a large deep serving platter.

 Serve with lemon, plain or mushroom polenta, garlic

forchette potatoes or freshly roasted slices of olive oil perfumed bread.

Serves Two Recipe courtesy of Jan Gundlach


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going to grazing country. And although the local tourism people frown on the word ‘cold’ (the official substitute is ‘crisp’) there’s no denying the early mornings can be chilly. But then, you can’t have cool-climate wines without a cool climate, now can you?


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Travel the food trail


NDULGE US for a moment. Imagine that Canberra doesn’t exist and let us suggest a regional food and wine experience that ignores the capital’s many fine restaurants. Pretend that the five-star luxury of the Hyatt Hotel Canberra is on another planet and look for accommodation that comes with a quirkier, more personal touch.


ur trail includes bits of the major highways, but also takes you along some of the back roads that are more scenic and less hectic. The best time to do it is on weekends, because many of the wineries and restaurants you’ll encounter along this route aren’t open early in the week. If you’re planning to visit mid-week you might find fine-dining choices a bit thin on the ground. In that case, a mercy dash into the capital to somewhere like Waters Edge, Axis or The Ginger Room is always a possibility – or you can generally find tasty food at the local pub. Unless you’re heading up from the New South Wales South Coast, you’ll approach via one of the area’s substantial towns, Goulburn, Yass or Queanbeyan. Each of these has its own attractions, but we’re not talking about towns here. We’re concentrating on villages. Smaller, friendlier, easier to come to grips with. Start your tour in Braidwood, work your

Oven roasted garlic, Grazing restaurant


way up through Bungendore and the Lake George wineries to Collector, head off through grazing country to Gundaroo then on to the Murrumbateman and Hall wine districts. Or do it the other way round. Other villages that could be worth side trips include Captain’s Flat, Gunning and Tarago. Along the way you’ll find a number of excellent restaurants including two, Lynwood Café at Collector and Grazing at Gundaroo, we feature this issue. Our village-by-village guide has plenty of suggestions on where to eat, where to stay and where to buy local produce.



F COURSE, you can’t spend all day eating and drinking. Well, not every day. There’s a lot more to do and see in the area. Most of the villages have a variety of antique shops, gift shops and galleries, many exhibiting local crafts. The towns themselves have much longer histories than

Canberra and there are many fine old buildings to explore. Scenery? The route from Bungendore to Collector takes you past the mysterious Lake George. Local legends say that it fills and empties at opposite times to a lake in Peru. Or, some say, New Zealand or Tasmania. More likely, the fluctuations in level are simply because it’s a shallow lake, so cycles of drought and rainfall have a dramatic effect. Elsewhere, National Parks near Braidwood have good walks and picnic spots and the Brindabella Ranges offer a scenic backdrop to your wine-tasting in the Hall area. If your getaways don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that swing, you’ll find ninehole golf courses in Braidwood and Gunning (and a number of very impressive ones in Canberra, but we won’t go there, will we?). There’s excellent stream fishing in the Braidwood area, too, and winter rains mean the streams are actually flowing again. RF

Char-grilling capsicums for Lynwood Preserves’ chutneys


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Our Capital region Getting there Both Qantas and Virgin Blue fly to Canberra via Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Only Qantas flies via Sydney. There is a Countrylink rail service from Sydney (times vary depending on the day) and coaches from Sydney and Melbourne. If you’re driving, it’s an easy three hours from Sydney with divided road all the way. It’s about eight hours from Melbourne, including stops. Qantas 13 1313 Virgin Blue 13 6789 Countrylink 13 2232 Murrays Coaches 13 2251

Getting around

Vital statistics

The capital region is about 300km from Sydney and 700km from Melbourne and is part of the southern tablelands of New South Wales. It’s high — more than 500m above sea level—and because it’s inland the weather tends more to extremes than on the coast. Winter days typically start with a frost, then become gloriously sunny with temperatures around 12-14°C. Spring is often windy and showery, summers are dry and hot (up to 40°C) and autumn, perhaps the best season of all, is usually calm and clear. The area has more hours of sunshine each year than Melbourne, Sydney or even the Gold Coast.


To explore these villages, you’ll need a car. If you’re not bringing your own, the usual car rental firms have offices in Canberra city and at the airport. If you’re planning on extensive wine-sampling, there are winery tours available, so you can partake freely without worrying about the driving. Hertz 13 3039 Avis 13 6333 Europcar 13 1390 Thrifty 13 6139

Forewarned is forearmed If you’re driving at night, slow down and look out for wildlife on the roads. Kangaroos are common, even close to the city, and you see the occasional wombat. If you come across injured wildlife, call Wildcare on 6299 1966.

Don’t forget to pack An Esky in the boot. Handy forr loading up with produce during ingg the day and keeping the wine ne cold for picnics.


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Braidwood Where to stay Top of the range is probably Mona Luxury Country Villa and Country Estate, a restored mansion that was originally built for Braidwood’s first miller. Another upmarket choice is The Doncaster Inn, where they also run a school for butlers. So if you feel like being buttled, go when the school is running. The Snow Lion B&B is highly recommended or, if you fancy sleeping in a former gaol cell, try the Old Courthouse at Araluen, an old gold-rush town nearby.

Len Mutton & Co store, Braidwood Main Street


LTHOUGH this isn’t a one-street town, its remarkable goldrush era main street is what sets it apart. There’s a lot of political bickering about preservation vs. development in Braidwood but, whatever the outcome, it’s unlikely that this strip of heritage buildings will be allowed to moulder away. The whole town is classified by the National Trust. The district was settled in the late 1820s, the town site surveyed in 1839 and the town named after one of the first landholders, Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson. In 1851, gold was discovered, changing the character of the town completely. As with other gold rush towns, Chinese miners had a significant influence on the culture of the day. Sydney’s first successful Chinese businessman, Quong Tart, grew up in Braidwood and went on to overcome the prejudices of Federation-era ‘White Australia’ society.

Bedervale Historic Homestead 02 4842 2421, Braidwood Colonial Motel (Motel) ( 02 4842 2027 Braidwood Country B & B ((Bed & Breakfast) 02 4842 2577 Cedar Lodge Motel (Motel) ( 02 4842 2244 Commercial Hotel (Hotel) ( 02 4842 2529 Curraweena Lavender Farm ((Bed & Breakfast) 02 4842 2800 Doncaster Inn (Boutique Hotel) 02 4842 2356, Mona Luxury Country Villa 02 4842 1288, Royal Mail Hotel (Hotel) 02 4842 2488, Snow Lion (Bed & Breakfast) 02 4842 2023 The Old Courthouse, Araluen (Homestay) ( 02 4846 4053, Torpy’s Guesthouse & Motel 02 4842 2551,

Braidwood’s beautiful heritage verandahs


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Braidwood What to do

Where to eat

Where to shop

If you want to get out of town and get active, the rugged mountain ranges, wild rivers, forests and “off the beaten track” territory around Braidwood are an invitation to adventure. The Morton, Monga and Deua National Parks are within easy reach. If bushwalking is too tame, there’s rockclimbing, abseiling, caving and canoeing. There’s trout and fresh water fishing on the Shoalhaven and Mongarlowe Rivers and in various streams. In season, visit nearby Araluen either for the blossom on thousands of fruit trees, or for their produce. Harrison & Sons Orchard, Araglen, offers peaches, nectarines and other stone fruits from midNovember to mid-February. In town, the Braidwood Museum, run by the local Historical Society, is worth visiting. Located in a former hotel, it has the original kitchens and dairy and an interesting section on the Chinese influence in Braidwood. See the Braidwood Visitor Information Centre located in the National Theatre on Wallace Street for more on the historical buildings and sites to visit. The theatre itself still runs movies and shows on occasion, the only nightlife on offer besides the pubs and the RSL.

There is a dearth of serious night-time restaurants in Braidwood. The Criterion serves modern Australian food, first described to us by a local as “high food —you know, everything stacked up”. The deli does a damn fine luncheon assortment (see opposite) and offers plenty of local produce to take home. A number of cafes do good coffee and cake (try Café’s Albion or Altenburg). The Royal Café looks like your traditional Aussie caff, but also does a good line in Thai food. They even have Thai breakfasts!

This is one of those towns where you want to wander and browse. Often you can combine eating and shopping: Jacksons on Wallace has a connecting door to the Café Albion and Café Altenburg has a gift shop at the front and a courtyard café at the back. If you need a nice set of 50s plastic canisters, don’t miss the retro treasures at Sugden & Hamilton in Wallace Street. Braidwood has a thing for quilts. If you do too, you’ll find lots of supplies at the Braidwood Quilt Shop. We were fascinated by Len Mutton & Co, a country store that’s been operated by the same family since 1910. Other intriguing stores offer old kero and oil lamps, stoneware pottery, fruit wines or old-fashioned lollies. A village market is held next to the Bakery, usually on the fourth Saturday of each month.

‘Araglen’ Araluen 02 4846 4017 Braidwood Golf Course 02 4842 2108 Braidwood Visitor Information Centre 02 4842 1144 National Parks & Wildlife 02 4423 2170


Braidwood Bakery Daily to 6pm, 02 4842 2541 Braidwood Countryside Diner Weekdays to 6pm, weekends to 7pm 02 4842 2257 Braidwod Deli Closed Tuesdays, 02 4842 1201 Cafe Albion Open daily except Thursday, dinner Fridays, 02 4842 2831 Cafe Altenburg 10am to 5pm every day, dinner Friday & Saturday, 02 4842 2077 Cafe Caboodle Breakfast and lunch daily, 02 4842 2346 Criterion Restaurant Lunch daily, dinner Friday to Sunday, 02 4842 2013 Eureka Woodfired Pizzeria Daily 5pm to 9pm, Tuesday & Wednesday takeaway only, 02 4842 2831 Pitstop Café Open to 7pm weekdays, later on weekends, 02 4842 2809 Grapevine Café 7.30am to 7pm weekdays, longer hours weekends, 02 4842 2125 Pigge Outte & Runn Lunch Friday to Monday, dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday, 02 4842 2395 Royal Café Daily until 5pm, later on weekends, 02 4842 2414

Major events One of Braidwood’s more unusual events is the Quilt Festival, held each November. Colourful quilts are displayed from every available balcony during the spectacular ‘Airing of the Quilts’. Also in November, Music at the Creek folk festival draws quite a crowd to Majors Creek, 10 minutes from Braidwood. Their website promises ‘more toilets this year’, which we’re sure will be a relief to all concerned. The Braidwood Cup in February is the big event on the local racing calendar and hard on its heels comes the Braidwood Show. Music at the Creek 11-13 November 2005 Quilt Festival 25-27 November 2005 (Airing of the Quilts, 25 November) 4843 2355 Braidwood Cup. Early February Braidwood Show. March Heritage Celebrations. April


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The Baker and the Braidwood Deli and Café

The Baker

This is a family story



HEN HANS HOFFMAN the Braidwood Baker was featured in Saveur magazine’s Spring 2005 issue it led to a running joke. There were phone calls from the US to check facts, and everyone answering the phone would shout in exaggerated tones “It’s New York on the line.” When I wanted to take a photograph of Hans and his wife Mandy they suggested we use ‘The Saveur background’ of the old laundry door out the back of the otherwise modern bakery. How could this Saveur fan resist? Hans makes a good sourdough (and we liked his wholemeal cobs) but his main sales are pies, cakes and pastries. He despairs that the bread is ‘mere decoration’ and says that the wall of white sliced bread at the local supermarket (baked who knows where in Sydney), must be what people want and he can’t compete with them on price. He has however invested heavily in new temperature controlled proving equipment in the hope that he’s eventually wrong, and that the city bread buyers’ swing to sourdough and good bread, made fresh, will trickle through to this country village. R F James McKay

HE STORY of a Welsh-born family who migrated in dribs and drabs to Australia, eventually grew tired of city life in Sydney and, pooling their resources, ended up with a business in Braidwood. Margaret and Robert Watkins-Sully, with their son Garry and daughter Gina (a qualified chef) took over the lease on a rundown deli and café in August 2002. From the beginning, they worked out that it was the more unusual items that sold. There’s a good supermarket in town and they couldn’t compete on the everyday items. They were throwing cheese out. “So we decided that we’d sell some more expensive ones, like imported English Stilton and found it sold really well. We’ve now got a huge local following,” Garry said. I commented that the Braidwood locals were a different crowd from most small towns. There are artists, crafts people, and professional people who were attracted to this heritage town as a beautiful place to live. “Oh yes, very different. So we do well from that, but we couldn’t exist without the holidays and weekend crowds, they’re Canberra people. And they become like

locals; about eighty percent of them are regulars and we get to know them.” As well as everyone in the family working in the shop, they have four staff. Robert does all the baking so he spends more time out of the shop, and he is building a house. Because they were all born in Wales you would expect a lot of traditional Cymraeg items. There’s a Welsh cake for example. It’s like a soft shortbread with sultanas through it, and Garry said that people come and buy ten packets at a time because it lasts well. “Every one in Wales has their own recipe” Garry says “and everyone’s mother makes the best one!” A lot of local people produce food goods on a small scale, so they come and get some jars from the deli because they buy in bulk. Garry helps them make computer printed labels. Then they give him some to sell. “We’d love to build a commercial kitchen and rent that out to people who need the standards and health issues to be covered. Even farmers have produce that they want to value add to, and it’s not worth them building their own kitchen.” Continued page 116


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Bungendore Where to stay Bungendore has an excellent B&B The Old Stone House 02 6238 1888 www.the Otherwise you're really looking at hotel or motel-style accommodation. For a bit of difference stay at the recently renovated Royal Hotel, you can eat downstairs at the above-average Harvest restaurant then sit on the upstairs verandah and watch the CWA ladies arrive for their meetings next door. The quality one is The Old Carrington Inn, once a coaching stop. It is a Bungendore institution, popular with wedding and conference groups. The Budget Motel is clean and cheap.

The Royal Hotel—home of Harvest restaurant


OUNDED IN 1837, Bungendore has associations with both saints and sinners. The ‘gentleman bushranger’ William Westwood, aka Jacky Jacky, frequented the area and was once held in custody in a room next to the post office. He escaped. A more welcome visitor was Sister Mary McKillop, whose order founded a convent here in 1891. Mary McKillop visited several times. Bungendore has two main streets. Kings Highway runs through the middle of town and is the ‘tourist’ street. The real main street is one block further north, where you’ll find the pubs, the café where the locals hang out, the supermarket and the Bungendore Butcher. The town doesn’t have the same picturesque qualities as Braidwood. There are many lovely old buildings, including the railway station and the police station, but they’re interspersed with some architectural horrors. For many years, Bungendore was the rail head, making it a centre of local commerce. One of our favourite stories concerns the visiting Duke of Gloucester who, in 1934, was trying to sleep in the royal rail car near the Bungendore goods shed. He was disturbed by the constant croaking of the resident frogs (maybe they were Irish republican frogs – Bungendore has a strong Irish heritage). Local boys were hired to throw stones at the frogs to allow the Duke his rest. 76

( Bungendore Harp Hotel/Motel (Hotel) 02 6238 1260 Bungendore Motel ((Budget motel) 02 6238 1037 Royal Hotel Bungendore ((Historic hotel) 02 6238 1219 The Old Carrington Inn ((Motel & Inn) 02 6238 1044,

Bungendore, circa 1901

St Phillips church in autumn mode


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The Duke was disturbed by the constant croaking of the resident frogs, so local boys were hired to throw stones at them all night to allow him his rest

What to do Bungendore is your jumping-off point for the wineries of Lake George. Heading out of town you climb up through Smith’s Gap (look back for a lovely view of the valley). Lark Hill, Afflecks, Milimani and Lamberts are around ten minutes from town. On your way you’ll pass Nuts About Bungendore, with farm-fresh hazelnuts and chestnuts available in season. You can pick your own chestnuts, Saturdays and Sundays from mid-March to early May. A drive to the south east from Bungendore brings you to Captain’s Flat. Located in a pretty valley, Captain’s Flat is a mining town. Gold was discovered there in the 1880s and you can still pan for gold in the Molonglo River. Copper, lead and zinc were also mined until 1962. The imposing pub dates from the 1930s and boasts the longest bar in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an interesting little town with a museum, a few crafty shops, a good café and, of course, the pub.

Where to eat Not actually in Bungendore, but close by, Lambert’s Vineyard is the standout in the area. Seasonal menus and a deft touch by chef Michael Stride produce some memorable moments. The setting, high on the escarpment with views over the vineyard and hills, is lovely and the open fire warms up the attractive, modern room. Elsewhere, you can eat surrounded by antiques at the Old Carrington Inn, Beetlenutt does wood-fired pizza, and modern food and is famous for its laksa. The newish Harvest at the Royal Hotel has some high spots (and very reasonable prices). The best cup of coffee in town is at the Woodworks Café. Arté Café Wednesday to Sunday 9 to 5, Thursday to Saturday dinner, 02 6238 1175 Beetlenutt Sunday lunch, Wednesday to Sunday dinner, 02 6238 0999 Gib Street Café Open daily, all-day breakfast, lunch, snacks, 02 6238 1088

Garden of Eden Café Open early every day, breakfast, snacks, lunches, 02 6238 0008 Harvest, Royal Hotel Open daily for lunch and dinner 02 6238 1219 Heritage on the Square Pizza, family dining, open 9am until late 7 days, 02 6238 1404 Lamberts Vineyard Friday to Sunday lunch, Thursday to Saturday dinner, 02 6238 3866 Mandarin Chinese Restaurant Saturday & Sunday lunch, Tuesday to Sunday dinner, 02 6238 0992 Old Carrington Inn Lunch weekends & holidays, dinner every night, 02 6238 1044 Woodworks Café Daily 9 to 5, dinner Friday, 02 6238 1688

Where to shop Again, there are lots of antique shops, gift shops and galleries. The must-see in Bungendore is the Woodworks Gallery. Don’t expect cheap knick-knacks; from simple bowls and platters to substantial furniture, these are beautiful pieces and priced accordingly. The exterior of Bloomfield Galleries and Odana Editions is painted in colours that would make a tyre retailer blush, but inside they have lovely Norman Lindsay, Frank Hinder and Alasdair McGregor etchings, prints and more. X Gallery, next door to the Royal Hotel, is a tiny treasurehouse of designer Xanthe’s jewellery, glass and quirky homewares. Bungendore Books is a vast second-hand book store that’s great for browsing and the manager is something of a walking history book himself, full of tales from Bungendore’s past. Bungendore markets happen on the third Sunday of every month in the Memorial Hall. If you want to stock up for a picnic, try Biscotti’s for good Italian bread (they sell Dom’s) and deli items including Snowy Mountains smoked trout. Pasquali’s, next door, has fresh fruit and veg and stocks local produce in season.

Weerewa dance event on the dry bed of Lake George. Kyoko Sato and Elizabeth Cameron-Dalman (right)

Major events The three highlights of the Bungendore social calendar are the rodeo in October, the Bungendore Show on the last weekend in January and the Country Muster music festival (a sort of mini-Tamworth) on the first weekend in February. The Country Muster incorporates the Bush Poet’s Breakfast (a hoot and well worth getting up for) and a busking competition that makes doing your Saturday shopping a cacophonous experience. On a different plane altogether, the Weereewa – Festival of Lake George is an arts extravaganza that takes place every two to three years. The next one is scheduled for 2006. Bungendore Rodeo 30 October 2005, 02 6238 1408 Bungendore Show 29 January 2006, 02 6238 1576 Bungendore Country Muster 3–5 February, 2006, 02 6238 1373 Weereewa Festival 25 March -2 April 2006, 02 6238 1130


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Collector 6 to 9pm, the bistro is open most days. The Lemon & Onion Cafe at the General Store is open weekends. Lynwood Café Friday to Sunday 10am-6pm, dinner Friday & Saturday, 02 4848 0200 grapefoodwine Wednesday to Sunday & Public Holidays 10am-5pm, 02 4848 0165 Bushranger Hotel Lunch & dinner Wednesday to Sunday, restaurant dinner Saturday, 02 4848 0071

What to see


OLLECTOR’S NAME sounds as though it should have a story behind it. What kind of collector could it be named after? Butterfly? Tax? In fact, the name is an anglicised version of an aboriginal word ‘colegdar’. The area was first settled by Europeans in 1829 and in 1837 a postal service began from Goulburn across the plains to Lake George and down to Yass. Collector developed as a staging post and once had five inns and several stores. These days, there’s just one of each.

Where to stay The pub is really your only option. They’ve recently renovated their rooms and offer comfortable accommodation at reasonable rates. Bushranger Hotel 02 4848 0071,

Where to eat Just outside Collector you’ll find grapefoodwine at the Madew Vineyard and in Collector itself you’ll find the famous Lynwood Café. In appearance,they couldn’t


be more different. grapefoodwine is an airy modern room with a huge fireplace, couches for lounging and views over the vines to Lake George. Lynwood inhabits a heritage house, long and low, with bumpy walls, smallish windows and an intimate cosiness. Both are well worth a visit. At Madew, you can preface your dining with a wine-tasting. At Lynwood, few people leave without a jar or two of the scrumptious Lynwood Preserves (try the Beer Chutney, a Regional Food favourite). The Bushranger’s restaurant opens on Saturday night and they keep country hours:

The drive up the Federal Highway to Collector takes you along the edge of Lake George (Weereewa). There’s a turn-off to a scenic lookout at the top of the hill, just before the road descends to the lakeshore. It’s a great view over the vast, 15,000 hectare lake. Until recently, it has looked more like a vast, 15,000 hectare sheep paddock, but recent rains have seen some water return. Locals have had to abandon the practice of taking short cuts across the lake-bed.

Shopping The best place to shop in Collector is Lynwood Café (see above note regarding preserves). They also have other goodies like locally produced cakes, sweets, ceramics and gifts. Lake George and Madew wineries are close by, for cellar door tastings and the odd bottle or case to take home. The Collector Gallery has just opened next to the pub, and the Collector Store has local produce and some craft items

Events The Pumpkin Festival is the big event in Collector, as you’ve no doubt gathered. Pumpkin Festival Sunday 7 May 2006 Madew Winery Watch out for special events at the winery such as their concerts, Opera by George and Theatre in the Vines. See


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Collector Village Pumpkin Festival OUR YEARS AGO, Robbie and Alan Howard, Joyce Wilkie and James and Kate McKay sat around a dinner table in the Southern Tablelands town of Collector. Kate is Robbie’s daughter and, along with husband James, had recently returned from grape picking a vintage in northern Italy’s Barolo wine area. They brought back stories of the Italian village festival tradition, including one of a pumpkin festival in Piozzo, a small town near Barolo in the Langhe region of Piedmont. From that dinner conversation, an idea for the Collector Village Pumpkin Festival was born. Collector has a population of around 200 people, and from that tiny base the idea drew tremendous enthusiasm. Robbie managed to whip up some pumpkin scones for a Council meeting and walked away with a cheque to get the ball rolling, and no doubt some bemused Councillors began wondering what they had committed to funding. Three years later, 6,000 people showed up on Sunday May 1st 2005 for the third Collector Village Pumpkin Festival, with many locals bemused by the sudden interest in their otherwise sleepy little town. Oh and the Councillors? They were falling over each other to get tickets to the Pumpkin Festival Ball and outbid each other at the charity auction.


O WHAT HAPPENED? None of us is really sure, but we do know the success of the Festival has a lot to do with its simplicity. Pumpkins are a wacky kind of vegetable that come in all shapes and sizes, generally cause no offence to anyone, and, as we found out, seem to have the capacity to fire imagination, enthusiasm and humour. In an age of industrialised and processed food, one way to rediscover the simple joy of planting, growing and eating food is to make it fun, and that is exactly what the Pumpkin Festival is all about: a bit of fun. Right from the start, from those early hastily formed meetings, the response of the local community, businesses, and even people from outside the area was

They brought back stories of the Italian village festival tradition, including one of a pumpkin festival in Piozzo

Photo by Martin Mischkulnig.


Community spirit is the key to success

overwhelming. Little did the committee know that in nearby Goulburn resided the famous ‘Pumpkin Joe’ Medway, a champion giant pumpkin grower. Thrilled to hear of a festival celebrating his passion for growing pumpkins, Joe lent his support and expertise from day one. Valuably, he also taught most of Collector how to grow a big pumpkin, and put the word around the giant pumpkin-growing community to recycle their Royal Easter Show entries so as to give the festival a credibility kick start. Crucially, he also distributed prize-winning seeds among the locals. It’s not all about big ones, however. Although a few local graziers look forward to claiming the Giant Atlantics for cattle feed once the Festival is over, the Festival feeds on the extraordinary talent, imagination and enthusiasm of its local community. Although small in population, Collector and its community contain a diversity of expertise. This year’s committee meetings were regularly attended by people with day jobs that ranged from being a grazier to lawyer, restaurateur, plumber, marketing

professional, jam maker, security guard, marine biologist, publican, management accountant, shopkeeper, gardener and potter. Fundamental to the event’s success has been the ability for this group of people to work with almost everyone and other groups in the Collector community. The SES, Fire Brigade, Hall Committee, the local dedicated fund-raising group: the Collector Pot Black Club, the CWA, and many people volunteering their time as individuals all contributed in some way to the Festival. With Collector no longer able to support sporting teams, the Pumpkin Festival has provided an alternative and fun way of engaging the local community. Whether it be chopping up the pumpkins for pumpkin soup, or whipper-snipping the town streets in preparation for the big day, the pursuit of the simple mutual goal of ‘celebrating the village of Collector through pumpkins’ has given the diverse community a good excuse to gather and form the kind of relationships that strengthen community spirit and values.


O WHAT DO YOU GET at the Pumpkin Festival? Obviously, the classic heaviest pumpkin competition (the Joe Medway trophy) attracts serious competitors, big prize money and, when on display, hundreds of wide-eyed children gaping at these giant vegetables. The Festival also prides itself on its ‘most unusual’ pumpkin competition, which encourages a weird and wonderful visual feast of crazy pumpkins and gourds. Add scarecrow competitions, wheelbarrow races, fun activities for kids and a host of stallholders featuring the very best of local and regional produce and you’ll see that the Festival has galvanised the locals to develop a simple, unique event that is true to the ideas, originality, imagination and hard work of the people of the community. The Pumpkin Festival is in its infant heady days. Will it last through the future like the Italian festivals to the point that some kind of mythology might surround its origins? I sure hope so. R F James McKay


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GUIDECapital country villages

Gundaroo Where to stay In Gundaroo itself, Mallee Gum Cottage is the only accommodation on offer. This B&B offers ‘Australian country hospitality, country cuisine, native birdlife and heritage charm’. Mrs Davis’ B&B is due to open around Christmas on the site of the old Mrs Davis’ general store. Alternatively, the Do Duck Inn or Frankfield Guest House, both at Gunning, are within easy driving distance and offer period atmosphere, pleasant gardens and dinner/bed/breakfast packages. GUNDAROO

Mallee Gum Cottage ((Bed & Breakfast) 02 6236 8366 Mrs Davis’ B&B ((Bed & Breakfast) (due to open December) 02 6236 8141 GUNNING


UNDAROO’S MAIN STREET is much less grand than Braidwood’s, but equally historic. Somehow, it’s easier to imagine it as a dusty road where Cobb & Co. pulled up at the coaching inn. The National Trust has defined the village as being of historic significance and it has been classified as an Urban Conservation Area. Building styles and materials range from slab huts and wattle and daub to stone and locally fired brick. There are rumours of a wild past in Gundaroo. Banjo Patterson painted the town in a particularly criminal light: Far away by Grabben Cullen, where the Murrumbidgee flows, There’s a block of broken country-side where no one ever goes; For the banks have gripped the squatters, and the free selectors too, And their stock are always stolen by the men of Gundaroo… In more recent times, a certain raciness has been attached to Gundaroo watering holes. The Gundaroo Colonial Inn, aka Matt Crowe’s Wine Bar, has been in continuous operation since 1872. The adjective most commonly attached to it seems to be ‘notorious’. For a long period in its life the Royal Hotel (aka The Gundaroo Pub) catered for busloads of raucous visitors doing ‘Aussie drinking tours’. Locals tell of Japanese tourists enthusiastically singing “Crick go the shears boys, crick, crick, crick”. 80

Frankfield Guest House & Restaurant, 02 4845 1200, Do Duck In (Guest House & Restaurant) 02 4845 1207,

Where to eat Of course, the first choice is Grazing at the Royal Hotel (see our article, page 26).The modern Australian food uses local country produce and is big-city quality. Forget your low GI diet and don’t fail to try the beerbattered chips! For more casual eating, the Cork Street Café does award-winning pizzas in stables of the old police station. On a nice day you can sit outside. There’s pub food available at the wine bar. Grazing Lunch Friday to Sunday, dinner Thursday to Sunday, 02 6236 8777 Cork Street Café Friday to Sunday, 02 6236 8217 Gundaroo Wine Bar Open every day, 02 6236 8155


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Cork Street Café What to do Aside from eating and drinking, the main activity is drifting around town browsing through the gift shops (surprise, surprise) and looking at the many well-preserved historic buildings. The Cork Street Café has local pottery. Sally Paskins’s Store has mainly garden-oriented gifts, but is particularly interesting for the building itself. This picturesque slab hut with its brick chimney was built in 1886. How many towns have a historic skating rink? The building now masquerading as the Gundaroo Hall, was originally The Elite Skating Rink. It was built in 1890 to cater for the roller-skating craze of the era! The building is still used for meetings and social events. If you’re getting a taste for all this history, nearby Gunning is also worth a visit. The town has a number of attractive old buildings; a map is available from the Frankfield Guest House and Caxton Restaurant. Just 5km from town is a historic marker on the spot from which Hamilton Hume departed in 1824 for his famous overland trip to Port Phillip. If you’re visiting Gunning on the last Sunday of the month, the village market is held at the Old Courthouse, from 8.30am.

Events The local Bush Races is an event of significance, with more than $30,000 in prizes. The big race is the Telstra Gundaroo Cup. The races are held on the Gundaroo Common. Gunning Show in February is a showcase for the local farmers.


ORK STREET CAFÉ is at the end of a private lane that runs beside the old courthouse, now St.Lukes Anglican Church. You can feel the history as you approach. The Café is actually in the stables of what was the Gundaroo Police Station. Part of the building is a heritage slab hut and the only concessions have been filling the gaps in the wooden floor and installing the pot bellied stoves that keep the place warm in winter. On sunny days, the long tables outside are a perfect place to enjoy what are really good pizzas, salads and cakes. The new owners Bridget and Danny haven’t messed with the formula that won the previous owners local Restaurant and Catering awards, and they too have just won best Pizza restaurant in the 2005 Southern Highlands awards. Many of their customers come from Canberra on weekends to experience the food here and then enjoy the charm of Cork Street itself. On a Friday afternoon, after school, it’s the local mums who gather for coffee (and milkshakes for the kids). That the children are safe to run around and play unsupervised in the nearby backyards, is why young families come to these villages to live. Those of us travelling through will just have to be content with the village ambience and a good pizza. RF

Gunning Country Festival January Gunning Show February Gundaroo Bush Races March 2006


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GUIDECapital country villages

Murrumbateman Where to stay Country Guesthouse Schonegg is a recent tourism award winner. You can choose the B&B option or have dinner included. There are country views, spa baths, fine food using local produce and a warm welcome from Evelyn and Richard. There are also some interesting bed and breakfast options in nearby Yass. Of course, Yass also has lots of hotels and motels, but they didn’t seem to fit the spirit of our capital country villages experience. The Rose of Yass is the oldest surviving building in Yass; The Globe Inn is also a historic building.

Barrique Cafe Restaurant is on the highway.


EADING BACK into wine country, you have a plethora of cellar door experiences awaiting you at Murrumbateman. The village itself is ‘urban sprawling’ and not very interesting, although there are some historic buildings including the old Public School (c.1869) and Scots Church (c.1876). The first land grant in the area was made in the 1820s to Mary Davis, known around the district as Granny Davis. She is rumoured to have lived to the age of 113. Her grave, like those of other early settlers, is in the Gounyan Cemetery. The scenery around Murrumbateman is attractive. Go for a drive up to Helm’s winery and you dip through a lovely valley before climbing up to the winery entrance. The cellar door at Helm’s is in a historic schoolhouse and the school bell is rung to signal the beginning of the vintage. Long Rail Gully winery is also well worth a visit. Before it became the centre of a wine-growing district, Murrumbateman was best known for its fine wool industry. The Merriman family, with their Merino sheep, took a leading role and Sir Walter Merriman was knighted for his services to the Australian Wool Industry in 1954.


Country Guesthouse Schonegg (Guesthouse) 02 6227 0344, Murrumbateman Country Inn (Hotel) 02 6227 5802 The Rose of Yass (Historic Inn) 02 6226 4323 Corona Grove (Bed And Breakfast) 02 6226 4920, Kerrowgair (Bed and Breakfast) 02 6226 4932, The Globe Inn (Historic Bed & Breakfast) 02 6226 3680,

Where to eat Right in the Village, you’ll find Barrique Café Restaurant. It’s another converted inn, where you can sit in the garden under a 100-year-old walnut tree. You’ll eat pleasant food here, but we didn’t feel the quality quite lived up to the prices. Better value is Shaw’s Vineyard, where an extraordinary Tuscanesque building houses a modern tasting room and spacious café with Italian-inspired food (and the ubiquitous wood-fired pizza oven). On warm days, the outdoor terrace would be a great choice for lunch with a view. Country Guesthouse Schonegg has a café open at weekends and does Friday candlelight dinners twice a month. The menus change seasonally and use local products including Galloway beef and Capital Olive Oil.


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It’s wine, wine and more wine! Many of the region’s most highly regarded wineries are clustered around Murrumbateman. Shopping It’s wine, wine and more wine! Many of the region’s most highly regarded wineries are clustered around Murrumbateman. The access roads are generally well sign-posted and at most of the cellar doors you can pick up a Canberra region wine map. This also gives you opening hours for each winery; some are only open on weekends. Shaw Vineyard sell a range of Italian ceramics from the famous pottery at Deruta. They also have traditional balsamic vinegars, sourced from Sorbara in the Italian region of Modena (the serious stuff, not what you pick up in the supermarket). Country Guesthouse Schonegg have a gallery and gifts, including their own jams and preserves which win awards in all the local shows.

What to do If you need a break from wine tasting, go exploring the area around Murrumbateman and Yass. For a fascinating insight into early colonial life, visit Hamilton Hume’s Cottage on the way to Yass. His grave is in the Yass General Cemetary (Anglican section). The Hume and Hovell Walking Track stretches from Yass to Albury. Walk in the footsteps of the explorers – you can do a short section if several hundred kilometres sounds a bit challenging. Heading down the Hume Highway past Yass, you’ll find the turn-off to the Burrinjuck Waters State Park. Lake Burrinjuck, we were told during our school days, holds five and a half times as much water as Sydney Harbour, although after the drought that multiple is probably much lower. You can picnic or go cruising on a riverboat. If you’re looking for adventure, and you’re not claustrophobic, head out to Carey’s Caves at Wee Jasper. Guided tours are available.

Events The popular rural field days are held each year at the Murrumbatemen Recreation Grounds. Displays feature rural suppliers, agricultural equipment, inventions as well as entertainment and refreshments. It’s not a tourist event really, but you can see art and craft making, animals, farm and station activities and even take a scenic flight. Murrumbateman Field Days October 15-16 2005

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GUIDECapital country villages

Hall Where to stay If you like the idea of being surrounded by spectacular gardens or if you want to bring your own horse (yes, they can accommodate horses and dogs by arrangement) the 4 ½ star Redbrow Garden and B&B is the perfect choice. If you want to be closer to the wineries, you can stay in one. At Surveyor’s Hill bed and breakfast is provided in a 1930s cottage surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. At Last Stop, Ambledown Brook, you can stay in an old railway carriage. Redbrow Garden (Bed & Breakfast), 02 6226 8166 Surveyor’s Hill (Bed & Breakfast), 02 6230 2046 Last Stop Ambledown Brook (Bed & Breakfast), 02 6230 2280 Hall main street in Autumn


ALL is the only one of these villages that is technically part of Canberra, although its history dates back well before Federation. The village was named after the first landholder in the district, Henry Hall, and was officially proclaimed in 1882. Hall Village has been declared a heritage precinct by the ACT (“not before time” muttered one of the local businesspeople, when we enquired). It retains a number of historic buildings, mostly from early this century, with their original features. You can inspect the Hall Village Well, the only remaining one-room school in the ACT, two fine churches and the travelling stock route. The Hall Markets, held monthly, are the largest in the Canberra area. Gooromon Park is in Hall not Queensland, OK?

Surround yourself with spectacular gardens and vineyards or stay in an old railway carriage. Oh, and bring your own horse… 84

English trees add autumn colour


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If you’re contemplating a country lifestyle, bring your notebook...

Where to eat


There are a couple of cafes in the village itself, but we suggest you head up the road to the Smokehouse Café at Poacher’s Pantry (see our article on page 42). For a café with a view, try the Homestead Café at Gooromon Park. If you’re thinking restaurant, rather than café, try the Green Herring, a little further down the Barton Highway in the very touristy Gold Creek Village. Here you’ll dine in a wooden slab hut that was built in 1860, and your hosts, Jane Herring and Graham Green make a point of sourcing local ingredients for their modern Australian food. Both of these are popular with Canberra foodies, so you’ll need to book.

If you’re in town on the first Sunday of the month, Hall Markets have a great country atmosphere. It’s one of Australia’s largest markets for hand-made & home grown goods, with 300-500 stalls spread across the Hall Showgrounds. Some of them simply make you gape and think “Who buys this stuff?”, but capital country growers are well represented, with both fresh produce and goodies like real fruit cordials, savoury sauces and preserves. You can even buy a live chicken or a goose! For food shopping, Poachers Pantry is the place to stock up on smoked meats, poultry, game and vegetables. Loriendale Orchard (see below) has organically-grown fruit in season. And, of course, there are more wineries!

Green Herring Thursday to Saturday lunch, Tuesday to Saturday dinner, 02 6230 2657 Homestead Café Goorooman Park, Brunch Sunday, lunch Friday to Sunday and public holidays, 02 6230 2230 Poachers Pantry Café: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am5pm. Tasting and sales: daily 10am-5pm 02 6230 2487, The old police station On a nice day you can sit outside. There’s pub food available at the wine bar.

Market colour on main street at the Hall Showgrounds

What to do At Loriendale Orchard, you can see how these organic growers operate and buy fresh, organic fruit in season. Picking runs from near Christmas for cherries and berries, through to June for the late apples. The Blueberry Farm lets you pick your own blueberries in season, usually from just before Christmas until early February. To help recover from your foodie excesses, try the luxurious Geranium House Day Spa —sorry, it’s ladies only. Redbrow Garden is open Sundays and public holidays (except in June and July). Buy fresh garden produce and preserves in season; pick your own berries from September to December. The garden incorporates examples of enterprises suitable for small acreages, including B&B accommodation, free range egg production, horse paddocks, berries, feijoas, lavender, olives, aviaries and a meeting/function venue. So if you’re contemplating a country lifestyle, bring your notebook.

Events The annual open day at Loriendale takes place in early April and has become quite a drawcard for people from Canberra and interstate. A staggering 400 homemade apple pies were consumed at last year’s event. There’s fresh-pressed apple juice from a 19th century style hand operated press, a tasting marquee where you can try some of the 165 varieties of apples, Devonshire teas, fruit and veggies on sale, music and the chance to stroll through the orchard. Loriendale Open Day 8 April 2006 1-5pm, 02 6230 2557

Geranium House Day Spa 02 6230 9220 Loriendale Orchard 02 6230 2557, Redbrow Garden 02 6226 8166, The Blueberry Farm 02 6230 2346


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Darwin, The West, Adelaide Hills Bushtucker with credentials.

Regional Colours



ENUINE BUSHTUCKER is about introducing ancient indigenous culinary discoveries to the modern Australian palate. And, to be successful, it needs a little more than just the real ingredients. To be real bush tucker a little local knowledge is the secret ingredient. So, to check the bushtucker you’re tucking into is the genuine article, check its credentials. Is its bush ingredient the real thing? Is it actually grown in the bush? Is it hand harvested? Is it hand cooked by a person with first hand experience of its indigenous heritage? Is it hand bottled, hand labelled and even hand delivered to hand picked fine food outlets by the same bushtucker enthusiast? If your answers to all these questions are “yes” you’ve discovered an unusual product… made by an equally unusual character. Meet Pamela Hall Weir. Pamela is about as Northern Territorian as a Territorian can get. She’s also the person behind an excellent range of jams, sauces, chutney and damper known as ““Arnhem Bushtucker”. In fact she is Arnhem Bushtucker. From the mid 1960s on, Pamela lived and worked on legendary outback cattle stations, Victoria River Downs and Mudginberri (now Kakadu National Park), catering for station hands and visiting VIPs. In the early 90s, as the idea of bushtucker took hold, Pamela started experimenting with the bushtucker plants she’d been introduced to as part of outback living, including the Kakadu Plum, the fruit of the Terminalia fernandia, better known as the Billygoat, and the rosebud-like calyxes of the Rosella fruit from Hibiscus Sabdariffa. Soon, Pamela perfected the


two jam sauces that are now her best selling recipies. Kakadu Plum Jam. The plum is a hard olive sized fruit that when carefully cooked produces a spicy, lemony, grape flavour. As a thickened sauce it is delicious as a jam, or as a spread on cakes, scones and croissants. Combined with chilli or herbs it then becomes an excellent accompaniment to fried or grilled fish, or chicken. Rosella Jam. The Rosella calyx produces a rhubarb-flavoured jam or sauce, also excellent as a spread on scones, croissants and tarts. It also becomes an excellent accompanying flavouring to meats especially when combined with chilli and herbs. Pamela’s Arnhem Bushtuckerr is entirely produced and bottled in her own kitchens, on her own Humpty Doo property, in Darwin’s outer rural region... where not so long ago, bushtucker was the only tucker. Glen Chandler - Darwin

ARNHEM BUSHTUCKER is available in the Northern Territory and in some outlets nationally PH. (08) 8988 4546 Fax. (08) 8988 4534 Email:

ERE’S A STORY Y that raises questions about our purchasing of Australian olive oil. Launched last year was a new regional range of oils from njoi (sorry but if you have to explain how the name is pronounced you lose the joke ). These are blended oils from different varieties from all your favourite tourist destinations – Margaret River, Limestone Coast, Murray Riverlands and New England. You can buy a regional oil experience in a 500ml bottle for $25.

Other than an armchair traveller interest and/or local pride the first question is why you’d rush out to buy a blended oil named by a district? Njoi do know how to blend, their premium range is well rounded and seductive, overcoming the intial concerns of at least this olive oil fancier. Maybe the market research said we’d now buy anything with a ‘region’ attached but I suspect most people will be buying this by holiday destination. (But Margaret River is so last year dahling!). If you really were looking for a regional experience would you want to buy a blended oil? Like most blended oil there’s no date of harvest just a standard use by date on the bottles.


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Cutting a fine fig

Last year njoi also released a low cost blended oil called Red Island. Sold only in Woolworths supermarkets, Red Island retails for $4.98 for 250ml and $7.98 for 500ml which is very good value. These will be a good introduction to a sharper peppery oil for a lot of people. What I did get excited by was the packaging of the njoi range in a one litre carboard cask. I can’t remember when I swore off drinking cask wine but the same reason that it was a great packaging success should work for olive oil. The interior bag collapses, excluding air, and the tap lets you decant what you need for a meal or to fill the oil dispenser. I always wanted to buy my olive oil in those tall rectangular tins like all the Italian nonnas around me but the few times I did, the oil was noticeably stale by the time I’d got to the bottom. (I obviously needed a bigger family or to use more olive oil.) Oil in a cask seems like a great solution. You just now need to work out if this is the oil you’re looking for. Red Island is available in Woolworths stores nationally. There’s a special website for the brand,, which has all the details. (The Red Island brand was launched in the USA, UK and Scandinavia last year, a great Australian initiative). See for stockists. The Regional varieties cost $35 for a 1 litre cask, njoi Red & Blue cost $30 a cask and $20 for 500ml.

HISTORIC GLEN EWIN ESTATE, in the Adelaide Hills, was once home to Glen Ewin Jams, a South Australian icon for more than 120 years until the business collapsed in 1989. Today the picturesque property is home to Willabrand Fine Foods, producing fresh and dried figs, and other products. Established in 1997, it is now one of Australia’s leading fig producers. Willa Wauchope’s parents bought the property with its century-old orchard in 1991. The fig trees growing on the terraced hillsides were “30 feet tall and overgrown with brambles”, according to Willa. After returning from studying geology at Cambridge University in England and six years working in Switzerland, Willa set about restoring the trees with the same vigour his father was expending on restoring the estate’s old stone buildings. When he discovered that a fig arboretum at Loxton, with 40 fig varieties developed by the CSIRO, was about to be bulldozed, he contacted

the Rare Fruit and Nut Society and managed to salvage the trees. His is now the only orchard in Australia growing three of those CSIRO varieties commercially: Archipal, Deanna and Spanish Desert. He leased 12 hectares of the 28 hectare Glen Ewin Estate, and all up, now has five varieties of figs on 10,000 trees. The varieties, Black Genoa and Brown Turkey, are also grown there. Originally his business was all fresh figs; today they make up only about 35 per cent of the business, which has expanded to include glacé figs, dried figs, chocolate-coated glace figs, semi-dried quince, and pears poached in a saffron, vanilla and semillon/chardonnay syrup. Dried muscatel clusters are produced from vines on the property, and he also grows ‘figlets’, tiny figs that are sold semi-dried and chocolatecoated. Three fig jams, figs in syrup and a fig, fennel and chilli chutney are also in the range. All the products are made from the Brown Turkey fig, which has a firm texture and is “incredibly versatile”, according to Willa. The products are sold throughout Australia, with about 25 per cent exported. Although exports are growing strongly, expansion has been limited by the availability of fruit, leading Willa to contract for a further 25 hectares to be planted off-site. As chairman of the Adelaide Hills Food group, Willa is passionate about both premium produce, and the region in which he has settled with his wife Mary and two young children. The hills are perfect for growing figs, with clean air, good soil and, most importantly, long hours of sunshine and cool nights. “We want to plant a variety of every fig there is in Australia,” says Willa, noting that there are about 40 locally and 720 worldwide. He hopes soon to attain organic certification for the property. He and his father, Bill, are developing the estate together, with plans for an interpretive centre telling the story of the fig from ancient times. RF Christine Salins

NJOI 99A Waratah Avenue, Dalkeith Western F Australia 6009 T: +61 8 9389 7666 FH.


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Capital Country, The Hunter Sticky Endings


HE TRADITION of reducing the first flow of sweet grape juice to make vino cotto (literally ‘cooked wine’) continued even when the Arabs introduced sugar cane to the Meditteranean countries. It had been used like honey as a sweetener, but there’s a slight acidity that cuts the malty sugar which makes it different. It’s still widely made in Italy and available in most import food stores. Vino cotto is an essential ingredient in the Tuscan cake called Buccatello (which means ‘shot through with holes’, accurately describing the texture). While working with Jan Gundlach on our rabbit recipe (p124), he gave me a bottle of the vino cotto that he made with Mount Majura’s winemaker Frank van der Loo.

Accumulated Wisdom tographic Growing Manual for Gardeners, me Gardens • Market Gardens • Café Gardens • A by Joyce Wilkie & Michael Plane


OYCE AND MICHAEL (featured on page 29 of this issue) have been rturing the soil and growing fine oduce on their Allsun Farm outside undaroo for over twenty years. When hey considered publishing what they’ve learned, a CD-ROM seemed a natural way to include all their colour photographs in a format we can all afford. The love and attention that went into this matches what they have one at Allsun and in their workshops und the country. The CD format s a web browser and there are some itations with this. There’s no search and the navigation is quirky; you can


The idea came from two of Frank’s grape pickers, Carmine and Antonina, originally from southern Italy. Carmine makes his own home wine each year, and Antonina runs off some of the juice at the beginning of the ferment to boil down. Jan described how watchful they needed to be as the liquid gets reduced to about a third of its volume. There were a couple of batches that burnt spectacularly. Vino cotto can be used straight as a topping for vanilla icecream or, more properly, panna cotta. The Mount Majura website offers a recipe sheet where it’s used to: add richness to a vinaigrette, mix with olive oil when roasting vegetables, make a sauce for pan-fried meat by deglazing with a mixture of vino cotto and stock. See the website for more, and cellar door sales.

follow a number of links into items that are not on the main menu—these are often delightful side tracks. The plusses are that you can use the extensive Resources web links when you’re online. If you’re an old hippie and brought up on Helen and Scott Nearing’s work it all has a resonance that you’ll appreciate. If you’re post baby boomer please read the Acknowledgements section and have some respect for your elders. There’s a limited demo of this CD on their Allsun website but for the $39 you get the CD posted. If you’re a vegetable gardener of any scale you’ll learn from this and the warmth and wisdom of Joyce and Michael are a bonus. (The CSA in the CD title is Community Supported Agriculture— a concept where you own a small farm with a group or just participate in the farm that grows your vegetables. g See our next issue for more about the CSAA idea.)


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Hunter Food & Wine

Farm to Fridge SPRINGMOUNT IS THE property name of


HIS QUALITY 128 page softcover glossy cook-cum-travel book is a welcome update to the Hunter Region Cookbook that Maria Charlton at MAP Marketing produced two years ago. This new book covers restaurants and wineries in the areas of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens and Cessnock (which apparently make up the ‘Hunter’ region). ‘Signature’ dish recipes from the restaurants (who paid for inclusion) mean that browsing this will be more appealing if you are using it to plan where to eat in the Hunter, than cooking at home. Obviously successful and going into a third reprinting MAP consider this a ‘tourist keepsake’, but the quality production lifts it to be more than that. The beautiful landscape photographs are often linked in the design to food colours and it all works as a graphic whole. The book costs $45 in softcover, or $11 as a high resolution PDF download. Orders are through the MAP website.

Elizabeth Monk and Paul Alldis’ Angus stud. It’s a 250 hectare property outside of Yass where they run 130 breeding stock and have been raising prime beef steers for just five years. For the last two, they’ve taken control of the process of selling their ‘Springmount chilled’ beef direct to customers. Paul talked about how hard they found it to keep track of fluctuating saleyard prices, and in these drought years, feed costs place added pressure to get a good return. Liz said that the catalyst for deciding to sell direct came from a barbecue held when some friends came to visit. “It was a great day” Liz recalls, ”the meat came from a local butcher who had bought a few of our steers, and everything for that lunch came from our own property”. The friends were full of praise for the flavour and tenderness and asked if they could get some of the meat as well. Springmount steers are selected and sent to Cootamundara Abattoirs for processing and hung for a few days, then go to Gundagai butcher where it is aged further, then cut up and vacuum packaged. The circle of customers grew as word of mouth did its job. The couple then decided to take the business seriously. They purchased a refrigerated van and now make deliveries to customers from Sydney, the central North Coast and all around the Yass, Murrumbateman and Canberra area.

The pressure to keep up supply and to ensure that they can meet seasonal demands such as for more roasts in winter and lots of steaks for summer, they describe as being ‘a challenge’. They need to sell the whole beast not just specialist cuts so they’ve declined to sell to restaurants. Private customers however, buy a range and they supply recipe sheets and ideas for the less popular cuts to encourage orders. They take those orders by fax, phone or email and they make deliveries once a month. Liz said that they even have customers who give them a spare key so they can put the meat into the fridge if they’re not home. Their prices, while not supermarket, are very reasonable for a high quality home delivered product. It’s the personal contact that both of them say is the most rewarding part of the decision to sell directly. And it gives them real feedback that they incorporate into the whole paddock to plate cycle. Springmount Stud, Black Range Road Yass NSW 2582. Phone/Fax: 02 6226 5181


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Perth, Blue Mountains, Sydney, Northern NSW Tailored tours and Tasty Trivia

little kitchen


ANCY A customised itinerary that includes behind-the-scenes tastings in Western Australia’s Great Southern region, Margaret River or the Swan Valley? Or how about a corporate event with a difference, built around a wine challenge or an ‘Epicurean Quiz’ with questions such as , “If you were stressed and wanted to reverse the condition by eating, what kind of dishes would do the ecause rds). and food

a W Co T and light aircraft or luxury coach. Expect luxury accommodation, great food, visits to producers plus extras to suit your own preferences. Events like quizzes and wine challenges have proved popular with corporates and can be held at any location, hosted by local media and wine personalities.


Feast your eyes


HE DESIGNER kitchen isn’t a new phenomenon, but now we need designer food in designer packs to put in those designer kitchens. Or a growing number of people think we do. Take Whisk & Pin, for example. If ever there was a designer muesli, this is it. Or rather, these are they, because Whisk & Pin have a whole range, from Mountain Granola through Gluten Free, Summer, Leura Natural and Bircher varieties. They look so good, you could eat the packaging. They come in 1kg and 500g bags, but our favourites are single serve packs: cute little noodle boxes that are waterproof, so you can just tip in your milk and slurp away. Whisk & Pin also does cookies and various dried fruit mixes. The attention to detail is terrific. This wouldn’t sustain a business unless they were providing such a surprisingly good flavourful product. The business card, the simple catalogue sheets held together with a paper band are all heavily art directed. Even the way they pack things like the clear bags of dried fruit compote is artful. Kerry Caloyannidis, the brains behind Whisk & Pin, has impressive credentials as a pastry chef. She has worked at Spago in LA and Roger Verge’s Moulin de Mougin in France, with stints at the Bathers Pavillion and Rockpool in Sydney. She now lives in the Blue Mountains and divides her time between her four children and her business.


OU’RE NEVER too young to be a designer foodie, according to little kitchen (yes, it’s one of those annoying companies that insists on spelling its name without any capital letters, so readers don’t know where they are in the sentence). little kitchen offers ‘child inspired cookware’. A large percentage of their range consists of biscuit cutters. In an age of increasing childhood obesity, I’m not sure that biscuit cutters are really the way to go, but these look like very nice ones. What we really liked were the minitongs, mini-whisks, children’s chefs hats (what fun!) great little rolling pins and very cute aprons. Oh yes, and tea towels – let’s get them trained right from the beginning. They also have retro and non-PC egg cups in the shapes of noddy and big ears (has the Caps key ceased to function on their computer altogether?). There are gift sets, too. Doting grandmas take note. Jan O’Connell


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Bellata to Bondi Yes. Yum. YULLA


OW FAR would you go for near-perfect yoghurt? A suburb or two? How about 300k? We first discovered Sydney based Yulla at their stall at the Collector Pumpkin Festival. They were packing up at the end of the day before we got a chance to talk and they pushed a few containers of left over lines into my hand and said, ‘Try these.’ Gee, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes really lucky. This was the latter. The vanilla yoghurt with a touch of cinnamon was very special, good texture and flavour balance. “Try it with the rhubarb and ginger” was the suggestion. I did. One mouthful of each and it was a great match but there was a rhubarb lover nearby with her own spoon who finished the tub. It’s not that these are small: they are good sized tubs for two to share (350ml), but I suggest you double up on your favourites. Yulla do dips, salsas and desserts. The aubergine salsa was special as well so I’m sure the whole dip range pays equal attention to flavour. The Yulla website has an under construction look, but shows you the range. Yulla. 5A/5B 697 Anzac Parade, Maroubra, Sydney NSW,

Four generations knee deep in harvest gold – Doug Cush holding Thomas Blatchford, Hilda Cush – Doug’s Mother (Nanna), Chloe Blatchford, Penny Blatchford, Helen Cush.

Family rules


E NOW take email for granted and it’s hard to get excited by what is an amazing communication tool. It could be due to the content. Mostly for us that’s matter of fact business stuff, press releases or spam. Then you open a note that gives you a whiff of country warmth and you know the day is going to be ok. The following note I started to edit but damn it, it really needs the writer’s voice to tell this great producer success story, so read on. ”My name is Penny and I am the eldest of the three daughters. My parents Doug & Helen Cush are Durum wheat farmers from Bellata in NSW. (Bellata is a small town with 1 pub, 1 servo, a post office and not much of a general store but HUGE Wheat silos.) Dad has always known that Bellata was renowned for growing the best rain-grown Durum wheat in the World. The Italian millers/buyers come out to Bellata when they’re in Australia to purchase Durum for export home. Dad initially started selling his Durum in containers to Italy for their premium markets. Usually farmers can

not export their own wheat outside the Australian Wheat Board. However Doug differentiated his product by building on-farm modern state of the art chemical-free grain storage. This allowed him to work outside the system and meet with many of the top Italian millers. (All that wheat you see by the road in silos and bunkers is sprayed with chemical to stop weevils/pests.) It was a meeting in Italy that created the idea that Doug could and should use his own Durum to make his own pasta. Sounds simple... but how do you get it milled? How do you get it made into pasta??? How do you get it out to the market?? Towards the end of 2002 Dad was exporting containers of wheat to Italy when one was accidentally dropped at the wharves in Sydney. Rather than waste the wheat that was unaffected the grain was sent to the Bread Research Institute (BRI) in Sydney to be milled. They have a small Pilot Mill (it later became our main Mill). After the wheat was milled into Durum Semolina it was taken to Pasta Fina in Woollongong and Angelos in Brisbane. Dad had met them both previously


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Bellata to Bondi through the Durum Growers Association and Fine Food Competition in Sydney (Royal Sydney Show). Both made up the semolina into pasta. Both entered their product into the Fine Food Competition and both won gold medals. After this... well the rest of the semolina was made up under contract by the two pasta makers and sold under the label Bellata Gold. The name came from the town Bellata and because Fina referred to the semolina as GOLD. At this stage we had quite a lot of pasta in packets unsold. Which is where I come in... I volunteered to “get rid of it” at the inaugural Nosh on the Namoi regional food and wine fair in Narrabri (that’s 60 k’s from Bellata). We had labels made up and off we went. We sold an amazing amount of pasta, we had people lined up. I thought I would run the stall on my own—sharing with another food friend who was launching her own products. At the peak of the day we had 9 helpers on board. I guess you can say the rest is history. We continued to sell the pasta after the Fair with shops/delis re-ordering.


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We had designers re-do our labels and logos – a huge expense, however a great decision Dad made. Being a typical farmer, he had to go on gut feeling – he was convinced he was onto something unique and something that the market was eager for. Since the initial sales at Narrabri, Mum and Dad have purchased a second hand pasta plant from Melbourne (that was in late 2003) after harvest. It was trucked up in 5 containers and rebuilt in Tamworth (with no instruction manual). The pasta plant went into production in 2004. We have continued to have our Durum Milled at the BRI in Sydney. However Dad late last year purchased a Durum mill T SEEMS THAT a staple of every market is someone selling home-made dips. Hummous, tahini, carrot, eggplant just about covers it... for me sometimes that’s a bit boring. That’s why I stopped at the Pilpel stand at the Canberra Old Bus Depot market and sampled. ‘Try this’ I was exhorted, ‘now this’. I soon said ‘stop’ with my mouth buzzing, bought a Chickpeas Persian dip and fled. It was declared by all as ‘very good’ so I figured it was worth a Harvest item. Next week I was back asking questions and this time Dari Kaplan insisted that if I was going to mention their Pilpel range, I had to try them all. Over the next week, with a couple of dinner guests and an active daughter who eats constantly, most of them went. We cooked with some (spread on grilled lamb chops) and ate them as relishes. The range names suggest these are not your regular dips—Beetroot Almond, Capsicum Turkish

from Italy which has been built and is now on its way to Tamworth. We anticipate it will be up and running by the end of the year. The (multimillion dollar) Mill will be the most modern and advanced Durum mill not only in Australia but the Southern Hemisphere. Bellata Gold is the only pasta in the world that has complete traceability from the “country gate to the pasta plate” (Mum’s slogan). All aspects from the seed to packet is HACCP accredited. We can guarantee that our product is 100% Australian Durum wheat (we only use the top grade and we don’t blend) and it is stored under a chemical free environment. We have a mix of distribution—we have also launched (April) Bellata Gold Fundraising where schools etc can sell the pasta to raise funds for themselves. Beats pies, chocolates and Krispy Creme donuts. We have 2 websites au and – (we export to the UK as well). Kind regards, Penny Blatchford “Canarai”, Gurley NSW 2398 Tamworth Bellata Gold Ph: 0267 655 633 FH. Salsa, Carrots Moroccan, Chickpeas Persian, Lima Bean Egyptian, Fire Roasted Eggplant & Capsicum, Chickpeas Tunisian, Eggplant Baraka, and Chilli Tahini are just some of a range they keep adding to. The Mediterranean flavours come as no surprise when you know that the husband and wife team of Pilpel are Dari and Yahiel Kaplan. (Pilpel is Hebrew for pepper). Pilpel are exhibiting at the Fine Food Australia trade show, so they will almost certainly be snapped up for wider distribution. Pilpel Fine Foods PO Box 7452, Bondi Beach NSW 2026.

2/10/05 12:44:40 AM


You have to get up early to do a better deal than David Harris.

THE SCENE WAS Harris Farm Markets’, buying room at Flemington market, 4.30am. They’d been at it for some time. Monday to Friday, three staff start at 1.30am, the rest begin at 4am. With computer and phone, they’re buying for 16 stores across NSW. Each store is different in its needs and they get fresh produce each day.

David Harris buys the premium lines; this day he tells us that he’s negotiated raspberries, needs to have some strawberries checked and still has to get enough figs. Harris Farm Markets purchase from the markets, checking each pallet of fruit and vegetables offered and selecting from the best or cheapest for that day.

By contrast, the major supermarket chains are not represented at the markets and do their buying over the web, direct from the major growers or on contract from the smaller ones. They don’t see the produce until it arrives at their depot. Bob Ortardo, in his late seventies, has worked for David for many years. He’s as nimble as someone much younger, climbing on forklifts to check a carton, scuttling from one arrival to another. He rejects the first load of broccoli and makes a call to the dealer to say ‘it’s too dry, too old’, which brings a new forklift with different product packed in ice, with tight crisp green heads.

There’s obvious respect from the dealers, and Harris Farm buyers are offered select produce or a special price. By 6.30am the sunlight is coming through the gaps between sheds and overhead windows. David Harris invites us to follow him, as he still needs a few more cases of figs. The negotiation seems to take forever and there’s a constant movement around the crates. There’s a little give and take as both sides make offers, shake their heads and then settle a price that makes them smile.

David heads back to Harris Farm Markets’ warehouse and office, where he takes off his buyer’s hat to become a businessman. Tomorrow, he’ll do it all again.

Bondi•Broadway•Castle Hill•Charlestown•Edgecliff•Erina•Merrylands•Mosman•Orange Parramatta•Pennant Hills•Rhodes•St Ives•Strathfield•Willoughby


From now until Christmas October AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

21 October

Farmers Union Meadows Country Fair The Meadows Country Fair is held on the 3rd Sunday in October each year and is based on the local dairy industry. Meadows Oval, Meadows

21–22 October

Hyatt National Riesling Challenge Wine competition featuring a public tasting on Saturday 22 October from 11am to 3pm. 02 6161 4222 Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Yarralumla, Canberra

21–30 October

Tasting Australia 2005 Taste the Elements. See story Page 96 Various locations, Adelaide and wine regions

21–23 October


Oktoberfest Traditional German food, beer and music. 02 6241 3022 Thoroughbred Park, Lyneham, Canberra

26–27 October

The Australian Olive Expo A two-day trade show focussing on the production, processing and marketing of Australian olives and olive oil. 02 4353 9714 Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC)


All proceeds to the AIDS Trust of Australia. Hyde Park, Sydney

29 October

Jazz in the Vines An annual event held at Tyrrell’s Vineyard, James Morrison headlines, with a tribute to Louis Armstrong. 02 4933 2439 Tyrell’s Vineyard, Hunter Valley

Southern NSW (Wagga Wagga) Wine Show


Riverine Club, Wagga Wagga,

7–16 October

Granite Belt Spring Wine Festival Opera in the Vineyards In this gala performance Yvonne Kenny will sing an exhilarating array of sublime arias and duets. Wyndham Estate, Hunter Valley

Two weekends of good food, good wine and good times. Dinners, brunches, lunches, masterclasses and more. 07 4684 1216 Various locations, Stanthorpe area

15 October 22–30 October

Shakin’ Grape Wine Festival 2005

Viva La Gong Festival

This is ‘bud burst’ time, the vines will be ‘bursting’ with green shoots. Barambah Ridge Winery, Redgate

Nine days of music, art, dance, fashion, film, sculpture, theatre, food and family fun. The highlight of Wollongong’s arts and cultural calendar. Various locations in Wollongong

29 October

Sydney Food and Wine Fair Food and wine stalls open 12 noon, entertainment 12 noon to 6.00pm.


Royal Hobart Show

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1 September–30 November

Fleurieu Peninsula Barista Challenge People’s choice and formal heats during spring lead to formal judging on 29 and 30 November. Awards presented evening of 30 November. 08 8556 8766 Cafes & restaurants, Fleurieu Peninsula

1–31 October

Fiesta 2005

12–16 October

22 October

19–22 October

VINE SPRAYING at Jacobs Creek SA

Meet the makers, growers and chefs of the Fleurieu Peninsula and celebrate the new release wines and new season’s olive oil. 08 8323 0144 Various venues, Fleurieu Peninsula

14–16 October

Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations Masterclass, Sparkling Brunch, Barrel Series Auction and Tasting and 20 different cellar door celebrations. Fresh local produce and chats with winemakers. 08 8737 2392 Various venues, Coonawarra area

A celebration of Tassie’s primary industries and showcase of Tasmanian industry. Thursday 20th is a feature day and a Public Holiday in Southern Tasmania. 03 6272 6812 Royal Hobart Showgrounds, Glenorchy

23 October

Clarence Seafarer’s Festival A festival to celebrate all things nautical. Includes regatta activities, music seafood and fine wine. 03 6245 8368 Bellerive Boardwalk, Clarence

VICTORIA 8–9 October

Bendigo Heritage Uncorked Local wineries and restaurants combine to present wine tastings and gourmet food in the best of the heritage buildings in Bendigo. Various locations, Bendigo


15 October

8–9 October

29 October

Riverland Wine and Food Festival 2005

Spring in the Valley

The Long Lazy Lunch

The region’s wineries, restaurants and caterers together with tourism organisations present the regions finest products. Riverfront, Berri

A festival of community spirit, wine, food, art and music at the Swan Valley’s many attractions and wineries. 9379 9400 Various venues, Swan Valley

Celebrate the arrival of spring. A gourmet barbecue lunch with entertainment for adults and children. 07 4168 4788 Clovely Estate, South Burnett


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Summer Seasons Plate Lunch Four course food and wine matching experience, crafted by the guest chef and accompanied by award winning Wyndham Estate Wines. 02 4938 3444 Wyndham Estate, Hunter Valley

11 November

Wine, Roses and all that Jazz Celebrating the art of the grape in Canberra. Local wineries stage a unique event in the city centre. Various Venues, Canberra



Loxton Lights Wine and Food Festival

12–13 November

Tastes of the Bay Food and Wine Festival Sample tastes from Nelson Bay’s best restaurants, as well as fine Hunter Valley wines and great music beside the pristine waters of Port Stephens. 02 4984 4751 Waterfront, d’Albora Marinas, Nelson Bay

QUEENSLAND 4–6 November

CHERRY PICKERS - Young district


together with music and art displays. 1300 660 072 Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham

Langhorne Creek Vignerons Cup Race Day

12–13 November

Ten wineries will be represented on the picturesque Strathalbyn Racecourse. Combine a tipple with a flutter. Music and kids’ entertainment too. 08 8179 9825

Good Food and Wine Show Cooking demonstrations, food and wine sampling from 300 exhibitors, celebrity chefs. Brisbane Exhibition Centre, Brisbane

4–13 November

Whitsunday Fantasea Reef Festival An annual celebration of one of nature’s most amazing creations – The Great Barrier Reef. Various events, including a Food and Wine festival. 07 4946 5811 Airlie Beach and other Whitsunday locations

November 12

Sirromet Long Lunch Gourmet lunch and entertainment overlooking Bald Rock Creek and majestic granite outcrops in Queensland’s premier wine producing area. 07 3206 2999 Seven Scenes Vineyard, Ballandean

27 November

Red White and Blues 2005 Food and Wine Festival A day of free entertainment with performances from Blues Bands Cuetro Hombres, Peter Miller and Justice. Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide Strathalbyn Racecourse, Strathalbyn


Budburst – Macedon Ranges Wine and Food Festival Two days of wine, food, music and fun in the beautiful wineries of the Macedon Ranges!. Buy a Budburst glass for $5 and enjoy free tastings 1800 244 711 Hanging Rock & participating wineries, Macedon Ranges

27 November

Spring Festival at Werribee Park Relax on the beautiful lawns of Werribee Park and enjoy over 70 food and wine producers, music and cooking demonstrations by well-known chefs. Werribee Park, Werribee

A selection of quality wine and gourmet food promoting the tastes of the Riverland. 08 8584 5256 The Rotunda, East Terrace, Loxton

TASMANIA 28 December until 3 January

The Taste of Tasmania Hobart’s popular food and wine festival, supporting local producers.

31 December

New Years Eve at the Taste See the New Year in at the Taste of Tasmania. Join the festivities and see the spectacular Hotel Grand Chancellor fireworks display from a great vantage point. Princes Wharf Shed No.1, Hobart

19–25 November

Wrest Point Royal Hobart International Wine Show The Royal Hobart Wine Show was established in 1974 and is one of the biggest in Australia. Public tasting Friday 25 November 03 6272 6812 Royal Hobart Showgrounds, Glenorchy

VICTORIA 5–6 November

Montsalvat Wine & Food Festival Food and wine from the Yarra Valley,



17–20 November 2005

9–11 December

Sunday Times Margaret River Wine Region Festival

Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival

Four days of wine, food and music bliss, so a serious sleep-over is recommended. Various locations, Margaret River

An annual festival celebrating all things round and red. Among the fun and frolics is a cherry spitting contest. Various venues, Manjimup

See our website for more event information. R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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Tasting Australia 2005 Adelaide 21–30 October Y OU ’ RE


something that suits your taste and budget.


AST TIME WE WENT to Tasting Australia, this magazine was only a gleam in the editor’s eye. This time, when we trot along to the James Squire Food, Beer and Wine Writer’s Festival we’ll feel a cosy sense of belonging. Not that you have to be a food, beer or wine writer to attend; this talk-fest is open to everyone and costs nothing. We’re planning to hear Gina Mallett (her book was reviewed in our last issue) discuss food fears, fads and fantasies with Australian culinary legend Gay Bilson. You might like to drop in on Antonio Carluccio and Stefano de Pieri talking about taking Italian Food to the world. There are seven sessions each day from Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 October, with a wide range of topics and panellists. There’s a lot more to Tasting Australia than this, however, and it extends beyond Adelaide to the South Australian Wine regions. Many of the degustation dinners and celebrity lunches are already booked out, but with such a wide variety of events on offer— including celebrity cooking classes, tastings, food demos, wine appreciation and markets—you’re sure to find something that suits your taste and your budget. Costs range from the pricey (Starlight Tasting Australia charity dinner) to the free (James Squire Beer Master Class). The final event, Feast for the Senses, is a giant food and wine carnival on the banks of the Torrens with more than ninety exhibitors offering tastes of Australia’s finest regional produce. Entry is free and they’re expecting more than 35,000 people, so be prepared to jostle a bit for your plate of Kangaroo Island marron or Coffin Bay oysters. R F

SA PREMIER Mike Wran clutches Kylie Kwong and the Daddy of the festival Ian Parmentier, after a panel session where he revealed that he had to bury the first curry he made in the garden.


IF YOU are left a little peckish after those tiny serves in your ten course degustation dinner, stop off at one of the city’s culinary institutions, for a pie floater. Cowleys pie cart outside the Adelaide GPO.

SUNDAY’S PUBLIC event draws huge crowds to the site on the Torrens with individual stallholders and producers offering tasting samples and full take-away meals.

IN THE session discussion of yeasts, the famous sourdough starter from New Norcia bakery is passed for audience tasting.

THERE WERE a number of stalls doing great business selling picnic hampers to take to a quiet spot, or into the nearby Botanical gardens.


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M @ B D J I < G  A J J ?  < P N O M < G D <



Regional Foods Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health and wealth One of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great paradoxes is that in areas providing fresh food, communities are prone to health problems associated with poor nutrition. But in some regions this trend is turning around as regional communities realise that their food, their health and their wealth are linked. This book explores two interconnected relationships: how food and region relate to the health of individuals, and how food production aďŹ&#x20AC;ects the development of healthy regional economies.

Food-producing regions are increasingly attracting gourmet tourism and are developing their own proudly regional markets. This book is a special guide for food and wine tourists, since it tells the stories behind the produce. It describes the history of each region, the features of the communities and the landscape, and its food production.



2005, 222pp, Pub No 05/045; $35 



Shaping the future

To order: Phone 02 6272 4819 Email Online

Like to advertise in a magazine that reaches over 20,000 Regional Foodies each issue? Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford a full page just yet until the business grows? Well, welcome to the Marketplace. This is where weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hoping youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll place your product or service small space ad, so it reaches all those like-minded readers. For costs and our market research call Mark Kelly on 0418 971040 or email

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Your Weekly Farmers Market

Experience the exciting food opportunity offered by Capital Region Farmers Markets. Come and meet the growers and producers from the capital region and enjoy the freshest of fruit, vegetables, meat and locally made gourmet products. These great markets are for the Canberra, Queanbeyan and regional community and are held every Saturday in the undercover pavilions at EPIC (Canberra Showgrounds), 8am to 11am, and at the Queanbeyan Showground from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Free entry and parking. Community projects by the Rotary Clubs of Hall and Queanbeyan PO Box 340, Hall ACT 2618 (ABN 18 046 305 732)

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30/9/05 2:52:48 PM

17/10/2005 1:34:17 PM


Spring pickings


SPARAGUS IS the perfect example of the joys of eating seasonally. The arrival of the first asparagus is as much a signal that spring has sprung as the nest-building frenzy of our local magpies. There was a time when you just couldn’t buy asparagus at any other time (leaving aside the nasty canned variety that seems to bear very little relationship, flavour-wise, to the fresh vegetable). We resist all temptation to buy the out-of-season imported stuff, just for the joy of rediscovering asparagus every September.

Asparagus Asparagus is a very ancient vegetable. It originated in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and was well known to the Egyptians and the Greeks. The Romans appear to have been the first to cultivate it and were responsible for spreading it all over Europe, whence it travelled, eventually, to the rest of the world. It was long thought to have medicinal benefits and has sometimes been regarded as an aphrodisiac, probably more because of its shape than from empirical evidence. Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin C, dietary fibre and supplies Bgroup vitamins. Asparagus can be white, green or purple. By now (October), the best of the white asparagus is probably gone, but you can enjoy the other varieties until December or even, with special growing techniques,


late January. Early supplies of green and purple come from Queensland and Mildura, then the largest crop arrives from Koo-wee-rup in Victoria. Purple asparagus looks pretty, but loses its colour during cooking, so it’s best sliced thinly and eaten raw in salads. Green asparagus is the most popular due to its bright colour, fibre-free tenderness and sweet almost nutty flavour. Europeans often peel asparagus before cooking, but there’s absolutely no need to do so. When you choose asparagus, look for firm, crisp spears with compact tips. Sometimes you need to snap off woody asparagus ends but with today’s washed, trimmed neat bundles all you need to do is trim 1-2 cm from the base of each asparagus spear. Always check the end of spears to see they are dry, but not dehydrated or moist and weeping. Use asparagus as soon as possible after purchase. White should be used on the same day of buying. Green and purple can be wrapped in paper towels or a clean tea-towel and stored in the refrigerator crisper for 2-3 days.

Broad Beans This is another vegetable with a long history: it was the only bean known in the old world before the discovery of the Americas. Also known as the fava or shell bean, broad beans make a fleeting appearance in spring. Pod them as you would fresh peas. Cook in boiling water for a few minutes only, drain and toss in olive oil or melted butter. To discover another dimension of broad beans, try a chefs’ technique. After cooking, cool the beans quickly and drain. Slip-off and discard their pale green skins to reveal bright emerald-green beans. Toss for a few seconds in a little melted butter or olive oil over low heat and experience broad beans with an exquisite sweet and nutty taste.

Peaches and Nectarines The best peaches and nectarines will be available as the season gets into full swing from November through to April. Peaches and nectarines can be either ‘freestone’ (where the flesh easily twists away from the stone) or ‘clingstone’ (where the flesh clings to the stone). There are white and yellow fleshed peaches and nectarines, with the sweet white-fleshed varieties becoming increasingly popular. Store stone fruits out of the fridge. They are ready to eat when they emit a sweet aroma and ‘give’ a little when touched.

Mangoes First of season mangoes include KENSINGTON PRIDE and the sweet, TPPI variety which is torpedo-shaped and fibre-free. By now (October) mangoes should be plentiful and you should be able to buy them by the tray or case, to share with friends or simply indulge. The slim NAMDOC mangoes are the preferred cooking mango. They should be used while green and hard to make fragrant Thai Chicken or Prawn Salads or wonderful spicy Mango Chutney. Mangoes make a terrific salsa to go with prawns, crab, grilled fish or chicken or pork kebabs. MANGO SALSA In a bowl, stir equal quantities of Thai fish sauce, caster sugar and fresh lime juice until sugar is dissolved. Add finely chopped red onion, shredded kaffir lime leaves, sliced red chilli (to taste) and chopped mint or coriander leaves. Add 1 cm cubes of fresh mango and toss gently to combine.


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ve you noticed how the yellow squash has n looking ‘tired’ over winter? New season’s ps are available now. Crunchy!”

TWO’S COOKING Grey Zucchini

Rockmelons (or Canteloupe)

They’re not really grey, more a pale green colour, in contrast to so-called ‘black’ zucchini that range from bright to dark green. It’s the grey zucchini that are much prized by cooks from Mediterranean countries. Zucchini (also known as courgette) belongs to the squash and marrow family. Available all year round, the best supplies grown locally come in October and November and a second crop appears in March. Look for firm, glossy zucchini, free from blemishes and store them in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator (7-10 ° C) in an airtight plastic bag for 2-3 days only.

Melons are best in spring and summer with good supplies coming from Kununurra W.A., the Northern Territory and Queensland. The best melons will have a fragrant musky aroma, dark orange flesh and unrivalled sweetness. HOTSHOTS is a variety with a textured ‘netted’ skin while EASTERN STAR has a similar skin but looking more striped. Always smell melons before you buy them, as aroma is the best indicator of ripeness. Store cut rockmelon in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Melons are most refreshing served lightly chilled.

Mulberries Queensland produces the first of new season mulberries, followed by the northern coast of NSW. This oldfashioned, glossy, dark purple oval berry has a sweet-sour flavour, juicy texture and is rich in Vitamin C. Choose plump, firm, mu fruit, che to see tha weeping. place on a single laye in refrige

MULBERRY SAUCE Simmer mulberries in a little shiraz with sugar or red currant jelly until very soft and serve as a sauce over pork or lamb.

Jane and Jeremy Strode’s new cookbook (see our review on Page 107) has some good asparagus recipes, including this.

A s p a r a g u s , Wa l n u t a n d Lemon Thyme Risotto Ingredients 1 bunch of asparagus, peeled at stalk end, trimmed, blanched. 40g parmesan, grated. 10g butter, to garnish 6 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves picked 20g walnuts, lightly roasted, crushed Risotto base 500ml chicken or vegetable stock 40g unsalted butter 1 medium brown onion, finely diced sea salt freshly ground white pepper 200g risotto rice. Method To make risotto base, bring stock to a simmer in a heavy-based saucepan. Melt the butter in another heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.

 Add onions, season well and sweat until soft. Add rice and cook for 3 minutes. Add stock, a large ladle at a time, stirring continuously.

 As liquid is absorbed, add more until the rice is cooked al dente. This should take about 10 minutes. Add more stock if necessary.

 Cut asparagus into even lengths. When

risotto is just cooked, stir in the asparagus, parmesan, butter and thyme, season to taste and serve in 2 bowls.

 Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

this section is prepared from information supplied by harris farm markets, there is more online in the season’s best section of our regional food website.

Serves 2 Jane’s Note: This risotto is lovely when you use the first asparagus in spring. The unique dry texture of walnuts and the fragrance of lemon thyme make it a little different. The best way to trim asparagus is to snap off the ends, allowing it to break where it wants to. This will ensure that the woody end is discarded. © Jane and Jeremy Strode. reprinted with permission.


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Go on, go visit a Farmers’ Market!

Our national guide to markets around Australia ACT Canberra Region Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8am - 11am www.canberraregionfarmersmarket.

NEW SOUTH WALES Armidale Farmers’ Market Sundays, 8am - 1pm K Mart Car Park, Dumaresq St, Armidale

Banora Point Farmers’ Market 1st and 3rd & 5th Saturday, 7am - 12 noon Banora Point

Bathurst Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 11.30am Bathurst Showground, Mitchell Hwy, Bathurst

Bathurst Organic Market Fridays 9am - 5.30pm, Saturdays 9am - 1pm Brooke Moore Centre, Bathurst

Blackheath Growers’ Market 2nd Sunday of month, 9am - 1pm Blackheath Community Center, Cnr Great Western Hwy and Gardiner Cres., Blackheath

Bowral Farmers’ Market Fortnightly Saturdays Bowral Memorial Hall, Bendooley St, Bowral

Byron Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 8am - 11am Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay

Camden Fresh Produce Markets 2nd and 4th Saturday of month Camden

Coffs Coast Farmers’ Market

Great Lakes - Great Produce Market

Pokolbin Growers’ Market

3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Great Lakes College, Camp Hawke Dve, Forster

4th Saturday of month Blaxlands Restaurant, Pokolbin

Hastings Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Wauchope Showgrounds, Wauchope

Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers’ & Gourmet Food Market 2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Castle Hill Showground, Showground Rd, Castle Hill

Hume Murray Farmers’ Market

Wingham Showground Farmers’ Market

4th Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Black Beach, Kiama

Lismore Farmers’ Market

4th Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Dubbo Showgrounds, Dubbo

Fox Farmers’ Market Wednesdays 10am - 4pm, Saturdays 10am - 4pm, Sundays 10am - 5pm Fox Studios, Moore Park

Good Living Growers’ Market 1st Saturday of month, except January, 7am - 11am Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont

Grafton Farmers’ & Growers’ Market 2nd Thursday of month, 7am - 1pm Centre Market Square, Grafton


2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Wollundry Lagoon, CBD, City Gardens, Wagga Wagga 1st Saturday of month, 8am - 11am Wingham Showground, Gloucester Rd, Wingham

Every Saturday, 8am -11am Lismore Showground, Lismore


Maclean Farmers’ Market

Brisbane Powerhouse Farmers’ Markets

1st Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Maclean Showground, Maclean

2nd and 4th Saturday, 6am - 11.30am Brisbane Powerhouse, 117 Lamington St, New Farm

Maitland Heritage Mall Markets 409 High St, Maitland

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers’ Market Sundays, 9am - 2pm Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville

Mt Penang Parklands Farmers’ Market 3rd Sunday of month Pacific Highway, Kariong

Mudgee Farmers’ Market

Nabiac Farmers’ Market

Dubbo Farmers’ Market

2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon and during daylight saving 2nd Tuesday of month 3pm - 7pm Liquor Stax, Cnr Brisbane and Dowle Sts, Tamworth

Kiama Produce Market

Corowa Farmers’ Market

3rd Saturday of month, 9 -12 noon Cowra Showground, Grenfell Rd, Cowra

Tamworth Farmers’ Market

Wagga Wagga Farmers’ Market

1st Saturday of month, 8.30am - 12 noon St Johns Anglican Church, Church St, Mudgee

Cowra Farmers’ Market

Tuesday morning, Thursday twilight Lismore Showground, Lismore news/rainbow_market

Fortnightly Saturdays, 8am - 12 noon Gateway Island, Lincoln Causeway, Albury Wodonga

Fortnightly Thursdays, 9am - 5pm City Square, Harbour Dve, Coffs Harbour 8am - 12 noon Nov 29, Dec 13, Jan 10, twilight Jan 21 Murray River banks, Corowa

Rainbow Region Organic Market

Last Saturday of month, 8am - 12pm Nabiac Showground, Nabiac St, Nabiac

Newcastle City Farmers’ Market 4th Sunday of month, 8.30am - 1.30pm Newcastle Showground, Griffiths Rd, Broadmeadow

North Coast Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings Lismore Showground, Lismore

Northside Produce Market 3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Community Centre, Miller St, North Sydney

NSW Farmers Association Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8am - 12 noon Warwick Farm Racecourse, Liverpool

Orange Farmers’ Market 2nd Saturday of month, 8.30am - 12 noon Orange Showground, Orange

Gold Coast Turf Club Farmers’ Markets 2nd and 4th Saturday of month Racecourse Drive (off Ashmore Rd), Bundall

Indooroopilly Farmers’ Markets 1st and 3rd Saturday, 7am - 12 noon St Josephs College, Indooroopilly,

Marina Mirage Farmers’ Markets

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Barossa Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 7.30am - 11.30am Vintners Sheds, cnr Nuriootpa & Angaston Rds, Angaston

Battunga Country Growers’ Market Sundays, 10am - 4pm Old Uniting Church Camp, 2 Marriot St, Macclesfield

Limestone Coast Farmers’ Market Seasonal approximately monthly Penola Race Course, Penola

Willunga Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8am - 1pm Alma Hotel Carpark, Willunga

TASMANIA Burnie Farmers’ Market 1st and 3rd Saturday, 8.30am - 12 noon Wivenhoe Showgrounds, Burnie

Wynyard Farmers’ Market 2nd & 4th Saturday, 9am - 12 noon Wynyard Showgrounds, Wynyard

Deloraine Showgrounds Market 1st Saturday of month, 9am - 1pm and 3rd Saturday of month, Feb to May Deloraine Showgrounds, Deloraine

VICTORIA Avenel Produce Market 2nd Sunday of month, 1pm - 4.30pm Harvest Home Hotel, Avenel

Bendigo Farmers’ Market

1st & 3rd Saturday month, 7am - 12 noon Marina Mirage Shopping Centre, Seaworld Dve, The Spit, Gold Coast

2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Bendigo Showgrounds, 42 - 72 Holmes Rd, Bendigo

Mondo Organics Market

Boroondara Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 7.30am - 12 noon 166 Hardgrave Rd, West End

Mudgeeraba Farmers’ Markets 2nd & 4th Saturday of month, 6am - 11am Mudgeeraba Showgrounds, Mudgeeraba Rd, Mudgeeraba

Noosa Farmers’ Markets 4th Sunday of month, 7am - 12 noon Weyba Rd, Noosaville

Northey Street Organic Market Saturdays, 6am - 10.30am Northey Street City Farm, Northey St, Windsor

‘Stanthorpe in Season’ Farmers’ Market 3rd Sunday, Nov to April, 7am - 12 noon Old Cold Stores, Wallangarra Rd, Stanthorpe

The Organic Gold Coast Farmers’ Market Sunday mornings, 6am - 11am Miami State High School, Gold Coast Hwy, Miami

3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 12.30pm Patterson Reserve, Cnr Toorak Rd & Auburn Rd, East Hawthorn”

Boronia Farmers’ Market 3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm St Joseph’s Primary School, 212 Boronia Rd, Boronia

Bundoora Park Farmers’ Market 1st Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Bundoora Park, Plenty Rd, Bundoora

Cardinia Ranges Farmers’ Market 2nd Saturday of month, 8.00am -12 noon Pakenham Racecourse, Pakenham

Central Murray Farmers’ Market 1st, 3rd & 5th Saturday month, 8am - 1pm Alton Reserve, High St, Echuca

Central Victoria Farmers’ Market 1st Sunday of month, 8.30am - 1pm Cnr Midland Highway & Blackjack Rd, Harcourt


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We want to keep our listing of markets updated and accurate. If you have a market that’s not listed, or if your market’s details have changed, please let us know. Our website tells you how to submit your information. If you’d like to find out more about the markets listed here, or if you’d like contact details for the organizers, you’ll find them on the website where we don’t have the same space limitations as we do with these printed pages.

Central Geelong Farmers’ Market

Port Fairy Farmers’ Market

2nd Saturday of month, 8.30am - 12.30pm Little Malop Street, between Moorabool and Yarra Sts, Geelong

2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 2pm Railway Place, Port Fairy

Churchill Island Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Main Street, Churchill Island via Phillip Island

Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers’ Market 2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm St Helier St, Abbotsford

Drouin Farmers’ Market 3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 12.30pm Civic Park, Drouin, West Gippsland

Essendon Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 12.30pm Essendon Secondary College, 286 Buckley St, Essendon

East Doncaster Farmers’ Market 2nd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Anderson’s Creek Rd, East Doncaster

East Gippsland Farmers’ Market 1st Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Secondary College Oval, McKean St, Bairnsdale

Highland Farmers Markets’ - Malvern 1st Sunday of month, Feb - Dec 10am - 2pm Malvern Gardens, Cnr. High St and Spring Rd, Malvern

Highland Craft and Produce Market Kilmore 3rd Saturday of month, 8.30am - 12.30pm Memorial Hall, Sydney St, Kilmore

Highland Farmers’ Markets at The Incinerator Arts Complex 4th Saturday, Jan to Nov, 8am - 12.30pm The Incinerator Arts Complex, 180 Holmes Rd, Moonee Ponds

Highland Farmers’ Market Williamstown 4th Sunday, Feb to Nov, 9am - 1.30pm John Morley Reserve, The Strand, Williamstown

Knox Farmers’ Market 3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Wantirna Primary School, Mountain Hwy, Wantirna Sth

Lancefield District Farmers’ Market

Talbot Farmers’ Market 3rd Sunday of month, 10am - 2pm Talbot Historic Precinct, Scandinavian Crescent, Talbot htm

Tatong Farmers’ Market 1st Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Tatong Tavern Hotel, Tatong

Tyers (Traralgon) Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 1pm Bert Christensen Reserve, Tyers

Veg Out St Kilda Farmers’ Market 4th Saturday of month, 8am - 12.30pm Peanut Farm Oval, between Chaucer & Spenser Sts, St Kilda

Warrnambool Farmers’ Market 1st Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Civic Green, Liebig St, Warrnambool

Wellington Farmers’ Market 3rd Saturday of month, 8am - 12 noon Port of Sale, Cnr Princess Hwy & Foster St, Sale

Werribee Farmers’ Market 3rd Sunday of month, 9am - 1.30pm Wyndham Civic Centre, 45 Princes Hwy, Werribee

Yarra Valley Regional Farmers’ Market 3rd Sunday of month, 10am - 2pm The Barn at Yering Station Vineyard, 38 Melba Hwy, Yering

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Albany Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8am - 12 noon Aberdeen Street, Albany

Boyanup Farmers’ Market 4th Sunday of month, 8am - 12 noon Boyanup Memorial Park Grounds, South Western Hwy, y Boyanup

Gascoyne Growers’ Markets Saturdays, 8am - 12 noon May to Oct Civic Centre, Camel Lane, Carnarvon

Manjimup Farmers’ Market

4th Saturday of month, 9am - 1pm Center Plantation, High St, Lancefield

3rd Saturday, Oct - Jun, 8am - 12 noon The Shed, Rose St, Manjimup

Local Producers’ Market (Milawa)

Margaret River Farmers’ Market

Every fortnight from Nov 2, 9am - 1pm to end of summer Milawa Cheese Factory, Milawa

Myrtleford Produce Market Every Saturday, Jan - mid April, 8am - 12pm St Pauls Hall Grounds, Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford

2nd Sunday of month Old Hospital Site, Tunbridge St, Margaret River

Organic Farmers’ Markets Saturdays, 8am - 12 noon City Farm, Brown St, East Perth

2nd Australian Farmers’ Market Conference 2005 Marilyn Lanyon bounced up to the microphone at the conference and gave us the background to her business Simply Tomatoes. Based in Boort Vic. they’ve had stalls at Collingwood, Boroondara, Federation Square and Echuca markets. Marilyn and husband Ian had been growing tomatoes for processing factories since 1978 and in 2002 started the value-added range. Simply Green Tomatoes. The product is now sold in 150 stores around Australia and exported to 19 countries. A great example of a business moving on from the Farmers’ Markets experience. It’s been three years since the last Farmers’ Market conference in Bathurst 2002. In that the number of markets has almost doubled, this may be why it’s been so hard to pull such a disparate group together to talk about the meaning of life. These markets are usually volunteer run and return small profits to their organisers, charity and community organisations. Unless you are a small producer who sells or a regular visitor to a market, it seems as if they operate on the fringes, their importance unrecognised by government. This year may be the turning point. The conference was used by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to release a report from the RIRDC that points out that there is an annual turnover at Australian farmers’ markets of $40m with an economic impact of $80m across the host communities. That’s still small bikkies in the context of our national agriculture but large enough to motivate a lot of interest from the Government and private sector. The conference was held at the Lake Hume Resort in Albury over two days, with a mix of presentations from successful market organisers and participants from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. There were panel sessions and some time for questions but the discussions had to take place outside the tight schedule. Stimulation and motivation seemed to be the main impact. I found some of the speakers really terrific, but there was no way of ensuring that this went back with the delegates to their State committees, or will trickle down to the grass roots. We have some photographs and links to associated websites up on our site, and a small bit of video that will give you some of the flavour of the event. R F Fred Harden. R EGIONAL F OOD A USTRALIA

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“Shiraz from the Hunter is so classy and elegant, it’s a wine real fanatics get”

Wine from the Marsh’s by Christina Tulloch

I N A QUIET CORNER OF POKOLBIN in the Hunter Valley, a family tradition of producing outstanding premium quality wines continues, with a level of integrity and passion not often seen in Australia’s burgeoning wine industry.


ARSH ESTATE, started by Peter and Robyn Marsh from vineyards planted in 1971, and now run by their youngest son Andrew Marsh and his wife Holly, is a story of commitment and standards and a genuine love for what they do. Marsh Estate has not grown into a large multinational commercial interest churning out increasing quantities of wine every year. They do not have massive marketing budgets, nor are they stocked in large bottle shop chains or exported by the container load overseas. But it is all of these factors that ensure their success well into the future as Andrew and Holly concentrate on what they do best, and their incredibly loyal customer base, who visit their cellar door year after year, wouldn’t have it any other way. The difference with Marsh Estate, Andrew explains, is that they are the only remaining vineyard in the Hunter that produces wines from their own vineyards on the property, makes the wines on site, and then bottles them on the estate. And they are 100% non-irrigated. Given the prevailing drought conditions affecting the Hunter, this alone is a massive achievement. If a system similar to the French Appellation Controlle was brought into the Hunter Valley, Marsh Estate would be the only label in the Hunter that would meet the standards. Andrew Marsh always wanted to be a winemaker, and in 1993 the succession plan took effect and he became the man


behind the Marsh Estate brand. He is a lovable Pokolbin larrikin known by everyone who has spent any time in the Hunter. His passion for food and wine is his driving force, and every single bottle of Marsh Estate wine exhibits his love for the Hunter Valley, and the exceptional wines his fertile part of the valley is capable of producing. In 1999 Andrew met his match, a city girl from Sydney with a love of good food and her own successful cafe, Fat Duck. Holly, a self-confessed food obsessive is now the face of the Marsh Estate Cellar Door. Together they are the epitome of what unerring integrity and vision can achieve. Marsh Estate Wines are only available for sale through their cellar door and only by the case: mixed or straight. Some might think this a rather bold way to sell wine, but as history shows, every year they make whatever quantity their vineyard yields and every year it sells out. People know that when they invest in a Marsh Estate wine they are getting the best the Hunter has to offer. “The Hunter Valley produces the best white wines in the world and I’m not being biased, I honestly believe it,” says Andrew. Semillon and Shiraz are the flagship Hunter varietals and he understands them and nurtures them in a way that only a winemaker, who shapes the wines from vineyard to bottle from the exact same small parcels of fruit year after year, could do.

His implicit understanding of his vineyard reaches far into the production process, and his determination to remain irrigation-free means a depth of quality and complexity in the wines that ensures true-to-style varietal character in every bottle. The Marsh Estate Shiraz is an excellent example. “Shiraz from the Hunter is so classy and elegant, it’s a wine real fanatics get. You get to know the individual blocks so well and what they are capable of. Knowing the vineyard is the key to getting the best fruit,” says Andrew. When Marsh Estate started they produced around 8,000 cases a year. In 2005 the average is around 6,000 cases a year as the vines’ maturity, combined with drought, decreases quantity but increases quality. Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, a sparkling and the very famous Marsh Estate Sauternes round out the product range and keep the same customers coming back for the winning formula of personal service, excellent wines and the chance to chat to Holly and Andrew about the wines they buy. “Even though the industry is in a tough place right now, we haven’t changed the equation and got bigger so we are not facing the same challenges,” Andrew explained. In a time when bigger is seen as better their approach is refreshing, down-toearth and full of promise. Their business will thrive because they have found a niche and stuck to it. The next instalment of the Marsh story is on the way with Holly due to give birth to their first child in October. Andrew is sure it will be a boy. “He will love booze and food, and when he gets older he’ll be a winemaker too.” RF


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Feed the children by Peter Cotton

C A N YO U R E M E M B E R your first favourite food, an edible you could eat by the truckload as a small child?


HEN I WAS FOUR, we lived in the Western Australian monastery town of New Norcia. Every Friday, the Benedictine nuns at the boarding school next door would cut freshly baked bread into thick slices which they smothered with home-made strawberry jam and topped with cream, courtesy of one of the convent’s cows. When me and my siblings periodically get together and reminisce about childhood, talk inevitably turns to the nuns’ sweet open sangas. I was prompted to think about them again recently watching the BBCproduced First Taste, a cooking show for young parents wanting a wholesome diet for their babies and young children. The program assumed the viewer knew nothing about feeding kids, as these slices of advice from the show indicate: “Talk to your baby as they eat”, “Don’t let your kids eat alone”, and “Make the food on their plate look attractive”. In other words, treat the little’uns like human beings. Well, it wasn’t really as bad as that. Only sometimes. The show was fronted by celebrity chef Lesley Waters of ‘Ready Steady Cook’ and ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ fame. Lesley did offer some advice that made sense: “Don’t force a kid to eat everything on their plate” and “Give them a big plate with a small amount of food on it” and, best of all, “When they’ve had enough, they’ve had enough.” Having said all of this, and then some, Lesley got down to producing something edible for kids, in this case salmon rice cakes. They looked good, and her advice to add some red curry paste to a portion of the mixture to make the adults’ dinner


was well taken. Overall, First Taste is a worthy effort. Worthy, but piously pitched and boring as hell. A recently published Australian book covers the same territory, but does it so cleverly, on so many levels, that it sets a new standard for books that cover the intersection between lifestyle and the kitchen. Three authors are credited with Fast Food and No Play make Jack a Fat Boy, but it’s the central narrative written by children’s author Andy Griffith that makes the book readable.

Andy Griffths’ website has ‘kid appeal’.

Jack is a fattie who watches too much TV, eats loads of junk food and hates playing sport. The first part of the book is a humorous first person account of his life on the couch and the treats he eats and drinks while slouched there. Jack’s role model for this lifestyle and diet is his over-weight Dad. When Dad has a health scare, the family is forced to makes changes. As in life, change is a struggle for Jack and his parents, but they persist. While chronicling Jack’s life, each chapter ends with contributions from the book’s other two authors, former athlete and fitness instructor Jim Thomson, and dietician Sophie Blackmore, who bounce off the narrative with some hard facts and practical information and advice.

Blackmore doesn’t serve up fad diets. Thompson doesn’t push unattainable fitness regimes. And Griffiths’ Jack certainly doesn’t preach. It’s the sort of book you’d love your kids to read, if they could find time between favourite TV programs and hours spent on the computer on MSN talking to school friends they’ve just spent the day with. Though I had a win the other night in the child/dietary stakes. I’d served the family a dinner of lemon and garlic chicken with buttered brussel sprouts and potato, and unusually, my 16 year ate everything on his plate, except for the single sprout I’d put there. Desperate to get the thing in his mouth, I introduced what’s been referred to since in our house as the ‘killer’ bribe. I offered him his favourite lolly, a certain make of giant jelly snake, if he ate the sprout. Smart boy, he demanded to see the snake before he’d take on the challenge. Then for five minutes he winced and moaned as he put small morsels of the poisonous vegetable into his mouth and washed each down with a large gulp of orange juice. Five minutes. He polished off the jelly python in less than half that time. A small victory, but if I knew 16 years ago what I know now thanks to Jack and his dietary turn around, I’d approach the development of my children’s diet much differently. But you know what they say about spilt milk. Clean it up. R F Fast Food and No Play make Jack a Fat Boy by Andy Griffiths, Jim Thomson & Sophie Blackmore is published by Pan Macmillan. Andy Griffiths has a very smart website promoting all his books, with extracts, games, audio and great Flash animation. Guaranteed to appeal to kids.


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Eat Art National Gallery of Australia publication—$39.95 164 pages Hardback.


ERE IS A TERRIFIC coffee table book idea. Get thirty-one Australian celebrity chefs to pick a painting from the NGA collection and match it to a recipe. Great art, good recipes—should sell a bundle. Cash in on the foodie thing, what could go wrong? Not a lot, but enough to make it a vaguely unsatisfying meal. I’ve had the book around for a while now, on what substitutes for the coffee table in our farmhouse kitchen. I’ve picked it up often enough to feel that it should go in this review section. (Without a lot of space there seems no point in reviewing things we don’t like. This one is here because it seemed to have slipped under the public radar and it ties in with this issue’s region.) The question about whether it’s a cookbook or an art book wouldn’t have

to be asked if it worked better as a mix of both. The design avoids side by side comparisons which could have diminished the art work (although the Creme Caramel recipe from Charmaine Solomon and the John Olsen painting Sydney sun could stand it, and the translucent Cindy Sargon Hot Seared Pearl Meat Sashimi with Anne Ferran’s ethereal Untitled (baby’s dress) is clever.) Like the art works, the recipes have no common style and don’t have the narrative consistency that makes for a good cookbook. So we’re left with our fascination with the private thoughts of celebrity chefs. Do we know more about them and their work from this book, enough to buy it as an object? Each painting has a small paragraph opposite with words from the chef (see the Kylie Kwong example here). The question obviously asked was ‘How does this piece of art relate to or inspire your dish?’ The responses really show how clever the chef is at writing answers they

think we want to hear. Not something chefs are noted for. There’s a conspicuous abscence of an editor saying ‘I know YOU are the celebrity chef, but that sucks and makes you look silly, let’s change it.’ This is obviously meant to be an NGA publication that sprang by magic from the Gallery, because the editor’s name (Pauline Green) is in tiny type on the last page. You get one go at a publication like this, so it’s disappointing if it ends up flawed. Should you buy it? Yes. Will you use it as a cookbook? No. But hey, here’s a terrific food TV-special idea. Get celebrity chefs to pick a painting from the collection and match it to a recipe. Great art, good recipes, add a critic or gallery director to talk about the paintings, watch the food being prepared and cooked. Intelligent talk, Kylie’s real enthusiasm coming through from behind the words. Maybe film a sit-down dinner in the Gallery forecourt with artists, chefs and critics. You’ll need a good director; can I script and edit it? RF Fred Harden

Kylie Kwong

The sensuality and seductive quality of Brett Whiteley’s Interior with time past, its movement and aliveness, reflect the experience I have when I am cooking ‘steamed mud crab with black bean and chilli’. Cooking this dish is the most intense and gratifying act. The deliciously sweet, silky textured, luxurious flesh is tossed into a vibrant flaming wok— alongside the dizzying aromas and flavours of black bean, garlic and chilli. One’s heart begins to thump, total emotional absorption—energy, life, rich, deep orange hues, visual beauty— nothing else matters. 104


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Two’s Cooking

The Journal of Food and Culture UC Press. US$10 (Various prices here, usually about $18).

Jane and Jeremy Strode, Pan Macmillan—$39.95 pbk


HIS IS an academic magazine that has escaped the walls of the University of California. The current (US) Summer issue with a Julia Child cover tribute is now running wild at newsagents (Borders always stock it). I love it, and each issue sits for months by the bedside for quick reading—or putting me to sleep. Jan can’t get into it until I point out how some of the oftenesoteric articles are actually interesting. (A treatise on the history of eating parrots springs to mind but I couldn’t convince her on that one: Psittacophagy in the Renaissance and Beyond.) The content is a mix of food history, art, reviews and even food poetry. The recently updated website will give you a fair ‘taste’ of the print magazine ( Read one of the sample stories like The History of the Wedding Cake in the Spring 2005 issue which will give you the mix of academic and popular that makes Gastronomica a must read for me. There’s a lot of the Editor-in-Chief Darra Goldstein in this, but I won’t (can’t?) complain about that. It feels like a lively and intelligent on-campus discussion over late-night coffees. You can subscribe online; it costs an extra US$20 for air freight to Australia but it’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss it. R F Fred Harden

Photography by Karl Schwerdtfeger


F YOU’RE GOING TO launch another cookbook these days, you’re going to need a gimmick (unless it features gorgeous pictures of Italy, in which case I’ll buy it no matter what). In this case, the twist is a twosome: two chefs, married to each other, would have to be the ultimate in foodie couples. The cover blurb burbles fatuously “…it was a union not only of love but a marriage of flavours, cooking credentials and serious talent”. Fortunately, the rest of the book makes better reading than the cover. The Strodes take a lifestyle approach; the recipes are divided into Sunday Again, School Nights, Fridays for Four and Big Night In. Clearly, School Nights are meant to be recipes you whip up after a day at the office (or the restaurant). Hmmm. Standing there on a school night stirring pastry cream with a whisk for 20 minutes (Chocolate and Hazelnut Pudding, page 100)…I don’t think so. And when I get home around 7pm, I don’t want to roast red rice for an hour to serve with my freerange chicken breast (page 88). So, yes,

some of these recipes may be simple and quick (see the risotto in our Seasons Best), but for some you need to plan ahead and pre-prepare part of the meal the day (or night) before. No use lurching through the door, grabbing the book and saying “What’ll we whip up tonight, then?” The book is printed on a matte stock, which makes it feel ‘friendly’ but it doesn’t do much for the colour images of the food, with wishy-washy shadows. The candid black and white images of Jane and Jeremy fare better. Nice features of this book are the chatty notes that accompany each recipe (often with extra information about ingredients), the notes on menu planning and the handy menu work plans that accompany the rather ambitious dinner party menus. The whole format is aimed straight at the DINK (Double Income No Kids) market, with quantities given for two during the week, four or six for the weekends. It would be a great gift for someone you know who’s newly coupled. RF Jan O’Connell


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websites If you’re broadband or just a country 56k dial-up, these are worth browsing. There’s a clickable version on our website.

Local tourist information

Village specific

Advertisers in this issue

Websites we like

Check these sites first when visiting the area.

Braidwood This is the the Australian Capital Tourism official site and has the best event information, and accommodation information. There’s no critical approach so you’ll need to judge the content yourself. This site suffers from a lot less attention (and probably web site money) but has more regional information outside Canberra. You find all kinds of pages when you search that link to the NSW Tourism site. Finding them when you come to the home page isn’t as easy but there’s a lot of material here. Explore. A one man labour of love, this isn’t always up to date but it is well worth the browse time. A commercial site that has patchy quality bits. food_guide/southern_highlands The NRMA site has had money spent on local content and is well written. Light on updates. Another site that doesn’t have a lot of money and it shows. Use it in conjunction with our Guide. The full link is: nsf/Content/South+Eastern+Highlands++regional+history Type that in without a mistake I dare you. You can also find these links in a clickable state on our website


Mentioned in this issue


South Australian Tourism

Australian Capital Tourism

Ginger Catering – The Ginger Room

The Practically Ediblee name must refer to their website I guess, not the content which is very edible. It’s a simple site, a food encyclopedia style full of ingredient information, some good recipes and Food History and Trivia of the day. Like... “Devil’s Nutting Day, 21 September This is traditionally the day in the fall to go off “nutting” and gather fall nuts. “Nutting” also afforded an occasion for teenage boys and girls to go off into the woods unsupervised.


It was believed that Sundays were a bad day to gather nuts, because you might meet the devil doing the same thing on a Sunday. This day, however, was safe to gather nuts because on this day, the devil had been out gathering nuts, when he ran into the Virgin Mary in the forest. He dropped his bag of nuts and fled.

In Alcester, Warwickshire, England, there is a hill called The Devil’s Nightcap, which local legend said was formed by the bag of nuts that he dropped.”

(And another view on Captain’s Flat, with tongue firmly in cheek.) flat.htm

(not just Pumpkin Festival, local history too)

There’s lots more at

Gundaroo gundaroo (Joyce and Michael)

Murrumbateman (field days)



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The Regional Food website

Regional Food Web TV

Don’t forget, there’s lots more to read online at the Regional Food Australia website. There’s our online events calendar (searchable), our own blog with opinion, gossip and news about what we’ve been doing lately, a feedback page where we share what our readers are saying to us and about us, notes on seasonal produce… is there no end to the goodies?

Yep, it’s happening on a browser near you right now. See the video clips of King Island and Capital Country Villages. Lots of format options from Broadband streaming to low res downloads.

OKAY, HERE’S THE PLAN. Julie Powell, a twenty-something who describes herself as a “government drone by day, renegade foodie at night” decides to work her way through one of the seminal cookbooks of the generation-before-hers: Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. The project began in August 2002; the task—to prepare 536 recipes in 365 days. The whole experience was recorded in Julie’s blog, The Julie/Julia Project. (We all know what a blog is, don’t we? Short for web log, it’s the easy way to be a vanity publisher. You don’t need paper and ink and printing presses, you just need a computer and an internet connection.) Subtitled ‘Nobody here but us servantless American cooks…’ the blog tracks the adventures of Julie, her husband Eric and her cats during an extraordinary year of compulsive cooking. Julie saw Julia as an antidote to foodie faddishness. When, on August 12, 2004, Julia Child died at the age of 92, Julie wrote of her: “She had no use for silly, fear-driven food fads; she could be set in her ways, even mulish, and when she wanted to she could be withering. Julia didn’t create armies of drones, mindlessly equating her name with taste and muttering “It’s a Good Thing” under their minty breath. Instead she created feisty, buttery, adventurous cooks, always diving in to the next possible disaster, because goddammit, if Julia did it, so could we.” Now Julie’s blog is a book, Julie & Julia. But, at least at the time of writing this, you can still read the original online (with extras included, like links and reader comments). The language is, ahem, strong, but the writing…well, it’s black, it’s funny and it really sucks you in. We live through Julie’s commuter woes, the trials of trying to buy beef marrow, the culinary successes and abject failures. We learn that, in all her twenty-something years, she has never eaten an egg until, on Day 6 of The Project, Julia tells her how to poach one.. Follow Julie’s progress from the poached egg through to a Thanksgiving dinner including Oie Rôtie aux Pruneaux— Roast Goose with Prune and Foie Gras Stuffing—and beyond. Share her year of delicious ups and hilarious downs— then buy the book anyway. R F Jan O’Connell Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. Publisher Little, Brown. It’s also available as an ebook. Distributed in Australia by Penguin US release late September, no Australian release date.

That’s Jan’s beaten up copy of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking.’ She hasn’t cooked every recipe, but I know she’s cooked some of them lots of times.


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Stand up for what you drink by Scott Watkins-Sully

A S WE GO TO PRESS the ownership of Australia’s last independently owned major brewery, hangs in the balance.


HOMAS COOPER AND SONS of Adelaide has been a family ownedd and operated business since 1862. Coopers went public in 1923 with the family retaining the Share majority until the present time. In 1995 Coopers entered into a complex pre-emptive share purchase arrangement which would allow Brewing Giant Lion Nathan to purchase Coopers Shares unchallenged, should AMP decline them. The South Australian Supreme Court recently overruled the arrangement; however this does not prevent Lion Nathan from launching a hostile takeover bid, something the Brewing Giant is apparently determined to do. We asked Scott Watkins-Sully, the Brewer in our Magnificent Seven to comment.


VER THE LAST 30 years, the Australian brewing industry has been gradually swallowed up by what is essentially a duopoly consisting of Lion Nathan and Fosters Brewing. The Sydney brewing institution Tooths was swallowed up by Fosters owned Carlton United Breweries in the 1980’s. Also in the 80’s Queensland’s Castlemaine Perkins was taken over by Lion Nathan following the Bond fiasco. Hobart’s Cascade to CUB in the 90’s and in 2000 even Northern Tasmania’s much celebrated Boags went to Philipino giant San Miguel. Many drinkers argue that the takeovers have been to the detriment of the product. One must ask one’s self why it would be within the interest of such huge companies to continue nurturing unique flavour profiles in its regional beers when massively funded marketing campaigns

can result in highly successful figures for the sales of stable, homogenous almost generic products. It’s interesting to note that in recent years, the mass produced beer market has been losing increasingly to the homebrew market. Hundreds of thousands of Australians choose their homemade products over mainstream beers. Lion Nathan has made significant investments into the homebrew kit market in both Australia and New Zealand in recent years. Coopers is by far the biggest player in the Australian homebrew market. Regardless of what the brewing giants do to our regional beers, the fact remains that if Coopers is swallowed up by the duopoly, it will mark the beginning of the darkest era in Australian Brewing.


Scott Watkins-Sully: “Many “ drinkers argue that the takeovers have been to the detriment of the product.”


UT OF DARKNESS often something positive can emerge: London 1969—The blitz had taken it’s toll on postwar Britain. A rich tradition of food and drink had suffered severely at the hands of rationing and a need for basic survival. The “brave new world” approach to the rebuilding of Britain’s cities saw ugly high rise accommodation and concrete shopping precincts emerge from the bomb sites of the 1940’s. Regional delicacies which in the past had been created from an abundance of local fish, game and produce were rapidly being replaced by pre-packaged frozen food. All of a sudden Britain was reputed to serve the worst food in Europe! One aspect of British culture that suffered more than any, from this desperate need to rebuild was the “Great British Pint.” British beer drinkers had


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never known anything other than heavily malt based, hop driven cask conditioned ales. Cellaring and hand drawing was not a unique artisan craft. It was just the way that things were done. The war effort and subsequent rationing had taken its toll on malt and hop production in Britain. In postwar brewing adjuncts (non-grain based fermentables) were increasingly used in commercial beer production. Alcohol content dropped in many brewers’ products, thus making it increasingly difficult to prolong the cellar life of an opened cask. European breweries had for years, been force carbonating their beers by using carbon dioxide and pressurised kegs. British brewers soon realised that a blast of pressurised gas could add sparkle to their bland, weak adjunct-based beers and that a sealed keg would prolong its cellar life. The production of keg beer simply made life easier for the breweries and increased profit margins. By 1969, real ales had virtually disappeared from the British Pub, signifying the end of a centuries-old tradition. A handful of major brewers held over 90% of the market, one of the most significant being London brewer Watneys with their now much maligned Red Barrel Bitter, which was ironically served from a keg. In 1972, four British cask ale enthusiasts agreed that enough was enough. Graham Lees, Jim Makin, Bill Mellor and Michael Hardman had seen enough of Britain’s rich brewing heritage being reduced to nothing. CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) was born. CAMRA is an independent, voluntary consumer organisation, funded by member subscriptions, merchandise, the proceeds from festivals and most importantly publications such as the Good Pub Guide. It aims to promote awareness

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of traditional cask conditioned ales and to generally improve the standards of public houses by maintaining their heritage. The organisation has run a very positive campaign. Rather than boycotting pubs that don’t meet their standards. CAMRA has heightened the status of those that do, through their highly successful publication The Good Pub Guide. In 2005 CAMRA boasts 75,000 members and is known as the most successful consumer lobby group in Europe. In a climate where Britain’s major breweries are being taken over by Euro giants such as Belgium’s Interbrew and Denmark’s Calsberg. CAMRA ensures the survival of independent breweries. They lobby the government in regard to takeover issues, act as a competition watchdog and have even been instrumental in securing tax reforms for smaller brewers. They now have a futures scheme aimed at aiding the survival of independent brewers. What’s amazing about CAMRA is that it’s not an industry body. It was developed by Britain’s beer drinkers for Britain’s beer drinkers. Breweries or Pubs are not permitted to join the organisation. Now Britain’s drinkers can move from town to town and enjoy a foamy pint of uniquely regional cask-conditioned ale wherever they go. Regional, independent brewing had almost disappeared from Britain by 1969. In 2005 it is thriving. A handful of small regional independents are currently scattered around Australia. Their only true hope of survival would be for a CAMRA-style consumer lobby group, steered by the beer drinkers of this nation to take up their cause for the sake of their beloved “amber nectar.” R F

“What’s amazing about CAMRA is that it’s not an industry body. It was developed by Britain’s beer drinkers for Britain’s beer drinkers. Breweries or Pubs are not permitted to join the organisation.”

HANDS UP IF YOU HAVE VISITED OUR WEBSITE LATELY OK Madam, put your hand down. Shame on the rest of you, go there immediately. While we always check our facts, things change after printing and the Regional Food website is the place to find that updated regional information. Online we list things like the new café that finally opened in Bungendore just when we went to press, those events that changed their date and so on. We also have items in the ‘Damn, how did we miss that?’ category; such as telling you that in King Island only CDMA mobiles will work, and where to hire one if you need it. So check the website before you travel, just in case.

Scott Watkins-Sully Braidwood Traditional Ales

26/10/05 6:11:12 PM


Real and utterly forgettable by Dr. Barbara Santich

I N H I S A R T I C L E , In Search of Real Food (Regional Food, Winter 2005), Gawen Rudder explores current ideas about, and understandings of, ‘real food’ among Australian food professionals.


OT SURPRISINGLY, his respondents shared similar and predictable interpretations. A deeper analysis, however, reveals two distinct themes. In the sense of food as raw food, an ingredient, ‘real food’ was seen as honest, natural, of known provenance and preferably produced by environmentally sustainable methods. Considered as prepared dishes, ‘real food’ was characterised more by what it was not: neither artificial nor manipulated, neither precious nor pretentious, not fussed with, but just simple food presented in a straightforward style. There is nothing new or unexpected in these associations. Even Plato, born in the fifth century BC, was suspicious of what he would have called fancy food, or cakes as opposed to bread. What is interesting, however, is that they echo nationalistic ideas about English food in the eighteenth century, and even as late as the twentieth century. The English praised their food and cooking as plain and simple because it was based on English ingredients which were of the highest quality (and this quality was attributed to the fact that they were grown in England!) and therefore necessitated only the simplest and plainest of culinary treatments. ‘Plain and simple’ was also defiantly anti-foreign, especially anti-French. French food (in the sense of dishes) was seen as dishonest, devious and deceptive. It seduced the palate, promising much but delivering little, and was ultimately insubstantial and unsatisfying. As Hannah Glasse wrote in The Art of Cookery (1747), ‘if


Gentlemen will have French Cooks, they must pay for French Tricks’. To the English there was a certain sameness about French cuisine because it was rule-bound. It epitomised the nation itself, together with its people. A similar analogy applied in England; English food encapsulated the solid, trustworthy, yeoman-like qualities of England and the English.

cultural conditioning – and, it must be acknowledged, the comparison was with their arch rivals. Today, when we – and I have to include myself as one of these Gawen consulted— offer our understandings of ‘real food’ we, too, are probably motivated to a large extent by considerations of flavour. We prefer fresh, natural ingredients we can trust because – so we believe – these are

“Plain and simple can only triumph when the ingredients are high quality, so full of flavour that they become the backbone of the dish.” Dr. Barbara Santich

If a group of eighteenth- or nineteenth-century English cookbook writers had been asked how they would define ‘real food’ they would undoubtedly have described English food, simple and plain, based on ingredients of known and trusted origin – almost exactly the same answer as given in Australia at the start of the twenty-first century. Now, we’ll never know whether English ingredients, several centuries ago, really were superior to the French – logically, there’s no reason why they should have been – but the English valued their ‘plain and simple’ as a way of differentiating their cooking from that of the French. They may genuinely have preferred this as their version of ‘real food’ for reasons of flavour but, as we now know, taste preferences contain a strong element of

more flavourful. And we prefer them cooked simply because – again, so we believe – this allows us to best appreciate their intrinsic flavours. But as the English were using these qualities to set their food apart from the French, I suspect that we, too – consciously or unconsciously – are differentiating ‘real food’, in our terms, from other categories of food. In the sense of ingredients, we are setting ‘real food’ apart from the mainstream food supply of the supermarkets which we often characterise, rightly or wrongly, as lacking in flavour, the quality we particularly value. While we will never have the tomatoes of fifty years ago to taste and compare, side-by-side, with those of today, we can’t help but think there must once have been a tastier alternative.


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And while we might appreciate the vastly increased range of fresh fruits and vegetables, we start to despair of the cult of freshness when experience shows that the ‘fresh’ hydroponic lettuce, still in its cute little pot, is not much more than green water. Further, by equating ‘real food’ with food of known provenance, we are setting it in opposition to the anonymity of mainstream food, the apples that can come from anywhere in Australia, the lacklustre cherries imported from America in the depths of our winter. On the other hand, when we reject artifice and pretension in favour of simplicity of preparation and presentation, are we damning all restaurants or only those which give precedence to style over substance? Cheong Liew’s dishes are typically masterpieces of complexity, a single dish often presented with several complementary sauces and a galaxy of intricate garnishes, but I would never dare to exclude Cheong’s cuisine from my category of ‘real food’.

This takes us back to ‘real food’ in the sense of ingredients. Plain and simple can only triumph when the ingredients are high quality, so full of flavour that they become the backbone of the dish. It’s the old story of not being able to sew silk purses using sow’s ears. With insipid, characterless ingredients, simple techniques can only yield a bland, utterly forgettable dish—a dish so unenticing, in fact, that it needs to be ‘complicated’ with salt, sauces, spices and a panoply of extraneous flavours. What we are doing, then, in our understandings of ‘real food’, is establishing a set of oppositions which can be summarised as flavour versus lack of flavour. We are asserting that flavour resides in honest, natural, authentic ingredients prepared simply, in such a way as to highlight their particular qualities. With this assertion we are also giving primacy to the pleasure of eating. According to a recent article in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people who enjoy eating not only want to enjoy the experience but

also pay attention to the flavours of the foods they are eating. If flavour is lacking, pleasure will be diminished. But we should not be too dogmatic in insisting on the rightness of our understandings in respect of ‘real food’. Others might disagree. Just as there are super-tasters whose palates are particularly sensitive to bitterness, so there are individuals who crave sweetness or demand a chilli hit. In the end, it comes down to tastes, in the broadest sense of the term, and taste preferences, however much culturally conditioned, are still very much a personal affair. R F Barbara was a speaker at the 2nd National Farmers’ Markets Conference in Albury in August. She was also part of Tasting Australia 2003 in Adelaide. Barbara is the Program Manager for the Graduate Program in Gastronomy at The University of Adelaide, South Australia.

HANDS UP IF YOU HAVE VISITED A FARMERS’ MARKET OK Madam, put your hand down again, you’re our favourite Regional Foodie. As for the rest of you, maybe your excuse is that you don’t know where one is? is our contribution to providing a single updated list of Farmers and Growers

markets around Australia. If we’re going to change the world one stomach at a time, you need to see what these markets have to offer. That’s the freshest regional and seasonal produce you’ll find. And you can talk to the person who grows or makes it— that doesn’t happen in your supermarket aisle does it!

Go on, visit a Farmers’ Market!

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Handling the Olives by Fred Harden

“H I , I N O T I C E D T H AT your next issue will be on the Capital Country area. How are you going to handle the olive story?”



bombs in a page layout schedule. Damn, I hadn’t thought that story through at all, so all I could say was ‘Want to tell me about it?’ With pure luck the caller on the other end was Nelson Quinn, President of the NSW Olive Council, Chair of the Southern Tablelands Olive Growers Association and a director of a regionally owned oil processor. He is also on the reference group planning the re-structure of the national olive body based on a recent Government funded report. Nelson and his wife Annette own a mixed farm near Hall and naturally, they are olive growers. We talked.



Old trees and old traditions


HE TRADITION OF olive growing

in this region goes back to the first white settlers. I’d admired the old olive trees at Hamilton Hume’s Cooma Cottage in Yass. Nelson explained that those trees were “Shown on the inventory when Hamilton Hume bought it off a settler called O’Brien 1839. So people were always confident that olives would grow here. Then you add the fact that Canberra has the highest proportion of people from a Mediterranean background of any city in Australia. It’s not surprising there were also olives planted here.” Most of these were just a few back-yard trees, the steps from there to an industry happened quite recently. Nelson recounted the story, “In the early to mid 90s, there were a lot of people who had purchased small ‘hobby farm’ blocks of land wondering what to do with them, olives was one option. They called a public meeting at Stony Creek and were stunned when sixty people turned up. That was the trigger to start the Southern Tablelands Olive Grower’s Association which began formally in 1996. The group were very diverse, it included people with three trees to a thousand. The average grove is about 400 trees but there are big ones, there’s one grove of 30,000 trees at Cowra for example. Our bailiwick, is the Capital Development Region, the shires from Cowra to the Victorian Border and across to the coast. We also have members in Sydney and Wollongong who own land here.”

Nelson explained that the diverse group is also the reason why they’ve published a ‘Starters Guide to Growing Olives’, put together mostly by local olive guru John Brown. “As far as we know it’s the only beginner’s guide there is”, Nelson said “There are lots of more advanced manuals but this has been steadily selling for years.” “An individual can manage about a thousand trees confidently,” Nelson then warned that “once you get over that you have to work out the labour costs. Then you have to work out how to handle the fruit. Like the wine industry, the mass of olive products come from a few companies and then you have lots of small suppliers. The last estimate was that there are about two and a half thousand growers in Australia.”

Pressing matters


ITH THAT MANY growers, it’s no

wonder that the availability of olive presses is a problem. Nelson said that people rushed in and now they’ve found that they’re either too small for what they grow or too big. In many places you can’t get your olives processed unless you have a minimum of a ton. That was the impetus for the local group to start Southern Tablelands Olives P/L, a private company with now around thirty shareholders. I’d photographed the company’s portable press at Madew winery and asked Nelson how such a small press can handle commercial quantities. “Yes, it’s small, 50 kilograms an hour. Our first aim was experimental; so we started with a small machine and as a result we may be the only group around with a positive cash flow! If


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you plan for the longer term you have too much capacity most of the time. That said, we’ll probably have to upgrade next year. Some people have really specific needs, so they buy even smaller 10 kilo an hour presses. And the organic growers don’t want to mix it up of course.” “We buy olives in any numbers, and while they can’t get the oil from specifically their own olives if they just bring a bucketful,” Nelson laughed, “but they can have oil that’s got that bucketful in it!” The company won a medal for their first pressing in the Canberra show, I remember it as a distinctive and pleasing oil. I bought bottles to proudly give to friends. The nature of the region’s cool climate means that the oils will always have a difference. The same varieties grown in Queensland will have a different taste. Nelson says the most immediately noticeable characteristic is that, “Their oil is milder, ours is more robust and distinctly flavoured. We think this is an advantage.” The proportion of olives going to pickling for the table is increasing. That is a process that is easy enough to do ‘at home’, but the growth in the Australian industry (9% a year) will still place a lot of pressure on the oil processing plants. Nelson says “There are some big presses such as Inglewood in Queensland and in South Australia, West Australia and Victoria. There are some middle sized presses at particular enterprises to do their own, and sometimes they’ll have two presses to cover breakdowns which they let others use. Then there are groups like ours that look after a small region.”

THE ITALIAN portable olive oil press owned by the local group, Southern Tablelands Olives P/L

CHAIRMAN OF Judges Richard Gawel flanked by other judges at the 2004 show. For full details and some more background on this years awards, see the Regional Food website.

On with the show



oil shows in Australia,” Nelson explained. “A big one in Perth, a big one in Adelaide, the so-called National one which the Australian Olive Association runs, and the other big one is the Royal Canberra show which our Association sponsors. The first year we held it, it was a great success and it has grown each year. There are more entries in Perth, with bigger exhibitors who will have entries in six classes, but we get a really wide range from across the country and more exhibitors. That means we get a bigger range to judge ourselves by. Our judges are led by the top olive oil judge in Australia, Richard Gawel, he’s one of

MEMBERS OF the STOGA group examine the recently planted demonstration grove at Canberra’s EPIC Showground complex. Using donations of equipment and trees and planted by volunteers, the layout and varieties were canvassed nationally. They include Manzanilla, Paragon, Nevadillo blanco, and some dwarf varieties such as FS17 (Frantoio). The grove will be used to demonstrate picking and cultivation methods at the Australian Olive Expo that will now be held annually in Canberra in October (October 26-27 this year) There is a merger underway of the Southern Highlands Olive Growers’ Association (SHOGA) with STOGA to form a larger and stronger group. Lots of details of the association can be found in their newsletters www.michelagocommunity. info/orgpages/stoga.htm or from STOGA: PO Box 233 Lyneham ACT 2602

those people with an astonishing palate and he also judges wine. In areas like this and in places like the Hunter, we need to tap into the growing higher end market. Like wine in this region, our production per hectare is lower and so we have to find a market where we can charge a bit more. We sponsor training by people like Chris Butler, an agricultural-scientist-turned-journalist. He’s an Australian now living in Italy and got interested in the technical side. His own oil has been judged in the top twenty in Tuscany, so we’re developing a culture of excellence here. We have to get the best product and market it in a way that links it with the things that people like, wine, lifestyle, the great scenery here.” RF


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30/9/05 2:08:05 PM


Country Fare O F C O U R S E there are many more restaurants in the region than we can possibly feature, but we’d hate for you to miss these. So we asked their chefs for a signature recipe to entice you.

Lambert Vineyards Café


Home Smoked Salmon

Red Wine Risotto

scented with Mountain Pepper with Avocado and Lime scented Mousse.

Ingredients 1 kilo fillet of salmon that has been de-scaled and the fine pin bones removed. Leave the skin on. Season with salt and pepper, mountain pepper and olive oil. Method Make sure that the smoker is up to temperature.

 Place the fillet on the wire rack for seven minutes.

 Remove and put into an airtight container and refrigerate for two to three hours. It’s then ready to slice.

Serves 4 A Avocado and Lime scented Mousse A home made mayonnaise (made with olive oil) Two ripe avocados, Finely grated zest of lime (to taste). Salt and pepper.

Lambert Vineyards Cafè

 Dice up the avocado and fold it with the

lime zest into the mayonnaise, so that you have a coarse mousse.

 Place a small serve of mixed salad with

balsamic dressing on the plate, spoon mousse on top, place two slices of salmon on top and garnish with sour cream and salmon caviar.

Serves 4 as an entrée. Chef Michael Stride notes “Because the salmon isn’t cured like smoked salmon, it has a far fresher flavour. We use shavings from the oak wine barrels which put a little bit more taste in the smoke. Small smokers that fit over a gas stove ring are sold in most fishing tackle shops, and they sell oak chips as well. Oak is best.”


Ingredients 150g chicken thigh, roughly chopped 8 rashers streaky bacon, finely sliced 100g butter ½ cup olive oil 1 large brown onion, finely chopped 5 cloves garlic, crushed 2 ½ cups Arborio rice 1 bottle Madew shiraz 4 cups fresh chicken stock Salt & pepper to taste 2 handfuls English spinach ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese Balsamic vinegar and extra parmesan to serve Method Seal off the chicken in a hot, heavy-base pot with a knob of butter. Remove from pot then seal off bacon until crispy. Remove from pot and set aside.

 In the same pot, add 100g butter and ½

cup olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until slightly caramelised and soft. Meanwhile, heat shiraz in a saucepan and reduce by half. Heat chicken stock and keep simmering.

 Add rice to the onion pot on a low heat

and sauté until translucent. Add the bacon and wine and allow to cook out for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the chicken and ¾ cup chicken stock. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally and gradually adding chicken stock as liquid is absorbed. When all the stock is absorbed, throw in the parmesan, seasoning and spinach. Gently mix then serve with a dash of balsamic vinegar over the top and a little shaved parmesan.

Serves 4

JJosh Cook has returned as Chef at Madew’s grapefoodWINE.


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Lynwood Café

Country Guesthouse Schönegg

Lynwood Steamed Sponge

Duck Rillettes on Brioche with Cumquat Chutney

Ingredients 140 gm. Unsalted butter 140 gm. Castor sugar 115gr Plain flour 5 gm. Baking powder 1 Whole egg and 1 egg yolk 45 ml. milk 1 Vanilla bean (cut lengthways to remove vanilla seeds) 1 Jar of Lynwood Quince Marmalade

This dish is a combination of two French classics, rillettes and brioche, with the zesty addition of cumquat chutney to add balance. Brioche can be purchased from a good bakery—ask for a savoury rather than a sweet brioche if available. Or you can make your own as we do.

Method In a mixer cream cold butter, vanilla bean and sugar together until very white and creamy texture.

 With a mixer beat eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated then gradually add milk.

 Fold in sifted flour and baking powder.  Butter and sugar eight 200 ml. tea cups

and place 15gm. of Lynwood Quince Marmalade at the base of each cup. Then spoon 65 gm. of sponge mixture on top of Lynwood Quince Marmalade.

 Cover tightly with cling wrap and place in

a steamer for 40 minutes or until cooked.

 Remove cling wrap, place cup upside down on your service plate and gently lift up.

 Serve sponge with English custard.

Note: For a different flavour try Lynwood Seville Orange Marmalade. Serves 8–10

Ingredients 700g duck legs 375g duck fat (available from good delicatessans) 75ml dry white wine 1 sprig fresh thyme 2 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon fresh milled pepper Method Place 250g of duck fat and all other ingredients into a heavy pot and bring slowly to the boil, reduce heat to lowest setting. If necessary, add water to ensure meat is covered. Cover and cook over lowest heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove lid and cook for a further hour or until meat is falling from bone.

 Place ingredients into a colander over a deep bowl and allow to cool. Remove thyme, duck bones, skin and cartilage (best done wearing latex food handling gloves). Use two forks to shred duck meat finely.

2 tablespoons brown mustard 2 tablespoons salt 3 chillies or to taste Method Combine fruit and vinegar and simmer for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, simmer and reduce until thickened, approx. 50 minutes.

To Serve Duck rillettes, 50-75g per person Brioche, 1 thick slice per person Baby rocket leaves, small handful per person Orange segments, 4-5 per person Milled pepper Cumquat chutney, 30g per person Allow rillettes to come to room temperature (removing top layer of duck fat first). Cut a thick slice of brioche and toast both sides. Top the warm brioche with baby rocket leaves and duck rillettes. Surround with orange segments and fresh milled pepper and serve with a side dish of chutney.

 Place shredded meat and strained fat and

juices into a clean, heavy pot. Heat gently for 10 minutes, mixing well to ensure meat, juices and fat combine. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to a dish or terrine and pack down well.

 Refrigerate. Once chilled, seal with reserved melted duck fat.

Janine Heat and Robbie Howard

Chutney 500g cumquats, halved, seeds removed 1 baby pineapple, peeled, core removed, roughly diced 500g apple, peeled, cored and roughly diced 1 litre white wine vinegar

Richard and Evelyn Everson, Country Guesthouse Schönegg Richard says that “We’re fortunate that our neighbour Tom Armstead from the property ‘Kiah’ on Greenwood Road Murrumbateman, supplies us with free-range eggs and ducks. He is currently fattening geese and breeding quail for us.”


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2/10/05 11:54:09 PM

Braidwood Deli

This is a family story Story continued from page 75

Dartmouth Pie Ingredients 2 sheets of ready-made puff pastry 900g mutton, trimmed Salt 2 level teaspoons black pepper, ground 1 level teaspoon cinnamon, ground 1 level teaspoon allspice, ground 450g onion, diced 150g dried apricots 150g sultanas 1 tablespoon flour 450ml mutton or beef stock 50g butter 1 egg, beaten Method Cut the meat into 2.5cm cubes. Salt lightly. Melt butter in a large pan, brown meat then sprinkle with the spices. Cook one minute more, add onion and flour. Mix well, pour in the stock, stir and bring to boil. Add fruit and mix well. Pour contents of pan into a casserole, cover tightly and cook in preheated oven, 150°C for 1 ½ to 2 hours until meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, leave to cool.

 Put the pie filling into a deep 1.2litre pie

dish, around a pie funnel. Take one sheet of pastry and cut into 2.5cm strips long enough to go all the way around the edge of the pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with water and lay the strip around the rim. Brush the strip with water and lay the remaining sheet of pastry over the pie, supported by the funnel, pressing down the edges to seal. Trim edges, make a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.


It’s a great community idea and Garry is moving towards a proposal for a grant. “In summer we do lots of salads. Our last year’s count was sixty two different leaves from our garden. As well as mixed lettuces we have things like South American chia, red root chicory, borage, wild fennel, purslane, dandelion - lots of them. We also have a German Beer Radish: they’re too hot to eat, unless you’re very brave, but the long green seed pods are really lovely and crunchy in salads. We have a Spanish radish – it’s pungent, grows like a very big parsnip, black on the outside, white inside. We slice those very thin and pickle them. They’ve got a cult following.” “The muffins we’re famous for, we do one with custard inside, rhubarb and custard. We want to do some interesting berry ones this summer, so we’ve planted Jostaberry, a cross between a gooseberry and a black currant, and we’ve planted the Tazzi berries you featured last issue. “Each year we make Hawthorn Berry and Wild Apple conserve. We go around in autumn and pick them from the paddocks.

There’s also some produced commercially by a local lady which have more flavour than the wild ones. Did you know hawthorn berries are good for your heart?” While we talked I watched the crowds ordering meals. They sat inside or out on the verandahed footpath and, along with local produce, there were a lot of pies sold. “We can’t make enough pies most days” Garry said. “Those are the Melton Mowbray Pork pies from the middle of England and we do them to a very old recipe that uses raised pastry. They’re very Anglo centric; it’s hard to get Australians to eat them especially when they find that they’re cold. You boil the pork, and you get that lovely jelly. They’re labour intensive so we only make them in small batches.” “Our standard pie is a steak and stout pie. Then we do a Dartmouth Pie, from a recipe from a restaurant in Devon; that’s mutton in a sweet spicy gravy (see recipe at left). It’s almost a North African mix of flavours and apparently that’s because in Dartmouth they did a lot of trading with the Moors on the Barbary Coast.” Finally, there’s the Braidwood Deli Pastie, true to Cornish tradition with a mix of meat and vegetables, short crust pastry, shaped like the upturned hull of a Cornish fishing boat and with a thick plaited seam for handling by the soiled hands of tin miners. Or the hands of passing tourists, smart enough to stop by this vibrant family business. R F Fred Harden.


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Out, out, damned sprout by Jan O’Connell, illustration by Phil Selby

“Y U M , B R U S S E L S S P R O U T S . ” I never thought I’d see the day when a child of mine uttered these words. And yet it has come to pass.


HEN I WAS A CHILD, Brussels sprouts were one of the few foods I wasn’t made to eat. It probably had something to do with the gag reaction that followed the smallest mouthful. No doubt envisaging distinctly unappetising consequences, my mother wisely decided that the “eat what’s put in front of you” rule could be waived in this case. My other pet hate was that old Aussie stalwart, beetroot. More specifically, tinned beetroot of the kind that accompanied every summer cold collation, spreading its shocking pink stain over every other ingredient on your plate. Salad sandwiches from the tuckshop always came with the regulation vinegary beetroot slice. Even if you picked it out, the flavour was remarkably persistent. These days, I’ll happily eat both beetroot and Brussels sprouts, especially when I cook them myself. I can get positively enthusiastic about Turkish beetroot dip. Baby beets from our own garden, gently steamed and served with butter are an extremely acceptable vegetable accompaniment. In fact, it’s difficult to think of anything I won’t eat, although there are some foods I wouldn’t actually choose (processed cheddar cheese for example, or pizza with pineapple – don’t get me started!). It seems that many people share my early aversions and many hold onto them even unto adulthood. Brussels sprouts rate very high on the ‘most hated’ list, and not just in Australia. According to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain’s most hated vegetable. And an online forum with mainly US contributors also gave sprouts the big thumbs down. Guess what the other most-mentioned vegetable was? Yup, beets.


In the meat department, there seems to be pretty universal hatred (at least in Anglo-Saxon societies) for offal, in particular liver. Now I couldn’t say that lambs fry was ever my absolute favourite but, when I saw it on a restaurant menu recently, I was tempted. As a child, I had no problem with kidneys or brains, either. My mother’s brain and walnut sandwiches were a party favourite. Mention them to most people today and they turn slightly green and walk quickly away. None of us was ever made to eat tripe. I think I would probably still have difficulty with my mother’s tripe and parsley sauce. When that very distinctive aroma filled the kitchen, all the children in the family happily settled for eggs on toast. Call it ‘trippa alla Fiorentina’ though, and cook it with a flavoursome tomato sauce and I’m happy to eat it, although perhaps I wouldn’t line up for seconds.

Containing 85% pure brussels sprout extract, “Kid-Off” was the leading child repellent on the market.


F COURSE, it’s all in the cooking. My husband grew up in Northern Victoria and discovered how beautifully Europeans cooked liver when he visited a café run by a family who had come out to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Insensitive teenager that he was, he rushed home to confront

his mother with her culinary failings, thereby reducing her to tears. The same unfortunate woman’s predilection for tuna casseroles (recipe: take white sauce and add any combination of tinned tuna, tinned asparagus, tinned corn kernels, frozen peas and cheddar cheese) has left my husband with one abiding food hate. He refuses to touch any kind of tinned fish and no amount of coaxing will get ‘vitello tonnato’ down his throat. Recent research into how children develop taste preferences indicates that there are genetic factors that influence preferences for sweet food and sensitivity to bitter tastes, like sprouts. However, the same researchers have found that, as people get older, they tend to become more tolerant of a wider range of tastes. Scientists have also found that tastes children experience during their first few months of life have a strong influence on their later taste preferences. It seems that, if you want your children to grow up eating a wide range of foods, one of the best things you can do is breast feed. The flavours of the food mum eats are transferred to the breast milk, which probably explains why some children seem to have a natural affinity for curry, olives, anchovies and other strong flavours at a very early age. I can’t specifically remember eating Brussels sprouts while breast-feeding my daughter. And she has been through picky stages over the last 21 years. However, as I see her hoeing into a second helping of those aromatic little cabbages, I can’t help thinking I must have done something right! RF Do you have a food aversion story or a taste you abhor? Write and tell me:


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T H I S I S A N A D V E N T U R E F O R A L L O F U S . Here’s a peek at what happens backstage at Regional Food. Things that fell off the back of the ute (we meant to include them but had no space).


ANTHE GAY was the master gardener at Lynwood. She’s actually a master jeweler and her own huge vegetable garden behind her small studio (next door to the Royal Hotel in Bungendore) supplies the pub restaurant and friends with seasonal produce. We’ve got the whole story up on the website.


HY IS Bryan Martin in our Magnificent Seven photo and only briefly mentioned in the Cool Guide? Gee, that’s because we asked Tim Kirk if he’d join us at for an early morning walk down the main street of Braidwood and he couldn’t. Tim said he’d love to see Clonakilla’s assistant winemaker stand in for him since he’s a distinguished winemaker in his own right. We do have the article on Bryan online and lots of photographs.

Business as usual


OSING YOUR HAT. Grazingg had a one chef’s hat rating in the 2004 SMH Good Food Guide, a 14/20 review. In this year’s Guide they dropped a point, and there goes the hat. Jennie Mooney says they’re treating it as a hiccup to a restaurant that’s only two years old. From the glowing article in this issue we obviously think this is a good restaurant that is going places. As did the local ACT/Southern Region Restaurant and Catering Award judges who gave them, Best Informal Modern Australian Restaurant, Best


Tourism Restaurant, Best Wine List and their apprentice chef scored Best Apprentice Cheff Then they picked up Best Tourism Restaurantt in the NSW Finals. Makes you wonder about the SMH review.


N OBJECT VERY GENTEEL. I was secretly pleased when I saw this image on Janet Jeff’s Ginger Room website You’ll immediately notice of course that it’s a photograph of grape scissors. One of the things that I’m accused of being a grumpy old man about is when our kids walk past the bowl of grapes and pull off a couple until there’s just a ratty mess left, which they then ignore. With grape scissors you can cut off as few as you’d like. No waste. But, I’ve never seen grape scissors for sale. Tell us Janet, (or readers), where do you buy them?


HE GUNDAROO BRIDGE. While we were covering the Gundaroo village stories, the council suddenly closed the old wooden bridge that is the main route into town from Canberra. The detour was down a narrow dirt road that added another twenty minutes to the drive. So, the town put on a shuttle bus. You could leave your car on one side, walk across to the bus, be dropped off at home or the restaurant and catch the bus back to your car. The bridge is open again now, but the bus rides were fun. Especially on the way home. The photo shows local driver Don Stevens and his grandson.


RRORS AND OMISSIONS. Hands up all of you who have seen our website? Ok madam, put your hand down. Shame on the rest of you, go there immediately. It’s not a sneaky way out of fact checking, but please see the Regional Food website for updated Region information that we print in The Guide. We’ll list things like the new café that finally opened in Bungendore just when we went to press, the events with changed dates, phone numbers and so on. We also have items in the ‘Damn, how did we miss that’ category; such as telling you that in King Island only CDMA mobiles will work, and where to hire one if you need it.


EEDBACK. Thanks for all your letters and emails. We also loved all your notes and marginalia on the Reader’s Survey. We’ve noted the regions that you’re all interested in hearing about, with Broome and the Kimberley high on the agenda. (That’s a sign we saw at the Broome airport above.) We’d already planned to re-visit Broome, and a lot will depend on if we move to a bi-monthly schedule as to how quickly we get around to all the others. We hope you enjoy this issue, it’s clearly different from our first on King Island, there’s a lot more sophistication to the region in terms of fine dining, and there’s wine. Yeah wine! Since it’s where we live, we hope that our ‘insiders’ information and local knowledge come through. Finding local voices that know their region will be what makes us different from the other travel magazines. We’re working hard on that for the next one. So, hang on to the ute, there’s a lot of Regional Food ahead to discover.RF Fred Harden .


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Many of the treasures of our nation are held in Canberra. But the nation’s capital is also a treasure trove of delicious gourmet foods waiting to be devoured. Meet the maker at one of our fresh food markets, enjoy the sunshine at an outdoor café, taste unique flavours from around the world and simply take the time to indulge in Canberra’s gourmet dining scene.


For a copy of A Gourmet Guide to Canberra call 1300 554 114 or

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Indulge your senses in a slice of adventure.

King Island Dairy invites you to embark on a sensory journey, with our new range of King Island Dairy Discovery cheeses. These unique, hand crafted cheeses entice the senses with delicious aromas, tempting tastes and wonderful textures. The first of our Discovery range, Hot Waxed Blue, Scrubbed Brie, Ash Blue and Ash Brie are available at leading delicatessens and supermarkets. So why not carve yourself a slice of adventure?

Issue 2 Regional Food Australia  
Issue 2 Regional Food Australia  

It's time to visit these Capital Country Villages, the region around Canberra, the Nation's capital .There are pubs with tales to tell, winm...