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TREECHANGE, SNUFFLES AND
TRUFFLES? Story by Jeffrey Booth
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E D I T O R ’ S C H AT
WHATEVER HAPPENED to the traditional Sunday roast? The time when, by hook or by crook, you’d gather with your family on the ‘day of rest’ for a long, leisurely lunch, which started at 11 and finished about 4. My grandparents enjoyed such a tradition. On Sunday morning, my nan would huff and puff around the kitchen, preparing the day’s meal, my grandfather would avoid such events, staying out of the nerve centre, until it was time to bring fresh goodies from the garden. And then there was the flurry of my aunts and uncles arriving with homemade dishes, to add to the table. It was a ritual, evoking such fond memories. A day to look forward to, a day to wear your Sunday best. We’d all sit on old bentwood chairs, around the big table, and eat, drink and eat a bit more. I learnt about parsnip and how a roasted one tasted so good, I treated my tastebuds to watercress, another first at the table … and its peppery
sharpness buddied up with the local cheddar, after the main. It was such a social time, but I sense Sunday family gatherings and foodroasting rituals are fading fast from our lives. Here, in the western world anyhow, there’s not much time for these events. I read somewhere recently, that the rise of school sport and the obsession with seven-day trading has distracted us from these times of togetherness. Life’s like a big menu … serving too many activities on your plate … that the rich slow life many of us have tasted is being overlooked or totally forgotten. It’s our second birthday, and thanks go to the Slow team, our advertisers, our readers – and subscribers, all of whom we value so much. And I do trust, just like those unforgettable moments with the family on Sundays, you can relax and enjoy a leisurely time within the pages of our winter edition. Jacqui Mott, Publishing Editor 7 slow magazine
credits Editor Jacqui Mott firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction Rob Hickman, Louise Fisher Sub Editor Grace Currie Contributors Genevieve Barlow, Jeffrey Booth, Tom Bourke, Michael McCoy, Lauren Mitchell Special Contributors Liz Nowosad, Sandra Ramacher, David Watson, Maha Broum Photographers Rob Hickman, Brendan McCarthy and David Johns Editorial Design Louise Fisher Advertising Design Meg Norris Production/Office Manager Bronwen O’Brien email@example.com Regional Advertising Sales Kacey Sinclair (03) 5472 2700 firstname.lastname@example.org Business Manager (and metropolitan advertising sales) Barry Hickman email@example.com 0416 088 851 Publicity DMCPR Sydney (02) 9550 9207 Distribution: Australia-wide by Gordon and Gotch Australia Ask for Slow Magazine at your nearest quality newsagent anywhere in Australia, Readings Books, and selected lifestyle stores. Printing Slow Magazine is printed in Australia by Printgraphics Pty Ltd under ISO 14001 Environmental Certifications. Printed using vegetable based inks on an elemental chlorine free paper. Sourced using sustainable forestry practices and manufactured using the ISO 14001 environmental management systems. No old-growth forests were felled to make this paper. Paper fibre is from certified and audited sources.
Slow Magazine is proudly published quarterly by CoffeeStain Creative Pty Ltd abn 43 135 925 254 Postal address PO Box 96, Castlemaine, 3450, Victoria, Australia Tel +61 3 5472 2700 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.slowmagazine.com.au Slow Magazine has the right to accept or reject all editorial and advertising material. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Letters addressed to the magazine will be regarded as for publication unless clearly marked: Not for Publication. Submissions may be edited for reasons of space or clarity. Where opinion is expressed, it is that of the author, and does not necessarily coincide with the editorial views of the publisher or editor. All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the author’s and publisher’s ability. However CoffeeStain Creative Pty Ltd does not accept responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on it.
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Cover image by Brendan McCarthy
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SNUFFLES SNAFFLES TRUFFLES: Sherry McArdle-English & Snuffles the dog exercise their truffle tracking talents at their property on the outskirts of Canberra.
RST CI A TTASLO W TOW N GHOST SE N SE S AT BE E
E, SNU FF H
LES A ND
CONTENTS COVER STORY
Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen What happens when a human dynamo meets 450 acres, a lovely garden and life’s unexpected challenges? Writer JEFFREY BOOTH meets Sherry McArdle-English and learns how to treechange, truffle style.
20 Ballarat International Foto Biennale The highlights
58 Stitch in Time Bike Belles
22 Totter Goolwa, South Australia
70 Music Legends are back making tracks
32 Slow Spy Our choice of slow products
71 How Slow is Slow?
36 Slow Art Listening to the earth
72 In Between Mayday’s heyday 82 Slowcooker Pears and Graces
Editor’s Chat Reminiscing the rituals
46 Clutter Series Reward your wardrobe
Snail Mail Letters we love to open
48 Counter Culture Three spicy city picks
84 Taking Root Brightening the winter blahs
10 Be There What’s going on
50 Books – plus giveaway Slow reading for winter
88 Time Away Door’s the key
12 Chocolate Concoction We speak to Kirsten Tibballs
54 Bottleneck Expert and novice tastings
91 The Wasp The Vespa rides the rails
14 Dwell Trail leads to truffles
56 Regional Romance Jonathan Hannon
96 Slowology Is slow a cultural shift? 9 slow magazine
S NAI L MAI L Every magazine likes feedback. And here at Slow we’re no different. So if you have something to say, just drop us a line. Of course, given that Slow Magazine is quarterly, you’ll have plenty of time to think about what you want to say. We wouldn’t want you to dash off any old thing. In your neatest writing, preferably with pen and ink, mail your letters to PO Box 96, Castlemaine, 3450, Victoria. If you really must use email, then send it to email@example.com We look forward to hearing from you. Soonish.
Felt a connection I’ve just got to write to say how I enjoyed the story on The Bench of Indecision by Beverley Hadgraft. I’m not a surfer, but I do live close to the waves. So I saw the humour in the story, and I also felt the connection, the longing for all of us to be part of a community. Normally most magazines just wouldn’t print authentic and reflective stories like that, or if they have, I just must have missed them. Good on you Slow people, you are making a magazine we all want to read, and it is SO REFRESHING to see it in the newsstands. Patty Childs Bondi, New South Wales
ALTERED STATES? I discovered with a slight amusement, Slow Magazine. It is a breath of fresh air, but I wonder why you can’t expand to include the rest of Australia? The editorials are very universal, so I’m not really complaining – I can relate to nearly every bit of writing, and the images are just breathtaking – but I can think of a few stories, in Western Australia, and even Far North Queensland … that would be testimony to the Slow life! F. White Bunbury, Western Australia.
Digesting Slow Thank you and all your staff at Slow, I look forward to each issue with SLOW
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expectation! I recently found an excerpt from a 1991 edition of Readers Digest and thought I’d send it to you. I didn’t realise that we needed to slow down back in 1991, so it’s about time we did. Thanks for a great publication. Eileen Olsen Castlemaine, Victoria Note from editor: Thank you Eileen we enjoyed reading ‘How to Triumph over Time’ an article by Ralph Keyes. In fact we Googled Ralph Keyes, and discovered he’s an author, speaker and teacher based in USA. His 16 books deal with topics ranging from time pressure to human height. We may ask him to write a feature for Slow Magazine, of course when he has a moment.
Perfect place In issue 7, you did a story on Lucinda Williams, and her bespoke jewellery creations. Well done for that story – so refreshing to know there are young people out there wanting to still learn a craft, create something that is handmade, and take the time to design a beautiful piece from scratch. I suppose you’d call me middle-aged, although I don’t feel it. I suppose you could call me a grumpy old woman from time to time, as I attempt to shop in the loud, jazzy shops – to try and find something called fashion. Well, Lucinda, you’ve rekindled my faith in human kind; it’s so good to see you making such beautiful jewellery, in such a perfect place. Jean Thorn Victoria Point, Queensland
Fantastical Slow is the most fantastical magazine to ever hit my coffee table. I have even been able to locate back issues to keep my collection whole. Thank you for the time and care you put into Slow. Jodi May, Portland, Victoria
SNAIL MAIL GIVEAWAYS When you have your say, and write to Slow Magazine, you’re in the running to enjoy a Slow Guide published by Affirm Press, valued at $29.95 The Slow Guide is a handbook for anybody looking for a seachange without shifting postcodes. It celebrates city life and encourages its readers to slow down and smell the roses, no matter how fast the traffic appears to be moving. So to celebrate our third year in publishing, each letter published in Slow Magazine wins a copy … so we can’t wait to announce the winners. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail a letter to Editor, Slow Magazine, PO Box 96, Castlemaine 3450, and also include your daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space or clarity.
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B E T H ER E
June to August The Rose Street Artists’ Market Every weekend, 11am – 5pm In the very slow venue of a former junkyard, in the back streets of eclectic Fitzroy, emerging and established artists sell their creations. Enjoy the displays of up to 70 creatives each weekend, without the fast retail hurly-burly to content with. There’s entertainment and a gourmet café foodies love to flock to. www.rosestmarket.com.au
Australian Opera Winter Season June – September 2011 You don’t have to be an opera buff to enjoy this feast of performances heading our way this winter. Check out the program and grab your opera glasses and take in the many arias and overtures organised for your enjoyment including opera concerts and free outdoor performances in Sydney’s Domain and Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl. www.opera-australia.org.au
Melbourne International Jazz Festival June 4 – 13 Step into the hazy, laidback and sometimes-crazy world of jazz this winter and indulge in the tunes from international masters of jazz. There are oodles of free events and family-friendly concerts. This program has something for everyone and is guaranteed to whet your jazzy taste buds. www.melbournejazz.com
The Alpine Winter Festival Brisbane: June 9 – June 26 Bondi: June 30 – July 17 Sydney: July 28 – August 14 Melbourne: August 18 – September 4
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Step into a cool wonderland and have a (snow) ball this winter at this alpine-themed event. Break the habit of hibernation in these chilly times, and enjoy all the beauty of ice-skating, all the flavours of international delicacies and all the talent of Ice Skating Australia performers. www.winterfestival.com.au
Woodend Winter Arts Festival June 10 – 13 Warm up in regional Victoria and immerse yourself in a very European and boutique arts experience. And while music is a program highlight here in the beautiful festival town of Woodend, near Mount Macedon, you’ll also enjoy the strong contemporary literary and visual arts influences of many events. www.woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au
International Day of Slowness June 21 This day is a must for our magazine. On June 21, you’re invited to follow the paths of slowness as the International Day of Slowness gradually unfolds. A statement against haste and an opportunity for reflection and a starting point for a slow society. We’ve been quick to find another slow day, it’s the sixth Global Day of Slow Living celebrated on February 28 each year. We hope we won’t be too slow to remind you when the time comes. www.slowsociety.org
The Archibald Prize 2011 July 1 – 31 The Yarra Valley’s Tarrawarra Museum of Art is the Victorian host of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art award, the 2011 Archibald Prize. This is always an outstanding event, with works of
a very high standard and diversity. A memorable moment waiting to happen, don’t miss it. www.twma.com.au
Coonawarra Cellar Dwellers July 1 – 31 During a traditionally slow time of year there’s movement at the cellars. Yes, South Australian’s Coonawarra region is offering a rare opportunity to taste and buy aged wines directly from the vignerons. You’ll be sure to discover rich treasures lurking in these cellars … and it’s a wonderful way to spend a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle to taste, discuss, learn and most importantly relax. www.coonawarra.org
Truffles & Wine Festival July 2 – 3 Combine central Victorian wines with a unique experience about truffles, where you’ll see cooking demonstrations and get to taste the stuff too. Experts will offer advice on how to grow and produce truffles. A launch of Australian Truffle Cookbook’s second edition and hunting this black gold by pigs and dogs will be featured too. www.victrufflesfestival.com.au
Darwin Beer Can Regatta July 10 Slow down and get ready for a whole lot of fun at a madcap event where boats made from empty drink containers (beer and soft drink cans, and even milk cartons) race to the finish line. If you’re not into water sports, try a spot of thong throwing, try your might at tug of war or enter the beach races. For a tad slower action, you can just sit, watch, drink and occasionally cheer them all on. www.beercanregatta.org.au
Australian Sheep & Wool Show July 15 – 17 The Victorian city of Bendigo is the epicentre of wool fashion, fine food and beautiful fibre while 5000 farmers, with the best fleeces in the country and 28 different breeds of sheep, goats and alpacas step into the spotlight. You’ll enjoy the fashionistas, catwalks, wearable art, knitters, felters and weavers. You can also learn from the experts in skein spinning, crochet, machine knitting, alpaca, cashmere and mohair garment making and wool embroidery. www.sheepshow.com
Chocolate Rush August 13 – 14 If you’re a chocoholic – it’s time to check out the action at this tasty event. You can learn while indulging and challenging your palates. Tastings, workshops and product information will be at the ready – and discover the secrets and skills from Australia’s finest chocolatiers and pastry chefs. See page 12 www.chocolaterush.com.au
Ballarat International Foto Biennale August 20 – September 18 Imagine a month-long festival dedicated to the still image – that’s what this event is all about. There are photographs on show across terrific venues, as the Victorian regional city of Ballarat and surrounding
district presents a diverse and eclectic mix of images from digital to film, and from high-end Nikons to pin-hole cameras. See page 20. www.ballaratfoto.org
Melbourne Writers’ Festival August 25 – September 4 Head to Melbourne’s Federation Square and other city venues as this festival continues to honour its outstanding literary credentials by featuring some of the world’s best writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The inclusive program presents entertaining discussions, debates, readings, film screenings, interviews, literary banquets, performances, workshops and book launches, as well as a lively schools’ program for primary and secondary students. www.mwf.com.au
Balingup Medieval Carnivale August 27 – 28 A jolly fine food and wine medieval affair in Balingup, Western Australia. During a very full two days of medieval merriment you’ll enjoy market stalls, parades and period fashions. This gathering will be one for the history books. So let the fun and frolic begin! www.balingupmedievalcarnivale.com.au
g n i t c o c n Co e t a l o c o h c just before she caught a flight to Brazil, We caught chocolatier Kirsten Tibballs, and asked about her love for the light and the dark.
SOME SAY, a day without chocolate is a day without sunshine, others say, a chocolate in the mouth is worth two on the plate. For professionals who cook and bake with chocolate, the fine points of flavour, aroma, sweetness and texture make all the difference. The Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School is home sweet home to Kirsten. It’s here skilled chefs through to passionate foodies and children turn to her and the Savour School team to learn more about how chocolate can enrich not only a dish, but also your life. Trained by the world’s leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers, Kirsten will be one person to make time for at Chocolate Rush held on August 13 and 14. Slow: What is your first memory of chocolate? Kirsten: My mother used to make chocolates in her electric frypan, using little dishes in a water bath and she would make fondant – in a roll, with fillings. Slow: What was your first chocolate adventure as an adult? Kirsten: I started my career as a pastry chef, and in my early 20s I won a scholarship to Paris and then also travelled to Belgium – it was here that I discovered the traditional world of chocolate, it opened my eyes, and I’ve never looked back. Slow: What is your definition of extremely fine chocolate? Kirsten: Chocolate from well-sourced and processed beans. Chocolate that has an intense flavour that lingers on your palate, but melts smoothly in the mouth. Slow: What is cutting edge in the chocolate world? Kirsten: It’s very much a growing market, and we so often adopt European fashions … so you’ll be seeing more turrones. These are chocolate bars, made by hand using our unique, rich chocolate blends – and it’s what the artisans in Europe are producing now. The bars can have infusions and inclusions such as coffee where beans are added (for a short time) to the melted chocolate for flavour – also smoked, hazelnut, coriander and orange flavours are part of what’s in store. Slow: What is slow about chocolate? Kirsten: The process of making chocolate is slow, and the chocolate we use has no artificial colouring or flavouring – we’re working the pure fruit, and we are still processing chocolate as it has been for 500 years. Slow: And lastly, why are you heading to Brazil? Kirsten: There is a world shortage of cocoa beans, and at present there is wastage due to the current methods of processing; I am travelling to Brazil to look at three cocoa plantations, and inspect a way of processing and fermenting that will hopefully retain 100 per cent of the beans, eliminating any waste.
At Chocolate Rush, Kirsten will take part in chocolate demonstrations and she’ll also be judging at the Australian Chocolate Championships, where more than 140 sets of chocolates will be vying for the big prize.
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The trail leads to truffles … JEFFREY BOOTH meets a human dynamo who’s doing her best to slow down. A little. Her name is Sherry. And she’s NO TRIFLE.
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TRUFFLE HOUND: Snuffles the pooch is eager to do some snaffling for truffles.
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HERRY McArdle-English is one of those people who make you wonder what happened to your get up and go. We’ve arranged to meet on her property, just outside Canberra. I’m there a few minutes early and soon afterwards, Sherry arrives at some speed. She almost leaps from her car and greets me enthusiastically. She’s wearing a crisp, white linen shirt and jeans and everything about her, even after just a minute or so, screams ‘capable’.
founded the Client Guardian Forum, successfully lobbying for positive change for people with an intellectual disability.
Like a good feature writer, I’ve done some research on Sherry and discovered she’s been capable for quite some time. In the 70s, she worked in marketing for Sony Corporation in Sydney. In the 80s, in Canberra, she did an interior design course while she was working for a home extensions company. But her eldest son had autism and increasingly, that became her main focus. Some parents might be overwhelmed by something like that and lapse into a “Why us?” mentality. Not Sherry.
And then suddenly, at the age of 55, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
In 1989, she was elected president of the Autism Association. After two years, she took time off, was re-elected in 1993 and held the position until 1996. From 1990 to 2004, she worked part-time as secretary and public relations officer in her husband’s company. In 1995, she was nominated for the ACT Volunteer of the Year award. She was also studying for her Bachelor of Community Education at Canberra University. In 1997, she
But she tried to make sure she wouldn’t have to. She told her husband she had three requests. She had to have a lovely garden on the farm, because she loves gardening. It had to be very close to Canberra because Marcus, her autistic son, had access to excellent services in the city and, as far as Sherry was concerned, leaving the ACT was not an option. Thirdly, because of Gavin’s deteriorating health, they had to live near a hospital. »
Are you tired yet? In 1998, Sherry’s husband, a civil engineer, was running the company he founded. As well as being a workaholic, like Sherry, Gavin was a fitness fanatic; cycling five days a week, going to the gym seven days a week, taking part in the City to Surf. You know, keen.
Two mornings later, he woke up and said to Sherry, “I’m buying a farm”. Sherry went along with it, thinking it was what a lot of Canberrans do; they sell their house in the city, buy a country property, live there for about three years, get it out of their systems, sell it and move back to town. She reckoned she could handle three years if she had to.
Photography by Brendan McCarthy 19 slow magazine
» With those stipulations, Sherry thought they’d never find a suitable property. Wrong. Four months later, still knowing nothing about farming, they bought a farm at auction. Four hundred and fifty acres, including a lovely garden, 10 minutes from the heart of the city and the airport. And it came with an Enrico Taglietti-designed house, built in 1970. It also came with sheep. Neither Gavin nor Sherry knew anything about sheep and Sherry soon realised she was out of her depth. “And I’m not used to being out of my depth,” she says. So she joined the Rural Landholders Association. Soon she was on the committee, then she started writing the newsletter and got “very involved”. (You may have gathered by now that, whatever Sherry does, she gets very involved.) 20 slow magazine
They hadn’t been living on the farm for long before Gavin’s Parkinson’s was diagnosed as aggressive. The civil engineering business had to be sold and very soon afterwards, Sherry realised that they had to make some major life changes. “I was rushing off to work every day and being very high-powered and Gavin was on his own on the farm and it just wasn’t fair.” Sherry retired and the two of them sat on their 450 acres and wondered what to do next. (Not doing anything was, of course, not an option.) “I wasn’t used to waking up every morning and having Gavin say, ‘What’s for lunch?’ So I said, ‘We’re going to drive each other crazy, what are we going to do?’” Gavin said he’d like to start a vineyard, just the kind of thing someone with aggressive Parkinson’s Disease should do. But Sherry pointed out that Majura Wines was literally next door, so they needed something different. For the first time in her life, Sherry had started taking an interest in cooking.
Having always worked full time, she’d only ever been a very basic cook, but now, had decided she needed to understand food. She was, of course, going to get very involved. One day, she was at a local market and asked one of the stallholders, an Italian, if he ever had truffles. “Only the Italians grow truffles” he said, somewhat proprietorially (and inaccurately). “You will not find truffles in Canberra.” And Sherry thought, “Hmm, that’s it”. This was around 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. She went home, sat down at the computer and apart from cooking dinner, she was still there at 3am next morning. By which time, she was convinced there was no reason why they couldn’t grow truffles in Canberra. The climate was right, the soil was right, so why not? Well, the soil wasn’t quite right. Canberra soil has a pH of around five. To grow truffles, it needs to be eight.
Truffled Scrambled Eggs (serves six) Put a dozen eggs (in their shells), and a 50 gram truffle in a glass dish. If you’re going to do this properly, you might as well use free-range eggs. So that’s five or six dollars for the eggs and about $120 for the truffle. Cover the glass dish with cling film and put it into the fridge for 48 hours. During that time, the aroma and flavour of the truffle will permeate the eggshells and when you make the scrambled eggs, they’ll have a lovely, truffley taste. In the finest restaurants in Europe, they’ll also put truffle shavings on the eggs.
The solution is simple, you bring in lime. Semitrailer-loads of the stuff. The land was ploughed and cross-ripped to a depth of one metre in 2004 and the lime was added at the rate of 80 tonnes per hectare. (There was so much lime flying about that two passing motorists rang the local ABC Radio and said it was snowing.) Then the trees were planted. Two thousand, five hundred of them. Last June, ahead of time, they yielded the first truffle. As you can imagine, it was quite a moment. Now, if you’re wondering, as I was, how truffles grow under oak trees, wonder no more, because I’m going to tell you. The tube stock is impregnated with truffle spores, so you’re not buying oak tube stock, you’re buying a truffle oak tube stock. Which means you know that if you do everything else right, after five or six years, you’re guaranteed to get truffles. Except in Sherry’s case, her first truffle, which weighed all of 12 grams, was discovered after two-and-a-half years. And that’s the shortest time on record. Anywhere.
If you’re also wondering why oak trees are used as the hosts, it’s because that’s how it’s been done in Europe, for centuries. The oak is a naturally good host. And so is Sherry. She’s an inspiring person too. Life has dealt her family a couple of bad blows but she’s simply picked herself up, dusted herself off and started all over again. Spend a bit of time in her company and you can’t help but take your hat off to her. Truffle farming has allowed Sherry and Gavin to continue working as a couple, in spite of Parkinson’s. He can drive the quad bike with a trailer and Sherry walks up and down the runs beside him and, as she says, it gives him a reason to get up in the morning. And she believes, that’s keeping him healthy. Of course, it also means that Sherry’s notion of three years on the land, then back to the city has gone right out the window. But that’s fine with her. She’s a truffle farmer now. And very involved.