Local Aussie food news: April wrap

30th April 2023 | Moira Geddes

Making local Aussie food news in April.

Dairy prices sky rocket due to increased production costs, King Charles get a potato named in his honour and Australia’s foodie scene buzzes with activity. Hospitality hot spots gear up for busy Mother’s Day diners, sugar-free chocolate milk hits the shelves and Australia’s best coffee roasters are announced.

Dairy prices are now at their highest level in decades.

From the farm gate…

The price of milk, yoghurt and cheese is almost 15 percent higher than this time last year due to increased production costs at the farm gate. ABS data also shows price hikes for other consumer staples with meat, bread, fruit, and vegetables all more expensive. And the higher prices haven’t stopped there. The cost of getting take away and eating out has jumped by 7 percent, reflecting the increased prices for groceries.

A Tasmanian farming family has successfully grown and harvested rare bean varieties in the island’s cooler climate. Used commonly as a staple food by a range of different cultures across the world, beans have often been overlooked here in Australia. As ABC News reports, Jesse and Helen Reid, who harvested the crops from seeds collected by Jesse’s grandfather, now hope to grow enough to go to market.

Also making local Aussie food news in April, Jon Hill from Hill Family Farming has renamed his King Edward potatoes to King Charles potatoes for the weekend in honour of King Charles’ coronation. The Hill family has been growing potatoes in Robertson continuously for over 100 years and will be supplying the ‘King Charles’ potatoes all weekend at the Robertson Potato Festival.

Potatoes are arguably one of the more humble and hardworking foods in our diet.

What’s on…

The home of the Big Potato will once again be the staging ground for the Robertson Potato Festival. The event will take place over two days from May 6th to 7th at the Robertson Showground in the heart of the NSW Southern Highlands. In addition to truckloads of potatoes, there will also be lashings of entertainment, cooking demonstrations, competitions and other food options.

The full program for Scenic Rim Eat Local Month has been revealed and it’s bursting with creativity, flavour and authenticity. This year, there’s 139 food events – the largest offering in the event’s 12 years – with over half new to the program. From Beaudesert to Beechmont, Kerry to Kalbar, and Mount Alford to Tamborine Mountain, the event is a true celebration of farm to fork, and paddock to plate.

The Sunshine Coast’s The Curated Plate festival program has been revealed. From Caloundra to Coolum and Buderim to Beerwah, the festival will feature more than 100 events from over 300 local producers and suppliers. The festival will run for ten delicious days from July 28th to August 6th, involving 52 local businesses and event organisers.

Also making local Aussie food news in April, after the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival will return in 2023. From June 23rd to 25th, the Festival will again showcase the best local producers with truffle tours, farm visits, truffle hunts, truffle and wine tastings, gourmet degustation dinners, entertainment and wine masterclasses.  

The first Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival was made possible by local volunteers.

Three shows celebrating Australia’s fanatic love of cooking will be taking place in Melbourne this June 30th to July 2nd and in Sydney, September 22nd to 24th. It’s expected that thousands will converge to experience the coveted Love Cooking Live Show, cult classic Cake, Bake and Sweets Show and World Food Championships. Over three tasty days, there will be celebrity demonstrations, workshops, food sport, sampling and endless flavour filled fun.

World Bee Day is coming up on May 20th and is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the vital role bees play in food security and ecosystem health. It’s a great way to encourage more people to support bees and other pollinators, with pollinator picnics, bee-themed lectures and information sessions, and activities run by gardening groups, farmers’ markets, beekeeping organisations, service clubs and more. The Wheen Bee Foundation is encouraging people to register their World Bee Day event here for free.

Also making local Aussie food news in April, the Streets of Barangaroo is hosting its Artisan Markets on Saturday May 13th. From 10am to 4pm, the streets will come alive with over 40 stalls boasting carefully curated artisanal wares and delicious food. Amongst the many stallholders will be Amber’s Food Wraps, offering a perfect solution to help put an end to single-use plastic. You’ll also find Mama Liu’s which specialises in a small batch Chinese chilli oil. Check out the full list of sustainable stallholders here.

The markets have a large focus on sustainability.

Mother’s Day menus…

For those looking for the perfect place to take mum to make her feel special in May, Monopole is hosting an exclusive event with winemaker William ‘Bill’ Downie and his wife Rachel on Wednesday May 10th.  The restaurant will be serving a four-course menu with paired wines, featuring some of Monopole’s new dishes and a selection of cheeses made by Rachel herself from her brand Butterfly Factory in Gippsland.

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will be hosting an unforgettable evening of exclusive wine and exceptional culinary pairings at Hearth in celebration of 100 years of Diana Madeleine with Cullen Wines. On May 24th, diners can enjoy exclusive flavours of a curated 5-course menu using unique local produce. The celebration will be co-hosted by Vanya Cullen, award-winning Chief Winemaker and Managing Director of Cullen Wines, and the illustrious daughter of Diana Madeline.

Botswana Butchery Melbourne has Mother’s Day sorted this year, treating mums and mother figures around Melbourne to a delicious set menu on May 14th at the popular restaurant on Flinders Lane. Curated by culinary director Angel Fernandez, the special set menu offering includes a choice of amuse bouche, entrees, mains and desserts, with each guest receiving a complimentary glass of Perrier Jouet Blason Rose upon arrival.

Trippas White Group invites diners to honour and celebrate the women who have raised and nurtured them throughout their lives. Located inside Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building, Reign invites patrons to dine like royalty with their ‘Royal Mother’s Tasting Menu’ featuring seasonal, locally sourced dishes and Mumm Grand Cordon Brut on arrival.

Reign’s convenient location means you can then take mum for a spot of shopping.

What’s new…

Hunt and Brew has launched the first single origin cocoa beverage in Australia, with cocoa sourced from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Following the success of the Australian boutique coffee maker’s range nationally, the brand has taken a step outside of its core coffee range, offering consumers a single origin cocoa drink with no added sugar that can be enjoyed guilt free by those who may not want the caffeine. 

Meantime, Australia’s oldest dairy, Brownes has launched a new range of flavoured milks, focusing on the goodness of dairy with fresh full cream milk, natural flavours and no added sugar. With just the natural sugar in milk and no artificial colours or preservatives. The Natural Flavoured Milk range will initially be available in vanilla and chocolate flavours.

Also making local Aussie food news in April, Wholesome Bowl has launched an innovative range of instant noodles, to redefine the way people perceive and enjoy the convenient meal option. The product brings a fresh perspective to the instant noodle market, breaking away from its traditionally unhealthy reputation, and introducing nutritious alternatives that cater to busy lifestyles on a budget. The flagship range features Cheerful Chicken Bowl and Balanced Beef Bowl. Each serving is packed with 17g of protein, 6g of fibre, and 16 essential vitamins and minerals.

Wholesome Bowl revolutionises the food scene with healthy instant noodles.

And the winner is…

Australia’s best coffee roasters have been crowned across five categories in a new competition. Coffee roasters from South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria all took out top spots at the Royal Adelaide Coffee Show’s inaugural competition, which received more than 300 entries from across Australia. The five champion titles were announced at an awards ceremony on April 28th and are as follows:  

Champion Espresso: The Flying Chaff Pty Ltd (South Australia)

Champion Latte and Champion Plunger Coffee: Campos Coffee (New South Wales)

Champion Piccolo: The Little Marionette (New South Wales)

Champion Organic Coffee: Jasper Coffee (Victoria)

Photo: John Krüger

Also in local food this month…

In April EATIVITY shared some insights as to why it’s so hard to beat sugar cravings. We showcased some amazing urban farms and shared some stuff you never knew about spices. We also re-shared a waste-busting recipe that I got in-person from Spice Temple’s executive chef, and shone the spotlight on the return of a food award that acts as a local producer launchpad.

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