Local Aussie food news: June highlights

30th June 2022 | EATIVITY Editors
Top food stories

Making local Aussie food news this June…

It’s officially truffle season, which means that black diamonds are up for grabs for a limited time… Consumers and farmers continue to face price hikes due to recent extreme weather conditions and global economic events… Plus the hottest foodie events to tantalise your taste buds and take you on a road less travelled.

Australian Truffle Traders Manjimup Truffles. Image credit: @sarah_hewer.

Truffle Kerfuffle

This month, the winter solstice marked the official start of Australia’s truffle season. The festivities kicked off with the Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival. The Shire of Manjimup in Western Australia’s southwest is the largest producer of black truffles in the Southern Hemisphere. There are more than 60 local truffières that provide 95 per cent of Australia’s production. Manjimup black truffles are currently available for anyone to purchase direct from the farm via Australian Truffle Traders. For an unforgettable truffle experience take a visit to their farm where truffle hunts take place every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday and at other times by appointment.

Queensland truffle fans can also order fresh in-season Aussie truffles online from Lady Truffle Fine Foods and Ganymede Truffles, an organically run truffle farm that produces premium black Perigord truffles in the NSW Southern Tablelands, also has plenty in stock, available online.

The in-season black-gold is also being celebrated across the country with restaurants, cafes, cooking schools, farmers’ markets and more, going gaga for the return of Tuber melanosporum, better known as black winter truffle.

The Truffle Festival Canberra Region boasts a packed program of growing workshops, truffle hunts, food and wine pairings, signature menus, cooking classes and chef demonstrations across the ACT and southern NSW until the end of the truffle season in mid-August. 

Truffle season has also hit inner-Sydney’s contemporary Korean restaurant SOUL Dining and its sister venue, SOUL Deli.  Both are going ‘all out’ this year to create a truly memorable truffle experience showcasing the magnificent Perigord truffles from Robertson Truffles.

In Victoria, Ripe Cheese is bringing back Melbourne’s Most Truffle’d Toastie after huge success with it last year. Located at the Queen Victoria Market, you can grab one of these bad boys every Saturday from 7am until the end of August (or until the truffles run out).

A winter truffle laneway is also popping up in Sydney for two nights in the CBD. On July 7th and 8th Bulletin Place laneway will be transformed into an epicurean oasis for truffle lovers. A rustic pop-up truffle garden lounge will feature exquisite truffled delicacies and drinks, masterclasses, a gourmet truffled product stall and a truffle hunt.

Manta’s Classic saffron linguine with Moreton Bay bugs and shavings of black Perigord truffles.

For those who prefer to stay in and cosy up on these cold winter nights, upmarket meal delivery service Providoor is more than happy to bring the truffle feast straight to your door. Teaming up with top restaurants, customers can enjoy shaved black truffle over Manta’s classic saffron linguine with Moreton Bay bugs, China Doll’s Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms with Vegetarian Truffle XO Sauce or Ho Jiak’s Truffle Chai Tow Kway.

May I take your order?

The hospitality sector is constantly innovating…

Signature restaurant Hearth at The Ritz-Carlton, Perth launched a new winter menu after working with leading local Western Australian producers to tell a unique story through food. Tickle your tastebuds with the a la carte menu, lunch menu, and Taste of Hearth 5-course menu here.

In a world-first, Anchor Restaurant in Melbourne’s Bayside Elwood is set to be the first restaurant ever to use Australian grown sesame seeds supplied by Tony Matchett, of Savannah Sun Foods in Cairns, QLD. Savannah Sun Foods’ products are sustainably certified, reducing waste and removing chemical fertilisers from their production system to ensure they grow and produce nutrient dense, healthy high quality food. Be sure to check out Anchor’s Open Sesame Special set dinner menu.

Contemporary Japanese restaurant Saké Restaurant & Bar is enriching its menu with ancient fireside flavours of robatayaki and the addition of creative new dishes that celebrate this traditional cooking technique.

Still in the theme of Japanese cuisine, the opening of Kazan this month marked the final piece to complete a new dining precinct at 25 Martin Place. Another new restaurant in the hub in Sydney’s CBD, Botswana Butchery has announced it’s throwing a special celebration to mark International Caviar Day on Monday, July 18th. Throughout the whole day, diners will be able to indulge in Caviar Bumps, which are dollops of quality sturgeon roe eaten off the back of one’s hand.

Anchor Elwood owner Rosalin Virnik takes pride in showcasing the best local ingredients.

Discover your local food trail

From truffles to oysters… Time to get shucked on the new Sapphire Coast Oyster Trail offering oyster tours, tide to table dining at some of the region’s best restaurants, kayak and shuck tours, farm gates, oyster shell gin and beer and oyster tastings.

NAIDOC Week (July 3rd – 10th) and Sydney Seafood School is marking this important celebration with its inaugural First Nations Seafood class. Taking place on Monday, July 4th from 6pm to 8pm, the class will be hosted by Luke Bourke, sous chef at Rockpool Bar & Grill, in partnership with the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI). Bourke will cook with local seafood, and native ingredients, including warrigal greens, lemon myrtle and Davidson plums.

Captain Sponges Magical Oyster Tour Pambula Lake. Photo Credit: Destination NSW.

Wringing out Dry July

Dry July will be a breeze this year! The zero-alcohol beverages sector is booming and the choice amazing. BWS and Dan Murphy’s parent Endeavour Group says sales of zero alcohol brands have increased by over 150 per cent in the last two years. Our zero alcohol picks for the blokes include Big Drop Brewing Co’s award-winning Woodcutter Brown Ale which is brewed locally in Goulburn NSW.

For the ladies who love their wine, NON’s collection of three hand-crafted alternatives comes in a gift box which you can share with friends.

For cocktail lovers Australian made and owned brand, Naked Life has also launched a premium range of non-alcoholic spirits (700ml). The range includes a London Dry, Italian Aperitivo, Veneto Spritz, Tennessee Malt, Scottish Malt, Caribbean Blanco and Caribbean Spiced.

Enjoy pouring a tipple on the rocks or mix your favourite end of week cocktail with local zero alcohol spirit.

Tip of the iceberg

Let us tell you about rising food costs…

At the start of June, we saw iceberg lettuce prices head skyward due to flood damage in Queensland’s southeast and the NSW Northern Rivers. Even the KFC Colonel couldn’t get enough lettuce to put between his buns. In some stores the leafy green was fetching as much as $12 a head. Some consumers were also asked to pay up to $13 a punnet for berries from flooded regions.

The West Australian seafood industry also warned that fresh catch Australian fish could be off the menu for some families if prices continue to rise. Price rises come as more Aussies seek out locally caught seafood over imported options.

Shoppers are also warned to expect to pay more for lamb as the sheep industry prepares for the new federal Labor government phase out of live animal exports due to animal welfare concerns.

But it’s not just consumers who are hurting, farmers are also feeling the pinch due to rising production costs fuelled by the war in the Ukraine and increased fuel, fertilizer, and maintenance costs. Potato farmers are especially hurting, prompting many in WA to join forces to appeal to Coles to increase prices by 20 cents per kilo, or face industry departures by growers.

Meantime Avocados Australia is calling on consumers to smash their way through a glut of cheap fruit. oversupply caused by an increase in new fruitful plantations.

But the most concerning news is the discovery of varroa mite in NSW bee hives. Many beekeepers are preparing to have their hives destroyed with officials confident the parasite can be eradicated. The biosecurity emergency could cost the honey bee industry $70 million, and put Australia’s annual almond pollination program at risk.

Rich Glen First Harvest EVOO
Rich Glen’s First Harvest is made from young green olives picked just before peak ripeness.

Also in local Aussie food this month

This month, we looked into some of the bad habits that Australians developed while stuck in their homes during lockdown, some of which are proving pretty tough to shake. We also took a slurp from a few of 2022’s first harvest releases, and bust some myths about extra virgin olive oil, cooking and health. In our lifestyle feature, we took a look at some of the best and most popular savoury pies in Australia and shared a tasty recipe for a pie that contains the ultimate savoury combo: chicken and mushroom. In order to help keep you warm this winter, we shared some lighter plant-based recipes that are sure to melt the coldest of hearts, and we caught up with local Aussie producer Middle of Nowhere Creations, which makes gourmet preserves from fresh homegrown produce on a cattle station 250km northwest of Hughenden in North Queensland.

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