Local Aussie food news: July headlines

30th July 2023 | Moira Geddes

Making local Aussie food news in July…

Chocolate gets expensive as cocoa and sugar prices soar, Norco raises funds to support mental health, and Ballarat’s Best Pie competition returns for another year of flakey bakery treats. FLORA launches a plant-based thickened cooking cream, Josh Niland releases a new book aimed at fish sustainability, and the nation’s best preserves are announced by Melbourne Royal Australian Food Awards.

From the farm gate…

The price of chocolate has increased in July due to higher ingredient costs and other factors.  According to Rabobank, cocoa prices have soared almost 30 percent over the last year, while the cost of sugar has risen to its highest level in a decade. Adding to the price increase has been poor weather conditions in major cocoa-growing regions around the world. Analysts believe prices of the raw ingredients could rise further.

Dairy milk drinkers across the country have helped Norco, Australia’s oldest and largest 100 percent farmer-owned dairy co-operative, to raise over $87,000 for Black Dog Institute. The money will go to help fund research, resources, and digital tools, which are particularly essential in regional areas where access to traditional mental health support is limited.

Also making local Aussie food news in July, Dirty Clean Food parent company Wide Open Agriculture has been awarded a $5 million grant from the WA State Government to co-fund and accelerate a cutting-edge production facility to make oat milk in WA later this year. It’s the world’s only regenerative and carbon neutral oat milk, and the protein levels will be significantly increased thanks to world-first Buntine Protein® derived from Western Australian grown lupins. 

Dirty Clean Food Oat Milk is available nationally in major supermarkets and also online. 

What’s on…

Sample Food Festival is set to return to the Bangalow showground on Sat Sept 2nd. The event, nestled in the hills behind Byron Bay on the NSW coast, aims to showcase the regions vibrant, resilient, and innovative local food economy. There will be a wide selection of regional restaurants, distillers, artisans and producers putting on an array of tasting plates and refreshments.

Escape to Ballarat this August and enjoy a slice of the regional culinary capital with the return of the beloved Ballarat’s Best Pie competition, taking place across the city from August 1st -31st . The competition will see 20 pies from 19 local chefs, restaurants, cafés and venues vying for the title of Ballarat’s Best Pie. From flaky crusts to mouth-watering fillings, pie lovers can taste all the city has to offer on the Ballarat Pie Trail. Pick up the map from the Ballarat Information Centre or download it online.

From flaky crusts to mouth-watering fillings, there will be pies to satisfy all taste buds.

Crown Melbourne’s Evergreen, along with Yarra Ranges Tourism will be showcasing a pop-up dining experience allowing guests to enjoy four of the region’s best dining experiences without leaving the city. Starting on August 4th, from Friday to Sunday, diners can expect culinary treasures from iconic Yarra Valley wineries. The menu will reflect signature delicacies such as crudo of kingfish by Coombe, dry-aged duck by Oakridge, roast lamb backstrap by Tokar Estate, as well as canapés to start by Chandon.

Tickets are now on sale for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers’ Festival of Food & Wine, which is back from September 8th to 10th. Justine Schofield will lead the Farm to Fork demonstrations over the three-day Festival. Queens Park will also become home to The Tasting Room, where foodies can sample delicious local flavours from over 35 local food and wine stalls.

Also making local Aussie food news in July, for the entire month of August, The Rocks in Sydney is showing off its brilliant bars, pubs and eateries across a month of delicious specials and creations. Forage The Rocks invites food lovers to wander through its heritage cobblestone streets and cosy laneways to discover some of Sydney’s very best food and drink offers. From picnics under the harbour bridge, to lunchtime treats and pop up Omakase, there’s something for everyone.

Kangaroo skewer from Pony Dining.

What’s new…

With Father’s Day just around the corner, Haigh’s Chocolates is encouraging everyone to give dad the gift of indulgence, with the release of its Father’s Day 2023 range. The limited range includes a Dark Cognac Ganache Chocolate, that takes inspiration from rich and flavourful cognac. The Dark Cognac Ganache Chocolate is also available within the Father’s Day Chocolate Selection Gift Box, a decorative deep blue selection gift box, that also contains Coffee Cream, Hard Caramel and Stout Ganache chocolates. The Father’s Day range will be available from Tuesday, August 15th in all Haigh’s Chocolates stores across Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and online.

FLORA, more commonly known for its range of spreads, is entering a new category, launching a thickened plant cream that pours, whips and cooks just as well as its dairy counterparts. Made from lentils, FLORA thickened plant cream has a clean, neutral taste, is 100 percent plant-based, palm oil free and vegan. With over 25 percent of the population believing they have a food intolerance; dairy milk alternatives are on the rise in Australia.

Award-winning author and culinary game-changer Josh Niland has returned with the ultimate guide to the art of Fish Butchery. The new book includes expert techniques and groundbreaking recipes that are an urgent call for action on culinary sustainability. It is estimated that 50 per cent of the world’s fish caught is wasted. Of the 50 percent we use, another 50 percent of this is overlooked by the Western world, which overwhelmingly prefers to consume only the fillet. Fish Butchery is designed to show the reader – and the industry at large – the vast range of possibilities that exist when fish is treated correctly.

Fish Butchery intends to disrupt, inspire, challenge, and hopefully encourage the next generation. 

And the winner is…

After tasting a record number of entries – ranging from exotic jams to eye-watering chilli – the judges of the prestigious 2023 Melbourne Royal Australian Food Awards have lifted the lid on which sweet and savoury preserves came out on top to win champion status. The major trophy winners were:

. Champion Sweet Preserve: Cunliffe & Waters ‘Raspberry Jelly for Cheese’

. Champion Savoury Preserve (tied winners): Turban Chopsticks (WA) ‘Satay Peanuts’ and Gamila at Beechworth (Victoria) ‘Pickled Blueberries with Saffron’

. Champion Victorian Preserve Producer: Emelia’s the Saucy Australian

For the full list of winners, head to the Melbourne Royal website.

Also making local Aussie food news in July, Coles has honoured its most outstanding suppliers across the country at the 2023 Coles Supplier Awards, recognised for their demonstrated quality, value and an unwavering commitment to managing environmental impacts and supporting the communities in which they operate. Third-generation family business Pirrone Brothers — which supplies Coles with eggplants, cucumbers and zucchinis from its Northern Queensland farm — came away with Fresh Produce Supplier of the Year. Cobram Estate Olives Limited, won Sustainability Partner of the Year for its cutting-edge focus on nature and biodiversity through mapping, fencing existing groves and planting 1000ha of natives, and developing wetlands and low-impact pest reduction strategies.

Fresh Chinese cabbage or Bok Choy with lemon slice and pepper.

Also in local food this month…

In July EATIVITY shared some tips from a nutritionist about how to eat your way to a healthy gut. We took a look at some of the most popular Asian vegetables in Australia, and shared tips on how to support Australia’s urban bee population by building a bee-friendly garden. We also re-shared a delicious recipe for apple spice layer cake using in-season aussie apples, and introduced you to the Montague family, which has played a huge role in diversifying Australia’s apple varieties.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest Australian food news and discover new local Aussie food producers? Of course you do! Just sign up for our monthly newsletter in the box below. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay tuned for more Australian food stories and news to inspire you next month.

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