News bites: pups, pumpkins & bacon milk

15th January 2021 | Eativity editors

Australians love big things. The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the Big Pineapple in Woombye and the Big Prawn in Ballina are all popular tourist photo ops, and they’re just the tip of the (big) iceberg. There’s even a Big Wine Cask at the Stanley Winery in Buronga, which really says a lot about how classy Aussie culture can be. Well, now there’s a new big thing for Australians to feel proud about, and you can trust us when we say it’s a whopper.

In other headlines, flavoured milk lovers now have the opportunity to create their very own creamy concoction, with the best flavour combo scoring the creator ten grand and the chance to have their face on a milk carton. Who wouldn’t aspire to that? We’ve also found a tasty TV series for frustrated globe-trotting foodies who’d normally be on a plane right now, and a new ice cream treat that’s really gone to the dogs.

Dale Oliver with his prize pumpkin. (Image courtesy of Richmond River Independent.)

A smashing pumpkin

If you were impressed by the world’s biggest blueberry, you’re going to be bowled over (hopefully not literally) by this absolute porker of a pumpkin. Dale Oliver, a nurseryman from the NSW North Coast, entered his prize pumpkin in the recent Kyogle Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon Festival and found that it had broken the Southern Hemisphere pumpkin record. The monumental winter squash – which could actually squash you – weighed in at 867kg, beating Oliver’s previous personal best of 743kg but trailing far behind the world’s biggest ever pumpkin – a 1190kg behemoth grown by Belgian Mathias Willemijns in 2016.

What’s your flavour? We’re hoping it’s not bacon and liquorice.

Create a new OAK and win a motza

OAK is giving Australians the chance to make their flavoured milk dreams come true with the launch of the OAK Flavour Generator. The site allows you to make your own unique mix and potentially bring your flavour combination to life – if OAK chooses your custom flavour, they’ll make it and sell it in stores nationally. They’ll even put your face on the carton.

OAK fans can make their mix online via the OAK Flavour Generator, where you can choose from 20 different flavours like toffee, lime, raspberry, apple, liquorice, marshmallow, maple syrup, caramel, cheesecake and even bacon (*shudder*). Then you just give it a catchy name and a custom carton colour and share the backstory to your choice.

OAK will bring three creations to life and make them available in supermarkets and convenience stores around the country later this year. An online vote will then take place between the three, with the ultimate winner taking home a $10,000 cash prize.

Diana Chan won MasterChef in 2017, and has since worked to promote Malaysian cuisine.

Exploring the flavours of Asia

MasterChef winner Diana Chan is returning with a brand-new season of Asia Unplated on SBS Food – another whirlwind tour of the tastiest, most diverse continent on the planet. The series follows Chan as she explores the fresh, aromatic flavours of Asia and cooks up simple but authentic homestyle Asian dishes. From the sweet, sour and salty flavours of Cambodia and the fragrant spices of Sri Lanka to Chan’s personal favourite, Malaysian street food, the series is the perfect escape for foodies who normally love to travel.

Chan also invites some friends and special guests into the kitchen to cook their favourite recipes and chat about the unique cooking styles and rich food histories of their favourite Asian cuisines. This season includes guests like chef Jerry Mai, food stylist Jacob Leung, chef Ross Magnaye and MasterChef alumni Khanh Ong, Sarah Todd and Karlie Verkerk.

Asia Unplated with Diana Chan will premiere at 8pm on Thursday, January 28 on SBS Food. The series will also be available after broadcast on SBS On Demand.

I can has ice cream? US dog lovers now have a sweet way to treat their canine pals.

Something to get tongues (and tails) wagging

For many of us, our dogs are part of the family, which means they deserve a treat just as much as the next person. Or poodle. Ben & Jerry’s obviously agrees, as the hugely popular ice cream brand has now ventured into the lucrative US pet food market with Doggie Desserts. There are two flavours – Pontch’s Mix and Rosie’s Batch – which are named after the company founders’ own hounds. Pontch’s Mix is made with peanut butter and pretzel swirls, while Rosie’s Batch comes with mini cookies and pumpkin. Maybe they should ask Dale Oliver to help out with the ingredients for that one – we’re sure he’s got some spare.

Both flavours are made with minimal dairy, instead using sunflower butter to avoid any doggie digestive issues. Sadly there’s no word on when – or if – the pet-friendly treats will be available in Australia, so don’t tell Fido just yet, or he might get his hopes up for nothing. But you can tell the cat if you want. They never listen anyway.