The latest in Australian food news
This week, Australian restaurants win global acclaim, our biggest olive oil producer is gunning for a very tasty world record and a revolutionary new plant-based protein arrives on our shores. We also discover what Aussie shoppers have been buying most during the pandemic (spoiler: it’s not toilet paper) and, for our friends in Melbourne, we whisper those two sweet words that everyone longs to hear: “free dessert”. But on a slightly less cheering note, COVID could well become the grinch that stole the Christmas ham. Like it hasn’t ruined enough already. Read on for all the latest in Australian food news.
Australian restaurants win global acclaim
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has revealed its list of rankings from 51 to 100 ahead of the annual 50 Best awards ceremony, which will take place on October 5. Two Victorian restaurants have made the top 100, with Brae in Birregurra coming in at number 57, and Melbourne’s Attica nabbing the 97th spot. Brae was also named number 83 in the 2021 We’re Smart top 100 plant-based restaurants in the world. Led by chef-owner Dan Hunter, Brae is surrounded by a large organic farm where seasonal vegies, stone fruits, berries, citrus, nuts and olives for the restaurant’s own olive oil are grown. The eggs come from Brae’s own chickens and the honey from their own bees. The menu changes constantly, depending on what’s growing in the garden and what’s on offer from local farmers.
COVID caps threaten Xmas ham
The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) is warning that continued workforce shortages due to COVID restrictions could threaten food supply chains in the lead-up to Christmas. Currently, there are workforce caps in place for meat processing and manufacturing in Melbourne. The AMIC says that for every day these workforce reductions are in place, there’s a growing impact on the supply chain which affects farmers, producers, processors, manufacturers, wholesalers, cold stores, independent local butchers and supermarkets.
“We have nervous smallgoods manufacturers in metro Melbourne right now,” says AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson. “They have said it all comes down to labour. If they can’t be certain they have the labour, they can’t forecast to meet the Christmas ham demand.”
Currently, storage stocks are being used to meet orders, however the AMIC says the real impact on the sector will be felt in four to six weeks. With Australia’s major spring lamb “flush” now fully in operation, metro Melbourne lamb processors and Victorian and Australian lamb farmers will be severely impacted if workforce restrictions continue.
Spotlight on Aussie shoppers
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released supermarket scanner data that reveals what Aussies have been putting in their shopping baskets during the pandemic. It appears that the home baking frenzy has fizzled out – sales of sugar, eggs and baking mixes peaked in June last year, but have fallen again in 2021. Instead, Australians are making the most of the abundance of seafood that’s been on offer since China blocked imports of our premium crustaceans (their loss). Sales of rock lobster and crab have almost tripled in the last two years. Fish, squid and oysters have also seen a boost in purchases. We’ve also been indulging more in junk food, with chips, ice cream and soft drinks all seeing a big bump in sales. And even though we’re working from home more and have plenty of time to cook, sales of ready meals have increased dramatically, rising by 82 percent.
Five towns vie for Ag Town of the Year
Five towns across the Mid North, Murray Mallee and Eyre Peninsula have been selected as finalists for the 2021 South Australian Agricultural Town of the Year award. Kapunda, Orroroo, Booleroo Centre, Mypolonga and Kimba are in the running for the title after more than 3200 public votes were cast for 59 nominated towns across the state. Kapunda has been a finalist every year since the award was introduced in 2019. Kimba has also been a finalist before. An independent panel of judges will visit the five finalist towns in October this year. The winner is scheduled to be announced on November 19.
SA food and beverage awards
The finalists in this year’s South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards have also been announced. The awards recognise food and beverage companies who stand out for their achievements in terms of industry best practice and innovation. Entries in the awards were up by 50 percent this year. The consumer’s choice award attracted votes from all across Australian, and as far afield as Bahrain, Europe, the US, Malaysia and Japan, demonstrating South Australian products have loyal fans all over the world.
For a full list of awards and finalists, click here.
Tasting a world record
Cobram Estate is going for gold and setting its sights on a Guinness World Record for the biggest virtual olive oil tasting in history. Cobram will be making its attempt on Thursday, October 28, hosted by health expert Dr Joanna McMillan, chief oil maker Leandro Ravetti and Cobram Estate co-founder and chairman Rob McGavin.
The aim is to beat the current Guinness World Record for the largest olive oil tasting, which was set in 2009 when 12,909 people gathered in the Spanish city of Jaen. Cobram is gunning to get 13,000 people to join in virtually on the night. To take part in the event, participants need to register on the Cobram Estate website by September 30. The virtual ticket costs $10, which includes delivery of four 50ml bottles of Cobram Estate oils, including the award-winning Limited Edition Ultra-Premium Hojiblanca, five official tasting cups, a selection of Stone and Grove olive leaf teas and an exclusive range of online offers.
For more info and to sign up, head to cobramestate.com.au/virtual-tasting
Connecting home cooks with leading chefs
Roberta Muir, former manager of the Sydney Seafood School, has launched “Be Inspired”, cooking experiences showcasing recipes inspired by renowned chefs including Paul Carmichael, Janni Kyritsis, Mark Jensen, Ajoy Joshi and Giovanni Pilu. Be Inspired allows home cooks to expand their repertoire and build confidence by connecting with leading chefs, producers and provedores. Be Inspired recipe kits contain the fresh produce and premium pantry items required to create delicious meals, with expert guidance via step-by-step videos from Muir and the chefs. Participants can opt for fortnightly or monthly kits, which include all ingredients, at least eight video tutorials and detailed written recipes. A new cuisine and chef will be introduced each month, and deliveries are made fortnightly.
For more information on current and upcoming Be Inspired recipe kits, head to be-inspired-food-wine-travel.com
Sweetening the pot
Danone, the manufacturer of Two Good yoghurt, has launched a partnership with food and grocery relief organisation Foodbank Australia. As part of Two Good’s “Eat Good. Do Good” campaign, Danone will be donating 10 cents from every 150g pot of Two Good yoghurt purchased between September 13 and October 31. Every $1 donated to Foodbank provides two meals for vulnerable Australians. That means buying one pot of Two Good yoghurt each day during the month of October can provide six meals to Aussies in need.
Local legends doing good
Menulog has launched its Meal 4 Good program, a new initiative that will help raise funds OzHarvest. On the last Friday of every month from September onwards, for every order placed to one of Menulog’s Local Legend restaurant partners, Menulog will donate the cost of a meal to OzHarvest. So whether it’s burgers or báhn mí, pizza or paella, your Friday food order can go towards helping someone in need. Menulog’s Local Legend restaurants are independent and smaller chain restaurants that provide the best customer experience, food and offers in their local area. To get involved in Meal 4 Good, visit the Menulog app or menulog.com.au on the last Friday of the month and order from your nearest Local Legend.
The next big thing in plant-based protein
A plant-based game-changer which has swept across Europe and America has finally landed in Australia. Pulled Oats by Gold&Green Foods is made from mixing, grinding and heating together Nordic oats, yellow pea and faba bean protein. The ingredients are processed as little as possible, and the only additives are water, oil and spices. Pulled Oats also contain an impressive 30 percent protein, and are versatile enough to be used as a substitute for meat in all your favourite dishes, as it has a great texture and absorbs flavours well.
Pulled Oats is available at Woolworths in Nude and Tomato flavours. For more info, head to goldandgreenfoods.com/au
Plans for the weekend?
Sydneysiders keen to head out picnicking on the weekends can now order special picnic packs from some of Sydney’s favourite restaurants. Here’s a taste:
Bel & Brio
Bel & Brio’s Italian antipasto picnic boxes are filled with sliced charcuterie, a wide selection of Australian and European cheeses, crackers, fruits and condiments to pair and sweets to finish. Customise your picnic hamper with a curated range of Australian, French and Italian wines as well as spirits and cocktails. Delivery is available within 5km of Barangaroo, and pick-up is also available. Order directly through the Bel & Brio app or website.
Chiswick’s picnic pack features Australian producers such as Vannella, Long Paddock and Drunken Sailor, not to mention Chiswick’s signature “barra-masalata” with crispy bits. Treat yourself to a locavore’s dream this weekend. Available to order here.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine with the OTTO Aperitivo Pack. Prepared by restaurant chefs and delivered via cold freight, the picnic pack is ready to go at the location of your choice. Providoor delivers OTTO to Sydney metro, regional NSW including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Bathurst, Newcastle and Wollongong, and Canberra metro. Deliveries are made Thursday to Sunday between 9am and 6pm. Available on Providoor.
Lavazza has partnered with iconic Flinders Lane cafe Brunetti Oro to launch a limited edition coffee dessert available for free in celebration of International Coffee Day, Friday October 1. The exclusive Ciambella al Caffè dessert serves eight and is a a moist, chocolate cake infused with arabica coffee and coated with a layer of decadent couverture chocolate. Available for a limited time only, Melburnians can get a taste of the Ciambella al Caffè cake by pre-ordering between September 27 and 30 from 10am each morning via brunettioro.com.au/lavazza. Each day, a new round of cakes will be available to pre-order until sold out. Free delivery is also available within a 15km radius of Brunswick. Coffee lovers can also get their hands on a free cup of Lavazza’s ¡Tierra! Colombia coffee from 10am to 11am at Brunetti Oro on Flinders Lane on International Coffee Day.
Just in case you missed it…
This week, we were delighted to discover the Aussie growers that are bringing back mulberries – a fruit that holds such fond nostalgia for so many but is almost impossible to find in stores. We also posed the question: can you eat to beat type 2 diabetes? Renowned British health expert Dr Michael Mosley has put his own body on the line to find the answer. With International Coffee Day coming up next Friday, we also shared some sustainable uses for your used coffee grounds, and for those of you who are trying hard to eat clean but still long for sweets, we’ve found you a recipe for the world’s healthiest chocolate cake.