Doughnut-devouring Koreans call on Canberra’s big cheese
WHAT do a bunch of Canberra bureaucrats, Korean bagel lovers, the US’s biggest coffee-by-the-cup retailer and Australia’s largest dairy manufacturer have in common?
Well, Austrade (once known more magisterially as the Australian Trade Commission) has helped broker a deal following a change of menus at 420 Dunkin’ Donut stores in South Korea, which has seen a tenfold increase in creamcheese exports from Australia during the past three months.
It seems Austrade introduced Australia’s leading dairy manufacturer, National Foods, to WhiteCheese Co, the South Korean-based supplier of cheese to the world’s largest coffee and baked-goods chain. With more than 7000 stores worldwide, Dunkin’ Donuts has a significant presence globally, as well as in South Korea.
‘‘ The Koreans are incredibly faddish; when they cotton on to something being good for their health, they go for it,’’ Tony Gunnis, who manages cheese exports for National Foods, tells your temporary Food Detective . ‘‘ When trans fats became an issue there, Dunkin’ Donuts, hinged as they are on frying, strategically switched to some non-trans fatty foods to counter the negative Korean perceptions. They developed a bagel and cream-cheese menu, with the cheese incorporating apricot, almond, rum and raisin flavours. We rode along on the coat-tails of this change,’’ says Gunnis, who as he talks on the phone to Detective , is in the middle of another Asian cream-cheese deal.
National Foods is developing a 30g individual-portion pack for WhiteCheese and Dunkin’ Donuts to allow South Korean consumers to spread the cream cheese, resulting in less waste and lower costs. www.natfoods.com.au.
AS this newspaper’s television critic, Detective knows too well that climate change isn’t the new comedy, even if a swollen reservoir of eco-friendly programs has begun to wash our way, along with green cars, green tourism and green weddings. So Detective is taken with the serene possibilities of a Feast of Nutrition at Queensland’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland. The specialty program promises to unravel the myths and truths of healthy eating, emphasising organic cooking and featuring the expertise of the highly initialled Libby Ellis BHSc (N&D) (Hons), PhD.
The program is available through August and November, and Detective can already hear the windchimes and life-affirming sounds of Enya. Ellis’s seminars promise to help guests understand their relationship with food, including ‘‘ emotional drivers’’ ( Detective sacked his last chauffeur) and the body’s hormonal responses to food choices. Organic cooking sessions with Gwinganna chefs promise to provide simple solutions and great recipes for ‘‘ optimal energy, happiness and body composition’’. From $1400 a person twin-share for the inclusive four-day program. 1800 219 272; www.gwinganna.com.
FOR something more decadent, Detective likes the sound of special August dinners at Per Aquum’s ultra-chic resort Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives, home to the world’s first underwater spa. Winemaker David Powell, founder of Torbreck, one of the Barossa Valley’s leading producers, will showcase some of his vineyard’s rarest vintages in Huvafen Fushi’s 6000-bottle underground wine cellar, Vinum. All of these are epic elixirs full of ‘‘ Barossa attitude’’, according to Detective ’ s Adelaide snouts. The cuisine of the resort’s award-winning executive chef, Joseph Nagy, will complement the wines. www.huvafenfushi.com.
ALSO in the luxury bracket, one of Europe’s top chefs, the three-star Michelin master Jean-Marie Meulien, is bringing his culinary skills to the kitchens of Star Clippers’ mega-yachts, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper. The three tall ships will be featuring the cuisine of their itineraries — including the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia and French Polynesia — as Meulien spends a week at sea every six months creating and refining dishes. Meulien, who held Michelin’s top three-star accolade as executive chef at the renowned L’Oasis restaurant at La Napoule on the Cote d’Azur for 14 years, is now a culinary consultant to leading hotels and restaurants. www.starclippers.com.
CHECK out new interactive website, Buyblitz, which is helping the local corner shop fight back against predatory pricing from giant retailers by providing the small players with a unique website within the Buyblitz structure for $1 a day. Buyblitz is a virtual shopping centre aimed at connecting independent businesses with existing and potential customers, who can save by searching for the best deals and cheapest prices on line from retailers ranging from grocers and butchers to delis and liquor stores. www.buyblitz.com.au.
A NEW generation of chefs from what is rapidly becoming the gourmet capital of NSW will be featured at the sixth annual Taste Orange for MS food and wine festival ■ DETECTIVE loves: Wild Brumby Schnapps from the classy Thredbo Valley Distillery, just a couple of hours from Canberra on the ■ FIND of the week: Detective loves the idea of just-opened chain-to-be, Bite Me Burger Co. Its up-market joints feature $15 wagyu beef burgers; the first store is at 340 Oxford St, Paddington, in Sydney’s innereast, with other NSW and Melbourne venues to follow. Created by food personality Kim Terakes, the menu, cooked by real chefs with premium ingredients, also features steak sandwiches, trad hot dogs and Mexican-style bean dishes. at the MLC Centre’s Country Embassy in Sydney on July 23 at 7.30pm.
Conceived as a showcase for the rich and diverse produce and wine of the Orange region, the annual dinner has become one of Sydney’s best charity gourmet events. For six years the event has been managed by restaurateur and chef Michael Manners, who matches produce from the Orange region with locally grown wines. Now Manners has closed Selkirks restaurant in Orange, he has taken on the role of event ambassador, introducing the next generation of regional chefs: Tony Worland of Millthorpe’s Tonic, Scott Want of Orange’s Union Bank, Shaun Arantz of the Mayfield Vineyard’s The Old Schoolhouse and Anna Wong of Cowra’s Neila’s. Tickets are $145; (02) 9411 4522 or email@example.com. ■ DETECTIVE loathes: The way, even at finedining establishments, waiters hover over the table desperate to snatch your plate away before you have finished the last mouthful. And Detective especially dislikes the removal of dishes before all members of the group have finished their meals. The other day, Detective was asked, ‘‘ Are you still working on that?’’ Good dining is not a job, like repairing faulty Telstra connections or writing a novel ( Detective is still working on that).
Detective also has had it with the shameless up-selling (as they say) of expensive still and sparkling mineral water with meals. Alpine Way. Brad Spalding produces several premium aromatic varieties, including apricot, Williams pear and raspberry flavours, as well as grappa and an aniseed myrtle vodka. www.wildbrumby.com.
BruCo hand-made Italian chocolates imported by Queensland’s Laura Russian. The tequila-flavoured samples sent to the Travel&Indulgence desk disappeared before Detective could get his choppers near them. Look for a wide range of flavours — chilli, rum and vanilla, fig, olive oil — in dark and milk varieties using premium ingredients from South America. From $8.95 for a 60g block; gift boxes also available. www.italy27.com.