Dough­nut-de­vour­ing Kore­ans call on Can­berra’s big cheese

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Graeme Blun­dell

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.

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;

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.­vafen­

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.­clip­

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.­

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 mmor­gan@msso­ci­ ■ 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.wild­

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.

En­voy: Man­ners

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