Coun­try moves for pure and sea­sonal farm pro­duce

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

RE­GIONAL food has taken an­other leap for­ward with chef Ryan Cross­ley’s move from Melbourne to take up coun­try-house cook­ing as head of the kitchens at Cam­paspe House in Vic­to­ria’s Mace­don Ranges. Cross­ley’s ear­lier stints have in­cluded Taxi in Fed­er­a­tion Square and La­maro’s in South Melbourne.

He has also lured Rohan He­hir from Grossi Florentino in Melbourne to join the Cam­paspe team as sous chef.

Cross­ley tells FoodDe­tec­tive Cam­paspe House is com­mit­ted to re­gional, sea­sonal food. Fea­tur­ing strongly on the menu are lo­cal prod­ucts such as Holy Goat cheeses from Sut­ton Grange Or­ganic Farm, near Castle­maine. Favourites are the farm’s fro­mage frais, a goat’s milk curd with an al­lur­ing cit­rus fin­ish, and Black Silk, a pyra­mid of fresh curd coated in ash.

Fern­leigh Farm, breeder of the fab­u­lous black-and-white Wes­sex sad­dle­back pigs, sup­plies suc­cu­lent or­ganic pork as well as fresh veg­eta­bles. And then there’s Tuki Trout Farm at nearby Smeaton. Who would want to work in the city?

Cross­ley had a fine taste of com­mu­nity last Sun­day at the Glen­lyon Fine Food and Wine Fayre, a lo­cal an­nual fair with a suit­ably old-world feel and a show­case for lo­cal pro­duce. Cam­paspe House fea­tured duck and mush­room boudin among the house prod­ucts on its stand, along with its chut­neys and other good­ies. www.cam­paspe­house.com.au.

BAL­DUCCI’S, the high-end US food sup­pli­ers, with 10 shops in North Amer­ica, in­clud­ing two flag­ship stores in Man­hat­tan (Chelsea and Lin­coln Square), has taken up West­ern Aus­tralia’s pre­cious black truf­fles from the Wine and Truf­fle Com­pany ( Food De­tec­tive , July 14-15).

Wally Ed­wards, head of the Man­jimup­based com­pany, tells De­tec­tive the Austrade-or­gan­ised stand the com­pany set up at New York’s Sum­mer Fancy Foods Show fa­cil­i­tated the cru­cial toe in the door; that and the en­thu­si­asm of NewYorkTimes food writer Florence Fabri­cant.

The French Laun­dry in Cal­i­for­nia’s Napa Val­ley is one of the top restau­rants us­ing the truf­fles (a sam­ple menu in­cludes boudin blanc de Saint Pierre with black win­ter truf­fles, pignons de pins, green gar­lic, globe ar­ti­chokes and arugula pud­ding). One of the at­trac­tions of the WA prod­uct is hav­ing black win­ter truf­fles avail­able in the north­ern sum­mer. Bal­ducci’s is sell­ing the truf­fles by spe­cial or­der for $US1495 ($1740) a pound (453g), with a quar­ter­pound the small­est or­der, at $US373.75. www.wine­andtruf­fle.com.au; www.bal­duc­cis.com; www.french­laun­dry.com.

CHEF Chris­tine Man­field has launched her ea­gerly awaited re­turn to Syd­ney’s restau­rant scene. Her new ven­ture, Uni­ver­sal, in the Repub­lic 2 Court­yard in Palmer Street, Dar­linghurst, will be op­er­at­ing at full strength from Mon­day week; for those who love dress re­hearsals, the doors are open but dishes are be­ing added pro­gres­sively. Re­ports soon. www.uni­ver­sal­restau­rant.com.

MARK Maric, ex­ec­u­tive chef at Lure Seafood Restau­rant at The Coro in Bris­bane, is cel­e­brat­ing fol­low­ing Lure’s third con­sec­u­tive win as the city’s best seafood restau­rant. Lure net­ted the award at the HOST­PLUS re­gional restau­rant and cater­ing awards last Mon­day. Best state seafood restau­rant is Lure’s next tar­get. The state award will be an­nounced at a grand din­ner at Gianni Events at Port­side next month. www.thecoro.com.

VICKI Bright, man­ager of the cook­ing school at Black Pearl Epi­cure in Queens­land’s For­ti­tude Val­ley, says the num­ber of men en­rolling in classes is a re­fresh­ing shift. They also have dis­tinct pref­er­ences, she tells De­tec­tive . Ses­sions re­lat­ing to food ed­u­ca­tion, on truf­fles or cheeses, for ex­am­ple, are favourites, as are travel-linked cuisines and ro­bust, hands-on en­coun­ters with pasta or sausage-mak­ing.

Black Pearl in­vites some of the coun­try’s top chefs to lead ses­sions. The Au­gust pro­gram in­cludes French Moroc­can and cheese mak­ing; from $65 to $130, about three hours. www.black­pearl.com.au.

COR­DON blokes con­tin­ued: Peter Kenyon, an eco­nomics pro­fes­sor at Curtin Univer­sity in WA, has launched a new ven­ture. Blokes are the tar­get of the Cook­ing Pro­fes­sor’s Cook­ing Classes, and he fo­cuses on the ba­sics. Kenyon has long in­cluded kitchen skills in his un­of­fi­cial CV and even did a three-month stint at the won­der­ful Loose Box restau­rant at Mun­dar­ing, in the Perth hills.

The first set of lessons be­gan suc­cess­fully this week and will con­tinue for the next three Wed­nes­days at Tarts Cafe, 121 Lake St, Perth. In­di­vid­ual classes can be taken. And a new se­ries will be­gin in Septem­ber. www.the­cook­ing pro­fes­sor. com.au.

FOOD sup­plier Si­mon John­son and chef Serge Dansereau are host­ing a Frenchthemed din­ner at The Bathers’ Pavil­ion at Bal­moral Beach in Syd­ney on Au­gust 23. Both re­cently back from France, the pair will talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences, while the kitchen serves up a menu in­spired by Dansereau’s tour. Tick­ets are $125 for a three-course meal with matched wines. (02) 9969 5050; eat@batherspavil­ion.com.au.

DEEP-COUN­TRY tucker is the fo­cus of the LifeStyle Chan­nel’s se­ries The Out­back Cafe, which is about to re­sume. The en­gag­ing Mark Olive, also known as Black Olive, tra­verses re­mote river and moun­tain coun­try and ven­tures into Aus­tralia’s desert heart in search of wild foods. The land­scape is al­lur­ing and in­sights from lo­cal cooks un­lock the se­crets of na­tive spices and ber­ries. Tak­ing to the kitchen, Olive shows how th­ese sea­son­ings are used in mod­ern Aus­tralian food. Se­ries two starts on Sun­day, Au­gust 19, at 7.30pm.

And if you think bush tucker is as dry as dust, you’re miss­ing out on a pal­ette of great new tastes. De­tec­tive has tasted Tanami Fire (ground tanami ap­ples, na­tive pep­per­berry, lemon as­pen and chilli), Dried Moun­tain Pep­per (mild, flaked moun­tain pep­per leaf) and, her favourite, Dried Salt­bush (fine flakes that taste like a sub­tle, herby sea­weed). Olive cooks with th­ese on the pro­gram; there are 14 blends avail­able on­line and a se­lected range from Wool­worths and Safe­way na­tion­wide.

The bonus: this is a sus­tain­able, in­dige­nous in­dus­try, cre­at­ing jobs and ex­pe­ri­ence for out­back com­mu­ni­ties. www.lifestylechan­nel.com.au.

READER and lone diner Peter Davy, re­spond­ing to De­tec­tive ’ s loathing of strange at­ti­tudes to sin­gle din­ers ( Travel& In­dul­gence , July 28-29), as well as to Tom Nor­ring­ton-Davies’s fea­ture on real English pies (in the same edi­tion), re­ports on the ex­cel­lent seafood pie he sam­pled re­cently at Melbourne’s La­maro’s. He agrees with Pam La­maro that there should be more good English-style pies served in Melbourne restau­rants in the win­try months. Davy rec­om­mends La­maro’s pie of the day, usu­ally a cracker, he says, for about $22. www.lamaros.com.au.

DIARY alert: Gusto 2007, a joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion of the cui­sine of Italy, to be held at the Syd­ney Seafood School, Syd­ney Fish Mar­ket, will fea­ture cook­ing demon­stra­tions, mas­ter­classes and tast­ings. Sun­day, Au­gust 26, 10am-5pm. Ac­cord­ing to the win­ter news­let­ter of the Coun­cil of Ital­ian Restau­rants in Aus­tralia, spon­sor of the fes­tiv­i­ties, down un­der is some­times re­ferred to as Italy’s 21st re­gion. www.cira.com.au.

A READER from Parma, Italy, has been in touch to say she en­joyed the fea­ture ‘‘ Pigs do fly’’ ( Travel&In­dul­gence , June 9-10), but re­minds us that chef Mas­simo Spi­garoli, also from Parma, pro­duces the high­est grade pro­sciutto known as cu­latello; even though the ham comes from Parma, it is not sim­ple pro­sciutto di parma.

DE­TEC­TIVE loves: The Club Bar at the In­terCon­ti­nen­tal Syd­ney. Sip­ping a slow cock­tail re­cov­ers ev­ery ounce of imag­ined glam­our when it’s done in this dimly lit glass rec­tan­gle on the top floor, the span­gled jewel box of Syd­ney Har­bour glit­ter­ing be­low. www.syd­ney.in­tercon­ti­nen­tal.com.

DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: The short­age of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles in Syd­ney af­ter the floods and an un­usu­ally cold win­ter. The sell­ers hate it as much as the buy­ers, ac­cord­ing to Serge Dansereau, who also sources his pro­duce from Vic­to­ria and else­where; even though their prices are high, they can’t get the sup­plies.

The hum­ble zuc­chini, was re­cently sell­ing for $20 a kilo­gram at an in­ner-Syd­ney su­per­mar­ket. Dansereau says, ‘‘ Zuc­chini are of­ten hid­den away for reg­u­lars, toma­toes you are lucky to get, rocket is now a pre­cious com­mod­ity.’’ There are plenty of ap­ples but it’s pretty dif­fi­cult to write a whole menu based on ap­ple, he says.

FIND of the week: Tan­ta­lis­ing treats at JPB restau­rant, Swis­so­tel Syd­ney, where chef Steve Sweet­man is of­fer­ing fon­dues and other Swiss de­lights un­til Au­gust 17. www.syd­ney.swis­so­tel.com.

The Prof: Peter Kenyon

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