Black cherry tomato wins
(ABC’s Costa Georgiadis gave a talk on tomatoes, and also put his palate to the test)
Almost 10,000 visitors came to the recent Tomato Festival in Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden and got through over 50 kilograms of colourful tomatoes during the weekend.
They had a responsibility, though. Votes were taken on which they believed was the tastiest. Overall winner was the Black Cherry Heirloom tomato, winning the people’s hearts. Which is appropriate, of course, as tomatoes were once known as 'love apples'!
Dr Brett Summerell, Deputy Executive Director Science and Conservation said: “The clear winner was the Black Cherry Heirloom! The array of colours and textures of tomatoes for tasting led to comments about whether the weirder the colour the tastier the tomato!”
It seems in these sort of contests, the public always chooses heirloom tomatoes over hybrids for taste. Heirlooms are pollinated naturally and tend to have superior flavour and are easy to grow - which is great for the home gardener.
Dr Summerell explained that the Royal Botanic Garden’s joined with the Diggers Club for the Tomato Festival - Diggers began rescuing heirloom tomato seeds about 25 years ago and introduced them to Australian gardeners in 1991.
This is important, he stated, because Australia has lost nearly 25,000 heirloom varieties of vegetables which includes tomatoes since the 1800s. They’ve been replaced by hybrids which are commercially produced.
"Once an heirloom is lost, it’s gone forever – which means biodiversity decreases,” he said.
How do you move a group of friends around London on a night out? The newest way involvcs fresh air and a little exercise to help keep the 'other activity' in balance. Welcome to the only drink-drive option in town!
The pedibus can transport a total maximum of 12, which includes eight on cycle-points and four on the VIP platform at the back. If there are more than 12 people, more Pedibuses are available, up to five, although only the routes on London Bridge, Tower Bridge and Borough Market can accommodate two or more Pedibuses. There are four routes available in all.
The Pedibus is easy to use and can even be powered by one person. If it is raining, there is a roof which can be fitted.
As this is a 'cycling bar', most importantly the Pedibus will meet you with glasses, cups and bottle openers. You can bring as many soft drinks and snacks on board but alcoholic beverages are restricted to a pint or a large glass of wine per person, per tour. Champagne, cider, alcopops are permitted, but no bottles of spirits are allowed on board. This is not really bad news as there is always time for a pub stop on the route.
Korea's feast of festivals in 2015
The best way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of a country is to join in and take part in a festival event. Koreans love a party it seems and there are over forty outstanding festivals throughout the country in 2015. And many of them concern food!
Wanju Wild Food Festival, September, 2015
Held to spread knowledge of Wanju, a city where one can experience cheonryeop (river-fishing), Korean wilderness, and nostalgia, the festival also provides nature-friendly food experiences using local agricultural products, along with varied wild plants and animals from Wanju. This festival aims to give visitors a feeling of nostalgia for food from the past through diverse hands-on food programs, surrounded by nature.
Venue: The area of Gosan Recreation Forest in Wanju-gun, Jeollabuk-do
Hyoseok Cultural Festival, September, 2015
This takes place in Pyeongchang, the setting for Lee Hyo-seok’s famous novel, When Buckwheat Flowers Come into Full Bloom. The festival highlights different locations depicted in the novel as well as the area’s folklore. The festival is held at the most splendid time of the year when the buckwheat flowers blanket the entire Bongpyeong area. Don’t miss the wide range of foods made from buckwheat, exciting programs, and the vast plain of buckwheat flowers. Venue: Bongpyeong-myeon Munhwa (Culture) Village area in Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival, July, 2015
This is held around Gungnamji Pond, an artificial pond constructed during the reign of King Muwang of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). A performance based on the love between Prince Seodong (King Muwang’s name in his youth) and Princess Seonhwa is the highlight of the festival. Events during the festival include face painting, lotus leaf tea sampling, lotus flower soap making, lotus flower photo and painting exhibitions, and a variety of performances.
Venue: Seodong Park (Gungnamji) area (Dongnam-ri, Buyeo-eup, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do)
Bonghwa Eun-eo (Sweet Fish) Festival, July 2015
This takes place in Bonghwa, a well-preserved natural habitat surrounded by mountains, trees, clean water, and fresh air. Eun-eo, or sweet fish, only live near the source of clean and clear streams. Visitors can cool down while catching fish in Naeseongcheon Stream with their bare hands. In addition, visitors can engage in night fishing or enjoy some eun-eo barbeque.
Venue: Bonghwa-eup Sports Park, Naeseongcheon Stream area (Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do)
Boseong Green Tea Festival, May, 2015
The largest green tea festival in Korea takes place in the Boseong Green Tea Plantations, a well-known filming location and tourist site. Visitors to the festival will get a chance to pick tea leaves, make and sample green tea, make green tea snacks, learn traditional tea drinking etiquette, and take part in a tea photo contest.
Venue: 775 Noksa-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do (1200, Bongsan-ri)
Herb Medicine Festival, May, 2015
Daegu Yangnyeongsi is known for its rich history and traditional eastern medicine culture. Designated as an official Culture & Tourism Festival in 2001, the festival has since become a signature celebration that promotes traditional Korean medicine worldwide. Throughout the festival, visitors can learn the history of traditional Korean medicine and experience traditional medical treatments.
Venue: Yangnyeongsi area in Jung-gu, Daegu
Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival, November, 2015
This is a combination of two festivals: Yeoju Farm Festival and Sweet Potato Festival, based on Yeoju’s representative products, rice and sweet potato, respectively. Visitors to the festival can find Yeoju’s quality agricultural and local specialty products and enjoy participating in a wide range of fun, informative programs. Venue: Yeoju-gun area, Gyeonggi-do
Sunchang fermented soybean festival, November 2015
Sunchang, a village famous for its citizens’ longevity and for the production of red-pepper paste, holds this festival every year. The fermented Sunchang red-pepper paste has recently been recognized for its excellent health benefits. Traditional outdoor performances, percussion performances, and Sunchang red-pepper paste making will take place, as well as a local specialty fair and a Sunchang red-pepper cooking competition.
Venue: Sunchang Gochujang Village and Gangcheonsan Mountain (Sunchang-gun, Jeollabuk-do)
Goseong Myeongtae Festival, October, 2015
To ensure a good haul and community prosperity, this festival is held at Geojinhang Port, known as the primary place of Pollack fish in Korea. The festival includes numerous hands-on events such as a sea festival, a cultural festival, and a local culture experience. The festival has helped the city to promote their local seafood, farm products and other specialties, thus contributing to the growth of the local economy.
Venue: Geojin-ri, Geojin-eup, Goseong-gun in Gangwon-do
Incheon Rice Festival, October 2015
Since ancient times, Icheon’s expansive open fields have offered the perfect conditions for growing rice, continuing to be one of the major rice producers in Korea. This festival combines two of Icheon’s symbols, rice and agriculture, is held in late October to celebrate the year of good harvest.
Venue: Seolbong Park in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival, October 2015
The city of Ganggyeong produces half of all fermented seafood produced in the country. It is here that Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival is held to offer visitors fresh and tasty fermented seafood at a relatively low price compared to most other parts of the country. In addition, cooking programs with fermented seafood, crafting wish lanterns, and more hands-on activities are enough to draw visitors all year around.
Venue: Ganggyeongpogu Port, Fermented Seafood Market and Fermented Seafood Exhibition Hall area (Ganggyeong-eup, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do)
For more details on these and all other festivals planned for this year visit.....
For more information on visiting Korea....
Take your Mum for a spin
...or let her spin herself. This carousel, which holds three delicious unusual artisan liqueurs, promises hours of enjoyment!
Supported in a hand-crafted presentation rack are three reusable sleek Goccia 100ml bottles filled with Organic Rhubarb Vodka Liqueur, fruity Damson Gin and velvety smooth Spiced Rum.
As an added bonus Demijohn will add a personalised message for free, making this great Mother’s Day gift extra special. All three drinks make excellent after dinner tipples which your mum will be sure to love after a Mother’s Day meal. Maybe you could become be very inventive and create a special Mum’s cocktail.
Although the company is based in the UK, these demijohns can be shipped worldwide.
More details ....
Valentine's Day is over....
...but love goes on. Especially at one Sydney cafe who released their 'love sliders' for February 14.
Cloud 9 Chocolate Cafe could probably be Sydney's sweetest addition on the food scene. As you can see, the Cloud 9 'love slider' was a heart-shaped waffle dipped in chocolate and encasing a heavenly scoop of gelato.
OK, that's finished. Get over it! Good news is you can still enjoy cookie or brownie sliders there.
If the way to your beloved's heart is through their stomach, this could seal the deal! More details.....
A spirited win!
Gold for the American Oak Sherry Wood 43% and Silver for French Oak Pinot Noir Wood 43% expression at the recent World Spirit Awards, are serious wins for the Tasmania distiller, Nant.
These awards are considered by some industry insiders as the ‘World Championships’ of the international awards and the highest accolade by the industry. They are judged by the most distinguished and discerning palates, those with decades of experience required to recognise a quality spirit when they taste it.
The award win is Nant’s latest achievement, having twice won ‘Liquid Gold’ status in the ranking system used by the world’s leading authority on the whisky, Jim Murray, in his annual whisky bible.
Nant Estate has been growing barley since 1821 and is one of only a handful of farm-based whisky distilleries in the world.
Each year the Estate welcomes more than 25,000 visitors to its distillery, working farm, restaurant and cellar door.
More details ...
Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on oriental cooking, there is more to celebrity chef Ken Hom than meets the eye. And now, it seems, he is an authority on more than just Asian cookery.
His interest in truffles goes back to the 1980’s when Ken Hom met Alain Pébeyre and his son Pierre-Jean, of France’s legendary truffle family. They shared their intimate knowledge of the mysteries of the black truffle with him, and in more than two decades of the deepening friendship that followed, Ken was able to absorb the essence of the black truffle.
In this book, Pierre-Jean and Ken share their approach using truffles in a way that is mindful of French traditions and remains simple, direct and lighthearted. Ken Hom also incorporates various techniques and ideas from his own Chinese culinary background.
The result is a meeting of East and West, a collaboration between Pierre-Jean and Ken to introduce recipes ranging from the simple to the elaborate, though never complicated, all of them featuring truffles as the star ingredient. Lavishly illustrated with photography by the acclaimed photographer Jean-Pierre Gabriel, the pictures are stunning and some of the most elegant ever to capture the essence of the black truffle and its culinary uses.
This latest book – Truffles – is a departure from the 36 books he has written on oriental cuisine, over a career that spans four decades. And this book, released in the UK at the end of 2014 and inspired by his love of French cooking, has just won the Gourmand Award 2014 for ‘Best Mushroom Book’ category – USA. It now goes forward to the Gourmand’s global awards which will be presented in June.
Australia's first Cognac-styled spirit
Australia’s first Cognac-style aged spirit, Ochre, will be presented to the public at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival in March, 2015.
Symbolising the desire to explore uncharted territory, two famous Australian explorers, George Bass and Matthew Flinders serve as the inspiration behind Bass & Flinders distillery.
An artisanal distillery, Bass & Flinders produce grape spirit using a traditional Alembic Pot Still to create a range of world‐class distillations.
The distillery is unique in that it produces its own grape spirit used to produce a range of international award winning gins, Australia’s first grape based vodka and of course, the traditional aged spirit, Ochre. As well as being well known for its ever popular gin masterclass.
Bass & Flinders Distillery was founded in 2009 by Wayne Klintworth and Bob Laing. During that year they investigated the Mornington Peninsula and discovered many wineries but no distilleries. They saw this as an opportunity and created an artisanal distillery for the production of quality grape spirits.
Their discovery inspired them to set about creating a unique artisanal distillery, set apart from any other on the Mornington Peninsula. To achieve their goals Wayne and Bob enlisted the assistance of an internationally recognised master distiller to mentor them in the art of distillation. They have also forged contacts with artisanal distilleries in Cognac and Normandy, France.
Bass & Flinders Distillery uses the finest Chardonnay grapes from Victoria's Red Hill region, one of Australia's most thriving regions for cool climate Chardonnay grapes.
The grapes are harvested at the precise moment when the flavour spectrum for distillation is at its peak. They are then pressed immediately using traditional techniques and fermentation of the juice immediately follows using only the cleanest, purest grapes with no additives.
To achieve a world-class spirit, the distillation processes the distillery uses are identical to those used by the French Cognac producers who distill the spirit for major production houses. Distillation takes place in traditionally shaped copper stills, also known as “Alembic Charentais”. The Alambic Charentais is not something one can simply 'create'. Exact rules are set on how the alembic is supposed to look and operate based on age-old traditions.
As the liquid boils in the copper stills, the wine begins its transformation into eau-de-vie (French for "water of life") through a distillation process. The quality of Ochre spirit resides entirely on the quality of its eau-de-vie. The double distillation of wines converts into eau-de-vie and is thus a major part of the production process. This is the moment when the first aromas, characteristics and promises of taste sensations reveal themselves.