Nature, Food, Art – Unplugging the Tweed Valley Way


As a ‘unwind treat’ for (me and) my post HSC, arty eighteen year old daughter, I took us on a mid-week short break to the Tweed Valley. I’m sure daughter thought “Gourmet Adventure Package” meant good food but not much else to excite her. She was wrong.

Kym from Mt Warning Tours was waiting for us at the Gold Coast Airport. While acquainting us with the region and learning more about our interests, he delivered us to a tasty little cafe in Murwillumbah called Keith. Daughter enjoyed a substantial sausage roll and milk shake while I, a luscious salted caramel tart. I hear the Portuguese Tarts are to die for too.

To our surprise and delight we discovered Murwillumbah is the creative and cultural hub of the Tweed Valley. Upon learning that daughter was arty, Kym called Andy Reimainis, working artist at Caldera Wildscapes Art Gallery and Studio for an impromptu visit to the 20 meter Green Cauldron Panorama painting. While normally closed on a Tuesday, Andy was happy to indulge us and share his story.

A year in the making, incorporating the talents of about eight artists, this geographically accurate masterpiece is a highly detailed painting of the view from the summit of Wollumbin Mount Warning with some of the fauna and flora of the region. Andy invited us to add some tiny ‘y’ shaped tree trunks into the painting for posterity. We dutifully obliged.




In addition to Andy’s works, talented young artist in residence, Amanda Burns of Mandalee Arts offers an affordable range of cards and artworks in a variety of media for sale. They make the perfect souvenir or gift from the Tweed. I purchased a decaled-edged watercolour of a Rainbow Lorikeet for my grandson’s bedroom. All Amanda’s animals have great personality – to wit this sweet little joey amongst gum leaves.


Juju’s was our next stop for a delicious lunch. The chef  sources fresh local fruit, veg and produce. The service is quick and friendly, protein is perfectly cooked, all is simply presented and bursting with freshness. We enjoyed Duck Spring Rolls, Prawn Tempura and Stuffed Zucchini Flowers each with matched spicy salads.


We were then driven to our luxury hinterland Chalet accommodation in Uki for the night Karissa and Peter Ball reside here and run the six fairytale ecOasis Resort Chalets deep in the hinterland forest. We were welcomed like old friends and shown some of the other chalets which each have their own character. We were lucky to have the spa chalet, half way down the valley, aptly named ‘Spa.’

The views of Mount Warning and the sunsets are positively inspirational. You can literally hear your cortisol levels dropping. If you like your solitude and nature 360 degrees, but with every creature comfort – ecOasis will do just fine. Karissa does all the catering herself in her neat little kitchen. She had prepared a ‘snack’ of cheese, fruits and crackers for us on arrival. Around 5:30pm Peter delivered Karissa’s hearty slow cooked chicken and chickpea curry for dinner. Country folk sure love to feed people!







A glorious night’s sleep was had, waking to bird song and sunlight filtering through the trees. Daughter had dibs on the spa bedroom, so I contented myself with a high pressure hot shower over looking the bush and bird-life. Breakfast is plentiful self-cater supplies of bread, butter, spreads, bacon, eggs, baked beans, milk, juice and coffee beans ready to grind fresh. I needed to spend a week here to really blow the city cobwebs away.

After breakfast, we were picked up by Milton, a retired school principal. A very pleasant 40 minute drive and discussion ensued where we ‘set the world to rights.’ We were delivered to Tumbulgum and an outstanding morning tea at the 120 year old, fully restored House of Gabriel. The gift shop and gardens were the perfect place to while-away the time until our Tweed River and Rainforest Seafood BBQ Lunch Cruise was ready to depart.






The chef at The House of Gabriel is keen to show-off the wood fired oven in which he cooks the best pizzas in the region every Friday night between 5pm and 8pm. His latest toy is a Texan-style BBQ cooker. (I’ll be back to try his brisket.) House of Gabriel serves high teas and offers catering and functions. There are plans afoot for a rework of the garden area into an indoor/outdoor area to cater better for weddings and functions.










What really gives a more complete sense of the uniqueness of the Tweed River Valley and the Mount Warning Caldera geology and biome is the Tweed River and Rainforest Seafood BBQ Lunch Cruise.  Nicknamed, The Green Cauldron, it is the only land-bound natural erosion caldera in the southern hemisphere with Mount Warning the remnant plug of a once mighty shield volcano.

Michael Simmons, owner, skipper and guide for the 3 hour cruise offers a narration spanning: volcanology, geology, botany, sociology, anthropology, ornithology, river morphology, history, biology, ecology and biodiversity. His ability to identify bird and plant species at a distance is astounding. What Michael doesn’t know about the natural or man-made environment and history of the Tweed Valley isn’t worth knowing. Every Earth and Environmental Science high school student in Australia should do this tour!!!

Karissa from ecOasis catered for our grazing seafood BBQ on board and there was plenty of wine flowing for those who desired it, soft drink and complimentary bottled water. Every dish was wholesome, generous, well prepared and loaded with fresh local seafood. The four grazing dishes were perfectly timed within our 3 hour cruise.













On our return from the cruise we strolled across the road to The House of Gabriel where we were treated to Husk Plantation’s Ink Gin with Tonic Water. Ink Gin is distilled with 13 organic botanicals. A post distillation floral infusion with an exotic blue flower petal imparts its distinctive purple hue. As you add tonic water it turns a pale pink. Husk Distillers are known for their Paddock to Bottle philosophy and the resultant Pure Cane  and Spiced Bam Bam Agricole Rums. The Husk Distillery will be open for visitors in early 2019.

















After our libation, we were dropped for an hour or so at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah. The gallery is positioned for panoramic views of the Tweed River.


We enjoyed exploring the gallery’s six exhibition spaces and world class collection of portraits representing Australians from all walks of life. Daughter was particularly taken with the interactive multi-media drawing activity at the entrance to the Margaret Olley Art Centre, which she could retrieve when she got home (results below).








I I loved the recreation of areas of Olley’s famous home studio which features original architectural elements such as windows and doors, relocated from Olley’s home studio at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney. The interiors are filled with over 20,000 items Olley collected over many years as subject matter for her paintings.



The kitchen was an amazing time capsule of spices, herbs, ingredients, pots and utensils used over her life.




Just before they closed for the day, we treated ourselves to a little ‘snack’ at the Gallery cafe – rosewater meringue with vanilla bean cream, fresh strawberries and lavish coulis.






Enroute to the Gold Coast Airport Michael showed us the world’s second longest, legal graffiti street-art wall installation. The murals are located along the concrete flood mitigation wall on the western side of the Tweed River bank and run for about 2 kms. As you enter Murwillumbah over the bridge, the river-side of the 2 meter high levee flood wall features the street art of local and international street artists. The Treasures of the Tweed which celebrates the biodiversity of the caldera flanks the township side.


For me, nature, food and art are the perfect trilogy for relaxation and inspiration and the Tweed Valley has them in spades. Check out the upcoming events in the Tweed which can be found here.

Michael tells me there are 2 coffee plantations, 3 cheese makers, a Bay Bug Aquaculture Farm, a character who owns a finger lime farm, a number of other excellent restaurants and of course Tropical Fruit World, all in the Tweed and surrounds.

I am in the throes of planning a small group Culinary Tourism Study Tour to the Tweed in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2019. If you would like to find our more or join me and other passionate food culture groupies, send me an email or call me on 0415676238.

Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Craft Beer Tourism Marketing

I have never drunk beer, much less for pleasure.
A lifetime ago, I was ‘prescribed’ a daily
bottle of stout and peanuts by an ancient
baby health nurse in order to increase breast milk supply.
I’m not sure that counts as drinking for pleasure.

I had my first taste of craft beer at Fine Food Australia in September this year. What tempted me was Kansom’s Abalone Beer, the offspring of Kansom Australia Abalone’s partnership with Red Duck Micro Brewery in Ballarat. I didn’t know you could make beer from abalone, much less infuse it with magical ingredients like Samphire, Enoki Mushrooms or Black Truffles.

I was blown away by the ‘nose’ and the complexity. As my senses were awakened to this new experience, gastronomer mind raced with ideas of how to pair these elixirs with different foods. Then marketing mind began to think about the exponential growth in craft beers, craft breweries and craft beer tourism. Life-long learner mind decided to see what scholarly research existed on the whole craft beer thing. Joyfully, most of the papers I found were published in 2017.

Types of Craft Beer Tourism

A study involving UK, Italy and Spain found that these were the most commonly perceived forms of Craft Beer Tourism:

  • Craft beer trails/tours (several visits on the same day)
  • Craft beer/food pairings – craft beer in combination with food
  • Craft brewery visitation in combination with architecture, food, wine, heritage etc
  • Tastings, open craft brewery visits
  • Fairs, brewing days, food fairs and similar events

Italian and Spanish participants were more interested or aware than UK participants in craft beer and food pairings, tastings or visits to the craft beer factory but their main challenge was the lack of a local beer drinking culture. The UK and Australia have no such challenge. My observation is that Australia now just really starting to explore the pairing foodscape but much more can and should be done in this event space.

Profile of a Craft Brewery Visitor in the US’s More Mature Market

A paper on beer tourism in Central Kentucky found that the profile of a craft brewery visitor was: white male, approximately 33 years old, well-educated (40% 4 year degree) (35% graduate training to doctorate), mean income USD83,000, mean number of visits to a particular brewery 3.2, travelled long distances and almost half were staying overnight in the surrounding area.

A North Carolina study found that 38% of respondents were not local and of those 36.7% indicated the main purpose for their trip was the beer. Their profile was male, approx 38 years old, single or married, Bachelor or Master’s degree with income ranging from USD40,000-119,000, 60% staying overnight for an average of 3 nights, with most staying with friends/relatives or hotel/motel and visiting an average of 2 breweries, travelling with friends or spouse.

Experience Preferences of Craft Brewery Visitors

The Kentucky study found the top reasons for visiting a brewery are:

  • To taste new beers
  • To be with family and friends
  • To experience Kentucky beers
  • To buy beer

Males reported a stronger mean interest in tasting new beer, experiencing Kentucky beer and buying beer. Females reported a stronger mean interest for using breweries to be with friends and family, buy beer and get away for the day/weekend.

Motivational Factors for Visiting Craft Breweries

In the Kentucky study respondents reported they were motivated to learn something new and that breweries with a variety of beers, speciality or seasonal beers offered an authentic experience that expanded their palette. There was a strong desire to support local businesses and purchase local craft beer when possible, indicating the participation in a brewery tour is perceived as a true local experience.

The North Carolina study compared beer-focused with other brewery tourists and found the top five motivational factors were related to ‘the craft beer experience’, enjoyment, socialising and beer consumption:

  1. To taste new beer
  2. To experience North Carolina beer
  3. To increase my beer knowledge
  4. So I can be with my family
  5. To buy beer

The study suggests that beer-focused and other brewery tourists should be considered as separate target markets. ‘Other brewery tourists’ are more likely to stay overnight.

Brand Loyalty Factors

A 2015 study in North Carolina compared brand loyalty across two craft breweries found the factors that most influenced brand loyalty were firstly, ‘connection to the local community,’ secondly, ‘desire for unique consumer products’ and thirdly, ‘satisfaction.’

‘Connection to the local community’ or ‘neo-localism’ is the “deliberate seeking out of regional lore and local attachment by residents (new and old) as a delayed reaction to the destruction in [the] modern [world] of traditional bonds to community and family.” According to Murray and Kline, neo-localism is about reconnecting with place (by choice and not necessity) and cultivating a relationship with local identities while boosting local economies.

The ‘desire for unique consumer products’ speaks to our need for uniqueness and how we choose products which are rare and are perceived to help create a unique self and social image. We are drawn to products whose brand personality reflects our own perception of ourselves or how we would like to be perceived.

‘Satisfaction’ as a factor of brand loyalty speaks to consumers’ needs to maximise rewards and minimise costs (or risks) in switching brands. Most obvious of the factors, ‘satisfied’ customers are more likely to be loyal to a product.

Implications for Marketing

Young adults are likely to be active on social media, so creating and maintaining profiles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook should help to bring in more customers. Breweries should focus on providing a wider selection of seasonal or limited edition beers. Brewery tours should provide information on the beer making process, history of their establishment and expand on the ‘local’ theme such as where the ingredients and inspiration for the beer came from.

Messages to beer-focused tourists should emphasise and describe the experience, (tastes, history, knowledge), consumption/availability, while showing how enjoyment and socialisation needs can be met.

Craft breweries and brew pubs should focus on directly approaching beer-focused tourists through club memberships, events, repeat-visit incentives, product quality and value of the brewery experience to increase consumer knowledge and confidence.

Destination marketing organisation’s marketing to ‘other brewery tourists’ should emphasise the enjoyment and socialising aspects of beer tourism and how it adds to their overall vacation experience.

Tip of the Craft Beer-berg

These are just a smattering of the insights recent academic research reveals on the burgeoning craft beer tourism industry. Let me know if you are interested in scholarly research on craft beer tourism’s role on placemaking, (including rural destination development in Australia), the role of DMOs, collaborators and tourism support.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Riding the Poké Wave

There has been a 76% rise in delivered poké meals
for workers in the US since Jan 2017.

Poké restaurants are all the rage these days and offices across the United States and now offices are enjoying these bowls as,  since the start of 2017, ZeroCater has seen a 76 percent increase of poké meals delivered from poké meals delivered in 2016.

At the end of 2016, industry experts predicted poké would have a significant influence on the restaurant space in 2017 with menu additions and new concepts. One factor may be a focus on health in the workplace. Poké is full of flavor, low in calories and high in protein, with sushi-grade seafood boasting essential fatty acids, which are great for maintaining brain function, cardiovascular health and healthy cholesterol levels.

With clients’ increased interest in poké, ZeroCater brought on five new poké vendors to accommodate demand, including Pokéworks in the San Francisco Bay and New York regions.

“We strive to keep our offerings fresh and exciting so that our clients and their employees enjoy their food programs to the fullest,” said Arram Sabeti, CEO of ZeroCater. “As wellness becomes increasingly important in the workplace, especially among millennials, poké is a fresh, flavorful option loaded with veggies and omega-3s.”

Excerpt From: Modern Restaurant Magazine

How to Poké

Video Credit:

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Surviving Urban Renewal Disruption – Ideas for Food & Drink Venues

Tired town squares, neglected ‘fascades’, shabby ‘streetscapes’ and ageing infrastructure. Sound familiar? Many regional and urban centres are currently undergoing renewal and revitalisation in an effort to transform themselves into modern, liveable, visitor attractive destinations. Some cities are constructing light rail to move booming urban populations between home and work, work and play and home to play.

In many cases, this means lengthy construction disruption for the retailers on the high street who rely heavily on foot traffic for their livelihoods. I found myself in a similar situation some years ago. I had just given up full time employment to concentrate full time on an artisanal small business and to have my second child.

We had moved (by design) to a property on a busy arterial intersection. Just six months in and road-widening works began directly in front of the property, affecting visibility and traffic access of the business for 12 months. This was before the internet was mainstream in Australia. With no budget for marketing, I was forced to move outside my comfort zone to survive.

The silver lining to this cloud was that I uncovered every no-cost, low-cost method to market the business and diversified our offerings to include mail order products. These low cost marketing methods became the norm for us and ‘diversification’ products and services subsequently became a significant income stream for the business.

For food and drink venues, I now proffer…

The Four D’s of Urban Renewal Disruption Survival

Digital Marketing Savvy

If you aren’t all over social media by now, you should be. Learn to manage your Linkedin (Owners and Chefs), Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat accounts or get a professional agency to do it for you.

You should have created, be monitoring and managing your profile on TripAdvisor, Zomato, Yelp, Australian Good Food Guide ( and anywhere else diners rate or food bloggers review and rate dining establishments. If it’s all too much, get a professional agency to do it for you. Check them out here.

Once that’s under your belt, take a look at engaging a photographer certified by the Google Street View Trusted program specialising in 360° virtual tours which can be published on Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Search results, Google Earth and your other web and social media platforms such as Facebook. You can get this started for under AUD500. Check out and also Vloggi.


As your foot traffic diminishes, you may need to ‘tool-up’ for offering delivery of some of your more popular dishes. Do your homework on what others are doing, what works and who are the best delivery options in your area: Deliveroo, UberEats or foodora. You may be take the option to partner with online restaurant ordering companies such as menulog, deliveryhero or eatnow. If you are looking for a company that provides combines a dynamic sales force, an online ordering system and logistics in one platform, check out Menulogs founders lastest venture, FoodByUs, a B2B marketplace for Australian foodservice venues and local suppliers.

If you have the capacity and tech savvy in-house, you might start your own Meal Subscription Service. Read more about the UK’s MealPal model here.

If you are in a business or university city, corporate catering is another product you can offer. Start this process by showcasing your amazing board and meeting room offerings on Linkedin to the right geographical connections.


Masterclasses, workshops, pairing and food/drink appreciation events gain cooks, chefs and mixologists priceless marketing exposure. What ticketed masterclasses could cooks or chefs present at your destination to showcase their talents and become a culinary hero? Cold oil spherification? Gold leafing? Chocolate and Sugar Work dessert decorations and garnishes? Multi-cultural dishes? Best Bao Ever? Elegant meals from cheaper cuts of meat? Fermented foods? Preserves and Pickles? Classic Australian Slices? With the growing interest in Australian-made gins and craft beers, what food pairing event could you create to highlight your chef’s talents and your bar staff’s knowledge?

Don’t forget children. Kids cooking workshops and activities bring mum’s in the door for a meal or snack and a natter while their children are being edutained. Check out Death to Nuggets, Kids Cooking Classes and think about reviewing your kids menu.

A little black dress goes from day wear to night wear with the addition of a few clever accessories. Spacious in New York saw that restaurants which were closed during the day could be transformed into an affordable network of co-working spaces and makes them accessible for US$95 per month. Is it possible to partition off the back half of your dining space to be a co-working space during the day? More about how food venues and co-working spaces function here.

Toronto’s got Urban Food Tours nailed. See Savour Toronto. Can your venue become a regular on an urban food or drink tour or trail? If you are in Western Sydney, check out Taste Food Tours. What about creating a small audio walking self-guided food/drink tour using smart phone tech which you and a few other venues chip in together to build? Check out Detour.

Develop Additional Digs

You might consider signing up for a regular stall at your local or out of town Night or Farmers Market stalls. Do your signature street food dish or house specialities which fit the market’s niche to drive food or delivery customers to your venue or website.

Can you do the same street food and rent a fully equipped Food Truck to expose your offerings to a new type of customer? Social media is the marketing tool of choice for food trucks. This means if your venue is struggling to get leverage or exposure with millennials, food trucks are a pathway to ‘social mention by stealth.’ Read more here.

Does your council or can you lobby your council to sponsor a Pop-Up Disruption Diner? A Disruption Diner is made available to affected food/drink businesses on a rolling basis for one week each at a nominal rent. The diner is set up in a suitable foot traffic area that is not affected by construction. The council set up and manage the Disruption Diner Facebook, Instagram etc and promote the variety of food fare available during the course of construction at no charge. (One can only dream.)

Also in the ‘one can only dream’ file… can your council or an entrepreneurial developer make available a space as a temporary Food Hall for those food/drink businesses affected? See about Food Halls here.

Finally, you may just decide or need to move on. Start something completely new in a new space. It is possible. Check out this story about how a Funky Old Gas Station in Napa Valley Is Now a Mecca for Millennial Wine Drinkers to get your inspiration juices flowing.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Why Food Halls Are the Future

An Iteration of the Times and Trends

Food halls aren’t new, they are a 20th century iteration of ancient bazaar markets. I remember my uncle taking me to Fortnum and Mason’s Food Hall in London 30 years ago and standing gawk-eyed, salivating at the cheeses, handmade chocolates and charcuterie, (not much has changed there). Hawker centres are the South East Asian iteration, and cookie-cutter food courts in any mall in Australia are the ‘western consumption spaces’ iteration. The New Food Hall is an indoor market that offers effortless non-design (or sleek design) and mini restaurants hand-picked a by a food-culture insider, (culinary curator).

The New Food Hall’s birth is a product of a number of economic and culinary trends – a stagnant economy, a resurgence in ‘downtown’, urban renewal construction disrupting high street retailers, rising wages and rents, urban densification, the need for employment and affordable small business models for migrants and refugees, start-up and running costs of a food truck, consumer demand for healthy fast-casual food, millennials’ deep pockets and the relentless search for new food experiences.

The Birth of Food Halls in Australia?

While there are logistical headaches for councils to overcome, small business owners and developers in other countries have embraced the lower risk of these shared spaces. Customers queue to buy $10 lunches from local celebrity chefs. Cabravale Diggers club’s 600 seat, journey down the Mekong River, District 8 Dining and Food Hall perhaps demonstrates the beginning of this food revolution in Australia.

In March 2016, Americans spent more money dining out than they did purchasing groceries…The trend has repeated itself every month since.

Food Halls of America

Cushman & Wakefield are the world leaders in Food Hall development. Their 70 page Food Halls of America Report was released in 2016 and provides an account of the research and impetus for the trend plus case studies of their 35 Food Hall projects across America.

More Reading on the US Food Hall Renaissance

Artisanal Tacos on Paper Plates Why America fell for the food hall.

Tons of American Cities are Opening New Food Halls This Year

17 must-visit American food halls and markets

America’s Next Great Public Markets and Food Halls

The trend has only really just begun… projects that are wide in their site selection process… that build resonance with consumers based on the values of authenticity, quality and community will be the ones that experience the greatest success.

Characteristics of the Food Court Vs Food Hall – My Take

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

‘Taste of Place’ Place Making – Destination Marketing & Development

‘Place making’ is a concept that economic and destination development practitioners are well aware of. Done well, it contributes to the vibrancy, branding and attractiveness of a location for visitors and is an expression of social cohesion in the community. There is now both an economic and social imperative to provide an ‘experience’ around ‘place.’ Destinations that effectively use their food and drink to differentiate themselves from other locations are said to provide a ‘taste of place.’

For destinations that perhaps do not have the financial means for dramatic urban renewal projects or development in their pursuit of visitors or tourists, ‘taste of place’ activities are cost effective tactics to market their distinctiveness and create deeper connections with visitors.

Mature tourism destinations who have successfully leveraged their unique food and drink offerings should be asking, “What and where to next?” Innovation in Taste of place activities develop and extend their gastronomic assets and enhance their gastronomic capital.

Taste of place can play a role in repositioning long-held (perhaps unfavourable or unremarkable) perceptions of your destination’s food in people’s minds. Leveraging these strategies creatively will provide new and constantly changing taste of place activities to capture the hearts, minds and stomachs of visitors, to ensure you are on their ‘revisit list’.

Begin at the Beginning


Start by looking at the latest demographic profile of your region which is available at This site allows you to research your community’s demographic profile by suburb and council area on many different levels. This will help you build a picture of how the community you serve and the visitors and types have changed over the time. The latest 2016 Census data can be a revelation for some.

Many local council websites have information or resources on the demographics, history, heritage, tourist attractions, business mix and community events, activities and classes for various age/interest groups. By discovering what services your council offers and links to, you can get some insight into what the community has deemed important.

Historic Resources

Most local councils have libraries with a wealth of local historic resources. They have a variety of activities and events which relate to the demographics and needs of the area and usually have historical collections for Local Studies, Family History. Some have Oral Histories recordings which may shed light on historical agriculture and significant dishes that were cooked in the past. They may have copies of locally produced cookbooks from the area which will give some insight into historic foods and favourite dishes of the area.

Your region’s historical society may undertake research on your behalf for free or for a modest fee. You might like to research historic agriculture, cookbooks, recipes or infamous or famous characters and photos from your region to build a story around a dish or food specialty.

The historical society or local RSL club may have printed or electronic historical recipes, menus or photos of dishes, tables or special gustatory events. These pieces of ephemera will shine a light on what your community have enjoyed in the past and may provide inspiration for current chefs to reinvent these dishes for their modern clientele. These dishes come complete with your own taste of place back story.

Hidden Databases You Can Survey

Your local tourist information office, destination marketing organisation (DMO) may have a database of members from online newsletter sign ups. Facebook or Twitter followers provide you with lists which you can survey for information about your food and beverage offerings. Online surveys are easy to design in Survey Monkey’s free software and links to the survey can be inserted into your Twitter page, Facebook Page, online newsletter or printed and posted to your older residents. Better still, interview and visually record your oldest patron’s memories of their earliest food memories and experiences.

Food and Drink Narratives

The power of crafting an engaging narrative around your food and drink was driven home to me recently when I volunteered at the joint Feather & Bone/Slow Food Sydney stall at historic Rouse House’s Autumn Harvest Festival.

Artisanal Butchers, Feather and Bone were selling Ark of Taste Bull Boar Sausages on Sourdough with chutney. The narrative went something like this:

“Good morning, madam. Are you contemplating our Bull Boar Sausages? (Big smile) These are no ordinary sausage. They are a unique recipe in danger of extinction which was created by the Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants in the Victorian goldfields around 1850. They contain organic beef and pork marinated for three days in garlic infused red wine with added Christmas spices providing a fulsome flavoured sausage. We are serving today on artisanal sourdough with a bold, spiced, apple chutney for $5.00. So this is an historic sausage.”

We sold a lot of Bull Boar Sausages with this narrative. What narratives can you craft around your food and drink from local and regional agriculture, geography, history, characters and food culture?

Celebrate Your Celebrities

This taste of place technique is about building a narrative around your community’s cooks (domestic and otherwise), chefs and mixologists. (Don’t forget the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s that cook!) What are their cultural stories? What foods and food related issues do they care about? What do they make from scratch or do that is unique? Can they share their recipes or highlight their favourite local growers or producers? Can you encourage a talented local photographer to photograph your chef for a Shoot the Chef photographic competition?

Elevating your community cooks, chefs and mixologists to celebrity status, starting even starting within the walls of a venue or town, can pay off in many ways – not the least of which is your local press and social media exposure.

Carème (1783 -1833) the inventor of French cuisine, named his dishes by ingredients and basic preparation method e.g. shrimp bisque. The variations where named using honorific individual achievement, geographical or historical names. Shrimp bisque for example comes à la française, à la Cornieille, à l’amiral de Rigny. à la princess, au chasseur, à la regence and à la royale.

Branded Cuisine

Jamie’s Italian Trattoria in Parramatta is modern example of branded cuisine. His dishes are his take on his favourite Italian dishes. In his menu, he honours his mentor Gennaro Contaldo and he gives a contemporary nod to his British heritage by using unmistakeably English expressions such as “the full monty.”

Adriano Zumbo signs/brands his dessert creations with a small ‘az’ disk. What dishes could you design and brand after the local geography or history, honorifically after the chef, club’s founders, local food heroes, known characters from the club’s history or present day?

Masterclasses, Workshops and Appreciation Events

Masterclasses, pairing, and food and drink appreciation events gain cooks, chefs and mixologists priceless marketing exposure. With the growing interest in Australian-made gins, what food pairing event could you create to highlight your chef’s talents and your mixologists gin knowledge? What ticketed masterclasses could cooks or chefs present at your destination to showcase their talents and become a culinary hero. Cold oil spherification? Gold leafing? Chocolate and Sugar Work decorations and garnishes? Multi-cultural desserts? Elegant meals from cheaper cuts of meat? Fermented foods? Pumpkin & Lemon Scones? Preserves and Pickles? Slices?

Ride the Trends

Carème’s genius, his “invention” of French Cuisine lay in the way he capitalised on and magnified trends – well in evidence. It is not ‘selling out’ or ‘taking the easy road’ to hitch your star to a food or drink trend. In fact, it is good business sense and contributes to taste of place when cooks and chefs put their unique twist on the trend. Leverage this concept for a ticketed food event around a classic film like Babette’s Feast or new foodie film.

What’s your destination’s twist on Babette’s Rum Baba with Figs?

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Discoveries at Fine Food Australia Exhibition 2017 – Darling Harbour ICC

 Pumpkin Seeds and Oil – The Pumpkin House

The Pumpkin House in Queensland creates products and oils that celebrate the nutrition and qualities of the humble Styrian pumpkin seed (pepitas). Slovenian pumpkin seed oil has an intense nutty taste, intense deep green colour and an extra-ordinary silky mouth-feel. It can be used in savoury and sweet dishes for flavour, colour and finishing purposes. Styrian pumpkin seed oil has been around for 200 years. If you love to use walnut oil, hazelnut oil or seasame oil in your cooking then pumpkin seed oil might just be your new favourite. Check out Pumpkin Seed Oil and Ice cream here and Pumpkin Seed Oil spread recipe here. Wholesale enquiries here. Find out more at The Pumpkin House. Veronika and Aleksander tell me the chocolate covered pumpkins seeds will be available soon – a marriage made in heaven.

Charcoal Crispbread, Grissini and Ice Cream

I know charcoal flavoured products have been around for a while, but I still love the wow factor and contrast they provide. The Byron Bay Cookie Company is producing Falwasser Activated Charcoal Wafer Crispbread and as you can imagine they provide a stunning contrast on any cheese board.

Valbuzzi are making a great variety of grissini and mini grissini including a Rye and Charcoal version. The taste is unique and the colours are a joy to work with on cheese, antipasto and charcuterie platters.

Black Hawaii Carbon Black Ice Cream owes its heavenly taste and texture to vegetable carbon, coconut water and raw cocoa beans. It is gluten and lactose free a creamy texture and quite a showstopper. Formulation suitable for gelato and soft serve. I’m struggling to describe the flavour – ‘just heaven’ will do.

Maple Pearls

Canadian Liquid Gold Maple Pearls. These pearls are sweet little spheres of pure Maple Sugar. They provide new texture. as a maple “crumble” to top muffins or breads, sprinkle over icing on cookies. You can mix them into a batter for bursts of maple in baked goods or add to your morning coffee for a maple flavour. An elegant jar makes them a great gift too.

Sugar Cane Fibre Designer Ecoware

Epicure Trading are speclialists in designer eco-friendly single-use disposable tableware. The stylish Wasara eco-range caught my eye with their fabulous organic shapes and clever bamboo cutlery that conveniently slides onto the edges of plates or bowls.

Japanese designed, these are water and oil resistant, sturdy and durable, do not sweat when hot liquids are added, made from sugar cane waste, bamboo and reeds, biodegradable and compostable.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Watermelon, Breakfast Beer & Avo Ale – Highlights US Beverage Report Q3

Watermelon a Trend

Watermelon is gaining popularity around the world as a flavor for food and beverages. Watermelon is fresh-tasting, refreshing, and loved by all ages. Beverage categories which have recent launches with watermelon-flavor are juice-based drinks, sparkling beverages, shandies, cocktails, mocktails, malt-flavored beverages, energy drinks, and protein drinks. Watermelon is also trending for craft alcoholic beverages including a watermelon mule, watermelon Margaritas, watermelon sangria, watermelon mojito, and even watermelon beer. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 14, 2017)

Implications of the Sugary Drink Tax Tested in Philadelphia

A study examined the purchases of sweetened beverages in the Philadelphia market after the city instituted a new tax on January 1. The research compared sales of various beverages both inside and outside the city limits from January-May in both 2016 and 2017. The overall findings are that the Philadelphia sugar tax has significantly affected beverage sales within the city limits and increased sales at stores outside the city as people travel to the suburbs to purchase their sweet drinks. Specifically, sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 55% inside the city and rose 38% outside. Dollar volume of energy drinks declined 44% in the city core while ready-to-drink coffees and teas were down 37% and refrigerated juice drinks were down 47%. (Source: Beverage Industry, August 22, 201

BudLight and Pepsi Proactively Promoting with Snapchat

BudLight and Pepsi are both promoting their beverages via Snapchat as part of the National Football League season. Pepsi is adding a Snapcode on specially-marked beverage and food packaging. When the code is snapped, consumers will be randomly assigned an NFL Team. If that team wins a game that week, the participant will receive rewards. Everyone will be entered into weekly drawings for prizes. Bud Light is selling custom cans and bottles for 28 NFL teams. When customers take a photo of the packaging, they are entered into a sweepstakes for Super Bowl tickets and unlock team-specific Snapchat filters and a Bud Bowl Snapchat game. (Source: MarketingDive, August 18, 2017)

Breakfast Beer

Brewers are introducing morning-friendly beers to appeal to diners at breakfast and brunch who may be looking for something different or want a lower-alcohol drink earlier in the day. Approximately 60% of adults like to drink an alcoholic beverage at weekend brunch and 21% drink beer during the dining occasion. Beer at brunch encourages people to consider beer at other times of the day and facilitates new food pairings. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2017)

Heirloom Cider Apple Varieties

Heineken’s Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders brand introduced Strongbow Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties which are cold-pressed and blended together. A massive consumer sampling of four-pack mini-cans with a suggested retail price of $1 will begin in September to drive awareness and trial. The launch will also be supported with a national television advertising campaign, in-store merchandising, digital marketing, and public relations efforts. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 11, 2017)

Avocado Ale

Angel City Brewery will host its fifth annual Avocado Festival, a two-day event featuring all things avocado including the brewer’s Avocado Ale. Avocado Ale is a creamy Kölsch-style beer brewed only once a year for the festival. The beer is made with avocado, honey, cilantro, and lime juice and has a very short shelf-life. (Source: Brewbound, July 19, 2017)

Storytelling in Beer Promotion

New Belgium Brewing has launched a new video series. Greater Lengths focuses on the people that go the extra mile with the goal of showing every journey has a great story. The first videos in the series feature the Boise Bicycle Project as well as stories of some New Belgium’s employee-owners. Additional videos will be added to their YouTube channel throughout the year. (Source: Brewbound, July 20, 2017)

Budweiser commissioned an eight-minute film directed by Tony Fulgham which profiles three Bud drinkers who live in the Pacific Northwest. (Source: Adweek, August 1, 2017)

US Craft Brewery Growth Slows

A new report from the Brewers Association discloses that production growth for U.S. craft breweries was 5% for the first half of 2017, the slowest rate recorded in 13 years. The last time production for small and independent breweries – defined as less than 25% owned by a noncraft beer company and producing less than six million barrels annually – was 2004 when 1,400 craft beer companies brewed 5.8 million barrels of beer. In 2016, more than 5,200 companies produced more than 24.5 million barrels. If the growth rate holds for the year, 25.8 million barrels of beer is expected. (Source: Brewbound, August 1, 2017)

Online Alcohol Delivery 58% Macro Brands, Craft Beer preferred by 30 year olds

Online alcohol marketplace Drizly reports millennial consumers who have used its app which arranges delivery of alcoholic beverages have steadily been shifting their dollars towards beers brewed by large breweries (aka “macro” brands) and their corporate-owned craft brands. Macro brands represented 58% of beer sales on Drizly during the second quarter of 2017, despite the fact that 90% of the beers offered through the app are craft brews. Craft beers are preferred by Drizly customers in their 30s. (Source: Brewbound, August 24, 2017)

Bottled Water Top Selling Beverage Based on Volume

Bottled water is now the top selling beverage in the U.S. based on volume. Bottled water’s sales increased 8.5% in 2016. The category’s share of stomach has increased from 15.2% in 2011 to 20.5% in 2016. The number one reason for the category’s success is consumers’ focus on health and wellness. Dollar sales of bottled water increased 6.4% to nearly $16.5 billion. While still water posted 6.2% sales growth to $11.7 billion in retail stores, sparkling water surged 16% to $2.3 billion. Premium and ultra-premium waters are also driving sales. Top still bottled water brands are Dasani (9.6% market share), Aquafina (9.5%), and Nestlé Pure Life (8.1%). The leading sparkling water brands are Sparkling Ice (16.6%), La Croix (12.4%), and Perrier (10.6%). The category is forecast to hit $23.8 billion in sales by 2021, a 44% increase. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Coca-Cola using AI and Geofencing to Target Type of Shopper

Coca-Cola is using machine learning to figure out consumers based on any available information. A recent digital signage pilot with Albertsons Supermarkets served up ads based on data gathered from nearby cell phones. On-premise beacons measured how quickly shoppers were walking to determine what kind of shopping trip – fill-up or fill-in – and then marketing to that type of trip. (Source: VentureBeat, July 5, 2017)

Carbonated Soft Drinks in Decline for 12th Consecutive Year

Carbonated soft drinks continued to struggle in 2016 with volume declining for the 12th consecutive year. The decline is expected to continue with a 1.4% compounded annual rate through 2020. Carbonated soft drinks accounted for 19.8% of share of stomach in 2016, down from 22.7% in 2011. Dollar sales of carbonated beverages sold in stores declined slightly (0.1%) last year to $27.6 billion. Ginger ale went against trend with a 9% sales increase last year due to consumers opting for the functional and digestive health benefits of ginger. Natural soft drinks also recorded a 16% growth rate, though they account for less than 1% of the market. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Real Brewed Tea Drinks Market Steady Growth

Sales of ready-to-drink tea experienced mid-single digit growth thanks to its reputation as a better-for-you drink. Real-brewed tea which uses tea leaves as opposed to extracts or concentrates is a trend in the RTD tea category. Loose-leaf tea sales are also on the rise as consumers become more sophisticated in their tea consumption. Canned and bottled teas had sales of $3.6 billion in the 52 weeks ended May 14, a 3.4% increase. Top brands in the segment were AriZona ($645.7 million in sales, -3.6% change in sales) and Lipton Pure Leaf ($615.2 million, +6.4%). The loose-leaf and bagged tea category had total sales of $1.2 billion, a 1.4% increase year-over-year. Lipton ($243 million, -4.4%) and Bigelow ($156 million, +0.2%) were the best-selling loose-leaf and bagged tea brands. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Global Alcohol Consumption Declines – Spirits Market Grows

Last year, consumption of alcohol declined 1.4% worldwide mainly due to sagging sales of beer and wine. Spirits grew 2.6% in the U.S. last year, more than twice the rate of wine. (Source: Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2017)

Distilled spirits recorded growth for the seventh consecutive year with supplier sales up 4.5%, volume up 2.4%, and retail sales hitting $78 billion in 2016. High-end and super-premium Irish whiskeys have driven most of the category growth in the past 15 years. Other segments with strong volume increases last year include cognac (+12.9%), tequila (+7.1%), whiskey (+6.8%), and vodka (+2.4%). Dark spirits have benefited from flavor innovation with fruit, spice, sweetened vanilla, and dessert flavors top choices of younger drinkers which are core drinkers of the sub-segment. The top distilled spirit brands based on chain retail sales for the 52 weeks ending May 14 were: In dollar sales % change Smirnoff Vodka $323,252,924 +0.4% Jack Daniels American Whiskey $307,471,860 +4.6% Crown Royal Canadian $269,535,344 +7.9% Captain Morgan Rum $232,071,429 +1.7% Fireball Canadian $192,168,417 +15.2% (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Overall Juice Category Declines Due to Sugar Concerns

While the overall juice category has been declining due to consumer concern about sugar, premium juice segments such as raw unpasteurized juices, cold-pressed juices, and juice smoothies have performed well. Super premium juices registered an 11% increase in wholesale dollar sales to $2.2 billion. The superpremium segment is forecast to grow to $3.2 billion by 2020. Natural and organic juices were up 7% and 23% respectively while GMO-free shelf-stable juices increased 30% year-over-year. Juice concentrates experienced sales increases of 4.5% while bottled juices were up 1.1%. Aseptic juices declined 0.7%, canned juices were down 1.6%, and refrigerated juices fell 1.5%. New nutrition labels which separate naturally occurring sugar from added sugar is expected to benefit the category. Today, only 12% of sales are attributed to a product claiming “No Added Sugars.” (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Trend to Plant Based Waters and Milks

The trend toward healthy hydration has spawned a spate of plant-based waters which offer functional and nutritional benefits. Plant-based waters grew 20% by volume and 17% by dollar sales in 2016 topping $493 million in sales. The U.S. has become a major market for coconut water, the top performer in the category. A wide-range of plant-based drinks are entering the market including maple, birch, watermelon, and cactus. Some brands are experimenting with flavors though original/unflavored options tend to be bestsellers. The category is expected to grow to nearly $900 million by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. Approximately $100 million of the market will be plant-based waters other than coconut. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2017)

Since 2011, U.S. milk sales have fallen 11% by volume. The decline is partially due to a pivot away from cold breakfast cereals and partially attributed to the rise in plant-based milk alternatives. In response, dairies are testing new products including milk combined with puréed fruit, ultra-filtered milk, and milkshakes with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2017)

Full Report Here:

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer, Food & Beverage Trendspotter & Futurist, championing the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Food Trucks & Destination Development

While the US Food Truck culture is way more mature than in Australia, this infographic highlights and implies some perhaps lesser known benefits of encouraging food truck businesses to begin life in your city or destination.

Hungry Millennials

Millennials represent almost 50% of food truck patrons. If you are in a university city or a have a growing millennial population, this is the perfect vehicle by which to satisfy their desire for variety, health, innovation, gourmet, fast, value-for-money food and keep them from going out of town to scratch that itch.

Food Trucks Survive and Thrive by Social Media

Social media is the marketing tool of choice for food trucks. This means if your city or destination struggles to get leverage or exposure in this space or with millennials, hosting and making food truck vendors welcome, is a pathway to ‘social mention by stealth.’

Intense Competition Drives Innovation

The food truck market is highly competitive. This means they seek and utilise less common cuts of meat and more sustainable fish varieties in their efforts to keep costs down. Food truck owners build relationships with suppliers and growers in their eternal search for fresh and cost effective seasonal fare. They source and create unique condiments and spices, especially valuable if those condiments and spices are sourced from the multicultural import businesses in your city.

Vibrant Cities with Activation and Engagement

Food Trucks help to add buzz, colour and vibrancy to the look and feel of your destination especially if your city infrastructure is looking a little shabby. 55% of Food Truck income is from street site or corners. If you are going through a period of major construction – industrial and construction work sites represent 15% of Food Truck income in the US.

Good for Children

They produce mindful, innovative and fun options for children and generally offer foods which are less processed. Children will eat something green if it is from a food truck.

Make it Easy

Make it easy for them to begin life in your city. They will source their produce and supplies close to home and even if they range far and wide, the income they earn comes back to benefit your community.

Viktoria Darabi is a Food Culture Tourism Whisperer and champion for the power of food culture activities to celebrate multi-culturalism, promote social cohesion, engender a sense of community pride and to transform or construct ‘place’ to define a destination’s identity and distinctiveness.

Crocodile Pate Anyone? Eating Our History – Back to the Future

Sharing forgotten tastes, lost techniques, rediscovering and reinventing some of Australia’s culinary treasures is a great way to share our food culture with new settlers and tourists alike.

Many bemoan the fact we do not have a pure Australian cuisine to share with the world. The fact is there are very few ‘pure’ cuisines. They are the result of geography, climate, politics, economics, industry and transport, blended with the influence of traders, invaders, migrants and travellers over the centuries. The variety, freshness and invention in our fused cuisine is a most powerful tourism selling proposition, borne out by the success of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign.

Jacqui Newling is an alumna of the Master of Gastronomic Tourism (Le Cordon Bleu and Southern Cross University). Her research and passion resulted in her becoming resident gastronomer for Sydney Living Museums and a much loved author and speaker on Australia’s historic gastronomy.

Here I have shared a few interesting and perhaps lesser known tidbits from her 2015 book, ‘Eat Your History: Stories and Recipes from Australian Kitchens’. As I read her book, it was apparent how much of a renaissance we are experiencing with our traditions – especially with open flame cooking, foraging, game, preserves, artisanal breads and dampers, charcuterie and the use of native ingredients.


As an island nation, seafood has never gone out of fashion and is still key to our culinary identity. While the indigenous aboriginals enjoyed fish roasted over an open flame, the settlers preferred it boiled. Anglo-Indian Kedgeree, Seafood Chowder, Oyster Loaves and Eel baked or prepared ‘roll mop’ style where enjoyed, while fish and chips first appeared in cities around the 1890’s.


Foraging for native fruits and greens became essential when scurvy hit the new settlers. They discovered wild celery, warrigal greens, wild sorrel, brush cherries (lilli pilli) and wild hibiscus (rosella). Rosella and Lilli Pilli make for excellent jams. Native sarsaparilla leaf was used for tea making until 1792 when regular imports of Chinese tea began.


Kangaroo and wallaby tails were considered superior to oxtail and used for rich soups, stews and in the 19th century for Anglo-Indian curries. Kangaroo Steamer and Jugged Wallaby were the equivalent of the English Jugged Hare. Some steamer recipes were more like ragout, casserole or savoury mince but kangaroo was always mixed with pork to add some fat to the lean kangaroo meat.

Game Fowl

Emu was highly valued by the First Fleet, but wild duck, quail, brush turkey and wonga pigeons were more common table birds. Brush turkey and wonga pigeons are protected species today. Early 20th century cookbooks describe stuffing birds with “breadcrumbs seasoned with lemon zest and herbs, rolling in flour, laying them in pie dish on a bed of bacon and filling any gaps with hard-boiled egg and stock, before covering in pastry and baking in a slow oven.”


When James Ruse, our first farmer, announced himself ‘off the stores’ (not using government rations), he was granted 30 acres by the governor who named it ‘Experiment Farm.’ Ruse proved that small settler farms were viable and went on to grow a plethora of fruit and vegetables including the New World tomato. By the end of the 19th century tomato chutneys were enjoyed used with meat, cheese, a ploughman’s lunch or kangaroo burger. A Baked Carrot Pudding recipe from Beeton’s 1863 cookbook was served cold, a light alternative to fruitcake.

Fruit & Preserves

Early 19th century diners enjoyed bananas, custard apples, figs, guavas, loquats, melons, peaches and apples. So plentiful were peaches that not only were they made into cider, but pigs were fattened on the dropped and fermented fruits in the orchard. A Peachy Pork recipe from 1904 celebrates this delicious marriage. Seasonal fruits and vegetables were preserved using Fowler’s Vacola kits. Old recipes for summer barley waters from oranges and lemons and vinegar cordials from raspberries might even provide inspiration for the experimental mixologists of today.


Wheat was difficult to grow in Sydney soil and there was inadequate milling equipment to grind it so even at the governor’s table the invitations were always inscribed with “bring your own bread.” The Hawkesbury had more success growing wheat and the first windmills came to Sydney in 1797. White flour was graded finest, while the heavier coarser grinds with some wholemeal retained was graded lowest. Coal cooked dampers appeared in the 1820’s while in the cities bread was free form baked until 1830 when baking tins came on the market. Bread Sauces and ‘Charlottes’ were popular and bread rolls were hollowed out and used instead of pastry and filled with oysters or mushrooms. Christmas pudding recipes sometimes contained bread crumbs rather than flour.


Beef was spiced, salted, or corned and whole beasts were spit roasted for celebrations served with gin and strong beer. Raised pies were made with stout, suet pastry and filled with beef, mutton, goat or rabbit. Goats were primarily used for milking. Large cuts of mutton were boiled up to the 1930’s and served with rich milk based parsley or buttery caper sauces. Meat was presented as a soufflé or quenelles by steaming and boiling fine textured meatloaf or meatballs and serving with a béchamel style sauce.

Pork was dry cured with salt, pickled in brine or smoked. Trimmings and left overs were cooked up with the heads to make brawn. Nothing was wasted. Pickled or cured beef tongue was popular and sheep heads were braised, sautéed, boiled or made into soups. Brains, sweetbreads, kidneys, livers and trotters were all valued. Reserved for the finest society tables, jellies were made using boiled calves feet and took hours to produce until commercial gelatine became available in the 1840s.


Eggs were enjoyed as we do today, soft and hard boiled, poached, scrambled, scotched and made into sweet and savoury omelettes. Custards and fruit curds were enriched with egg yolks and whites used for meringues and snows. Before the rotary beater, whisking egg whites to stiff peaks took up to an hour of beating with a switch of cleaned twigs bound together. There were many eggless alternative recipes created during the Great Depression and wartime rationing.


Milk prepared in domestic dairies was processed to provide, cream, butter, buttermilk and cheese. Ice cream churns of the 1840s were developed along similar principles to the electric models of today, but relied on the availability of ice and coarse salt. Cream was used in syllabubs and rarebit, simple cheeses used in Regency cheesecakes and fondues that were really soufflés. While the French use lard or duck fat for confit or rillettes as a method to preserve meats, early settlers ‘potted‘ cheeses, cold cooked meats, shellfish, anchovies or mushrooms with assorted herbs and spices pouring clarified butter over to fill the gaps and prevent spoilage. These same fillings pounded with fresh cold butter were used to make a poor man’s pâté.

Native Foods

Native foods were eaten at formal banquets, evidenced in menus of the 19th century. They fell out of fashion in the early 20th century being associated with poverty and uncouth ‘bushies’. In the 1980’s there was a resurgence of interest in native foods among a small group of providores and restauranteurs. Again we are experiencing a resurgence in foraging and native foods with lemon myrtle, bush tomatoes, quandong (desert peach) and finger limes available from specialist providores.

Jock Zonfrillo’s foundation launches new Native Food Partnership