In celebration of Australia Day on January 26, I was invited to an event last week called Restaurant Australia. It’s put on by Tourism Australia and Wine Australia to promote Australia as a food & drink travel destination.
The event started with welcome speeches from Tourism Australia, Wine Australia and Chef John Placko.
Of course, there was plenty of food and wine to go around. The menu, created by Australian-born Chef John Placko, featured unique ingredients found in various regions in Australia.
Here is what I tried:
New South Wales: Sous vide prawns, caramelized onion sponge, toasted macadamia crumbs, dill fluid gel
Queensland/The Great Barrier Reef: Buderim ginger & lime spiked barramundi, wilted greens and Australian olive oil
Victoria: White Stripe Lamb seasoned with forest berry and Murray River salt flakes, minted cucumbers and beetroot meringue
South Australia: The most anticipated dish for me was the Kangaroo & pepperberry slider with native quandong peach relish. I never had kangaroo meat before; despite they are all very cute, I have to give it a try. I thought it would taste like beef, but it reminded me more of lamb than beef, a bit gamey but not overly so. Later on Twitter I was told that Windsor Meats on Hastings carries it.
Western Australia/Northern Territory, Tasmania: Liquid nitrogen made wattle seed ice cream, Anzac cookie crumbs and Australian honey foam
We also got to sample a number of wines from Australia. Shiraz is definitely something Australia is famous for. I thought the Chapoutier Domaine Tournon Mathilda Shiraz and Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache were both easy drinking red, and would go well with red meat such as lamb and beef.
To me, the most memorable one was this Yalumba Y Series Viognier from South Australia. It has a very prominent papaya flavour which I thought it’s quite unique for viognier. It paired very well with the barramundi dish.
We are definitely spoiled with the abundance of quality, fresh ingredients found on the west coast and across the country, so Vancouver has always been regarded as a culinary destination. It’s interesting to see that Australia is using a similar angle to attract visitors. I’m intrigued, so hopefully one day I can go visit Australia and try out its food & wine, as well as the natural beauty that this country has to offer. Happy Australia Day!