A short break travel story to the lovely Rutherglen wine region in Victoria, Australia, for Holidays for Couples.
Have you ever done a butter tasting?
A what? I hear you ask? It's a tasting of different butters, including butter products like creme fraiche and buttermilk, to compare their flavours. There was also bread to eat the butter with; we didn't just have spoons of butter.
I did one last July at the King Valley Dairy, formerly the Myrtleford Butter Factory, in Victoria, Australia.
One of the best things about being a food writer is that, sometimes, you get to eat the fruit of your labours. (Quite literally the time I wrote this story about a Bolivian fruit called the achacha). Other times, it's less literal but just as tasty.
This article for Appetite for Excellence in Australia, is about a cheese factory called Boosey Creek. It's a tiny place where everything is done by hand. And they produce some of the freshest cheese in the country. This is because they also own a dairy farm and the milk from their grass-fed cows travels a single metre to the dairy. Yep, ONE METRE...
This time I was headed to the lesser known region of Langhorne Creek, about an hour outside of Adelaide in South Australia. This tiny region is one of the country's biggest wine producers but most Australians have never heard of it...
Our obsession with cooking, restaurants, take away, fast food, gourmet living, celebrity chefs, cookbooks, disposal incomes, bigger houses, more sophisticated electronics... all combine to make us want more, have more and eat more. Preferably cooked by someone else and served up to us in the comfort of our over-sized lounge chair.
These days, overweight adults have ballooned into obese adults and we've passed our over-eating habits onto our kids. Which is much, much worse. My article for Essential Kids on tackling child obesity in schools...
In the cold and exceptionally beautiful north-western Tasmania, right up the top within sight of the ocean, there is a locally famous farm called Mount Gnomon. There, two young farmers, Guy and Eliza, raise rare heritage pigs.
I visited this farm with its deep red mud and cold ocean winds in the heart of winter. Yes, it was cold. It was also a fantastic place to see. You can read why in my story for Appetite for Excellence...
For a Pinotfile like me, visiting the Tamar Valley, and Tasmania in general is a real treat. Tasmania arguably makes Australia's best Pinot Noirs and sparkling wines.
So, it's hard to go to Tassie and not trip over great Pinots at every turn. And great Pinot winemakers too, as was the case at Stoney Rise winery...
I have long wanted to write a story about the remarkable achievements of an Australian woman we met in Vietnam. Her name is Robyn Morley and she has saved and changed the lives of hundreds of disabled children and their families in Vietnam.
One thing about living in a developing country is that there are endless people in need, a million ways to help, and incredible people who dedicate their lives to do just that. People like Robyn, who came to Vietnam on a holiday that changed her whole life...
I hate to play favourites but I just loved Cloudy Bay Homestead's free-range lamb farm on the beautiful Bruny Island in Tasmania.
Maybe it was the serenity and natural beauty - big, empty horizons and green fields fringed by blue sea. Maybe it was that the sheep were so damn cute and fluffy. Or maybe it was because it was my birthday and I was just feeling good.
Cameron's Oysters is one of the biggest and most established family-owned oyster farms in Australia, though most Australian have probably never heard of them. That's because their real business is in their hatchery, from which half of all Australian baby oysters (spats) come.
That's a lot of oysters.
Here's my story on visiting one of the most beautiful oyster farms in the world, in the lovely Tasmania.
Seal and salmon spotting at Huon Aquaculture one cold morning in Tasmania. Afterwards we ate the salmon. But not the seals. Nor did the seals eat the salmon.
Huon is one of Australia's largest producers of salmon and has been rated one of the best in the world. So, getting to see and hear about their operations first-hand is a fantastic experience and one that's not readily available to the public. It was a real experience to write about it for Appetite for Excellence.
Food writing at its most fun - I went on a truffle hunt and cook for a sponsored story for Electrolux.
It was brilliant fun and I highly recommend it for anyone visiting Canberra in winter, who loves food and truffles (or the idea of truffles) and wonders where they come from and how to find, buy and cook with them. Delicious!