Australia: More than Outback and Yellow Tail

Barramundi and Scallops | cHowDivine.com

When I (and many Americans) think of Australian food and wine, two things come straight to mind: Outback Steakhouse and Yellow Tail wine. Wonderful, both. But not exactly the paragons of culinary excellence.

I recently attended a luncheon sponsored by Tourism Australia and had the chance to sample some delectable dishes and wines from the country. Barramundi (fish native to the region), Oysters “Kilpatrick” (image below), and even Asian-influenced dishes like Steamed Buns with Wild Mushrooms were among the dishes served during the occasion.

I was floored. Who knew about the breadth, the quality, the sophistication of Australian food and wine? Combine that with fabulous weather, pristine nature, and the relaxed cheerfulness of Australians in general and you’ve got a winning combination. And what’s most intriguing, I learned, is where Australians stand on the organic, locally grown, farm-to-table trend proliferating in this country. We Americans feel like we’ve cornered the market on this, that we’re the innovators. But what constitutes a trend in the U.S. is simply the norm in Australia. Taking local ingredients and products and then creating simple yet creative dishes is simply the way Aussies eat (along with a beer/wine and a smile). And given the bounty of Australian nature, we shouldn’t find this surprising.

Oyster Kilpatrick | cHowDivine.com

I learned that no matter where you go in Australia, you’ll find this love of fresh, local food and wine. In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, you’ll find world-class restaurants with some of the most innovative, creative chefs anywhere in the world. Cruise to Western Australia and you’ll find local chefs absorbing the culture and food of aborigines to create cutting-edge local fare. Head to the world-famous beaches of New South and South Australia and you’ll experience the joys of dining al fresco, likely right on the beach, perhaps on a meal caught that day, right out of the ocean, or harvested from a local farm. And if you want natural? Head to Tasmania, proven to have the world’s cleanest air and water.

Just imagine how fresh and vibrant the food scene must be in the region. And the beauty of Australian fare is that it’s one of the world’s melting pots. Want superb Asian and South Asian food? Australia’s proximity to the continent brings the brightest culinary talent of Asia to its shores. And from those in the know – i.e., indigenous Asians – the best Chinese and South Asian food outside of China and South Asia is in, well, Australia. Care for Middle Eastern/Mediterranean? You’ll find some of the best in Australia too. And of course, if you want a rare steak or shrimp on a “barbie,” well, where better than Australia?

And let’s not forget about the wine. This is not your father’s Yellow Tail. Australia’s winemakers are embracing regionality and quality, with a focus on the potential of each region. They’re passionate about the right locations, with the right dirt and weather. The result: Australian winemakers are making a wider diversity of quality, award-winning wines.

To sum: The wonders of Australia’s food and wine scene are rooted in individuality, locality, and simplicity. It’s about exceptional local ingredients, fused with innovative chefs, to create culinary experiences that reflect the country’s diverse mix of cultures. So if you want the experience of amazing food and world-class wine, combined with the wonders of nature, all in the company of good-natured Aussies, Australia is the place to go. I know that I will soon.


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19. March 2013 by gomo
Categories: Uncategorized | 12 comments


Comments (12)

  1. This post makes me want to jump on the plane and head to Australia. No wonder Aussies are always so happy and smiling.

    • That’s what I was thinking too! I never seriously considered going to Australia due to the long flight. But after learning more about the country, I’m up for it. I can use the fresh air and the relaxed vibe. It would be a great escape from this stressful environment! Thanks Miss Kim!!! :-D

  2. I have always had a soft spot for Australia, now I also crave Australian food. Thank you for making that happen :)

    • My pleasure Dirk! Nice to see you here. :-D I didn’t know I wanted to go until this event. I always dreaded long flights, but it may actually be worth it!

  3. Looks like they sold you on your next vacation, too?! I have to say, out of all the regions discussed, Tasmania was also probably my fave:-) The weekend long hike along the beach, stopping for local fresh foods sounded amazing!

    • Freshest air and cleanest water. Those two things are like unicorns around here! Now wonder we were both sold on it. :-D We are seriously thinking about a vacation there. The only thing holding me back is the flight there.

  4. Your post sounds somewhat poetic! A bit disappointed that you didn’t mention Queensland – most known for white sands and beautiful beaches along the coast line (but not so much famous for fashion or food). :D I think I only drank yellow tail once and I didn’t appreciate the taste much. There are some good brands among mid price ranges – Jacob’s creek and Yarra valley wine etc..Glad to hear you enjoyed the luncheon.

    • You have to give us some recommendations on where to go! My husband and I are most definitely planning to go within a year or so. We just have to find time & sync our schedule. :-D You know, I tried Yellow Tail once & sadly, I couldn’t finish it. But the wines we tried at the luncheon were pretty good. I will have to try your wine recommendations. It’s always good to find good wines at reasonable prices. Thanks for coming by the site Sue!

  5. Yep, all of those things are true. There is a great deal of incredible produce available down here. As with any place, you’ll need to know where to look, but there’s plenty out there. My favourite Aussie food bloggers include simpleprovisions.com.au and wholelarderlove.com – both with bit focus on seasonal, local and simple food – and of course, our own honestkitchen.com.au, which is in a similar vein. Broadsheet.com.au is a great place to get info on the latest awesome restaurants and bars with a focus on Sydney and Melbourne (where we live). Lastly, when you do come downunder, get in touch, happy to give you some recommendations!

    • Thanks for the great resources Jonny! We were so impressed with everything we ate and heard at the luncheon. Australia seems like beautiful country with wonderful people and food. We can’t wait to go for a visit. When we do, we’ll be sure to give you guys a holler!

  6. So gorgeous! Until I started blogging I wasn’t too familiar with Australian cuisine, but I’ve seen so many dishes from the restaurants and food bloggers and now it’s on my dream destination too!

    • If we ever go outside of the U.S. on vacation, Australia will be our destination. I never even considered the trip due to the length of the flight, but I think I will suck it up for a week in Tasmania. Hope you are well Nami!

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