Key dates & Schedule
Key dates & Schedule
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Honouring the traditions of local agricultural shows and produce markets around Australia, the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, celebrates heritage, quality, provenance and innovation.
Honouring the traditions of local agricultural shows and produce markets around Australia, the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, celebrates heritage, quality, provenance and innovation. The Sydney Royal competition recognises commercial producers who capture the essence of the land, and of their own region in particular and rewards producers for their hard work and expertise with a Seal of Quality to customers through a Sydney Royal medal or trophy. Established in 2003, the Sydney Royal Regional Food Competition was created to feature unique regional products from around Australia. The competition is held in September every year as part of the Spring Fine Food Show. In recent years the competition has grown between sweet, savoury, speciality and chilli products. Products must be 85% Australian origin (grown and made) and classes judged include Sweet Jams; Sweet Marmalades; Sweet Jellies, Sweet Conserves, Lemon Butter, Sweet Sauces & Dessert Dressings, Value Added Honey Products, Fruit Products, Confectionary, Savoury Sauces & Pickled Products, Pickles, Savoury Jams & Mustard, Chutneys, Verjuice, Vinegar, Dressings & Marinades, Dips (maximum dairy content 25%), Pesto, Cereal Products, Nut Products, Drinks, Oils (other than olive oil), Chilli Products, Soups and Spice Blends.
It may be a time-honoured tradition to go for a sausage sanga at Bunnings on the weekend, but this week change your plans and snag one of the top 5 sausages from the Gourmet Sausage class at the Sydney Royal Smallgoods & Charcuterie Competition. Traditional flavours took top points from the Sydney Royal judges, with Beef Chevapchichi – skinless sausages – picking up 84 points, and a French Toulouse sausage – lean and belly pork mince – scoring 80.33 points. Taking the tastebuds a little left of field, a Texas Beef, Pork and Cheese sausage sat in the top 5 alongside Fresh Chorizo and Bavarian Bratwurst. 1. Olga’s Fine Foods, Beef Chevapchichi 84.00 2. Andrews Meat Industries, AMI French Toulouse Sausage Thick 80.33 3. Barossa Fine Foods, Fresh Chorizo 79.33 4. Olga’s Fine Foods, Texas Beef, Pork and Cheese Sausages 79.00 5. Andrews Meat Industries, AMI Bavarian Bratwurst Sausage 78.67 Discover all the Sydney Royal Smallgood and Charcuterie winners here.
Some may consider three a crowd but not in this instance. In this case, three is the winning trifecta, with three Sydney Royal Regional Food Competition Champions collecting the coveted title in their first year of entering. Hum Honey, Bunny Chow Down and Hazelbrae Hazelnuts perhaps had a dash of beginners luck along with exceptional products, earning each the title of Champion. Hum Honey took the Champion Regional Food Other Product title home to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for their Cold Fusion Organic Lemon Myrtle Honey. With a passion of bringing consumers the purest raw honey from their free-range farm, Hum Honey embraces the philosophy of “savour the flavour”, and the Sydney Royal judges certainly did. Cold fusion is a process that allows the introduction of sensational flavours into the raw honey, a specialty that Hum have embraced and won them a hive of Sydney Royal medals. Along with their Champion Cold Fusion Organic Lemon Myrtle, Hum also received Silver for their Cold Fusion Organic Australian Lavender and their Cold Fusion Organic Cinnamon Quill and a Bronze medal for their Cold Fusion Australian Organic Ginger A bunny chow is a traditional curry served by street vendors in Durban, whilst a Bunny Chow Down Rosella Apple Chilli Jam is a Sydney Royal Champion Sweet Preserve. Combining a love of curry with a desire for unusual gastronomic flavour combinations, Bunny Chow Down took off in Queensland in 2013 and now includes an incredible range of chutney, marmalade, pickles and glazes. Combining apple, sugar, rosella, lemon juice and chilli the Champion Sweet Preserve is bursting with sweet flavours with a bit of a zing and pairs beautifully with chicken. Hazelbrae Hazelnuts produce Tasmania’s very first hazelnut oil, which is also Sydney Royal’s first Champion hazelnut oil, the 2018 Champion Regional Food Specialty Product. This multi-purpose oil can be used for gentle frying, in salad dressing, drizzled over fruit or rice dishes, added to desserts or milk-based drinks and even applied as a moisturiser. With one of the largest hazelnut groves in Australia, the 5,000 hazelnut trees at the family-run farm in Hagley, northern Tasmania, certainly delivered the good oil for the judges. Discover all the Sydney Royal Regional Food winners here.
The name ALTO comes from the Latin ‘altus’ meaning ‘high’ and Robert Armstrong and Westerly Isbaih are certainly on a high at the moment. Robert and Westerly are proud producers of olive oil and table olives at the family farm in Crookwell, NSW. ALTO Olives have the taste of sunshine, country air, warm days, cool nights and Sydney Royal medals including the title of Champion! Awarded 3 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze medals in the competition including Champion Olives for their Wild Olives, ALTO Olives are regulars on the winner’s dais at Sydney Royal competitions. Entering Sydney Royal competitions every year since 2008, and picking up medals every year too, this year ALTO Olives tasty hand-picked koroneiki olives triumphed over 21 entries in the table olives classes and were described as “some of the most flavoursome olives tasted” by the Sydney Royal judges. ALTO table olives are hand harvested, washed, graded and sized before being naturally fermented using a brine solution of Olsson’s Australian sea salt and filtered rainwater. After fermentation, they are washed again in filtered rainwater before being tossed in ALTO Lemon Olive Oil, making them perfect as an appetizer or simply delicious nibbled straight from the pack!
Imagine constructing a sculpture, or showpiece, entirely of chocolate, your imagination running as wild as the theme would allow. The chocolatiers at the 2018 Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show took on the theme of ‘Spring’, with flights of fancy including birds and garden spades, frogs and flowers, and all made from chocolate. Coloured cocoa butter, food grade decorative metallic powders and edible gold or silver leaf were permitted, as were non-edible stands, but every decoration was made of chocolate. And every piece was assembled onsite, in front of an audience that held their breaths and tried to pick up a chocolate tip or two. The judges look at originality and artistic expression, degree of difficulty, execution and overall appearance of the chocolate showpieces. Somehow taste doesn’t come in to it, despite how deliciously attractive they appear. The Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show welcomed seven chocolate showpiece sculptors this year, awarding medals to all participants in two highly competitive classes. The student class was an opportunity to construct showpieces under competition conditions and to receive constructive feedback. The supportive environment was an obvious success – all students received scores above 70, with the gold medal going to Hayley Waterhouse on 81.67 points.
History can repeat itself and it did at the 2018 Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show, with Myrtle & Pepper Fine Chocolate receiving Champion Chocolate for the second time. Native Australian Flavours more than satisfied our judges once again, giving Myrtle & Pepper the rare back-to-back Champion honours for their twelve handpainted chocolate bonbons.
The Woodward family have been farming, producing and distributing the finest quality Australian beef and lamb since 1888. A five-generation family business, Woodward Foods has withstood the current crisis in weather patterns and delivered Champion Lamb to Sydney Royal judges and the world. This business is proudly focussed on industry best practice, animal welfare and sustainability, and operates under the mantra of a dedication to perfection.
Longstanding Sydney Royal Easter Show exhibitor, the Bianco Group has taken out Champion Durum Wheat Specialty Pasta at the Sydney Royal Taste of Excellence Awards following the prestigious Sydney Royal Pasta Competition. Feeding families at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for more than 20 years, the Bianco Group is known for traditional gnocchi pasta but they stepped things up a notch for the competition entering Goats Cheese & Chive filled Gnocchoni. Sydney Royal Pasta Judges were delighted by the exceptional flavour combination, awarding them the only Champion trophy of the pasta competition! The Bianco Group, with a family history stemming back to Linguaglossa, Sicily, also collected three Silver Medals and one Gold for pasta entered this year. After migrating to Australia in the 1950s, the family opened their first business in Sydney’s ‘little Italy’, Leichhardt in 1982 and can now officially claim to make some of the finest pasta in the country. You can view all the winners on Australia's Best Producers here.
Latex gloves and a spray gun have taken Santiago Cuyugan from Bibelot Patisserie in South Melbourne to Sydney Showground and then back to Brunswick Victoria as the winner of the Chocolate Showpiece Class at the Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show.
Chocolate may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Far North Queensland, but two chocolatiers are doing their best to put the region on the chocolate lovers map. The Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show welcomed entries from Mossman’s The Australian Chocolate Farm and Charley’s Chocolate Factory in Mission Beach… and both were awarded Silver Medals for their chocolate. In a location more often associated with mango, coffee, papaya and sugar cane The Australian Chocolate Farm and Charley’s Chocolate Factory are creating award-winning chocolate including plain chocolate blocks, coconut dark chocolate, Davidson’s plum dark chocolate and even lemon myrtle dark. It may be renowned as the place the rainforest meets the reef, but Far North Queensland is now being recognised as the ideal location for cocoa, the trees are best grown in humid, tropical climates. This has attracted a new wave of chocolatiers, seduced by the abundance of natural flavours and bush tucker inspiration. The Australian Chocolate Farm took home Silver and a Bronze, whilst Charley’s Chocolate Factory received two Silver and four Bronze medals. Queensland also produced the perfectly named Seatonfire Chilli Chocolate salted caramel dark chilli chocolate, coming from the tiny town of Murphys Creek. For more Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show chocolates visit Australia's Best Producers here.
Italy is the world’s largest exporter of pasta – no surprise there. However, a lot of the pasta they are exporting is made with Australian grown durum wheat. Italian farmers cannot grow enough durum wheat to keep up with demands of pasta producers, resulting in almost half of Australia’s durum being exported to Italy… where it is regarded by Italian millers as the best in the world.
Six brothers from Sydney with a passion for craft beer have delivered the Best NSW Beer to judges at the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show. Handcrafted by The Australian Brewery, Seis Hermanos Lager is a Mexican lager that suits the Australian Summer.
The flavour of the month at the 2018 Sydney Royal Beer, Wine & Cider Show was reduced-alcohol beer. With a 200 per cent increase in entries, this class awarded medals to more than half the brews received, so perhaps the days of ‘low alcohol = low taste’ are well and truly over. And why the increased entry numbers? The judges put it down to tax, taste and torsos.
Feelin’ bubbly? Like a box of chocolate, wine is usually the thing you bring to a party when you’re told not to bring a thing. With the weekend fast approaching, what better way to celebrate your Friday night dinner party than by popping open a bottle of Sydney Royals finest.
The ever-evolving Fine Food scene in Australia has resulted in a number of new categories for the Sydney Royal Spring Fine Food competitions which are now open for entry to judging 2018.
Chocolate. A decadent sweet that can be devoured multiple ways. A sweet to be consumed whichever way you like; from the ever loved chocolate bar, that perfect chew you get from a piece of fudge or the mesmerising way you can pour it as a topping to finish off a dessert. While many of us may be experts of eating this glorious food, many of us don’t know the work behind creating it. When making chocolate, there are seven clear stages of taking the cocoa bean to a ready-made product. Harvest and Fermentation Chocolate production begins with the harvesting of the of coca. Cocoa comes from tropical evergreen Cocoa trees, such as Theobroma Cocoa. The harvesting of the cacao pod is done by hand to identify the mature pods. These pods are then carefully broken to release the cacao beans. There are then heaped in a pile on mats or banana leaves and covered, or put into a bin or box with a lid. The fermentation process occurs when the pulp surrounding the cacao bean is converted into alcohol by the yeasts present in the air and the heat generated by the pile or box. The cacao beans are mixed gently during this process to introduce oxygen into the pile or box, which turns the alcohol into lactic and acetic acid. Slits or holes in the box allow the resulting liquid with its alcohol content to slowly leak out of the pile of beans during the fermentation process, leaving just the beans. This process can take up to eight days. The fermentation process is crucial as it betters the flavour and reduces the roasting time. Drying and Storage Once fermentation is complete, the now called cocoa beans will have a higher moisture content. For these beans to be shipped around the world, they must be dried. Once the moisture percentage in the cocoa beans has reached 6 to 7 per cent, they are sorted and bagged. The bagged cocoa beans are then loaded on ships to be delivered to chocolate manufacturers. Manufacturing Once the beans have made their way to the machinery of a chocolate factory, they are ready to be refined into the smooth chocolate that we all love. The first grind of the beans is usually done in a milling or grinding machine such as a melangeur. The nibs are ground or crushed to liquefy the cocoa butter and produce what is now called chocolate liquor or chocolate liquid. Secondly, most chocolate manufacturers use a roll refiner or ball mill, which has two functions: to further reduce the particle size of the cocoa mass and to distribute the cocoa butter evenly throughout the mass, coating all the particles. This process creates heat that melts and distributes the cocoa butter. Different percentages of cocoa butter are removed or added to the chocolate liquor. Cocoa butter carries the flavour of the chocolate and produces a cooling effect on your tongue that you might notice when eating dark chocolate. Conching You know that melt in your mouth quality you get when you have a nice piece of chocolate? You can thank the process of conching for that! This process develops the flavour and releases some of the bitterness giving chocolate its smooth texture. A conch machine has rollers that continuously knead the chocolate over a period of hours and days depending on the desired flavour and texture of the chocolate. Tempering This is the fun step. This is where you see all your hard work form a final product to be enjoyed all over the world. The tempering and moulding of chocolate allows the cocoa liquor cool and harden into different shapes. Finally, the chocolate is wrapped and sent off. Voilà – you now have chocolate. Fancy yourself a bit of a chocolatier? Entries for the 2018 Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show are now open! Find out more here.
The saying goes, “put all your eggs in one basket”. Here at the RAS, we’ve taken that principle and applied it to the meat section of our Spring Fine Food competitions. Now named the Sydney Royal Branded Meat competition and combining the Sydney Royal Beef, Lamb and Pork competitions under one umbrella, the RAS is continuing to honour the traditions of local agricultural shows and produce markets around Australia. Celebrating heritage, quality, provenance and innovation, the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show continues to set the benchmark for top quality products. As part of the Spring Fine Food Show, in 2017 the RAS received over 2,000 entries from over 400 exhibitors with medal winners and Champions showcased at the Taste of Excellence Awards. This year the RAS hopes to exceed the 2017 entry numbers and once again celebrate world standard produce. Entries for the Sydney Royal Branded Meat competition open 30 May. Find out more here.
2018 is seeing quite a few changes in the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Sydney Royal competitions. With the Spring Fine Food competitions almost upon us, one major transformation is the brand new name for the Sydney Royal Deli Meat competition. Say hello to the Sydney Royal Smallgoods & Charcuterie Competition. The name change reflects the wide-ranging entries and pays homage to the artisanal processes used to prepare specialty and gourmet cured meats. Established in 1995, the competition judges a variety of smallgoods products across 54 classes, ranging from ham, bacon, salami and prosciutto to general smallgoods, cooked products, poultry products, gourmet products and sausage classes. Launching on Thursday 24 May, butchers and smallgoods manufacturers are attracted by the history and reputation of the competition. Judging is held in September as part of the Spring Fine Food Show, with the Champions of each competition announced at the Taste of Excellence Awards Night on 21 September. Entries for the Sydney Royal Smallgoods & Charcuterie Competition open Thursday, May 24. Find out more here.
Indulge in this glorious carrot cake recipe that just happens to be gluten-free! Ingredients 55g rice flour 50g gluten-free cornflour 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional) 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon mixed spice 200g almond meal 220g brown sugar, firmly packed 280g grated carrot - about 2 medium carrots 40g chopped walnuts 4 eggs, separated Method Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 22cm loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Sift flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and mixed spice 3 times into a large bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, carrot, walnuts and egg yolks. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whites into carrot mixture with a large metal spoon until just blended. Pour batter into tin and bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to stand 10 minutes then remove from tin and place on wire rack to cool. When cool, top with frosting. Cream cheese frosting 250g cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon lemon juice 85g pure icing sugar 40g chopped walnuts Combine cream cheese, juice and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Ice cake then sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Poised as he concentrates on his next swing, a woodchopper braces himself before using brute strength to slice his axe through a block of wood. Holding the axe is twelve-year-old Hayden Hewitt from Wamuran, QLD. A third-generation woodchopper, Hayden is following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, competing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Inspired by his father, Hayden began his woodchopping campaign at just three years of age and is the youngest competitor at the 2018 Sydney Royal Woodchopping & Sawing Competition. “My first ever competition was at the Caboolture show in the underhand competition,” Hayden said. And while most twelve-year-old boys are running around the footy field, playing video games or catching the latest flick at the movies, Hayden spends his spare time practicing for his next competition. “I train every afternoon with wood we get from my Grandparents property. “I sometimes have to cut up wood for firewood and we sell some of it off after we cut it.” Keen to continue with his family’s tradition of woodchopping Hayden hopes to one day win the World Tree Felling title as his grandad once did at the Show. “Wood felling is my favourite competition. It’s the most exciting,” Hayden said. “You have to cut three holes in the tree, climb up using these boards that have a metal clip in the end that dig into the hole. “And then when you get up on three boards you cut halfway through the block on top then come down and do the same on the other side.” Competing in the tree felling, underhand and standing block competitions all in the opens age group, the Father and Son competition is the highlight of the event for Hayden’s family. “I watched Dad Woodchopping when I was younger and I just wanted to do that.” And although Hayden didn’t place in the open events, he was selected to compete in the junior development event, placing fourth in his final. An effort that makes his dad very proud. “We’re not too worried about Hayden competing. He is trained well with the correct technique,” Lindsay Hewitt said. “He does a lot of it himself and we give him a few pointers along the way.”
It’s fresh, it’s new and best of all it’s locally sourced and brewed! Developed exclusively for the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show, the ‘Show Stopper’ combines locally sourced ingredients to produce a unique and refreshing pale ale. Grant Wearin, of Modus Operandi Brewing was looking to blend the ingredients to create an “approachable, flavourful product,” he said. “What we’re looking for is a balanced, approachable beer that highlights the unique quality of products, which were grown and supplied in NSW. “A product that’s fresh and really high quality.” Supporting NSW farmers, the pale ale is brewed at Modus Operandi, Sydney NSW and made with La Trobe Malted Barley from Forbes, NSW and Ryefield Hops from Bemboka, NSW. The fresh taste of the brew, characterised by its natural features is unpasteurised, unpreserved and contains no other additives. “You’ll be able to taste, look and feel the freshness of the beer knowing that it’s literally been kegged out of the tank days before you’re drinking it,” he said. “You will hopefully want more than one.” Inspired by the uniqueness of The Stables at the Show, Kate Saba, Services Manager for the Show initiated the idea of a beer brewed exclusively for The Stables, and available only during the 12 days of the Show. “The Stables lends itself beautifully to this project. With all the timber and the original stables from the horses we have been able to turn them into restaurants and pop up shops,” Kate said. So if you haven’t already, make sure you head to The Stables to quench your thirst and savour a schooner of Sydney’s finest!
When your motto is to ‘celebrate the source’, there’s little doubt the entire Brasserie Bread bakery is celebrating today. Rising to the occasion at the President’s Medal Awards dinner, Michael Klausen, Head Baker and Co-Founder, spoke of his passion for single origin bread and the glorious wheat fields of the Flinders Ranges. The story starts with the soil and the little golden nuggets of wheat Brasserie Bread seeks out. They are the source of flavour, aided by the unpolluted air and dry sunny weather. If meat producers take us from paddock to plate, the team at Brasserie Bread follow a very strict field to flour or ground to grain philosophy. “The day my life changed was when I sat down and had a chat with a farmer,” explained Klausen. With a committed attitude to traceability and a willingness to share the journey with the consumer, when you pick up a loaf of Brasserie Bread, the baker knows exactly what paddock it came from and is happy to share the land to loaf story. Picking up the President’s Medal Award, one of the most unique and prestigious food and beverage awards in Australia - for their Flinders Ranges Sprouted Wheat Loaf - Brasserie Bread’s connection with the farmers and the single origin philosophy of their bread has reaped the benefits. Named as the best of the best, from the 5,308 produce entries in Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy, Fine Food, Chocolate and Beer & Cider competitions, Brasserie Bread also collected the DPI Innovation Award for their outstanding innovative achievements. Image: Paul Robbins, Monde Photo
In wine there is wisdom… and the Sydney Royal Wine Show judges are here to help you wise up. Attracting over 2,300 entries, the Sydney Royal Wine Show is your go-to for wine knowledge. Open for 2018 entries, the 2017 results will point you in the right direction when it is time to pop the cork. Looking for a classic riesling? Our Judges awarded 98 points to John Hughes Wines Rieslingfreak No.3. After a pleasing sauvignon blanc? Our Judges would recommend the 96 points recipient Miles from Nowhere Sauvignon Blanc and Berrigan Wines Mount Benson Sauvignon Blanc with 95 points. Fancy a fresh citrus Semillon? Our Judges would suggest Tyrell’s Vineyards Vat 1 Semillon, 96 points and Tulloch Wines Julia Limited Release Semillon with 95 points. Australian chardonnay is an impressive class, 96 points awarded to Flametree Wines SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay and Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove Pennon Hill Chardonnay. Rosé comes through with Koonara Wines Emily May Rosé Pinot Noir, 96 points whilst merlot represents with 96 points going to Amberley Wines 2016 Merlot. Gold medals were also awarded to W Salter & Son Pepperjack Sparkling Shiraz, Lindemans Wines Coonawarra Limestone Shiraz Cabernet, Evans 7 Tate Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon, Moppity Vineyards Cato Tempranillo, Brown Brothers Tasmania Devil’s Corner Mt Amos Pinot Noir, Xanadu Wines DJL Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and Peter Lehmann Wines Hill & Valley Pinot Gris amongst others. The Sydney Royal Wine Show results are online, www.rasnsw.com.au/sydney-royal-competitions/competitions/sydney-royal-wine-show/results/ and can save you time and stress next time you need to pick up a bottle for BYO. The 2018 Sydney Royal Wine Show is accepting entries now for mid-year judging.
Camels have been milked for over 5000 years but the first pasteurised camel milk in Australia was not produced until 2014. This year the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Competition welcomed camel milk for judging, and the first ever Gold Medal for Camel Milk was awarded, with a score of 18.5 out of 20, to Summer Land Camel Dairy. Camel Milk is higher in iron than cow’s milk, lower in cholesterol than goat’s milk, lower in lactose than cow’s milk and higher in vitamin C than cow’s milk. Camel milk is smooth, creamy, and pure white in colour. It can be used as a base for ice cream, cheese, gelato, hand cream, soap, shampoo and even body lotions. Camel milk makes delicious smoothies and panna cotta and can be added to your coffee and breakfast cereal. You can drink it by the glass or use it in place of cow’s milk in recipes. And the hump? It stores fat, a source of nourishment for the camel as it crosses the desert…
Do you like an espresso or a latte? Neither! How about a piccolo? Like that little girl in the Old El Paso commercials asking ‘why don’t you have both’; a Piccolo combines your espresso and your latte. A piccolo latte is a café latte made in an espresso cup. It has a very strong but mellowed espresso taste thanks to the steamed milk and micro foam within it. One theory suggest the piccolo latte originated in Sydney baristas and coffee roasters started drinking piccolo-style coffee in order to check how their brews were tasting with milk throughout the day. Not wanting a dairy bloat nor to be bouncing off the walls so full of caffeine, this perfectly shrunk café latte deliciously does the job. At this year’s Sydney Royal Coffee Competition, Piccolo was added as a class. As a result, exhibitor The House of Robert Timms has taken out two Champion Coffee Titles – Champion Piccolo Blend and Champion Sustainable Coffee. For a newly introduced class and to already have a Champion, The House of Robert Timms has set the bar (or even, beans) high.
For more than 25 years, the Rodely family have been farming award-winning oysters in the pristine waters of Nelson Lake located in NSW’s Mimosa Rocks National Park. Environmental sustainability is at the heart of the family business, with all oysters bred and grown on site and only eco-friendly materials used. Even wastewater is recycled to maintain local parks and gardens. Recycling titles is becoming a theme for the Rodely family and their Tathra Oysters too… once again they have been named Champion Sydney Rock Oyster at the Sydney Royal Fine Food – Aquaculture Competition. This is the 14 th year Tathra Oysters have taken home the title of Champion – 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. The Rodely family was presented with the Award of Outstanding Excellence in 2004 & 2007 for Tathra Oysters and won the Inaugural President’s Medal in 2006. Sydney Royal Medals benchmark products that have been deemed outstanding, the President’s Medal Judges examine the commercial success, environmental integrity and social involvement of the business behind the product. The President’s Medal is awarded to the best of the best, the supreme food champion. Perhaps Sydney Royal awards are the pearls in every Tathra Oyster shell.
Today marks the day that many of us will be showcasing public displays of affection to our loved ones. Money will be spent on flowers, cards and teddy bears galore. Might we suggest adding a certain sweet treat to the shopping list for your other half? How does a chocolate praline croissant, a caramelised vanilla slice with raspberries and a fresh fruit Danish sound? Pretty good if you ask us and we think our Sydney Royal Professional Bakery Judges agreed awarding Champion Pastry to young apprentice, Joshua Nickl for these mouth-watering goodies. “It’s a big honour winning both Champion Pastry and Champion Apprentice. It’s a pretty special feeling.” Said Mr. Nickl As both the apprentice and son of famous, The Gumnut Patisserie, it’s safe to say that Mr Nickl was born and ‘bread’ in the baking industry. Founded by his parents Tracy and Vicki Nickl in 1995, the smells of dough, sugar and butter became all too a familiar scent, leaving the craving for a career in the family business. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the family kitchen. I knew from a young age that this was something that I wanted to do. I saw nothing else in my eyes” Mr. Nickl said. “As soon as I finished High School I started my apprenticeship and I haven’t looked back since” For this young apprentice, it can be said that his age doesn’t bring experience. What it does bring though, is a natural talent for creating amazing baked goods that are both easy on the eye and satisfying for the stomach. Everyone knows that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, so what better excuse than Valentine’s Day to treat yourself someone special with the fabulous Champion treats from The Gumnut Patisserie. As their motto states, “Life’s short, eat dessert first”. To find out all the best sweet treats, baked goods and Australia’s best Coffee and Aquaculture from the 2018 Summer Fine Food Competitions, click here .
Want to know what all the fuss around exports is really about? Want to understand whether you can trade with the world’s fastest-growing export market? Join our Export Workshops To support the participants of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, we have arranged two workshops to further your understanding of the practicalities of exporting to Australia’s largest export market, China. Export Growth China Team The Export Growth China team is a part of the NSW Business Chamber’s commercial division, Australian Business Consulting and Solutions. As a supporter of Australian businesses, the Chamber has a team dedicated to assisting Australian SMEs venturing into China. The team will be providing insight for the export workshops. Cost: $20.00+GST for each session for non-members $15.00+GST for each session for RAS Members (quote ‘rasmember’) when booking
The growing national interest in the annual Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s (RAS) President’s Medal has been emphasised in the list of finalists for the 12 th annual staging of the prestigious award. The six finalists to emerge from the Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food competitions across the calendar year are; Barossa Fine Foods – Fior Di Cotto – Edinburgh North, South Australia. Black Label Berkshire – Black Label Silver Berkshire Pork – Beverley, Western Australia. Brasserie Bread – Flinders Ranges Sprouted Wheat Loaf – Sydney, NSW. Gage Road Brewing – Red Rye IPA, Fremantle, Western Australia. Gundowring Fine Foods – Gundowring Finest Ice Cream Licorice, Gundowring, Victoria. Poachers Pantry – Smoked Duck Breast, Springrange, NSW. The finalists represent the competitions - Deli Meat, Branded Pork, Beer and Cider, Dairy and Professional Bakery. During 2017 there were 5308 products entered and judged across 488 classes, resulting in 95 Champions. It was an exciting year for Pork, it being the inaugural judging competition. President of the RAS Robert Ryan says to be declared a finalist in the President’s Medal is a massive compliment to any Australian producer and an acknowledgement of their quality and practices. “To be in this sort of company is a matter of great pride and recognition of a lot of research and development and tireless work by the finalists across every aspect of their production,” Mr Ryan said. “Australia truly is at the top of its game when it comes to food production and ingenuity and the Sydney Royal competitions are evidence of this with each passing year,” he said. President’s Medal finalists are rigorously evaluated based on the quality, marketability, financial integrity and environmental sensitivity of their operations. Following intensive judging including on-site audits and inspections across the coming months, the President’s Medal winner will be announced at a gala evening as part of the Sydney Royal Easter Show at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park on March 28, 2018. Celebrity Sydney chef Colin Fassnidge is a President’s Medal judge and will be guest chef on the night. “I’m excited to be able to work with one of the finalist’s products in what I will present on awards night,” Colin Fassnidge said. “Aussie product is as good as it comes and being able to work with the best of the best is what chefs love,” he said. Another high profile chef Ed Halmagyi is one of the President’s Medal judges travelling the country visiting farms and factories as they study the operations of the six finalists. Ends For interviews and image requests, please contact: Roger White Manager, Public Relations Royal Agricultural Society of NSW T: 02 9704 1453 M: 0478 092 425 E: email@example.com
Ingredients 1.1kg fruit, mixed to your liking 2 tablespoons marmalade 1/2 cup rum or sherry 250g softened butter 1 teaspoon grated orange rind 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla 4 eggs 2 1/2 cups plain flour pinch salt 1 teaspoon mixed spice pinch ground cinamon pinch freshly grated nutmeg Method More than 12 hours in advance mix fruit, marmalade, and liquor in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to steep at room temperature. Preheat over to 150 ° C. Line base and sides of 20cm deep round cake tin with 3 thicknesses of baking paper, bringing paper above the edge of the tin. Beat butter, rind, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl with electric mixer until well combined, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir butter mixture into fruit mixture then mix in sifted flour, salt, and spices. Spread mixture into tin. Bake 3 hours. Cover cake with brown paper if the top is browning too quickly. The cake is ready when a skewer is inserted, comes out clean and clear. Wrap cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper, then in double foil. Secure it all with an elastic band and allow to cool completely. Can be made and stored 3 months ahead. Hints: This also works well for a traditional wedding cake or any other special occasion cake with the addition of a layer of marzipan icing and white royal icing. Freshly ground spices make the cake lovely and fragrant.
Tim Browne, RAS Executive Chef and Sydney Royal Judge shares this simple recipe to dress up a family favourite dessert. Brandy Butterscotch Sauce Ingredients 250g caster sugar 100ml water 150ml pure cream 250g unsalted butter 75ml brandy Pinch of pink salt Method Place sugar and water in pot. Bring to boil. When sugar is a golden caramel, slowly add cream being careful of the steam. Stir to combine. Remove pot from heat. Stir in diced butter and salt until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in brandy until smooth. Drizzle over whole pudding for serving. Tip: Use a wet pastry brush to wipe down inside of pot so sugar doesn’t crystallise.
Tim Browne, RAS Executive Chef and Sydney Royal Judge shares his simple recipes to dress up this festive favourite. Orange & Pineapple Glaze Ingredients 500ml pineapple juice 500ml orange juice 200g brown sugar 40-50 cloves Orange slices for garnish (optional) Pineapple slices for garnish (optional) Method Combine brown sugar, pineapple and orange juices in a saucepan. Bring to boil while stirring. Set aside. Remove skin from ham. Score fat with sharp knife. Press cloves into fat at the score marks. Place orange and pineapple slices in bottom of baking dish. Place ham on top. Pour glaze over ham. Bake in pre-heated oven at 150°C for 1 – 2 hours depending on size of ham. Baste ham with glaze from baking dish every 20 minutes.
It generally goes without saying that an addiction is a bad thing. But what about coffee? Many Australian’s cannot start their day without their usual flat white, latte or piccolo. Even though it seems the world of coffee has gotten over complicated, from deconstructed cappuccino’s right through to a soy double shot extra hot mocha; coffee is a beloved drink and is a heavy part of our café culture. With so many of us consuming coffee on a daily basis, is it really an addiction if it’s good for you? It’s time to break down the benefits of this habbit-forming roasted bean. 1. Burn fat Several studies have shown that caffeine is one of the few natural substances that can boost your metabolic rate by 3-11%; hence why it can be found in nearly every commercial fat burning supplement. Studies have shown that caffeine can specifically increase the burning of fat, by as much as 29% in lean individuals and 10% in obese people. 2. Increase in intelligence Yes. You read that right. Coffee can make you smarter. When you consume coffee, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. Because of this, improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function. 3. Biggest source of antioxidants Hold onto your chair because this statement might shock you. Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet! Studies have shown that people get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from fruit and vegetables combined. 4. Physical Performance Forget about burning fat, coffee has also been shown to increase adrenaline levels. Caffeine makes the fat cells break down body fat, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel. Given these effects, it is not surprising to see that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12%. 5. May lower your risk of cancer Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death. Coffee has shown to be protective against liver and colorectal cancer. Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer. 6. You can live longer With coffee being one of the healthiest drinks that you can consume, as well as containing nutrients and lowering your risk of receiving many diseases, it makes sense that a little expresso can make you live longer. In two widespread studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women, over a period of 18-24 years. So you know you should drink it, but which coffee is best in terms of aroma, taste and visual appearance? The Sydney Royal Coffee Competition is among Australia’s most prestigious as it aims to discover the finest brew of coffee. Entries are now open with judging commencing at the end of January.
Barossa Fine Foods has a strong history that dates back to 1924 in Munich Germany. Fast forward to Adelaide in 2017, this family business has now been passed down to the fourth generation of the Knoll family. The smallgoods business has proven tradition is the way to produce award-winning products, having won 60 medals at this year’s Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. “Our products are produced using only the best quality ingredients. Our attention to detail, the quality of ingredients and the fact we still use recipes and processing traditions and methods that were brought with the Knoll family from Germany”, Barossa Fine Foods stated. It was more than 92 years ago when Andreas Knoll first began learning about the smallgoods industry at the age of 15 on the other side of the world in Munich. In 1939, after 15 years making viennas, knackwurst and salamis, Knoll opened his first shop. Unfortunately, due to the devastation of WWII his store was completely destroyed. Andreas’ nephew, Hans, who also started training when he was 15, brought these traditional German techniques to Australia in 1957 and established Barossa Fine Foods. The business has won multiple awards at the Sydney Fine Food Show, Since 2010, Barossa Fine Foods has accumulated medals in the hundreds across the Deli Meat and Sausage categories including Champion Ham for their Fior Di Cotto at the 2017 Sydney Royal Taste of Excellence Awards. “The Fior Di Cotto is a great ham and one in which we have had a great deal of confidence in. We are very excited this was not only awarded a gold medal but was also recognised as the Champion Ham in the show for 2017. We see the awards as being very prestigious, we are proud of our products and to have them recognised by the Sydney Royal Fine Foods judges. It feels fantastic to win medals for our smallgoods especially from such a renowned and well-run competition.” Their award-winning products have enriched communities and have stamped them as smallgoods leaders in the Australian market. Barossa Fine Foods is now eligible for assessment for the RAS’ ultimate honour, the President’s Medal, with the ultimate winner announced at a gala dinner during the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
A Western Australian pig farmer has taken the whole hog, winning Champion Pork Exhibit at the 2017 Sydney Royal Taste of Excellence Awards. Linton Batt, CEO of Black Label Berkshire, has proven that he is a leader, not a follower, breeding and raising the seemingly unstylish black haired pig rather than the more fashionable white pigs we see in supermarkets today. Speaking to The Australian newspaper, Mr Batt explained his award winning Black Label Berkshire pig products. “The Australian pork industry is generally in a downturn because there is so much cheap imported bacon coming into this country, but we have shown there is still a niche demand for high- value, good eating pork,” Mr Batt said. “The most common reaction we get from customers is that they say it tastes like pork used to; peoples’ faces light up when they try it because — in both taste and mouth feel — it is completely unlike the bland and flavourless pork you buy at the supermarkets now.” Growing up on his parent’s wheat and sheep farm near Narrogin, WA in the 1970’s, he garnered a passion for the heritage sow breed with his father also running a small Berkshire Pig Stud. With the more aesthetically pleasing Landrace gaining attention from butchers and abattoirs, this unfashionable pig was almost phased out, even listed as endangered in its home country of England. Fast forward to today, the British Breed has been revived thanks to Australian breeders and, of course; Mr Batt. Purchasing his Beverly pig farm four years ago, he took a leap of faith, turning his dream into a reality. With marbled fat and a darker pink colour compared to other commercial pork this is a sweeter and easier meat to cook. Mr. Batt is now eligible for assessment for the RAS’ ultimate honour, the President’s Medal, to be announced at a gala dinner during the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Some people always order a regular flat white whilst others cannot get through a morning without a large cappuccino. For a few, it is their daily espresso or the treat of a mocha that helps. Then there are those who prefer a latte but only want a small one... a really small one... a mini even. So what do they order? A piccolo latte is a café latte made in an espresso cup. It has a very strong but mellowed espresso taste thanks to the steamed milk and micro foam within it. One theory suggest the piccolo latte originated in Sydney when baristas and coffee roasters started drinking piccolo-style coffee in order to check how their brews were tasting with milk throughout the day. Not wanting a dairy bloat nor to be bouncing off the walls so full of caffeine, this perfectly shrunk café latte deliciously does the job. Perhaps, but a variation is also enjoyed in France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Latin America. Order a noisette, pingo or cortado if you want to feel like a local. The piccolo latte is going before the judges at the Sydney Royal Coffee Competition , with entries opening on 11 October . Established in 1998, the Sydney Royal Coffee Competition is one of Australia's leading coffee competitions. Coffee can be Australian grown or imported, provided the beans are roasted in Australia. Classes include Latte, Plunger, and the Piccolo and all are judged on visual, aroma and taste. Taste encompasses freshness, acidity, bitterness, sweetness, flavour and aftertaste.
It was the early 1800s when Coenraad Van Houten created the cocoa press, squishing the bean and expelling the cocoa butter before washing the cocoa in an alkali solution to come up with ‘Dutch cocoa’. In the 1850s Englishman Joseph Fry added cocoa butter to cocoa powder and sugar to come up with the world’s first solid chocolate. In 1875 Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle added condensed milk to the solid chocolate and created a milk chocolate bar. Swiss man Rudolphe Lindt invented a machine that mixed chocolate to a perfectly smooth consistency in 1879. In 1911 in a small town in Belgium Octaaf Callebaut produced his first chocolate recipe and shops in the outlying villages could not get enough of it. In 1960, Callebaut began exporting chocolate, and in 2016, Callebaut sponsored the first stand-alone Sydney Royal Chocolate Show. In 2017, it becomes apparent that somehow chocolate and blowtorches can co-exist, along with ribbons, nitrogen canisters, spray paint and melting tanks. It may look a little like a mechanic’s workshop or a graffiti artist’s den, and it is definitely a construction zone. Senses are on overload because it is the Chocolate Showpiece competition at the 2017 Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show, and the showpieces must be made entirely of chocolate. All decorations must be made of chocolate. Coloured cocoa butter, food grade decorative metallic powders, and edible gold or silver leaf are permitted. Non-edible stands are permitted. There is no minimum height restriction but showpieces must be no more than 180 centimetres tall. Imagine, almost 6 foot of chocolate sculpted into whatever takes your fancy. Chocolate can be used in the same way a sculptor uses clay, stone or metal. It is a very malleable material but it has no lasting qualities… it is meant to be consumed. Surprisingly Australia is not in the top ten of chocolate consuming countries across the world, we sit at a respectable 13 th place, just behind Russia and ahead of Sweden. With double our consumption, in first place is Switzerland. Belgium, the birthplace of Callebaut Chocolate is 5 th . Ireland, the UK and Austria complete the top five. The Champion Chocolate Showpiece sculptor will be named at the Taste of Excellence Awards on 22 September.
Foodbank is like a kitchen pantry for Australians in need. Foodbank collects surplus food and groceries from farmers, manufacturers and retailers and passes it on to charities and community groups who feed the hungry. It accepts product that is out of specification, close to date code, has incorrect labelling or damaged packaging as well as excess stock and deleted lines. Without Foodbank much of this food would go to landfill. The Royal Agricultural Society was proud to donate over 1000kg, or 1 tonne, of beef & lamb, deli meats, pasta and other medal-worthy foodstuffs to Foodbank at the completion of each day’s judging of the Sydney Royal Fine Food Shows. The food rescued by Foodbank provides on average 166,000 meals a day. If you’d like to find out more about Foodbank and how you could help fight hunger in Australia, visit www.foodbank.org.au If you’d like to know more about Sydney Royal competitions, visit http://www.rasnsw.com.au/sydney-royal-competitions/
Two minutes and 40 seconds is all it takes to cook the perfect Wagyu steak. Carefully sliced to 10mm thickness and passing through the cooking chamber before resting for exactly two minutes, the steak was at its optimum flavour point. The fatty, marbled flesh tasted rich and gently sweet, with a lingering savoury taste. The judges only got a slither of wagyu, enough to give it a score but not enough to feel satisfied and full. That was lucky because they had to leave room in their bellies for the Grass Fed Beef and the Grain Fed Beef. Pleased by the very high standard of entries in the Sydney Royal Branded Beef , Branded Lamb and Branded Pork competitions, Chair of Judges George Ujvary was happy to welcome university student Sophie Ward for her first experience as a Sydney Royal judge. Sophie is currently finalising her Honours in Animal Science at Roseworthy College in South Australia and hopes to go on to complete her PHD in Sow Welfare. Sophie’s area of interest is the influence of the living conditions of pigs on the quality of the meat. “It was pretty incredible to taste such sweet flavoursome and tender pieces of pork,” said Sophie, “I would have loved to know about the living conditions from the entries afterwards, as well as the feed they were given as some of the flavours were just incredible.” Christmas dinner is looking good this year with such positive feedback from the Sydney Royal Branded Beef , Branded Lamb and Branded Pork competitions.
It is a rare occurrence for a family in Australia to say no to a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. It has regularly ranked as number one on recipe search engines and the ingredients have been loaded in supermarket trolleys since the 1960s. It is a midweek standby, a weekend favourite and even something special for a celebration. Add some crusty bread, a crisp green salad and perhaps a glass of chianti or a sangiovese for a feast that would do the Italians proud. Essential ingredients for a great spaghetti and meatballs dinner are pork mince, beef mince, pasta, sauce and olive oil. As luck would have it, these are the foods being judged at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show over the coming weeks. Even luckier, we have a Sydney Royal Medal Winning Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe supplied by Tim Browne, Executive Chef, Sydney Showground to share. Serves 4 Meatballs: 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 150mls Sydney Royal Medal winning extra virgin Olive Oil 1 onion, finely diced 3 cloves of garlic, crushed 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped zest from 1 lemon 250gm Sydney Royal Medal winning pork mince 250gm Sydney Royal Medal winning beef mince 250 gm Sydney Royal Medal winning ricotta 30gm Sydney Royal Medal winning parmesan 70gm fresh sourdough crumbs 1 egg 2 teaspoons salt flakes Roast fennel seeds in a pan until fragrant 2 -3 mins. Remove and cool. Once cooled grind in spice grinder. Add olive oil to the pan and fry the onion and garlic until just tender. Remove and cool. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 1hour until mix is firm. Roll meatball mixture into balls (golf ball size) and return to the fridge. Sauce: 40 mls Sydney Royal Medal winning extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, sliced ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional) 150mls white wine 800gm tin tomatoes Add olive oil to large braising dish and sauté garlic and chilli flakes until fragrant, add wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Once sauce is simmering on stove slowly add the meatballs. Don't stir the meatballs at this stage - they will break. Return sauce to a simmer, cover with lid and then place in oven at 150 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes. Pasta: 300gm Sydney Royal Medal winning pasta While meatballs are simmering in the oven put a large pot of water on for the pasta. Remove meatballs from the oven and cook pasta as per direction on pack. Serve meatballs with pasta and a little extra grated parmesan. Enjoy!
We did… we got some pork on our fork and it is now the second favourite meat in Australia, trailing chicken and bumping beef to third. We consume around 24kg of pork per person each year, enjoying on average 9.2kg of fresh pork and approximately 15kg of processed products such as ham, bacon, pancetta and prosciutto. We are eating ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches, roast pork with crackling and vegetables, bacon and eggs on toast, pulled pork with crisp slaw on brioche buns, caramelised pork belly, bahn mi baguettes, ramen bowls and even pork pie. Is it television cooking shows making us more adventurous or Instagram and foodie blogs? Could it be the spread of food trucks and their exotic offerings or celebrity chefs like the Porkstars influencing our palates? Alternatively, is it as simple as the desire for a healthier diet? A piece of pork, trimmed of fat, is as lean as skinless chicken breast. Pork contains a range of B group vitamins necessary for a healthy nervous system and is rich in thiamine (helps us metabolise carbohydrate, fat and alcohol). Pork is a great source of zinc (helps maintain healthy hormone levels and a strong immune system) and selenium (helps to fight the ageing process). Whatever it is, pork is an incredibly adaptable meat, lending itself to recipes sure to please everyone. Australian pork is the highest quality, safest pork in the world thanks to the strict food quality and safety requirements imposed. The responsibility starts at the farm and goes through the entire supply chain. A happy, healthy pig means delicious, healthy pork. The finest pork in Australia will go before the judges on 4 September at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show . This is the first time pork has been included in the competition, to be assessed on the visual (raw), aroma (cooked), tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall liking.
If chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness, there is more joy than you can poke a bag of cocoa beans at around Sydney Showground this week. Is it shiny and moulded correctly? Has it been tempered well and can you taste the cocoa? What about the aroma, and of course, the flavour? We are talking about chocolate, the remedy for Mondays. The Judges for the Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show will be recognising and rewarding excellence in the following classes this week: Chocolate Blocks, Individual Chocolates, Boxed Chocolates, Truffles, Chilli Chocolates, Student Exhibits, and handcrafted Showpiece Class. Taking out four of eight major awards at the 2016 Callebaut Sydney Royal Chocolate Show, Bracegirdle’s House of Fine Chocolates went on to a well-deserved place as a finalist for the 11th annual Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) President’s Medal. The family owned and operated Bracegirdle’s was founded in Glenelg, South Australia in 2005 and their handmade chocolates have tempted Prince William, Lady Gaga and even the performers from Cirque du Soleil with flavours that include Peanut Butter and Orange Caramel, Yuzu Cheesecake, Fig & Ginger, Orange & Thyme and Peach & Lavender. “A great sense of kudos for us to win a Show that is nationwide, it is a great thing for our chocolatiers… customers come in and really appreciate the fact that someone from SA has won a national award.” Garry Bracegirdle. The Champions from this year’s Show will be announced on 22 September.
The best wine to drink in Australia right now, according to the esteemed judges of the 2017 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show, is Riesling. More specifically Rieslingfreak No. 3 Clare Valley 2017 Riesling. Scoring an incredible 98 points out of a possible 100, John Hughes Wines have produced the finest wine sipped at the 2017 competition. But it doesn’t stand alone as an outstanding Riesling, Penfolds Wines 2013 Aged Release Riesling and Brand’s Laira of Coonawarra with their 2016 Old Station Riesling rounded out the top 3, both on 96 points. And all three come from South Australia. South Australia is definitely the state producing the finest wines overall, with 17 wines scoring 96 points or more, followed by Western Australia with nine wines sitting on 96 points. So what should you be looking for when perusing the shelves of your favourite bottle shop or online wine supplier? If the label bears the words South Australia, Western Australia, Riesling, Clare Valley, Barossa or Margaret River it is well worth putting in your basket. If Sauvignon Blanc is more your tipple, look for Margaret River or Mount Lofty Ranges vineyards, and Chardonnay drinkers should venture to the east coast and pick up Hunter Valley or Port Phillip selections. Tasmania is the only place to go for high scoring Pinot Noirs, whilst South Australia produced the most gold medal winning Cabernet Sauvignons. Drink locally by supporting local producers and you’ll enjoy medal-worthy wines every time.
Wondering what to look for in wine for the rest of 2017? The KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show judges have done the work for you so no matter which wine region or territory you would like to support, here are some of the top selections by State. For a full list of the 2017 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show medal winners visit Australia's Best Producers . NSW STEVENS SEMILLON 2011, Tyrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd NOBLE ONE 2015, De Bortoli Wines PEPPER SHIRAZ 2013, Montoro Wines VAT 1 SEMILLON 2017, Tyrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd VAT 47 CHARDONNAY 2013, Tyrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd BRUT TRADITIONELLE NV, Centennial Vineyards CATO TEMPRANILLO 2015, Moppity Vineyards VIC OLD PREMIUM LIQUEUR TOPAQUE NV, Morris Wines CELLAR ONE LIQUEUR TOPAQUE NV, Morris Wines OLD PREMIUM MUSCAT NV, Morris Wines VP 2013, Morris Wines AMEN BREAK CHARDONNAY 2015, Clonal Brothers PENNON HILL CHARDONNAY 2016, Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove GREAT WESTERN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, Best’s Wines Pty Ltd SA RIESLINGFREAK No. 3 CLARE VALLEY RIESLING 2017, John Hughes Wines MATTSCHOSS SINGLE VINEYARD EDEN VALLEY SHIRAZ 2015, St Hallett PEPPERJACK SPARKLING SHIRAZ NV, W Salter And Son THE MARL SHIRAZ 2016, Hentley Farm AGED RELEASE RIESLING 2013, Penfolds Wines Pty Ltd CHRONICLES 7 th GREEN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016, Hardys S.C. PANNELL BARBERA 2016, Stephen Pannell Wines Pty Ltd WA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017, Miles From Nowhere Winemakers SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE 2016, Redgate Wines SRS WALLCLIFFE CHARDONNAY 2016, Flametree Wines DJL SAUVIGNON BLANC SEMILLON 2016, Xanadu Wines MERLOT 2016, Amberley Wines REDBROOK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, Evans & Tate VERSE 1 CABERNET MERLOT 2015, Brookland Valley TAS/ACT GRAND VINTAGE 2008, House of Arras (TAS) PINOT NOIR 2016, Meadowbank Wines (TAS) ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2015, Gala Estate Vineyard (TAS) BRUT ROSÉ 2013, Clover Hill (TAS) 660 CANBERRA SHIRAZ 2016, McWilliam’s Wines Group Pty Ltd (ACT) 1877 SHIRAZ 2015, McWilliam’s Wines Group Pty Ltd (ACT) DEVIL’S CORNER MT AMOS PINOT NOIR 2015, Brown Brothers Tasmania (TAS)
What constitutes a well-trained palate for beer tasting and judging? The judging panel for the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show comprises a combination of beer & cider producers, industry educators and communicators, brewers, industry professionals, sommeliers, retailers and journalists. Each judge is an expert, with an appreciation prepared by years of professional experience. And what exactly are they tasting for in blind judging of beer, cider and perry? Drinkability is important – do you want to drink some more and do you actually like it. Overall, the exhibit is judged on Appearance, Aroma, Flavour, Technical Merit, and Style. When it comes to beer, head retention is amongst the criteria judged, clarity and colour are counted, and hop character is also important. The criteria for cider and perry judging include finish and carbonation, fruit character in the aroma, and acid/fruit/sugar balance. The correct balance of taste, aroma and appearance for the style can mean the difference between a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal for beer, cider and perry exhibits. At Sydney Royal, the judges don’t only taste and rate each product but they provide individual feedback to every exhibitor. This alone is a tremendous reason to enter but coupled with the opportunity to benchmark your product against others and to receive recognition from industry peers, participation is more than rewarded. Neal Cameron, Chair of Judges is the developer and teacher of the Certificate III in Microbrewing at TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute. Neil is also Technical Director for Brewtique, specialising in brewing equipment installs around Australia and Asia. When asked what he would spend his last $10 on, Neal answered: “A decent craft beer, naturally.” And if you’re wondering, as apples are to cider, so pears are to perry.
According to a study jointly conducted by the CSIRO and University of Adelaide, one in six Australians have stopped drinking milk and consuming other dairy products – often in the misguided belief that dairy is bad for their health. Of the 1184 adults surveyed, it was found that the majority of those avoiding dairy (74 per cent) were doing so because they were keen to relieve gastrointestinal problems such as cramping, bloating and wind, while fewer participants admitted avoiding dairy because they believed it was fattening. It’s concerning, but the figures all come down to misinformation, says Blake Robinson, Accredited Practising Dietitian at Dairy Australia (dairyaustralia.com.au), who adds many of those limiting dairy for health reasons are self-diagnosed. “There’s clearly a lot of noise and confusion out there because we know that only one in ten Australians is meeting the daily dairy serve recommendations,” he says. “However I don’t know that there’s any reason to panic about what this study means for our dairy industry – fresh milk consumption has been stable over the last few years and we’re proud to be able to say we’re the only market globally to maintain that.” While dietitians are concerned about what a decrease in dairy consumption could do to our health, what does the CSIRO study mean for our $13 billion dollar dairy industry? At first glance, the figures look great. According to Dairy Australia, Australian milk production increased by nearly 360 million litres (or 3.8 per cent) in 2014/15, and a paper by the Department of Primary Industries recently showed that global demand for Australian dairy products is steadily increasing and expected to grow, driven by demand in China, South East Asia and the Middle East. “Dairy farmers supply a 40/60 split to domestic and export so domestic consumption really is half the story,” says Robinson. One person who is certainly not worried is Country Valley (countrydairy.com.au) dairy farmer, John Fairley whose family has been in the industry on and off for over 160 years. While alternative milk and juices have enjoyed what Fairley calls ‘stealth marketing’, they’ve failed to make a dent in the market nation-wide, and it’s been his experience that the numbers of those who enjoy conventional dairy products are only continuing to grow. “From my personal experience, I can tell you Country Valley continues to do well, and nationally we know the fresh milk market goes up by an average of 1.5 per cent each year,” he says. Similarly, South Coast Dairy (southcoastdairy.com.au) has recently reported a 54 per cent jump in demand for local milk over a one-month period, after social media campaigns demanded a boycott of cheaper milk. But what of the figures released by research company IBIS, which showed that the growth rates for alternative milk such as soy and almond at an average of 5.9 per cent are eclipsing that of traditional dairy? What do we make of new milk products such as Made by Cow (madebycow.com.au) Cold Pressed Milk (a happy medium between totally raw and pasteurised milk), which has just hit the market at $5 for a 750ml bottle? Happily, a 2011 report for Soy Australia Ltd shows Australians, on average, only drink three litres of soy milk per capita, per year – a far cry from the 106.8 litres of cow’s milk we consume. And as for the new milk products, there’s every chance they’ll take those turning their backs on dairy to come back to moo, says Made by Cow’s founder, Saxon Joye. “Since we hit Harris Farm shelves in June, we’ve been told that the volume in their milk category has actually increased,” he confides. “And it’s not that our product is cannibalising others, but that our presence is perhaps pointing to other products on the shelves and increasing those figures – it’s really quite exciting.”
“Going to university, I used to always sneak Riesling from the old man’s cellar and everyone used to call me a Riesling freak, so when I went out by myself the decision was made for me … it had to be Rieslingfreak.” John Hughes, owner and winemaker Rieslingfreak The dream to show the diversity of the Riesling grape has come to fruition with John Hughes picking up five awards at the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show for his Rieslingfreak No.3, 2017 Riesling, including the big two – the KPMG Perpetual Trophy for Best Wine of Show and the Tucker Seabrook Perpetual Trophy for Best State Show Wine. Rieslingfreak No.3 is harvested from the Hughes family vineyard. The heavy red clay soils contribute to the fruit intensity of this wine, providing a fruit driven style of Riesling. Being from Clare, the wine has classic flavours of ripe lemon and lime and some tropical fruit notes. Adding the titles of Best Riesling, Best Young White and Best White to his KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show prizes more than satisfies a goal John Hughes has been chasing since he was 16 years old. Wanting his own wine business, making his own wine under his own wine label led to Rieslingfreak and wine drinkers of Australia should thank John’s father for introducing his son to the grape. “I have made the call that 2017 is the Riesling Vintage of the Century thus far.” John Hughes
If bins full of kitty litter turn you to drink… you would be at the right place! The KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show is on now and as the judges make their way down the rows and through the categories, each mouthful of wine ends up in the bin. Not a statement on the quality, taste or mouth-feel of the wine, it is an unfortunate pre-requisite of the job. With more than 2,000 wines being judged, it is essential to expectorate. Judges swirl the glass, take a sniff, sip, swish and then spit. It is a wine judging, not an all-you-can drink alcohol buffet and it is important to experience the taste of each wine. It could get rather difficult to distinguish and judge each individual wine after indulging in six or seven glasses. Referred to as spit bucket or dump buckets, the bins at the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show are ¼ full of kitty litter to absorb the wine, reduce splashback and soak up the bouquet of so many fermented grapes. Wines are judged on variants including complexity, fruitiness and balance. The KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show engages the most experienced and respected judges in the industry and endorses the development of future judges. The process is overseen by a Chair of Judges and includes six separate judging panels. Each panel consists of one Panel Chair, two Senior Judges and two Associate Judges. Judges use the following point scale to determine medals: Gold Medal for outstanding Exhibits gaining 95.0 points and over Silver Medal for excellent Exhibits gaining 90.0 points but fewer than 95.0 points Bronze Medal for quality Exhibits gaining 85.0 points but fewer than 90.0 points. Previous Gold Medal winners have included Jacob’s Creek 2015 Reserve Barossa Riesling, Hahndorf Hill Winery 2015 Pinot Grigio, Shingleback 2016 Haycutters Salmon Rosé, Bleasdale Vineyards 2014 Second Innings Malbec and Xanadu Wines 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship - applications open 1 August 2017 Established in 1826, the Sydney Royal Wine Show is one of the most prestigious wine shows in Australia. Attracting over 2,200 entries annually from over 300 Exhibitors across Australia, this is the opportunity for producers to have their product benchmarked against a cross-section of key Australian competitors, as well as the opportunity to win a coveted Sydney Royal Medal or Trophy. Along with a judging panel selected by Chair of Judges Samantha Connew and the RAS of NSW Wine Committee, Stewards play a valuable role ensuring each day runs smoothly. Acting as a Steward for the Sydney Royal Wine Show provides unique insight into the wine industry and counts as relevant experience towards an Associate Judge role in the future. The Sydney Royal Wine Show will welcome Viticulture student Hannah McKay from Charles Sturt University as a Steward this year. Employed by the iconic winery Vasse Felix in Margaret River, Western Australia, Ms McKay studies by distance travelling regularly from WA to NSW for her degree. This commitment to her education and her goal of becoming a leading female viticulturist saw Ms McKay awarded the 2017 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship. The Sydney Royal Wine Committee along with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) offers an annual tertiary scholarship, which honours the memory and contribution of Graham Thorp, Chair of the Sydney Royal Wine Committee from 1984 - 1990. Sydney Royal Wine Committee Chair, Sally Evans, commended Ms McKay for her inspiring vision of how she plans to be involved in the future success of the Australian wine industry. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer the opportunity of stewarding at the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine show to Ms McKay, who will benefit greatly from the learnings and networks she will receive access to. She not only impressed us with her passion for viticulture but also her desire to play a leading role in encouraging more young women into the wine industry,” Ms Evans said. Ms McKay started working in the vineyards near her family home in the Southern Highlands of NSW after walking away from an office job and fell in love with the industry. Her interest lies in combining traditional farming practices with land management techniques and native species and exploring more sustainable ways of growing wine grapes in Australia. “I’m thrilled to be selected for this amazing scholarship and excited about the opportunities it will bring as I work towards my goal of being a leading female viticulturist,” “I am excited to connect with other like-minded people across Australia at the upcoming wine show and will use this scholarship to strengthen the precision and quality of Australian viticulture and wine,” she said. RAS Foundation Executive Officer, Kate Ross, said the scholarship offers a welcome financial boost to our next generation of wine industry leaders as they strive to excel in their chosen careers. “The fact that our 2017 scholarship recipient has chosen to relocate far from home and undertake distance studies while working in the wine industry shows a real commitment,” Ms Ross said. Applications for the 2018 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship open on 1 August, the scholarship offers $6,000 for full-time study or $3,000 towards part-time education. www.rasnsw.com.au/foundation/scholarships-and-grants/sydney-royal-wine-scholarship/
As cider is made from apples, perry is made from pears. And award-winning beer is made from blood, sweat and yeast! The Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show is open for entries now, but you’ll need to get your hops on – entries close on 11 July. Supporting the Australian Beer & Cider industry, by attracting the very best professionals as Judges and Stewards and providing an excellent environment for networking and professional development to all participants, the competition promotes and rewards excellence in the Australian beverage industry. Previous Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show winners include Sydney Brewery, Matilda Bay, Redoak and Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. All exhibits are of Australian origin, brewed in Australia and with all business names registered in Australia. All Cider and Perry Exhibits must be made using Australian-grown apples and pears. No additional flavours are allowed to be added. At Sydney Royal the judges don’t only taste and rate each exhibit, they also provide individual feedback to every exhibitor. Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show exhibitors have included Bridge Road Brewers, Franklin Cider Company, 4 Pines Brewing Co. and Lion Australia, with entry numbers increasing over the past ten years of competition. This is an outstanding opportunity to for beer, cider and perry producers and brewers to benchmark their product against competitors and draw attention to their beverages. As well as pride and prestige, a Sydney Royal win provides a springboard to increase returns. All winners receive Sydney Royal medal or trophy artwork designed to be used across a wide range of marketing collateral. There is also the opportunity to present and promote medal-winning products at the Sydney Royal Easter Show – an event that attracts on average 850,000 visitors every year, and the opportunity to be handpicked by Sydney Showground to supply your medal-winning product at hundreds of events that happen on site throughout the year. The Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show – entries close 11 July, judging takes place 19 September, awards night 22 September… find out more at www.rasnsw.com.au/beercider and discover if beauty truly is in the eye of the beer holder.
Words: Jodie Van Der Velden With the Easter holiday celebration just weeks away, there’s no doubt chocolate consumption in Australia will spike. Chocolate eggs, said to be an ancient symbol of new life and resurrection and celebration of spring returning, have been associated with this religious holiday since the early 19 th century in Europe. With chocolate on everyone’s minds and palates at this time of year, it’s timely to reflect on all things chocolate and where Australia sits in the chocolate world. The Australian chocolate industry has experienced a rapid evolution over the last decade, with Australian artisan chocolatiers producing as beautiful chocolate products as those found in the luxurious chocolateries of Europe. At the 2013 World Chocolate Masters competition, Australia won third place ahead of Italy (first place) and Netherlands (second place) as well as winning Best Architect of the world - globe. These results clearly highlight the quality of training and innovation found here in Australia. Contemporary Australian trends in chocolate are very much in line with current global trends. Consumers are continually becoming more discerning through increased health awareness and education. Whilst there are certainly still consumers that are satisfied with mass manufactured low grade chocolate products, there is a rapidly growing consumer group that is concerned with the ethics and sustainability behind growing and harvesting cacao, and the manufacturing of chocolate. Consumers are now interested in single origin and single plantation chocolates. These products are made from cacao beans grown in a single location or plantation and contain individual flavour profiles drawn from the cacao bean, rather than the addition of flavours. As the health benefits of chocolate are continually revealed, astute consumers are very conscious of artificial ingredients. There is a growing trend to choose quality over quantity, with consumers turning towards high-quality dark chocolate rather than milk and white chocolates which contain a high sugar, low cacao content. Favourable consumer attitudes towards higher quality chocolate products have caused a decline in demand for some mass manufactured lower grade chocolate products. This trend has resulted in more opportunities for boutique artisan chocolatiers to contribute to the market. Consumers have become more daring than ever before and are trying, and loving, unique flavour combinations, such as chilli and mango, lime and basil, saffron, and balsamic vinegar. The Sydney Royal Chocolate Competition is an ideal showcase for Australia’s chocolatiers. In my role as Chief Chocolate Judge, I’ve witnessed greater emphasis being placed upon innovation and the use of high quality natural ingredients from producers. To see beautifully crafted, innovative chocolate products that have been executed with outstanding technical expertise and skill, being rewarded with Sydney Royal Gold Medals is a very rewarding experience in itself. These awards are invaluable to the winner in acknowledging their outstanding product and encouraging further innovation to lead the Australian chocolate industry into the future. About Jodie Van Der Velden Jodie Van Der Velden is the Chair of Judges for the 2016 Callebaut Sydney Royal Show and has been Chief Judge of Sydney Royal Chocolate competitions since 2012. Ms Van Der Velden has 10 years’ experience as a professional chocolatier. Her passion for the craft has been rewarded through myriad accolades. Considerable time spent in cacao plantations all over the world, working to understand the raw product in its natural state, has contributed in no small part to Ms Van Der Velden’s superior palate and the success of Josophan’s Fine Chocolates, which she founded in 2005.
WORDS: Lyndey Milan This content first appeared in RAS Times March 2010. Seasonality is something too often forgotten in the city, yet take a walk through your local farmers' market or fruiterer and the produce available loudly declares the season as surely as do the paddocks in the country. Best of all, eating in season means you pay less and eat better - as long as you stick to Australian food rather than expensive product imported out of season. It also tastes better and is more environmentally sustainable as it has not had to travel. NSW is blessed with a diverse, if challenging climate, so a huge range is available here from different regions. Farmers are an inventive lot and increasingly we see wonderful value added product. These are judged annually at the Sydney Royal Wine, Cheese & Dairy, Fine Food, Beer & Cider and Chocolate Shows. A Sydney Royal gold, silver or bronze medal is the consumer's guarantee of quality. Buy products with these badges and the hard work of selecting the best based on an exhaustive criteria has been done for you. Although Sydney Royal Food judging dates back to the late 19 th century, the Fine Food competitions as we now know them had their genesis in 1997. Today they're advancing new forms of agriculture, reflective of modern eating habits. Noted for its independence and high standards, all products in Sydney Royal competitions must be Australian and, with the exception of the Cheese & Dairy Produce Show, are judged blind. Competitions are split between Summer and Spring Shows according to seasonality. In summer, competitions include coffee, aquaculture and professional bakery while spring is the season for regional food, branded beef, branded lamb, deli meat, pasta and olive oil. Specialist judging panels comprise diverse experts, for example, winemakers, technical experts, industry professionals, chefs, industry specific media, marketers and educators. The level of excellence is not compromised or altered from year to year, as medals are not awarded to the 'best products on the day'; rather they go to products that achieve a pre-determined standard. There may be none, or many medals awarded in any given year. Gold Medal products are eligible to progress to be considered for the coveted Champion status. Competition is fierce and medals so highly regarded, they are not only a reward for hard work, but translate to sales at the checkout. Now that you are armed with your medal winning wine, fine food or cheese, all you need to create a fabulous meal for your family and friends is seasonal fruit and vegetables. In autumn out for new season Bonza, Jonathon and Royal Gala apples, Thompson Seedless and Red Globe grapes, Williams and Beurre Bosc pears, rockmelon, watermelon and sweet pineapple. As the weather cools you'll also find new season crisp Asian greens such as bok choy or gai lan; snake beans, broccoli, capsicum, snow peas, baby sweetcorn and birdseye chillis are a must for the stir-fry. Winter is the month for citrus with an abundance of grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and Navel oranges. Wonderful root vegetables, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, fennel and silverbeet are also seasonal favourites and add great flavour to comfort food. Spring brings peas, artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, leeks, spinach and gorgeous red rhubarb to the table. In summer, add crunch to your recipes with capsicum, celery, cucumbers and snow peas. And of course, those long summer days are perfect to indulge in berries, cherries, melons and stone fruit. Try poached plums with creamy lemon scented yoghurt and nougat with coffee - all medal winners of course! Happy cooking and eating with Sydney Royal medal winners and the best seasonal fruit and vegetables. Lyndey Milan OAM Lyndey Milan was elected to the RAS Council in September 1996. She was founding Chair of the Fine Foods Committee and completed six years as Chair of the Wine Committee. She won Best Food TV in the Gourmand World Awards for her series Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia (which features the Sydney Royal Easter Show) and won Best TV Chef Cookbook (in English) for the accompanying book which also took out 3 rd place for the Best of the Best in the last 20 years at the Frankfurt Book Fair. She has also recently released her own affordable baking range. Visit www.lyndeymilan.com for more information.
The secret to a great beef-burger is not one, but two cuts of delicious Australian farm-fresh beef. A hit of spice, a dab of mustard, hand-cut chips – it’s perfect for entertaining. Ingredients: 400g chuck beef, diced 400g beef rump steak, diced 2 tsp fine salt 2 tsp Herb de Provence Cooking oil spray 4 slice Provolone cheese 4 crusty rolls, split 2 Tbsp aioli 1 Tbsp mustard seed oil 1 cup radicchio leaves, torn 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced ½ white onion, sliced into rings Thick-cut chips, to serve Instructions: 1. Combine the beef, salt and Herb de Provence in a bowl, toss well, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Pass through the wide blade of a mincer, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Pass again through the wide blade of a mincer, keeping the strands of the meat parallel. Wrap tightly in cling film to form a log, then refrigerate for 1 hour. Slice into four patties. 2. Sprinkle with cooking oil spray, then cook on a hot barbeque for 4 minutes each side, until just firm. Top with cheese while still hot. Brush the rolls with aioli and mustard, then build radicchio and tomato on top. Place a pattie on the salad, finish with onion, then serve with thick-cut chips. WORDS: Ed Halmagyi This recipe was first published in roughcut magazine issue 3 June 2016
WORDS: Alexandra Malfroy Article first appeared RAS Times November 2012 Italy, Spain and Greece have for centuries been regarded as the world's top olive oil producers. The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin, so it's no surprise that they have dominated the market for so long. Australian olive oil producers, however, have been enjoying the effects of a burgeoning local industry, and are now being noticed for their quality olive oil production. Someone who has witnessed this industry growth and tasted first-hand the increasing quality of Australian olive oil is Sydney Royal Fine Food Judge and Chair of Judges for the Olive Oil Competition, Peter Olson. Peter has been associated with the industry since the mid-1980s and was part of the team responsible for forming Australia's inaugural olive oil testing panel, the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel, in 2005. "I was involved with chemical testing and analysis of oils with the NSW Department of Agriculture, when olive oil came into the picture. We realised that part of the International Olive Council standard required not only chemical testing, but taste testing to ensure extra virgin quality, which is the superior grade of oil," says Peter. The panel has maintained International Olive Council recognition since formation and assisted Australian olive oil being recognised on the world stage. Peter has been retired from his role as head of the Sensory Panel since 2009, and now travels to shows around the country to judge olive oil. He has seen huge growth in the industry over recent years. "Around the time the Sensory Panel was formed, the olive oil industry was recognised as an emerging industry by the Federal Agricultural Department," says Peter. "By around 2008, it was recognised as a major industry. So in around four years, it grew substantially." Several factors contributed to the increased interest and production levels of Australian olive oil, particularly gaining momentum from the mid-90s. Consumers became more interested in Mediterranean cuisine and began incorporating more olive oil into their diets; producers saw the opportunity to fill the gap in the huge import market of olive products; and the advancement of harvesting equipment reduced production costs for producers, which previously had been a major challenge for producers to remain viable. Australia's similar climatic conditions to the Mediterranean, coupled with Australian producers perfecting their planting and production over recent years, has resulted in the production of superior extra virgin oil. "It's been an evolving process over the years to determine the best places for us to grow olives," explains Peter. "Obviously, different areas have different micro-climates, and olive tree varieties are grown better in certain conditions. There were some horrendous droughts as well that forced many owners to sell." Benchmarking quality olive oil Coinciding with the growth and development within the olive oil industry, the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show launched the Olive Oil Competition in 1998 to reward producers and enable quality benchmarking within the industry. Classes judged include several extra virgin olive oil classes as well as classes for olives and associated products. All oil judged must be Australian extra virgin olive oil. Entry figures and medals have fluctuated over the years, mainly due to the industry being faced with tough environmental conditions affecting their harvest. The 2012 competition was no exception. "What I have heard from different producers is that there was rain at the wrong time after flowering, which didn't allow for pollination to take place and obtain the yields they had hoped for," says Peter. "I'd say it was simply the agricultural conditions - they either work in your favour or they don’t…that’s just agriculture!" The conditions, which don't necessarily impact on the olive oil quality, did result in olive oil production being low in many states; entry levels in the competition were also lower than previous years. Despite there being a mixed standard of entries in 2012, there were some superior products that shone above the rest. "We awarded three excellent products with gold medals during the 2012 competition," says Peter. "There were many silvers awarded but they didn’t quite get to the level of excellence that we are looking for as judges. But to get a silver medal in Sydney Royal is still a great achievement, all medallists should be congratulated." Extra virgin is best "A good olive oil has to be extra virgin", says Peter. "To be extra virgin it has to go through the hoops - the chemical analysis as well as the sensory analysis." Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of oil, and also the healthiest. It is produced naturally from the best olives off the tree, without chemicals and heat. As natural oil, it should have no more than 0.8 per cent acidity. Peter, who has been judging oil for seven years, says fresh extra virgin olive oil, if prepared correctly, should have a good fruity aroma. "By fruitiness this can mean grassy, herbaceous or aromas like pomme fruits, such as apples and pears, right through to tropical fruits like pineapples," he says. "Olive oil can develop many different aromas. It depends on the variety and ripeness of the olive as to the kind of complexity and intensity of the fruity aromas you can get." He also points out that other attributes come into play when judging olive oil, such as bitterness and pungency. "People often wonder about that, but a balance of bitterness and pungency within the oil provides complexity and a promise of stability," he says. "The shelf life of the oil also wouldn't be very long without having these antioxidants – the polyphenolics in olives - which give the bitterness and pungency." Unlike many other food judging competitions, judges of olive oil don't consider colour or appearance as much as aroma and flavour when judging oil. Western Australia produces Champion oil Chapman River Olives from Geraldton took out two awards for their Murphy Yetna Queen of Spain Cora Oil at the 2012 Sydney Royal Oil Olive Competition. They won Champion Commercial Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champion Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Show, the top award of the Show. Farm manager Russell Lewis began planting olive trees on the family farm, located by the Chapman River in WA, in 1999. The business has gone from strength to strength, winning medals for their oil since production began in 2005. The olive groves, grown in rich red valley soil, produced the Queen of Spain oil varieties which took out the prestigious medals in the competition. Judges commended the oil for its tropical fruit flavours of guava, passionfruit and honey dew. "We believe that 'good soil makes good oil'. Our soil type and quality water, plus plenty of sun and organic fertilizer produces premium oil," says Russell. Russell says winning a Sydney Royal medal is a great marketing tool for their business. "Winning awards is one way of marketing ourselves better. We're aiming to market smarter with smaller packaging due to the tight margin with prices and production costs. Having a medal on your product definitely helps." Illegitimate labelling of some extra virgin products on the shelves, as well as consumer perception, are obstacles Russell says the Australian industry still needs to overcome. "European imports have had a dream run here for 200 years. Many consumers still believe that Italian olive oil is superior to Australian product," he says. "There's also dishonest labelling of many extra virgin products on shelves, mostly imports. Luckily we have some very dedicated people in the industry who have been leading the push for honest label legislation for some time now." While the industry still faces these challenges, as well as high production costs, Russell hopes he can continue growing his business. "It [the olive oil industry] got going seriously back in the 1960s but fizzled due to production costs, mostly due to a lack of mechanical harvesting ability back then," says Russell. "I am quite passionate about the survival of our industry this time." Australian olive oil The future of the industry looks bright. Australians are increasingly choosing Australian olive oil at the supermarkets over European imports, and exports to international markets are on the rise. "Australians have gone from very little use of olive oil to being much more aware of it," Peter Olson says. "When I was leader of the Sensory Panel, I noticed that only about 10 per cent of olive oil on supermarket shelves was Australian. But it's now around 50 per cent, which is a great sign." The Australian Olive Association (AOA) has played a major role in changing consumer perception through campaigns. In 2009, renowned chef Matt Moran spearheaded a large campaign for the AOA to promote that 'fresher tastes better' when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. According to the AOA, 95 per cent of olive oil produced in Australia is extra virgin olive oil. One of the challenges the industry still faces, however, is illegitimate labelling. Peter hopes progress will continually be made in this area. "Many imported oils on supermarket shelves were labelled extra virgin, when in fact, they were not. We've certainly raised awareness with supermarkets about this and influenced them to not buy and sell so many oils that aren't extra virgin olive oil," explains Peter. "We don't mind imported oils, as long as they're extra virgin." A positive development in the industry did occur in 2011 when Standards Australia approved a new olive oil standard to bolster consumer protection and tackle mislabelling and misrepresentation. The standard, "unambiguously defines what constitutes Extra Virgin Olive Oil", among other stringent rules. "There is now a legislative 'strong arm' to ensure the standard for the country is reached and to help supermarkets realise that's what they should do," says Peter. With consumer perception towards Australian olive oil improving, with more consumers opting for Australian extra virgin oil at the supermarket, the export market for Australian olive oil is also on the rise. "There is a huge growth in Asian countries for the taste of olive oil; they're changing their diets to include it. So there continues to be growth. Sure there will be ups and downs in agricultural conditions, but the demand is there," says Peter. "The industry is always moving forward."
WORDS: Alexandra Malfoy Article first appeared RAS Times November 2011 Judging the best chilli products may not be everyone's idea of a good time. But what type of person does it take to taste and test the piquant product? There seems to be more to chillies, and the people who love them, than meets the eye. If you like chillies, you're most probably a gregarious person. That's according to Sydney Royal Fine Food Judges Carol Selva Rajah, Scott Succow and Edward 'Ted' Davis. "It's a food that people with an outgoing personality gravitate towards. You wouldn't eat chilli by yourself. You eat it in a group of people. If you're a chilli person, you're social. How much fun do you have when you're sitting at home and perspiring by yourself?" laughs Carol, who is a food writer, teacher and chef. Carol, Scott and Ted are food connoisseurs and self-confessed chilli lovers (and in case you were wondering, are all quite outgoing in nature). They were recently tasked with judging the best chilli products at the Spring Sydney Royal Fine Food Show across four classes: sauces, chutneys, jams and relishes. Judging chilli products may seem like a terrifying task to those with sensitive palates, with chillies renowned for leaving a burning sensation in the mouth. The heat from chillies is derived from capsicanoids , several compounds found in the tissue near the seeds. When eaten, capsaicinoids bind with pain receptors in the lining of the mouth that are responsible for sensing heat. These powerful compounds are also used in capsicum spray in the police force. Luckily for chilli consumers, repeated exposure to capsaicinoids depletes these receptors, enabling chillies to be eaten with less impact. One of the most common myths about chilli products is 'the hotter the chilli the better'. For the judges the criterion is much more complex than just the heat of the product. It's a combination of sight, smell and taste. "If the chilli is too hot, it's often negative as it masks other nuances and flavours in the product," explains Ted, who is 'partially' retired with a background in food teaching and restaurants. Ted continues his involvement with chillies through the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and has judged chilli products for the past five years. "With the products we're judging, we're looking for the positives in look, smell and taste. The texture is really important. It's as important as it looks, as it is in the mouth," he says. Scott Succow, who hails from America but now teaches at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, says it's all about the right balance between flavours when selecting the finest chilli products. "We're looking for something that has gone beyond the raw ingredient. Something with complexity, but that also has harmony. The ingredients need to complement each other, but you still need to know it is chilli. It’s really a balancing act. It needs to be pleasant but not harsh," he says. For any products that did get the mouth burning and sweat on the brow, the judges had a tub of yoghurt on hand. "We use dairy to clear our palates in our judging role, to neutralise and move on to the next product," says Carol. People using water to quell the burning sensation after eating hot chilli products is a common mistake, she says. "Whatever you do, don’t drink water. Water spreads the chilli oil down your throat." The only way to get rid of the burning from a really hot chilli, Carol advises, is to eat a banana, which is a custom from India. According to the three chilli connoisseurs, the standard of products entered into this year's competition was high, and the quality had improved from previous years. Last year no gold medal was awarded. This year a Hot Lime Pickle condiment took home the one and only gold award. The judges were full of praise for the product. "There was plenty of lime but the chilli came through and it was beautifully pickled. There was no harshness in the rind and it didn't separate from the rest of the ingredients. The lime was there but it was mellow," says Ted. "The main thing was the chilli didn't get lost, because lime itself is a dominant flavour, but it balanced beautifully. It is a very good product." Along with the one gold medal awarded, three silver and two bronze medals were awarded in the chilli classes. The Chilli products form part of the Regional Food Competition at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. Regional Food was introduced to the Show in 2003 to feature unique regional products from around Australia, and has since grown to include 33 classes across sweet, savoury and speciality products. This year, the chilli classes expanded to include sauces, dressings, jams, relishes and traditional kassoundi. According to the judges, the future of the chilli and associated products looks promising. "Looking at the products today has renewed me with fresh hope we're going in the right direction. The good news for people that enjoy chillies is they've never been more available and there's never been more variety," says Ted. Scott believes Australia is catching up to other leading chilli nations. "In the United States (of America), chillies are everywhere as there are cultures that hold the chilli up high and embrace it. Lately I have seen the appreciation and market here is growing," he says. For what may seem like a strange love for some, there is no denying the enthusiasm and passion towards chillies from the three judges. "People like a bit of fun in their life. Chilli is one of a few products that most people would smile when they talk about it. They smile for two reasons - because they like it, or because they have played party tricks tasting the hottest chilli. They hark back to the days... 'Oh I remember when...'" laughs Ted. "So there's a lot going for chillies." "There's a lot of Vitamin C in them too, they're great for your health," adds Carol. For Scott, it's the big, bold flavours that attract him to the product. "Chilli is one of the few things that can give you pleasure and pain at the same time," he says. "It's like going to a scary movie. You don't want to be scared, but you like it, because it gets your heart racing. That's what chillies do. They get your heart racing; they make you know you're alive."
Shiny medals emblazoned on bottles catch our eye when we're looking for a drop to either impress or indulge friends and family. But just how easy is it to win an award in a competition like the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show? We spoke to Samantha Connew, KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show Chair of Judges to find out how the medal system works and how we, the end consumers, benefit. What system of judging does the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show employ? The KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show follows the best practice recommendations developed by the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology. Senior industry professionals have contributed to the development of step-by-step recommendations which were updated at the end of 2015 and captured in a 72 page document. Best practice wine judging isn't about awarding medals like the Olympics. There isn't just one gold, silver, and bronze. Best practice scores exhibits out of a possible 100 points. It's a system that gives exhibitors meaningful feedback they can use to improve and market their product. For any given show, there will be multiple medals of each colour awarded. A gold standard wine is one that has been given between 95 - 100 points, a silver medal wine 90 - 94, and bronze 85 - 89. Something else people may not be aware of, is that the judging is conducted 'blind', meaning judges don't see labels or bottles that could influence them. Is that how other wine competitions are judged? In Australia, pretty much every wine show follows this best practice method of judging. The show network in New South Wales is particularly strong. The Sydney Royal team communicate regularly with other show societies in the state sharing advice, knowledge and feedback. That said I'd like to think Sydney Royal plays a leadership role in this state. As part of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW we have a proud history dating back to 1822. So we've had plenty of practice to get it right! For us, it starts with the selection of expert judges (who are rotated annually to avoid judging fatigue). Then we create the best possible environment they can work in. What is the best environment to judge wine in? Space is important and the huge pavilions at Sydney Showground facilitate being able to assess wine on its merits. There's a large back of house area to ensure judges aren't exposed to labels or bottles. And everyone has individual judging benches so there are no distractions. Other factors like the correct temperatures of the room and wine; lighting and glassware are also important. Getting it right comes down to the people managing the competition. The KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show has the expert support of full-time permanent competition coordinators employed by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW who make it all happen. What does it take to be a KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show judge? The right training and experience is essential. Industry professionals who have completed the Len Evans Tutorial, the Advanced Wine Assessment Course run by the Australian Wine Research Institute, or have certification from The Wine & Spirit Education Trust or the Court of Master Sommeliers, will be considered. As for experience, we're looking for people who have exposure to wine on a daily basis such as winemakers, sommeliers, and industry sales and marketing professionals. Medal-winning wines are generally more expensive. Are we funding a marketing ploy or genuinely paying for quality? There are costs involved in entering competitions, but ultimately the price on a bottle is an indication of its quality. That old adage, 'you get what you pay for', definitely applies in the wine industry and there's plenty of scientific evidence to back it up. That said, it is great to promote wines which we feel over deliver for the price tag, which is why we have value trophies for both red and white wines. There's obvious commercial benefits for winemakers, but what can the end consumer gain from these competitions? The short answer? We're drinking better wine because of them! The Australian wine show judging system is one of the most, if not the most, robust systems in the world. It has been developed over many, many years to promote quality to consumers and provide feedback to winemakers. A medal on a bottle from a credible Australian wine show like Sydney Royal is absolutely an indication of a high standard of quality. It's reassurance you’re buying and serving the best. Through the Australian wine show system, these competitions have helped raise the standard of production which is why you're seeing more medals in your local bottle shop. It's something every Australian can be proud of.
Spoil dad with these scrumdiddlyumptious selections from the 2016 Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food Shows. BEER Gold American Pale Ale www.napoleonebrewers.com.au Napoleone Brewers, Coldstream NSW 3770 Gold Silent Knight Porter www.mobrewing.com.au Modus Operandi Brewing, Mona Vale 2567 Champion Lovedale Lager www.sydneybrewery.com Sydney Brewery, Lovedale NSW 2325 WINE Trophy 2014 Second Innings Malbec www.bleasdale.com.au Blesadale Vineyards, Langhorne Creek SA 5255 Trophy 2014 CCS Shiraz www.chalkerscrossing.com.au Chalkers Crossing, Young NSW 2594 CHEESE Gold Heritage Vintage www.begacheese.com.au Bega Cheese, Bega NSW 2550 BACON Gold Canadian Style Maple Bacon www.germanbutchery.com.au German Butchery, Mona Vale NSW 2103 LAMB Champion Grass Fed Lamb www.millyhill.com.au Milly Hill Lamb Pty Ltd, Armidale NSW 2350 BEEF Champion Grass Fed Beef www.bindareebeef.com.au Bindaree Beef Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW 2000 OLIVE OIL Champion Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil www.cobramestate.com.au Cobram Estate, Lara VIC 3212 COFFEE Best in Show Kenya www.mycuppa.com.au Carlini Coffee Company, Ashburton VIC 3147
Invite your friends over, pop on some green and gold and cheer on our athletes! Stave off those late nights and early mornings by fuelling up with these gold medal delights from the Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food Shows. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! BEER Champion Matilda Bay Redback Original www.cascadebreweryco.com.au Bottled Beer CUB Cascade Brewery Co Pty Ltd, Hobart, TAS BISCUIT Gold Lavoshthins Caramelised Onion www.kurrajongkitchen.com.au Kurrajong Kitchen, Richmond, NSW CHEESE Gold Heritage Vintage www.begacheese.com.au Bega Cheese, Bega, NSW COFFEE Champion Australian Single Origin www.artofespresso.com.au Art of Espresso Coffee Company, Young, NSW DELI MEAT Gold Spanish Chorizo www.german-butchery.com.au German Butchery, Mona Vale, NSW DELI MEAT Gold Smoked Chicken Breast www.kaczanowski.com.au Kaczanowski & Co, South Strathfield, NSW DIP Gold Pesto Swirl www.paradisebeach.ws Paradise Beach Purveyors P/L, Avalon Beach, NSW SWEETS Gold Salted Vanilla Caramels www.sweetness.com.au Sweetness the Patisserie Pty Ltd, Epping, NSW WINE Gold 2015 Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir www.debortoli.com.au De Bortoli Wines, Bilbul, NSW WINE Gold 2015 Yellow Label Pinot Noir www.wolfblass.com Wolf Blass Wines Pty Ltd, Nurioopta, SA