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.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Under the watchful gaze of Delta, Seal, Kelly Rowland and Boy George the ladies lined up for the Final of the 300mm Ladies Single Handed Sawing Championship in the Channel 9 Woodchop Stadium… it was taken out by the competitor from the USA.. so then the boys lined up for the First Division 350mm Underhand Handicap and it was taken out by the competitor from Canada. When the chips are down we obviously need more home-grown spectators cheering our axemen and women to victory! Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… George the Farmer is the Australian farming world’s song and dance man, and he was created especially for children. He is larger than life, full of fun and appearing at the Show with terrific messages about agriculture and life on a farm. Catch him in the Woolworths Fresh Food Farm today. The Land Sydney Royal Showgirls will be honoured with a parade at Spotless Stadium at 5.50pm. So far they’ve cuddled pigs, fed sheep, met a whole lot of people and memorised a whole lot of names, posed for more photos than they will ever remember and their smiles, charm and friendliness have been endless. These young ladies are absolutely passionate about agriculture and deserve a big crowd giving them a wave!
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.
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
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.
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)
The Calgary Stampede is Canada’s spectacular celebration of western heritage and values, 10 days of rodeos, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon races, and the famous International Livestock Auctioneer Championships. For 29 years the fastest mouths on the land have won their way into the Championship, to be judged on rhythm, clarity, voice control, and livestock knowledge, as well as their ability to spot bids and conduct a sale. Only three times over the history of the competition has the title of Rookie of the Year left Canada, and all three times the Championship belt buckle has flown to a new home in Australia! In 1999 Luke Scicluna from NSW won the title. In 2016, Ronnie Dix from South Australia took out the title, and in 2017, the Calgary Stampede International Auctioneer Championship Rookie of the Year title was won by Lincoln McKinlay from Queensland. Ronnie Dix and Lincoln McKinlay both entered the competition as part of their prize package as winners of the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) National Young Auctioneers Competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Each year the best young auctioneers from around the country travel to Sydney to compete in the ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition. It is an opportunity to display their passion and dedication, and to gain exposure at a state and national level. The win this year at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and the ticket to Calgary were pretty special for Lincoln. “It’s somewhere I’ve always dreamed of going and ending up, it was super special for me to win the Australian competition, let alone to go and compete with the best in the world on such a big stage like the Calgary Stampede,” he said.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Olive oil was first judged at the Show in 1869 in a class called ‘’Oilmen’s Stores’’ in the Articles of Colonial Manufacture section. This year an olive oil was awarded the 2016 Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) President’s Medal. A President’s Medal winner must not only show a market leading product and quality but an operation which strictly observes environmental sustainability in its production practices. Cobram Estate’s road to the 2016 President’s Medal followed three wins in the 2016 Sydney Royal Olive Oil awards. Cobram Estate won for Best Olive Oil, Champion Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil and ultimately “Best In Show” Olive Oil or Olive Product. The President’s Medal recognises the recipient as the nation’s “best of the best” across the food and wine sectors judged through the Sydney Royal competitions. The vision of horticulturalists Rob McGavin and Paul Riordan, Cobram Estate produces and markets supreme quality olive oils for Australian and international consumption. Accepting the award, co-founder of Cobram Estate Rob McGavin expressed his gratitude; “We are really humbled and honoured to win this prestigious award,” he said. “What we are especially proud of is that the quality of what we are able to produce at Cobram Estate is readily available to everyone in Australia at an affordable price,” Mr McGavin said. Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… In 1932, livestock in the Grand Parade formed the shape of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to celebrate its opening. This year, the livestock may not position themselves into a particular shape, but they will certainly find a place in your heart… or your national pride. The final Grand Parade for the 2017 Show is on today at Spotless Stadium at 4.15pm. Dog competitions featured early in the history of the Show. The 1869 catalogue listed classes for Bloodhounds, Newfoundlands, Retrievers, Pointers, Setters, Spaniels, Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Skye Terriers, English Terriers, Bulldogs, Sheepdogs and even Kangaroos. The 14 April 2017 catalogue lists the following for judging: Tibetan Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Australian Silky terrier, Norfolk Terrier, St Bernard, Pug and more. Attracting over 4,000 entries across Conformation, Agility, Obedience, Junior Handler, and Sweepstake classes, the Purina Pro Plan Sydney Royal Dog Show is officially the largest canine competition in Australia with an impeccable global reputation. The Show is a great place to talk to breeders about and work out if a particular breed is right for you. Pity they bounced kangaroos out of the competition!
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… A red-tailed black cockatoo flew across the Amphitheatre and landed on the arm of a nervous looking young girl before a yellow-crested cockatoo swooped in and pinched $70 and a credit card from a stranger’s wallet… but no need to call the police, it was all part of the fantastic Feathered Friends Free Flight Bird Show. Feathered Friends is licensed by the Department of Primary Industries to educate and train wildlife, and presented at the Show to educate and entertain Showgoers. You can catch a performance every day of the Show, 1pm in The Amphitheatre and a word of advice – keep your wallet safely hidden in your pocket! The voices of 195 new Australians filled The Amphitheatre, “From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.” It was an emotional moment for the new citizens and the friends that had gathered to help wipe away the tears of joy and pride. Holding an Australian Citizenship Ceremony at the Show makes complete sense, in 1882 the Royal Agricultural Society was founded by immigrants to this country, some of the first settlers to Australia who were struggling to adapt to their new environment and the problems they were facing with crops and farming. They needed to band together and to help each other. One of the aims of the Society was to exchange ideas and practices. In their second year, they put on a Show, which became an annual event and was a gathering to encourage and promote the rural industry. The Show also gave farmers the opportunity to come together and gain first-hand knowledge of farming trends and advances. In the past decade, many new immigrants have worked in the agricultural sector, helping to redress labour shortages and most importantly – adding new skills and innovative insights. Immigrants, moving out to rural areas, have re-energised many regional and rural towns. The agricultural industry warmly welcomes immigrants and the insights they can bring to farming. Acceptance and generosity are trademarks of our farming and regional communities. It was a privilege to watch 195 new citizens officially call Australia home. Why 195? It’s the number of years that the RAS has existed. Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… It’s Senior’s Day! Not only do Seniors ride FREE with a paying child on selected rides in the Kids’ Carnival and Coca-Cola Carnival, The Amphitheatre lawn is the place to go if you’re a Senior’s Card holder. Enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee, have a chat with the helpful staff from 5 Ombudsman schemes, seniors’ services including Legal Aid and the friendly faces from BaptistCare and National Seniors Australia. There’s also giveaways, free entertainment and some amazing prizes to be won!
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.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Murray Wilkinson used nothing but whistles to put cattle through an obstacle course on Spotless Stadium. No, the cattle weren’t responding to the whistling, Murray’s working dogs were doing all the work. A small herd of 7 or 8 is easy for these dogs at the Show – they are used to moving 13000 head of cattle on the Packer family owned Ellerston Pastoral Company located east of Scone, NSW. Taking time off work the dogs, and Murray, have moved to the Show for two weeks to let city folk see exactly what a working dog is supposed to do. Each dog responds to a personalised whistled command… yes, Zac will sit patiently whilst Merle moves the cattle, but once Zac hears his whistle up he jumps and takes over or assists Chime and Boo with their moves! If you’re having trouble getting your dog to sit or stand still, perhaps you should have a talk to Murray or at least teach yourself how to whistle. Catch Murray Wilkinson and His Working Dogs in Spotless Stadium any day at the Show. Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Cartoon characters are taking over The Amphitheatre… Off the back of DreamWorks' movie release, the stars of Trolls - Poppy and Branch - will bring music, rainbows and friendship to audiences in a live-action show. Poppy has a song in her heart; she knows life is all about cupcakes and rainbows. Meanwhile, Branch is very cautious and careful but is always ready for anything – except perhaps for Poppy’s personality! Poppy and Branch might have their ups and downs, but they always make friends and understand each other in the end. You’ll find them singing and dancing in the Amphitheatre today. What happens when Tweety Bird and Daffy Duck run away and join the circus? Families with young children will find out in the Looney Tunes Circus Spectacular. It’s filled with amazing aerial acts including trapeze, silks, comedy routines, clowns, hula hoops, contortion and more.The 30-minute performance, to be held in The Amphitheatre, is all about strength, balance and beauty as stars of the Looney Tunes world defy gravity.
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."
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.
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.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… The final Grand Parade was a showstopper – Spotless Stadium was packed to the rafters as Showgoers in the thousands stopped to silently applaud the cattle, horses, sheep, woodchoppers, officials and more… and to thank them for their hospitality during the Show. Where else in the world can you talk to a horse, pat a lamb, watch a cow get milked, smile at a cowboy, chat to a farmer and remind yourself of the sheer beauty of this land and its glorious produce? The smiling faces in the crowd are all the applause the Grand Parade needs - the silence is appreciated by the animals and their handlers because they are used to quiet times on the farm! Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Alpacas were first introduced into Australia in 1989 and by 2001 there were 40,000 of them in Australia! Today at the Show you can Walk an Alpaca – just make your way to the Cattle & Alpaca Pavilion. Alpacas can weigh up to 70kg and stand at about 1 metre (to the shoulder) so young children may need a hand with the reins. Alpacas like to cluck and hum when they are happy… and they are extremely photogenic! Sheep shearing is quite possible the most iconic activity in rural Australia (although the drovers may have something to say about that!) In 1969, Australia recorded its biggest ever wool clip of over 923,000,000 kg. Today there’s sheep shearing in The Daily Telegraph Paddock – you’ll laugh at tales of life on the land and the goings-on in the shearing sheds. Each session some lucky audience members are invited to help take the clippers to a woolly sheep, as the experts explain the tricks of the trade. Why not be a part of 2017’s wool clip!
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.
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.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Maisie Morrow was announced as The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl for 2017. Maisie is a representative from Zone 5 – Oberon. She is an Agronomist and Livestock Nutritionist for Landmark, with a degree in Rural Science and is involved in the Cassilus Rural Fire Brigade, Meriwa Show Society, Meriwa Country Women’s Association, and the Scone Grasslands Society. With ambitions to get involved with farming lobby groups, Maisie will be a tremendous ambassador for agriculture and the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The sound of thunder was roaring over Spotless Stadium and the night sky was alight with flashes of silver, gold and glittering sparkles. The rain was not a problem at all – the thunder came from the V8 Utes and the revving of motor-cross bike engines, and the sky was awash with the colours and crackles of the fireworks show. There’s a Cracker of a Cracker Show every night, the perfect way to throw confetti over the end of another fabulous day with the country folks in the city! Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… Snakes Alive is not just a showbag, it’s a show at the Show in the Pet Pavilion, perhaps not a Pavilion mum will want to walk into today because the Sydney Royal Rat and Mouse Show is on in there too – with around 300 entries! First introduced to the Show as a non-competitive exhibit in 2003, the Rat & Mouse Show was officially included in the Sydney Royal competitions the following year. Oh, and the Snakes Alive showbag includes killer pythons and sea stretchies Maybe a steadying drink in the Sydney Royal Beer & Wine Bar is a good idea to help settle the nerves, open from 11am until late in The Stables. And if you are staying until late, there’s an evening harness parade tonight in Spotless Stadium, followed by the Senior Six Bar Showjumping and the Royal Rodeo Series. Find some food-on-a-stick, there’s a lot to choose from including lasagne, cheese, and chips, and settle in for dinner and a show. And don’t worry, if you’re down to your last dollar or two after a full day in the pavilions and carnivals, the Snack Shack has great meals all under $5.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
“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
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/
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… The sunshine welcomed little farmers with a list of chores for rural life. Little Hands on the Land takes junior farmers from their crop to the shop… and along the way they collect eggs from the chook shed, pick apples from the orchard, gather some fleece, dig up vegetables, milk the cow, drive their tractor and even enjoy the fun of a pony race with other little farmers. Eventually, these junior farmers get the thrill of exchanging their produce for dollars to spend at the Woolworths supermarket. Some of our young farmhands were reluctant to leave their farms, and the photo opportunities for parents are amazing… If you missed Little Hands on the Land yesterday you can still visit today, tomorrow and for the rest of the Show. Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… In 1948 a strike at the brewery resulted in a beer-less Show and many patrons ‘discovered’ wine. If you head down to The Stables today you can have both beer and wine at the Sydney Royal Beer and Wine Bar! In 1825 peach cider, apple cider and sherry were first judged in competitions at the Show. This year cider can be yours by the glass at the Sydney Royal Beer & Wine Bar down in The Stables. In 1899, retailer Anthony Hordern set up a large tent on the Showground so country visitors could shop without leaving the Show. This year you can do your show-time gourmet grocery shopping at The Sydney Royal Corner Store… and you don’t have to be from the country! And it’s in The Stables… not a tent!
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… The Dairy Farmers Milking Barn was doing enough work to make sure milkshakes didn’t run out whilst crowds gathered in the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome to see the prizes awarded for the District Exhibits. Central District took out the prize for Display and the Sydney Markets Popular Choice, and the worthy winners of 1 st Prize in Competition were the resilient farmers from South East Queensland! The Schools District Exhibit was won by the proud students of Hurlstone Agricultural High School, giving us great hope for the future of agriculture. Arcy spray-painted a pig and a clown on his giant mural, and former Shark Mick Ennis came to see a painting of his Sharkies in the Arts & Crafts Pavilion. Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… There will be purrin’ a plenty in the Pet Pavilion with more than a handful of cats & kittens in the Purina Pro Plan Sydney Royal Cat & Kitten Carnival. Flowers and Gardens are being judged and displayed and much-discussed all day, whilst Looney Tunes Circus Spectacular will make the little ones laugh in the Amphitheatre. Most importantly of all, the State’s Best In Show will make their way around Spotless Stadium in a spectacular procession of Royal Competition winners including animals, producers, champion woodchoppers and future community leaders. The Grand Parade is not to be missed – it follows the Official Opening in Spotless Stadium from 4.30pm to 6.10pm.
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/
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.
Previously at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… the final cow moved in, the bees are buzzing, pumpkins that could possibly weigh more than sheep and horses have been hauled in, and the fruit and vegetable displays have been positioned and polished to perfection! Coming up today at the Sydney Royal Easter Show… day one of the Show kicks off with ponies being judged and chickens hatching, kewpie doll making and pigs presenting themselves for photos! There’s voting to be done for the District Exhibits and a Farmyard Nursery to visit. It’s a day for judging… and bird shows, dog shows and even a purebred steer auction. Little Hands on the Land is open for the kids to try their hand at a crop-to-shop lifestyle and The Man from Snowy River will try to re-capture the colt from old Regret tonight before a ‘cracker of a cracker show’ with fireworks in Spotless Stadium!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Beer cans, pumpkin pie and a first time win in 112 years; the stories behind District Exhibits are as rich as the produce on display. 50,000 pieces of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, wool and other goodies are trucked in each year from five districts to create the exhibits. But it’s not all just for show. Only the finest produce is displayed, competing for the ultimate award; the District Exhibits Perpetual Shield. Winning this year for the first time in show history, the shield sits proudly in the South East Queensland District court. Their produce was judged the best in show. In fact, the best they’ve displayed in over a century. They quite literally pulled it ‘out of the box’ having to source last-minute produce substitutions given recent flooding in Queensland. Glasshouse Mountains avocado farmer Col Dabelstein is SE Queensland District court manager. Mr Dabelstein was honoured to receive the Governor Generals Medallion during this year's visit by His Excellency, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). His Excellency acknowledged the success of the SE Queensland team and Mr Dabelstein accepted the praise with typical farmer's modesty, “They’re all pretty excited about the win,” he said. “Hopefully it will encourage them to continue and achieve even more.” Central Districts display ‘Crop Circle – Nature’s Bounty’ won 1st Prize for display and the Sydney Markets People’s Choice. It features a rotating platform of grain and grammas - a type of sweet, moist pumpkin. Mrs Tanya Ranya of Casula made her way to the displays specifically to buy a gramma from Central District for her mother. “For as long as I can remember my Mum would buy a gramma every Show to make a pie. Now I buy one, for Mum, each year with my daughter. It’s a bit of a tradition.” she said. Southern District won 2 nd place for produce. Their display features recreations of the bridges that span their region, including Bethanga Bridge at Albury, Victoria Bridge from Picton and Tumut’s criss-cross Junction Bridge. Farmer Jim Higman chatted with show-goers as they tried to guess various crop seeds. “It’s very important to educate the city kids,” he said. “They like to understand where their food comes from.” Les Clarke from Western District has been selling their famous toffee apples at the District Exhibit for over 20 years. “One day a young District fella came out with a tray of them and said ‘Try and sell these’. Well, we were swarmed and in 10 minutes they were all gone! Now, we sell them by the thousand,” he said. “I can’t tell you the secret recipe but they are farm fresh Granny Smith apples from Forbes.” Collectively, the districts supply 37% of Australia’s $2.51 billion wool industry. But the trophy for best fleece is a dented, old beer can – won this year by Northern District. Northern District local Lyn Cregan, said that in 1970 farmers were enjoying a quiet brew after judging. Bemoaning the lack of a prize for best wool they took matters into their own hands. With larrikin spirit they chose a beer can and wrote the words; “Know ye all men that this Beer Can is a symbol of the true spirit of friendly rivalry existing between the courts of the district competition.” And if the popularity of the District Exhibits is anything to go by, the competition will continue for a very long time.
For six-year-old Sophie Janssen the Easter Show isn’t just about showbags, fairy floss and carnival rides. Sophie has a special reason to be excited about Australia’s largest agricultural show. Sophie makes the trip every year from Denman in the Hunter Valley with her parents to help them show their Clydesdales. Much loved as the stars of the Carlton United Brewery Clydesdale team, Clydesdales were traditionally used to plough fields and pull lorries loaded with goods in early pioneer Australia. When many young girls are begging their parents for a pony, Sophie was hounding her Mum to let her practice leading the Clydesdales around the family farm. “Sophie was raised around them so she isn’t afraid of their size and horses are often different around small children, they seem to know that they are only small,” explained Sophie’s mum Rebecca. Sophie barely reaches the bottom of these shoulders of these imposing horses but leads them with the confidence of a seasoned competitor and won the ‘Junior Driving in Long Reins’ event this year with four-year-old mare Matilda. Sophie must drive the horse from the rear through a set obstacle course, controlling the horse’s pace and direction. An impressive achievement for young Sophie and her towering gentle giant Matilda. “I like showing horses because the horses are very pretty, it’s so much fun! “ “Matilda is very quiet and does what she has to do, she's fluffy and sweet and the best horse I’ve ever had!” said Sophie.
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."
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.
Written by: Elise Pfeiffer Marshall Newton’s love affair with the Sydney Royal Easter Show’s woodchop event began in 1955. She was just five years old but the electrifying atmosphere of the arena was enough to spark an interest that would span 62 years. Fast forward to 2017 and Marshall has never missed a Show. Each year she can be found nestled in amongst the crowd, cheering on the woodchoppers. In between the crowd’s applause and the thundering cracks of wood, Marshall records every detail; eagerly waiting to see which log will come crashing down first. The intensity of each round has her hooked, so much so that she travels over an hour to watch the event – rain, hail or shine. She attends every day of the Show, only missing one in 2016 due to a chemotherapy session. But she doesn’t let her breast cancer treatment get in the way of her favourite sport, always allowing enough time to get to and from appointments without missing any of the heats. After many years of spectating, Marshall knows all too well that just seconds could mean the difference between seeing that final swing of the axe send the first log down and missing the round completely – a chance she isn’t willing to take. Despite never having tried the sport herself, Marshall says the ‘Wimbledon of woodchop’ appeals to her because of the skill, strength and dedication required by all competitors. “I love that woodchopping is such an honest sport,’’ Marshall says. “If you are winning, you’re winning and its fair game for everyone.” For every woodchopper she sees retire, a new one enters and Marshall enjoys watching their skills and ranking improve over competitions. Marshall has become a familiar face in the Woodchop Stadium, often chatting with competitors, cheering them on and even giving prizes. And while she remains adamant she doesn’t have a favourite competitor, Marshall does admit that Treefelling is definitely her favourite category. Treefelling is a sport that requires incredible skill and stamina as woodchoppers climb the tree pole, cutting board holes and using tree boards to ascend. Whilst balancing on the top board, the axeman cuts the block half-way through before descending and hastily climbing the opposite side to eventually cut the pole in half. This category has everyone on the edge of their seats watching the axemen balance and anxiously waiting to see who will split their log first. After 62 years of watching the Woodchopping Stadium Marshall has no intention of breaking her Royal Easter Show streak. She promises she’ll be back in her favourite spot on the Concourse this time next year.
At NSW beaches ‘budgie smuggler’ swimwear has become an Aussie icon. But Mr James Matthews, budgerigar breeder, admits he hasn’t worn a pair since his childhood in Tamworth. Now a St. Clair local, Mr Matthews swept the Budgerigar category winning Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, Grand Champion Colour Budgerigar and Champion Old Bird Colour budgerigar. Despite being a member of the Budgerigar Society of NSW for over 35 years, Mr Matthews has only entered the Royal Sydney Show the last four years and has won three out of four times. But he says it’s worth it. “When you tell people at work that you won at other bird shows they say ‘Oh yeah’ but when you say you won at the Royal Sydney Easter Show they go, ‘’Oh WOW’,” said Mr Matthews. Budgerigars are native to Australia and traditionally breed in spring and autumn but with Mr Matthews' climate controlled aviary the labour intensive breeding season is almost year round. Ms Pam Hewitt, Mr Matthews partner, doesn’t mind the time Mr Matthews spends with his prize-winning budgerigars. Ms Hewitt is also a ‘bird of a feather’ breeding chicken and ducks. “We extend each other’s hobbies,” she said. But it’s the budgies that win out for Mr Matthews. “I’ve had other birds but I just gravitate more to budgerigars. They have a boof head like mine,” he joked.