The Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show is on again from the 23rd – 25th October 2020. If you’re thinking of heading along or wondering what to expect here’s our guide to get you underway.
One of the highlights of travelling, at least in our view of the world, is the food. The unique ingredients and preparation that make each country, city and culture special. I’ve never agreed with the notion that the countries down under, and especially Australia, have no defining food style. My perspective is that what makes Australian cuisine special is the farm-fresh ingredients, the skilled artisans that craft their products with love and ingenuity and our great diversity of locally available meats and seafood. Add to this our multicultural society and our Australian food fusion is something pretty special.
When I heard that Adam Liaw was also appearing at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show there was no doubt that I would be heading along to take up the opportunity for an interview with him and to explore the show. Explore in this sense meaning to taste everything on offer and pick the brains of the those manning the various booths.
The major demonstrations take place in the Good Food theatre with chef Alistair McLeod as MC. It’s well worth trying to get a seat at all of them, the chefs vary each day over the three days of the show but hopefully without any spoilers here’s a glimpse and a takeaway from each. The session is included within the general entry ticket and you’ll receive a recipe sheet and lots of tips and tricks to amp up your kitchen credentials.
With the big responsibility of kicking off the first kitchen session of Brisbane 2015 Paul brought his southern country NSW charm and core principle of nourishing ourselves and our families not only with the food but by still having the time and energy to enjoy the time spent together.
Paul advocates that buying high quality, high welfare meat doesn’t have to send you broke and that there are plenty of secondary cuts that offer great value and flavour. I have to admit I was sceptical of the liver dish he prepared but those in the tasting section (additional cost) seemed to enjoy it.
Miguel can be relied on to put on a show, the Spanish Chef has plenty of personality. He had no problem in today’s session demonstrating just how simple a good meal can be and that everyone has the ability to put a healthy and delicious meal on the table by doing just that while blindfolded!
Adam demonstrated his trademark simple Asian cooking on great quality Australian ingredients. I’ve been a fan since the first episode of Masterchef series two so was thrilled to get the opportunity to see him at work in the kitchen and learn a few tips from my idol. He’s developed a fabulous hosting and teaching style explaining why something works or doesn’t without being excessively technical or making the audience feel overwhelmed.
Four takeaways for me that I’ll absolutely put into practice in the next couple of weeks were:
- The warm water and rotate technique for Vietnamese rice papers
- The rolling chop for cylindrical fruit and vegetables for interesting shapes but consistent size
- Balancing sauce and marinade flavours by only working with two then adding the rest one at a time
- Texture matters as much as flavour
Look, taste and talk
The second part of the Brisbane Good Food and Wine show is the exhibitors, otherwise known as the chat, sip and nibble section. I invariably find new products in this section of the show that I just can’t live without and will recur in my fridge and pantry during the course of the year.
While mainstream brands are represented the show is an opportunity for the boutique and artisan producers to showcase their wares. These exhibitors are usually very happy to spend some time talking about their product and where it comes from. There’s way too many to go into detail but I have to share a couple of standouts for me today.
It’s no secret I love dairy, especially a good cheese, so I headed off to the far end of the hall in search of the cheesemakers. Bruny Island Cheese Company hails, not surprisingly, from Bruny Island in Tasmania. An island that may be one of the best secret foodie destinations in the world.
The team are generous with their tastings and I must admit I fell in love with one scandalously named ‘Nana undies’. The team assure me though there’s nothing to be concerned about and yes you can detect the aroma of lavender that reminded head cheese-maker Nick of his Nana and inspired the somewhat unforgettable name.
The heady heavenly fragrance of truffle oil and the offer of Black Truffle Butter led me to stop by Great Southern Truffle. I’m told there are a number of producers of these wonderful fungi now coming online in Australia across the southern states. Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Tasmania can all claim local producers and while the tropical north isn’t an ideal climate it’s fabulous to now be able to enjoy this treat homegrown in Australia.
Still on butter, if you want really good hand-churned butter you can’t go past King Valley Dairy. Now there’s nothing wrong with the butter in the supermarket for many purposes but to simply enjoy it as butter you can’t go past these artisan products. For me, it has to be lightly salted but for those that prefer, there is a no salt alternative. I can’t keep this routinely in my fridge as I have to admit to liking it spread a little thick but as a treat it is so good!
And finally new versions of an old favourite. Rochester Ginger products are a grown-up drink when you don’t or can’t drink alcohol, I discovered the ginger and elderflower a while ago but added a couple of others to my haul this year. Made in Rochester in the UK they are distilled in the traditional way.
I also heard a whisper that there may be a local addition to the line coming in the future so will definitely have my ear to the ground for more on that.
The Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show
The show is an annual event taking place in 4 venues around Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Brisbane takes place last in the cycle and is the smaller session which really just means its more intimate and easier to get in and talk to the producers.
In addition to Good Food Kitchen, there are other cooking demonstrations and presentations happening around the exhibition centre throughout the show. All are worth seeing so allow a full day if you want to have a chance of seeing anything close to all that’s on offer.
Then there is the wine, all varieties of alcohol actually, to quote Alistair McLeod ‘ it’s not the good food and coffee show after all!’. Although to be fair there was some darn good coffee too.
So there you have it. If you’re in south-east Queensland and looking to learn more about what defines great Australian cuisine or pick up a few tips and tricks to make you a whizz in the kitchen you need to head along. The annual Brisbane Good Food and Wine show is back in 2020 from October 23rd to October 25th at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Southbank.
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I’d love to hear your experience at the Australian Food and Wine shows or alternatively suggestions for international foodie events that we need to put on our list.