Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sails Restaurant - Variety Bash Fundraiser Dinner
29th July
The annual Variety Bash for children's charity has been kicked into a feverish, fun fundraising few months, thanks to a few locals making the time to do so. A golf day saw the pennies swinging in the right direction, an auction in Casterton, dinner at the church behind the Robe Providore with fare to feast by chef Anthony D'augello. An excuse to have wonderful company, thoughtful food and wine is admittedly invented by many without hesitation. However, these events were summoned for a cause beyond the benefit of filling our bellies and glasses.
Sails Restaurant presented a four course menu to conclude the stream of events for the fundraising. People layered and buffered from the cold, huddled in the spacious space. Anna Heffernan, Antony Kokiousis and Paul Bobridge glided around contented diners providing no reason for standing guests. The pace between the dishes perfected by the kitchen. The dining room embracing. More so as the pouring of the beautiful wines became a little adventurous into the narrowing glasses.
    Herbert Vineyard Pinot Gris offered a gentle introduction to food. Melony with a mild citrus awoke tastebuds. Wangolina, Karatta, Norfolk Rise, Koonara and Karatta could be sipped and were all staged when their bottle was grasped. Tempting Wines, 'Seductress Shiraz' recommended as the vino for the beef main course.   
    Dispersed throughout courses a $10 blind bottle of wine was yours by purchasing a numbered cork to correspond to a bottle in disguise. Eruptions of excitement animated the evening as numerous wines scattered tables. Raidis, Hollick and Bellwether amongst the generosity of the sponsoring Vineyards.
    Adam Brookes, Tom Tilbury and Hamish Curry were the boys with the pans and perfect pace. Amuse Bouche, Tempura oyster with pickled cucumber and citrus aioli started the salivary glands as the incredible texture of the light tempura batter contended with the unique sea creature some may normally debate to crunch or swallow whole. Here was the 'crunchers' oyster dish.
    Fresh seafood in tomato, saffron and vegetable stew for entrée. At the clearer end of a stew spectrum, this clean medley of tomato and vegetable was complimentary to the delicate SA seafood.
    Appreciate shredding strings of beef after a long braise in the prodible, tender form that is ever so comforting in the months of cold. Main course - Braised beef rib of this calibre, potato galette, onions, pea and horseradish puree. Tight potato galette in micro layerd slithers, peppery bites of horseradish that danced throughout the crisp allaciousness of gentle battered onion and daring beef. Most silent  moments of the table appearing here in satisfaction.
    Lemon and vanilla pannacotta with poached pear and rhubarb tea was the icing on the cake without the cake or the icing. Fourth course, dessert and a delicate completion to the eating of the evening. Pear as dark as well baked quince, herbaceous tea for the crunch of a sesame seed toffee and soft panacotta to swim in shallowly.  
    Memorable dining correlated to a memorable effort for Children's Charity. Some of the things that bring us together to dine.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Snippets of Sips - Coastal Leader

Picture: Cape Jaffa Cellar Door 

A column exploring Robe and the South East's talents in their Culinary endeavours.
Enthusiasts channelling their passion and knowledge into mediums for cutlery and glassware enjoyment.   
We have an abundance of such people proximal to us, transforming their foodie creations into accessible ones.
The regular snippet of insight into these palatable crafts and founders, aspires to be an informative and interactive way to learn of our local members of the community and produce.
Appearing in the Coastal Leader newspaper regularly and open to your ideas and feedback.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

ABC - Tasha Impey
A big thanks to Tasha from ABC South East, SA. Accommodating me into her crazy story chasing Cross Media Reporting routine on Tuesday. Our chat at the Union Café Robe about my little world of coffee obsessing was brought to life in a radio interview Wednesday, a thorough capturing of my journey into the world of the caffeined beans. For those to read, Tash has put together an article based on the interview with a link to my blog. Love the love of the South East! Enjoy your South America adventure Tash. Drink some coffee out of a sock.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2013

    To commence the immersion into a caffeinated paradise, one had to slide snail style along Racecourse Road behind the thousands looking towards an entire complex of dedication to coffee and the nerdy aspects that make the beans work. Melbourne Showgrounds catered again for the largest Coffee Expo Australia has ever seen. More than 10,000 sets of feet trundled through the pavilion over the four days. Hosting international professionals for both the stage and stalls, one's pallet was not the only sense that was stimulated. The most advanced of roasting, extraction, packaging design and equipment gleamed in every direction. The wafts of coffee grounds for pour over, chemex, cold drip, espresso and traditional cupping channelled between the sharp panes of Slayers, La Marzocco's, Spirits, Probate, Probatones, Dietrich...

Beautiful aromatics and texture of beans from remote and intriguing corners of the globe. Varietals and process method took centre stage for cup profile characteristics. Rather than specifically their country of origin, the respect for the varietals of cultivars that shine through is a brilliant relatively new focus. Immaculately graded coffee. Quality and not quantity was everywhere and I was in heaven.  
  Many honey processed, red, yellow and orange bourbons, Colombian, Costas, Centrals and Africans on tables. Light roast styles dominating for the gentle infusion of the pour overs, rather than extracting methods. Also the tendency of the coffees performing best under such conditions. To have a darker espresso roast running through my fingers was few and far between. Lots of light, dense little beans.

Within a two day visit espresso, piccolos and filter tastings glided from cup to lips in a repetitious fashion. Stop one near to the entrance was Campos Coffee. Cupped Colombian El Manana COE # 9, Fazenda Sera Do Sao bento COE # 2, Kenyan Tchakakhani AA and a Roberto Achieve micro lot. The stand out Kenyan had a fragrance of mangoes. The greener mango tannin giving the cup a amiable dryness. Stronger body than acidity.
Wonderful enthusiasm around the table by the Campos team. Interactive, breaking down the shyness of those first time Cuppers. Sleek black packaging with clear imagery of farming and animals relative to the origin of the packaged beans.

Ducale saw the outlet to shed prolific coffee jitters. The DC Tunes chimed over the burring and steaming of machinery. People sampled the award winning 'Origin', the 'Monsoon' and 'Reale' blends. A big chocolaty, stone fruit sweet blend 'B-Side' linked with the support of the company's DC Tunes program. Part of the coffee sales wriggle their way into the appreciated bands that play for the Ducale beats program. Sharing and caring team of guys lifting the spirit further in the center of the Expo.

Brew Bar Single Origins - Whisked past this eye catching elongated brew bar stall to grasp a chemex of an Ardi Sidamo Guji Ethiopian, Natural Heirloom. Juicy cranberry. Preserved lemon, tight acidity left a bouncy reminder of the brew for moments after. Fighting for a gap in the cluster of listeners to an informative introduction to the coffee's home paddock. The farmer himself gave details of the reality of the growth and harvest and the conditions for the Graders responsible for the clean screen sizes, uniformity and lack of damaged and quakers. The hours poured over these seeds are fundamental for each stage after. The women (most commonly) deserve this acknowledgement for the tediousness of this crucial step. I have never liked my long black quaker ridden...

Single Origin Roasters, an awesome team from Sydney and in addition, Q/R Grader Andrew Hetzel representing CQI, Coffee Quality Institute. It wasn't espresso so much I was tasting here - but a fascinating exercise involving varying concentrations of several acids that occur in coffee throughout its roasting and extracting life. Mr Hetzel ran the informative quest to mimic an exercise one would be required to master if sitting a Q Grade Exam. Citric, Malic, Acetic, Phosphoric and tartaric acids were dribbled in sample cups of filtered coffee, for a wee tastebud challenge. Discussion of the influence of each acid in the mouth and circumstances where the each would be most prominent in the application world. Incredibly informative hour that has aided me in some roasting queries crossed whilst on the job. Wendy De Jong wonderfully assisted the exercise. Her 25 years of experience in coffee oozed onto the table to aid our clambering minds. Many of us eager to pick up the knowledge spilled.
       The 'Yee ha' espresso blend I packed in my bag for home. I have been chipping away at the beautiful medium roast through Nakeds at work. Rich, creamy caramel cup. Acid is mellow, but balanced. Toasty peanuts and raw sugar.
The Burundi I tasted on my heels out of the bustling stall was extracted well. Not a memorable cup for me - owed to the time of day where the tastebuds were wanting their cue to knock off with a beer and not another stimulant...

Market Lane Coffee, Mecca Espresso, Reuben Hills and Seven Seeds shared a stall at MICE. A short mac of the Reubin Hills Espresso blend was a great punchy experience. Grated cocoa texture that was silkened by the milk. The Colombians in this blend fervently tasteful. Groovy stand. The crew working the machines very cool and loving it.

Proud Mary and Latorre and Dutch magnified their stand for another year. The baby blue of espresso ceramic cups bobbed up and down around the brew/espresso bar as portafilters tapped clean and steam arms purged. The interludes of silence from the bar perpendicular were the sounds of gentle pour overs blooming and dribbling juice. No need to ask for a sample - you were handed samples like medication in a nursing home. The difference being a brigade of tasters with no resistance to sample these beautiful drugs. El Salvador's - honey processed, orange bourbon, a dryer cup than the neighbouring washed red bourbon. Tight and raspberry like. Same farm, El Mazano, but varied flavour profile due to their varietal, not origin location. Matt shared his experience with some honey processed coffee in Bali, reminiscing of the slimy mucilage feel of the parchment before drying.
When the information of the extraction and infusion from the Barista and Roaster angle began to consume you, several feet away Andres Latorre Canon could waltz you through a table of magnificent samples to cup. Tastes of crops to come to Australia. Outstanding Gieshas, Costa Rica and El Salvs. The Panama Giesha 'Hartmann' honey had the most distinct stewed apricot aromatics and flavour. The lively fizz alike to Fanta as Andres described. Patiently stepping through the evolution of change in the flavour profiles as the amber liquids cooled, this Panama and a Costa Rica 'Sanora' Villa Lobos shone as favorites. The table of 'El Manzano' El Salvadors bourbons, Costas and honey and natural Panamas were superior. Charged to see these gems being pampered in the roasting equipment in the near future.

 The Melbourne International Coffee Expo wasn't just another gathering of caffeined coffee professionals out to buy and sell and show and see. It was very much a stage for everyone to put their best toes forward in a huge Industry where pride plays a main character. Pride without arrogance or greed is a wonderfully powerful thing.
The exhibitors and industry enthusiasts shared and exchanged valuable knowledge that is better spread than kept for only a few to boast. It was very nice to feel on an equally passionate field as most at M.I.C.E 2013.