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The Flavours of Australia




Modern Australian cuisine has been evolving from traditional British since World War II. An influx of people from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam (to name but a few) have contributed influences to what is now known as ModOz cuisine. However, a lot of Aussies will still sit down to a Sunday roast and swelter over turkey on a midsummer Christmas day. Dramatically varying climates over such a large country mean an abundance and diversity of local produce, so it’s no surprise that some of the world’s best chefs hail from this rich and exciting culinary playground. 

NATIVE INGREDIENTS



There are many native foods in Australia that have been used by aborigines for thousands of years, and which are now becoming widely popular. Quandong, munthari, bush tomato, wild limes and rosellas are native fruits with distinctive colours, flavours and textures, while warrigal greens are a spinach-like herb. All of them are still primarily wildharvested by aboriginal communities. Although native Australians never used seasonings in their campfire cooking, modern Australians have discovered the exciting flavours of such indigenous herbs and spices as lemon myrtle, wattleseed, mountain pepperleaf, pepperberry, forest berry and akudjura. Native meats such as kangaroo and emu are also being used more frequently, although don’t expect to see witchity grubs on many menus. These native meats sit alongside a vast and impressive array of beef, lamb and, of course, seafood. Fish native to Australia include barramundi, trevally and blue-eye trevalla. The popular native shellfish, yabbies and Moreton Bay bugs, are similar to, but smaller than, lobster. Also worth a mention is the lovely fragrant honey produced out of native Australian forests


AUSTRALIAN DISHES AND SPECIALITIES



 Australians love a barbecue, as a social and culinary hub, and you will find a wide variety of meats and cuisines on the grill. Major cities offer a huge choice of foods, from high end French-style fare to fish and chips or cheap and cheerful noodle bars. Melbourne, in particular, has a strong Greek and Italian influence and prides itself on a vibrant café culture, serving unbeatable coffee. Meat pies are a staple in the Aussie diet with the annual Meat Pie Competition attracting great interest, and you will see pies inspired by different cuisines such as Thai, Indian and Moroccan. For those with a sweet tooth, pumpkin scones are a traditional Australian favourite, alongside passionfruit tart, Lamingtons, Pavlova, and oat and coconut Anzac biscuits.

THE WORLD ON A PLATE

Having one of the most eclectic populations on earth means great things for food (or “tucker”). Australians are as happy exporting their wealth of homegrown produce as they are embracing international cuisine

Farming plays a very important role in Australia, the world’s largest producer of beef. The lush pastures on the coast are particularly good for farming, and the milk-fed lamb from New South Wales is as wonderful as the brie produced in South Australia. King Island, between Victoria and Tasmania in Bass Strait, is dedicated to dairy produce; farmers sell their amazing cheese and creams all around the country. Alongside the rapidly growing wine industry is olive oil and balsamic vinegar production, examples of which are found at the cellar door of many vineyards. Australia has one of the most diverse marine faunas in the world, due to its range of habitats, from the warm tropical northern waters to the sub-Antarctic Tasman sea, as well as its geographical isolation. A total of 600 marine and freshwater species are caught in Australian waters, providing chefs with plenty of inspiration



Every kind of fruit and vegetable is produced in Australia. Pineapples and mangoes are widely grown in Queensland, apples in Victoria, strawberries in New South Wales and rambutans in the Northern Territory. Exotic and notoriously hard to farm, truffles have been cultivated in several states, highlighting just how versatile Australia’s land is.
The Flavours of Australia The Flavours of Australia Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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