Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Regional Australia food - creating regional differences

Photo: Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Interesting off-line discussion triggered by my last post on Regional Australia food, olives and agriturismo.

There were two main lines of attack.

Number one: to what degree can we talk in any meaningful way about variations in food across Australia? Number two: in suggesting that areas should aim to build their unique features in wine, food and cooking, am I guilty of trying to create artificial differences?

On the first, I think that there are already differences in food and cooking across Australia, although these are largely driven by differences in climate and availability rather than than differing regional histories and cultures. You only have to compare menus in, say, Port Douglas and Hobart to see what I mean.

On the second, perhaps I am.

I am certainly not suggesting that Australian regions should aim to create the type of regional variations that exist in Italy because these are deeply rooted in long regional histories and in varying home life. But I do think that that there is scope to focus and build on the special features belonging to each Australian region to the benefit of both locals and visitors.

We can see this to in South Australia's Kangaroo Island, for example, where they are consciously promoting local food and wine as part of the overall Island package. In their words:

The lack of large-scale development has meant that small industry has flourished and now includes a variety of products such as free-range chicken and eggs, olive oil, native jams, smoked fish, sauces and marinades.

Kangaroo Island's apiarists harvest honey from the pure strain Ligurian bees, and regional cheeses and yoghurts continue to find a place in food lovers' hearts.

Fresh seafood is featured across the Island and seasonally you can enjoy a variety of natural and farmed produce such as oysters, prawns, crayfish, whiting, snapper and, not forgetting freshwater marron - it's so easy to get a taste for Kangaroo Island!

Now all this is mouth watering. But I would like it to go a stage further, moving from differences in local produce to dishes based on that produce. Now these dishes do not need to be unique, simply specialities based upon local produce that can be presented as part of the visitor experience. In time, this will naturally produce a local cuisine if such does not already exist.


Travel Italy said...

I really have to take a trip to Australia!

Jim Belshaw said...

You must indeed, David!