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Coolness Pays Off for Hot Nation

The infinite variety of foods in Australia reflects the diversity of its land and provides for a rich cuisine. Gone are the days when a lamb chop and three vegetables were standard fare in this community. Imaginative marketing presents the cook with many options such as marinated meats, fresh pasta and ready prepared fresh vegetables. There is certainly no excuse for boring or unattractive meals, with such a range of innovative recipes and fresh food products available in Australia today.

Quality and imagination in food design are also essential: "To survive, you've got to be quick and innovative. Food is now very much a fashion industry in which innovation sows the seeds of success", says the new chief executive of Food Science Australia, Dr Michael Eyles.

"Today's food marketplace is changing at a dramatic pace. Australia is superbly equipped both in raw materials, skills and know-how to be a leader".

With all of this to hand, who wouldn't want a cut of it? Australian food as a whole is becoming more popular overseas in restaurants, hotels, health bars and even in the home kitchen. The outside world's image of Australian cooking is closely related to the lifestyle: laid back but healthy.

With the huge increase in interest of low-fat alternative meats, Australia can provide a whole host of different cuts; Kangaroo is a succulent, versatile, lean red meat. It is very well known throughout the world as a high quality game meat, this is a low fat but high in iron and is very good value. Crocodile is a white meat and its nutritional composition compares favourably with that of more traditional meats. Crocodile meat has a delicate flavour is low in fat and high in protein. In Oz there is little freshwater crustacean that lurks on the bottom of streams, lakes and in farm dams, they are called Yabbies, and have been enjoyed by indigenous Australians for centuries. An enterprising lady at Inman Valley, looking to diversify on a dairy farm during a downturn in the dairy industry, tried farming yabbies in her farm dams. She has established a successful and innovative business, buying and marketing yabbies. Now the rest of the world is waking up to their secret delights. Their delicate, sweet flavour and firm texture has won lavish praise from connoisseurs the world over.

"There has been a sea-change in the industry's approach over recent years. We've switched from a domestic to an export focus, the industry has become more fashion-conscious and the level of innovation you can see on supermarket shelves these days is simply astonishing," Comments Dr Michael Eyles.

In response to the increase of over seas interest and tourism, innovative chefs have worked very hard to produce a regional cuisine using the most wonderfully fresh home grown food which can be washed down with an amazing variety of world class locally produced wines such as d'Arenberg, McLaren Vale (South Australia, Australia) Riesling "The Dry Dam" 2004. The wine will most probably have been produced from the vineyards surrounding the town, the reds having mellowed in the autumn sun, and the whites exhibiting the crisp fruity style of the vale such. The popular South Australian winery, owned and operated by d'Arry Osborn and his son, Chester (who is also chief winemaker), produces more than two dozen wines selling to all over the world demanding an organized approach to grape growing. d'Arenberg farms approximately 345 acres of estate grapes in the hills north of the township of McLaren Vale and over half of what is produced is exported.

Another example of a very popular Australian food based company exporting with success is, Australian Homemade, a franchise formula for confectionary stores owned by Only Natural BV, which is run by Christoph Schmitz. The stores produce and sell premium ice cream and chocolate using all natural Australian ingredients. The product also incorporates indigenous Australian designs. There are currently over 60 stores found in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Korea and the United States.

Beth Goslin, Austrade's Business Development Manager in New York, commented that Australian businesses have a great opportunity to capitalise on America and the world's growing interest in Australian gourmet food and beverages.

"Australia's food and beverage businesses attending the event (the Summer Fancy Food Show being held in New York) will be promoting their high quality products to potential importing, distributing and retailing partners in the US market to create new business opportunities, which they will succeed doing".

So this summer instead of buying the normal, traditional beef burgers try a little kangaroo or snap up some crocodile kebabs, gather some friends and family, serve them some of the best trendy food, with some exquisite wine and have fun.

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