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Cheese of the Week: Roaring Forties Tasmanian Blue

Cheese of the Week: Roaring Forties Tasmanian Blue

This cheese is made on one of the most remote places on earth

Roaring Forties is dipped in black wax to retain moisture and slow the blue mold growth.

Roaring Forties blue cheese hails from more than 10,500 miles away from my Manhattan home. Crafted on King Island, Tasmania, located south of Melbourne at the western end of the Bass Strait, Roaring Forties was named forthe trade winds that blow between mainland Australia and King Island. Needless to say, this faraway locale is not where one would expect to find a world-class blue cheese.

Due to its remote location and lack of over-development – only 1,700 brave people live on the island – King Island has some of the cleanest air in the world. Add the cheesemakers’ closed-herd system, in which no new cows are introduced into the healthy herds on the Island (thus preventing any advancement of disease), and you have some incredibly pristine milk from which you can make extremely high-quality cheese.

This mild, cow’s milk blue is soft and creamy, rich and buttery with a slight blue bite, and retains a depth of flavor without being overpowering. Aesthetically, the cheese can be identified by its signature covering of black wax, which it is dipped in to retain moisture and slow the blue mold growth. Well-balanced flavor development (between milk, salt and blue mold) is the telltale quality of a great blue cheese, and Roaring Forties has it in spades. Due to its balanced flavor, it’s a very versatile cheese; it is great in salads, on a cheese board or in any number of recipes calling for a stellar blue. It is also appropriate to pair with fortified wine, like sherry or Madeira; add stone fruit, like apricots, and crusty bread for a blissful and decadent snack.

I have been a fan of this cheese since first tasting it after it won the Best of Show award at the 2002 Fancy Food show in NYC. At the time, it felt so exotic to taste a cheese that came all the way from Tasmania. Nowadays, I am grateful that I live in a city where I can walk over to my local cheese shop and get a bite of perfection from literally the other side of the world.

Additional reporting by Madeleine James.


Cheez-Elle

L'Étoile Bleue de Saint-Rémi has a white, crumbly yet creamy texture, with lovely veins of blue-green mold. The overall flavour sensation starts off slightly mild, then a sweet fruity taste, ending with a moderately sharp tang.

What I like about L'Étoile Bleue is that even though it is made from sheep milk like the world renowned Roquefort blue cheeses, it is not as salty.

L'Étoile Bleue could be a great addition to any salad. It pairs nicely with a dry white Jurançon.

Fromagerie Du Charme is currently producing two excellent cheeses made from ewes milk, from recipes that he has retained from the former owners L'Étoile Bleue de Saint-Rémi and Le Friesian. They also produce two new cow-milk cheeses Hermann and La Tablée.


Tasmanian Heritage Classic Blue Cheese (120g)

Tasmanian Heritage Classic Blue offers an indulgent rich and creamy texture, complemented by a sweet balanced blue flavour. The traditional style blue cheese has distinctive marbling which is the result of being matured in wax before being cut into wedges. Tasmanian Heritage Classic Blue is loved by cheese connoisseurs and novices alike.

Serving Suggestions

Tasmanian Heritage Classic Blue should be savoured with pears, grapes, walnuts or fresh figs and sourdough bread or oaten biscuits.

Due to its great melting properties, it is also outstanding in pasta sauces and omelettes or crumbled over baked potatoes.


Gastronomie

When I first wrote about Colin's grandmother's " Party Potatoes" a few years ago, it was without much expectation. It's true that they really are the most amazing mashed potatoes I've ever eaten, but how many times has someone said that? Potatoes, dairy, more dairy and butter (What?! Butter is its own food group, you know.)  -- "There must be a dozen similar recipes," I thought. 

Evidently not. Na's potatoes have developed a nearly cult-like following amongst my friends and family since I've made them for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, whether we were hosting or not. This year, in fact, there were no fewer than half a dozen Tweets and emails exchanged about them. Don't believe me? Check it out:

The only problem with them, really, is the leftovers. By the time we've polished off the other leftovers, we usually have at least a serving or two of Party Potatoes left. This year, I finally figured out the best way to use them, and I'd be a jerk not to share my new Shepherd's Pie recipe with you.

Nannie's Shepherd's Pie

  • 1 large onion (or 2 medium onions), chopped
  • 1 c. carrot, chopped
  • 2 T dark beer 
  • 1.5 lbs lamb sirloin or lamb chuck, minced fine*
  • 5 ounces beef chuck, minced fine*
  • 2.5 T Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 T tomato paste
  • 1 c. peas (frozen is fine)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1.5 - 2 c. Nannie's Party Potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan, brown half the onions and all the carrots in a bit of vegetable oil. Allow them to char a bit. Remove to a bowl.
  3. Sweat the remaining onions lightly in the beer, allowing the alcohol to cook off. Remove to the bowl.
  4. Brown the lamb and beef in the same pan, seasoning with the Worcestershire, salt & pepper. Make sure the meat doesn't "steam" by browning everything in small batches. Remove each batch to the bowl with the onions & carrots.
  5. In the same bowl, mix in the tomato paste, any leftover Worcestershire, and the frozen peas.
  6. In a casserole or baking dish, layer the meat-vegetable mixture, sprinkle with garlic powder, a bit more pepper, and finally the potatoes.
  7. Bake, covered, for 25-30 minutes. Serve.

* I used my Cuisinart to mince the meat after trimming it of most of the fat. I prefer this method to buying ground lamb as I think it cuts down on the gaminess, which is why I also add a bit of beef to round out the flavor.

Tags: Cooking, Food & Wine, Holiday, Recipes, Thanksgiving

Epic Burger, at a not-so-Epic price

So, yea, this whole "recession" thing is quite the bummer. Instead of meeting somewhere for a cocktail en route home, we've been practicing our bartending skills at home. Dinners out have been scaled back a bit, and I've become an aficionado of the myriad happy hour and lunch deals around town instead.

When I heard that Epic Roasthouse was selling their incredible burger for $20 INCLUDING a beer and a brownie, it seemed like an excellent excuse to take the work team out for lunch. Now, here's the thing -- the burger is normally $20 on its own, but with good reason. First off, it's half a pound of amazingly delicious beef, ground fresh daily from cuts of Epic's steaks. Second, it's accompanied by more trimmings than any burger I've ever ordered, and crispy waffle-cut crisps. And, did I mention? HALF A POUND OF FRESH BEEF ON A BRIOCHE BUN?

"Accoutrements" include little ramikins of bacon, aioli, mustard, corn salad, sauteed mushrooms, house made ketchup, three kinds of pickles, lettuce and tomato. We had one each rare, medium rare, and medium burgers at our table, and they were PERFECTLY cooked. My medium rare burger was warm all the way through but still very, very pink in the center, reminding me of our dinner at Bern's Steakhouse.

Beers on offer are either of their tap brews -- on this day, Trumer Pils or Anchor Steam. (If you ask very, very nicely, the bartender just might let you have something off the bottle list for the appropriate upcharge.)

The brownie? Well, I'll admit that it's pretty "meh". The crumbly, nutty topping is all I ate of mine, but I have a feeling that that same nice bartender just MIGHT let you have another beer instead of the dessert, but I haven't tried it.

Epic is running this deal only during the week, and only in the upstairs bar from 11am - 3pm. Personally, I think it's a nice treat mid-week, and is a little gentler on the bank account than dinner out.

369 The Embarcadero (near Folsom)
San Francisco
415.369.9955

Tags: Budget, Deals, Food, Food & Drink, Kuleto's, Lunch, Recession, Restaurant, San Francisco, Waterfront

Cocktail Inspiration, Found

Like most people, I find inspiration in random places. But my current cocktail passions have taken a very unique path, as these things go.

It won't surprise you to hear that Alembic and NOPA laid the groundwork for this little "problem" -- it was their cocktails, after all, that started me looking at what goes into a drink as an "ingredient" in the gastronomical sense of the word. Soon after, I met Cam and Anita of Married With Dinner, two "civilians" who are as passionate about cocktails as Obama is about Change. They, along with Jen and a few other folks, organized a "Summer of Cocktails", wherein a group of us tasted our way through the Bay Area represented drinks in Food & Wine's  Cocktails 2008. It was this experience that really introduced me to the nuances in cocktail culture:  the differences between gins, when to use rye over bourbon, why gommes behave differently than simple syrups.

Finally, I got serious enough about the cocktails I was making at home that I invested (heavily) in a really well-stocked bar -- how many people do you know who have four types of bitters? -- and some small-batch ingredients. One of my (oft visited) stops is Cask, where I've procured goodies from  Small Hand Foods (Orgeat, Grenadine and Pineapple Gomme), along with hard-to-find spirits, liqueurs and hardware.

From there, as with cooking, it became a question of experimentation, and understanding. Learning, for example, that I prefer keeping two kinds of ice in the freezer -- standard cubes and smaller chunks -- because I like to shake Manhattans with smaller ice to break down and incorporate the rye (and yes, I do prefer a Manhattan made with rye) with the other aromatics, while I prefer my martinis watered down as little as possible.

I'm lucky, I suppose, in that cooking by nose and eye comes naturally to me using those skills for cocktail creation is incredibly satisfying. And there's no doubt that having a champion (and critic) in C is important -- his palate helps to temper my preference for overtly tart beverages. So, over the several weeks, I've added a couple recipes to my notebook that I thought some of you might enjoy. Without further ado.

Velvet Fuji

  • Half a Fuji apple (most crisp-tart apples will do), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • .5 oz Orgeat
  • .5 oz + 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 tsp dark maple syrup
  1. Muddle the apple in a shaker, then add remaining ingredients.
  2. Shake vigorously, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist, or orange blossom


Saturday Superlative

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .5 oz Aqua Perfecta Basil Eau de Vie
  • 1 tsp Absinthe (I prefer St. George Spirits)
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • Club soda
  1. Stir first five ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes until well-chilled
  2. Strain into a DOF glass containing three ice cubes
  3. Top with soda and garnish with a basil leaf or grapefruit twist

Tags: Absinthe, Cocktails, Food, Food & Wine, Hangar One, Oakland, Recipes, San Francisco, Small Hand Foods, St. George Spirits

Discovering Tasmania, right here in San Francisco

I'm really (no, REALLY) not in the habit of pimping local "foodie" events that roll into my inbox, but this one caught my eye, and since I'm going to attend it myself, I figured it was worth sharing with you all as well.

As some of you know, I spent two weeks in Australia this past November (Flickr set here), and four of those days were spent in the most magical place I've ever been -- Tasmania. The natural beauty is epic, and can we talk about the wildlife? Fairy penguins, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils -- these are species most of us would be lucky to see in captivity, let alone in their natural habitats, where we saw them.

But here's the other thing -- of all the places we visited, Linda and I thought the food in Tasmania was some of the best. They take "local" very seriously here even when it's not meant to be trend-conscious, which makes sense given their geography. Tasmanian oysters are plump, creamy, flavorful wonders -- far more delicious than their Sydney counterparts. Trevalla (aka blue nose bass or butterfish) is a wonderfully sweet, meaty fish. Sheep's milk cheeses abound here, and Roaring Forties (my favorite blue cheese) also hails from this corner of the world.

From a produce perspective, wild berries are as plentiful as they are in the Pacific Northwest, and Tasmanian stone fruits (in season) are supposed to be incredible. All manner of heady, fragrant fungi abound, and the peas. oh, the peas.  We had purees so sweet and green they'd make you weep.

The icing on the cake, of course, are the wines. Before our trip, I don't think I'd ever had a Tasmanian wine. Now, I can't get the taste of Tassie riesling out of my head -- crisp, acidic and fragrant, they are a far cry from my favorite Mosel rieslings, but they serve a different purpose, too. Frankly, I would challenge any riesling-hater to try these wines, and recognize them!

We were less impressed by the red side of the viticultural spectrum, though a few Pinot Noirs certainly made an impression. Frankly, the climate of Tasmania is rather cool for most red grapes to concentrate and ripen well, which is why we stuck mostly to local whites.

So, what does any of this have to do with San Francisco? Well fortuitously, Macy's Cellar is bringing in Laura McIntosh and Chuck Hayward (of Jug Shop fame) for Taste Tasmania on Saturday January 17th at 4pm. The event is free, and I am definitely planning to be there. Hope you'll consider it as well.

Tags: Australia, Cooking, Food, Food & Wine, Macy's, San Francisco, Tasmania


Interview with Barry Charlton of Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese

When Barry Charlton set up Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese in 2007 with his partner, Cheryl Hulls, he&rsquod been a professional cheesemaker for more than 30 years. He&rsquod made everything from cloth-rinded cheddar at the Drouin Butter Factory in the 1970&rsquos, to the famous Triple Cream at Jindi in the 1990&rsquos &ndash but he&rsquod never made a blue cheese. His blues are now regarded as the best in Australia.

I wanted to try something different. I have always been intrigued by the flavours in blue cheeses, and their variety and complexity. I was also ready for a different pace, having been head cheesemaker at Jindi for 10 years, with 50 staff and lots of stress. We did a few trials in the home kitchen and it went from there. I like a challenge! I wanted to try something different. I have always been intrigued by the flavours in blue cheeses, and their variety and complexity. I was also ready for a different pace, having been head cheesemaker at Jindi for 10 years, with 50 staff and lots of stress. We did a few trials in the home kitchen and it went from there. I like a challenge!

The quality of the milk is really important, and the fact that we&rsquore able to know the results from the [protein and fat] analyses straight away. The cow&rsquos milk varies a lot throughout the year so we adjust the cheesemaking to suit. Most of our milk comes from the Hutchinsons [a local dairy farming family] who have about 40% Jersey cows in the herd. I batch pasteurise, which is gentler on the milk, and monitor the progress of the curd by &ldquohand feel&rdquo. I employ one other cheesemaker and a production assistant who both work under my close guidance, which means I have complete control over the cheesemaking process.

Tarwin Blue has earthy tones and more cowy notes, and is at its best when matured for 12 weeks. Bellingham finishes sweeter, and Moss Vale develops cheddary flavours at peak maturity. The buffalo milk used for Riverine Blue results in sweeter notes. Oak Blue is more time consuming to make and takes longer to mature. It has much bigger flavours than the others and is best at 5-6 months maturation, but can also start to break down at that age, so it&rsquos a fine line. All of the cheeses are made using the same blue mould, but it&rsquos the different starter cultures that produce such different results.

It&rsquos one of our favourite cheeses. We love to enjoy it with some quality crackers and either a good red wine or a dark ale. These both complement the deep, strong flavours of the cheese.


Tasmania sits right in the teeth of the Roaring Forties the weather system that runs the Southern Hemisphere like an engine. The swirling winds bring the freshest air on earth to the Natural State as well as clean rains. Add that to deep, nutrient soil and you have the perfect recipe for abundant agriculture. Everybody knows Tasmania as the Apple Isle due to its numerous orchards, but not many know that nearly a quarter of Tasmania's land is consumed by agriculture. Meat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products are made fresh every day and many farmers go beyond organic. And that's a testament to Tasmania's commitment to preservation and authenticity. Essentially, the entire state is farm to table.

Authentic Farming

Tasmania's government has stepped in to place in an indefinite ban on genetically modified crops. Hormones and antibiotics are also banned for growing livestock. And the government sets aside millions of dollars to create efficient and large-scale irrigation projects to suit the expansion of farming on the island. To put it into perspective, agricultural growth rate on the Tasmanian island is 3.7% per year. That's nearly double the world average of 1.7% and triple the average of Australian mainland agricultural growth over the last 10 years. All of this adds up to make agriculture the largest contributor to Tasmania's economy.

Mild Climate and Four Distinct Seasons

One of the reasons for the indomitable expansion of agriculture on the Tasmanian island is the mild climate. There are no deep, dark and cold winters and neither are there sweltering summers. However, the climate does change with 4 distinct seasons which allows for a planting and harvesting cycle. But despite the cyclical seasons, there is nary a threat of losing crops to frost or drought.

Quality Control

As you're well aware by now, Tasmania is an island. It broke away from the Australian mainland nearly 10,000 years ago to carve its own identity. Unlike the dry red centre, Tasmania is lush and green. It's also completely separated from the rest of the world.

This separation allows Tasmania to control quality when it comes to agricultural. Very few pests or diseases make their way to the island from the Australian mainland and the rest of the world. This allows farmers to keep strict quality controls over their products which are sought the world over.

Climate Change and Wines

Many winegrowers are already making contracts with Tasmanian vineyards to escape the effects of climate change. Wine grapes are especially sensitive to changes in temperature and many of the planet's best wine regions will be unable to grow these grapes by the year 2050. But Tasmania's cool temperate climate keeps temperatures relatively intact even in the face of worldwide changes. This relative climate stasis ensures that Tasmania has old vines to produce some of the best wine grapes on planet Earth going forward. In fact, many winegrowers are planting vines now for the year 2100.

Wool and Meat

Saxon Merino sheep thrive in the lower rainfall districts of Tasmania. The Tasmanian superfine wool industry continues to set standards and prices around the world. Tasmanian lamb, venison and beef are sought after by some of the finest restaurants on the Australian mainland and around the planet. These fine meats are especially in demand in niche markets where quality is more important than quantity or price.

Pharmaceutical Agriculture

One of the largest contributors to Tasmania's economy is the poppy industry. More than 20,000 hectares of land are set aside to grow up to 2.5 tonnes of poppy heads. Tasmania's efficient production of poppy supplies 40% of the medical market in the United States for drugs like codeine. And poppy flowers also provide other pharmaceutical chemicals that are shipped off to other countries in Europe.

Insecticide Agriculture

Another driver of the agricultural market in Tasmania is Pyrethrum, which is a natural pesticide. Grown carefully under contract with the Botanical Resources Australia, the flowers are produced into pellets to be exported to the United States. More than 2,000 hectares of land are set aside on the northwest coast where a processing facility manufactures the pesticide.

Dairy

You'll find rolling hills and lush pastures all over Tasmania. Deep, fertile soils team up with reliable rainfall to make for nutritious grazing. And Tasmania's dairy cows are quite happy, as they live outside all year round due to the mild climate. All of this adds up to some of the best dairy products on planet Earth. And, as you drink that milk or scoop that ice cream, you can feel good about dairy cow conditions in the Natural State.

Apples and Vegetables

It's a beautiful drive to the Huon River Valley from Hobart. You'll find endlessly green rolling hills covered in apple, pear, apricot and cherry trees. This abundant Valley has earned Tasmania the nickname "The Apple Isle." Over 83% of Tasmania's apples are grown in the Huon District with the remainder being grown in the Spreyton and Tamar Regions. And one-third of all fruits and vegetables grown on the island are exported overseas.

Another quarter of Tasmania's fruit and vegetable production is sent to the Australian mainland. Tasmania is truly the breadbasket of Australia and Aussies are happy for it. After all, Tasmania is committed to using as little chemicals and processing as possible to make the carrots, broccoli, peas, beans, cauliflower, potatoes, barley, wheat, oats, apples, pears, apricots and cherries as healthy as possible.

Ciders and Beers

Tasmania isn't only perfect for the growing of wine grapes. It's also a great place to grow hops as well as the fruits needed to make some of the world's best ciders. And with an explosion of craft beer brewing on the Australian mainland, Tasmania has never been so important to the country's beer industry. It becomes increasingly more important as climate change wreaks havoc. It's highly advisable that you try some of Tasmania's best alcoholic ciders. These delicious libations are dry, not too sweet and are made from the best apples on planet Earth.

Farm to Table

The abundance of organic agriculture on Tasmania means that you can try some of the best cheeses, butters, dairy products, beef, beer, Leatherwood honey, chocolates, berries, stone fruits, apples, vegetables and wines on the planet. Make sure to find restaurants, chefs and makers that have close ties to farmers in the area. That way you know that you're getting some of the freshest and most nutritious food products around. You can really taste the difference and it's something that will linger in your memory to draw you back to Tasmania in the future.


Gastronomie

Like most people, I find inspiration in random places. But my current cocktail passions have taken a very unique path, as these things go.

It won't surprise you to hear that Alembic and NOPA laid the groundwork for this little "problem" -- it was their cocktails, after all, that started me looking at what goes into a drink as an "ingredient" in the gastronomical sense of the word. Soon after, I met Cam and Anita of Married With Dinner, two "civilians" who are as passionate about cocktails as Obama is about Change. They, along with Jen and a few other folks, organized a "Summer of Cocktails", wherein a group of us tasted our way through the Bay Area represented drinks in Food & Wine's  Cocktails 2008. It was this experience that really introduced me to the nuances in cocktail culture:  the differences between gins, when to use rye over bourbon, why gommes behave differently than simple syrups.

Finally, I got serious enough about the cocktails I was making at home that I invested (heavily) in a really well-stocked bar -- how many people do you know who have four types of bitters? -- and some small-batch ingredients. One of my (oft visited) stops is Cask, where I've procured goodies from  Small Hand Foods (Orgeat, Grenadine and Pineapple Gomme), along with hard-to-find spirits, liqueurs and hardware.

From there, as with cooking, it became a question of experimentation, and understanding. Learning, for example, that I prefer keeping two kinds of ice in the freezer -- standard cubes and smaller chunks -- because I like to shake Manhattans with smaller ice to break down and incorporate the rye (and yes, I do prefer a Manhattan made with rye) with the other aromatics, while I prefer my martinis watered down as little as possible.

I'm lucky, I suppose, in that cooking by nose and eye comes naturally to me using those skills for cocktail creation is incredibly satisfying. And there's no doubt that having a champion (and critic) in C is important -- his palate helps to temper my preference for overtly tart beverages. So, over the several weeks, I've added a couple recipes to my notebook that I thought some of you might enjoy. Without further ado.

Velvet Fuji

  • Half a Fuji apple (most crisp-tart apples will do), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • .5 oz Orgeat
  • .5 oz + 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 tsp dark maple syrup
  1. Muddle the apple in a shaker, then add remaining ingredients.
  2. Shake vigorously, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist, or orange blossom


Saturday Superlative

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .5 oz Aqua Perfecta Basil Eau de Vie
  • 1 tsp Absinthe (I prefer St. George Spirits)
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • Club soda
  1. Stir first five ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes until well-chilled
  2. Strain into a DOF glass containing three ice cubes
  3. Top with soda and garnish with a basil leaf or grapefruit twist

Tags: Absinthe, Cocktails, Food, Food & Wine, Hangar One, Oakland, Recipes, San Francisco, Small Hand Foods, St. George Spirits

Discovering Tasmania, right here in San Francisco

I'm really (no, REALLY) not in the habit of pimping local "foodie" events that roll into my inbox, but this one caught my eye, and since I'm going to attend it myself, I figured it was worth sharing with you all as well.

As some of you know, I spent two weeks in Australia this past November (Flickr set here), and four of those days were spent in the most magical place I've ever been -- Tasmania. The natural beauty is epic, and can we talk about the wildlife? Fairy penguins, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils -- these are species most of us would be lucky to see in captivity, let alone in their natural habitats, where we saw them.

But here's the other thing -- of all the places we visited, Linda and I thought the food in Tasmania was some of the best. They take "local" very seriously here even when it's not meant to be trend-conscious, which makes sense given their geography. Tasmanian oysters are plump, creamy, flavorful wonders -- far more delicious than their Sydney counterparts. Trevalla (aka blue nose bass or butterfish) is a wonderfully sweet, meaty fish. Sheep's milk cheeses abound here, and Roaring Forties (my favorite blue cheese) also hails from this corner of the world.

From a produce perspective, wild berries are as plentiful as they are in the Pacific Northwest, and Tasmanian stone fruits (in season) are supposed to be incredible. All manner of heady, fragrant fungi abound, and the peas. oh, the peas.  We had purees so sweet and green they'd make you weep.

The icing on the cake, of course, are the wines. Before our trip, I don't think I'd ever had a Tasmanian wine. Now, I can't get the taste of Tassie riesling out of my head -- crisp, acidic and fragrant, they are a far cry from my favorite Mosel rieslings, but they serve a different purpose, too. Frankly, I would challenge any riesling-hater to try these wines, and recognize them!

We were less impressed by the red side of the viticultural spectrum, though a few Pinot Noirs certainly made an impression. Frankly, the climate of Tasmania is rather cool for most red grapes to concentrate and ripen well, which is why we stuck mostly to local whites.

So, what does any of this have to do with San Francisco? Well fortuitously, Macy's Cellar is bringing in Laura McIntosh and Chuck Hayward (of Jug Shop fame) for Taste Tasmania on Saturday January 17th at 4pm. The event is free, and I am definitely planning to be there. Hope you'll consider it as well.

Tags: Australia, Cooking, Food, Food & Wine, Macy's, San Francisco, Tasmania


Flinders Co - Roaring Forties Frenched - Lamb Rack - Cap On

Grass Fed Lamb

Added Hormone Free

Carbon Neutral Certified

Southern Victorian and Tasmania

Bass Strait is the ferocious stretch of ocean that separates mainland Australia from Tasmania. It is this wild stretch of sea that lends the term “Roaring Forties”.

And within these Roaring Forties are some of the most famous and legendary lamb producing regions in the world.

The cleanest air in the world blows over the pastures here. The lush grass grows year round.

They nourish British and European breed lambs, renowned for the delicate and special flavour of their meat.


Tasmania defies Australia's well-earned reputation as a dry desert full of creepy crawlies. Instead, this island state has broken off of mainland Australia to sit right in the teeth of the Roaring Forties. The churning weather system spans across the Southern Hemisphere and brings the freshest air in the world to Tasmania, as well as abundant rains. The confluence of wind and rain carves pristine waterfalls into the landscape of the Natural State. Add that to the fact that large swaths of the Tasmanian island are protected -- utterly untouched by mankind -- and you have a recipe for some of the most rugged, wild and beautiful waterfalls in the world. And they're all just waiting for you to discover. Here are just some of Tasmania's best waterfalls. Image thanks to Dietmar Kahles.


Cheese of the Week: Roaring Forties Tasmanian Blue - Recipes

This is one of my all time favorite recipies for Rib-Eye steak. Following the recipie gives you a complete meal…don’t forget the wine of course!

RIB-EYE STEAK

Season the steaks with salt and pepper about 4 hours prior to grilling cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let covered steaks sit at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling. Place steaks on a hot broiler and cook for 2 minutes turn 180 degrees to create a crisscross mark, cooking another 2 minutes. This helps to develop a more even brown crust, and the high heat of the broiler seals in the juices. Turn steaks over and repeat for second side until medium-rare. Let steaks rest for 3 minutes before plating.

OYSTER MUSHROOM-CAMBAZOLA COMPOTE

Cut off the mushroom stems and reserve for Mushroom Jus. Remove the rind from the Cambazola. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Stir the onions and mushrooms frequently in the skillet to avoid burning add the salt, pepper and cheese. Remove from heat the residual heat from the mushrooms and onions will slowly melt the cheese. Just before serving, fold in the chives.

CRISPY POTATO CAKES

Heat the oil to 350˚ F in a pot large enough for the oil to rise up during frying. Using the medium teeth of a Japanese mandolin, julienne the potatoes lengthwise. Toss potato in a bowl with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a 14-inch nonstick skillet and form the julienned potatoes into 3-inch rounds cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook until just holding together. At this point, transfer to the hot frying oil and fry until just golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

SAUTEED SWISS CHARD

Clean the chard by grasping the stem between the index and middle finger where the leaves end and pull the leafy part through your fingers, tearing the leaf from the stem. In this recipe, use only the leaves. Wash chard by placing the leaves in a large bowl filled with cold water and swishing them around to loosen the dirt. Let the chard sit undisturbed for 5 minutes to allow all the dirt and grit to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Gently remove the leaves from the top of the water and drain in a colander. If the greens are particularly dirty, repeat cleaning process twice. Place canola oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, when the garlic starts to sizzle, add the chard leaves and season immediately with the salt and pepper. With tongs, turn chard to cook evenly continue cooking until wilted, about 2 minutes. Wrap in a terrycloth towel to prevent chard from bleeding color on the plate keep warm.


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