Food Australia: Four Seasons, Four Menus
“Singaporeans don’t think Australia has great food and wine. In fact, it has more food and wine festivals per annum than any other country in the world. Australia has 65 wine regions, 400 craft breweries, 120 whiskey distilleries – of which 30 are in Tasmania – and over a hundred gin distilleries.”
Source: Tourism Australia’s Consumer Demand Project, which has polled around 35,000 people from 11 of Australia’s key international markets, which include not just Singapore but also Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
A new campaign launched this month by Tourism Australia targeting South and South East Asian travellers is trying to change the perception that there is nothing more to discover about Australia than the offering highlighted in hundreds of standard travel brochures and promotions.
Australia’s beaches, nature, wildlife and Outback are definitely on the “to-do” list of many Asian travellers, but there is really so much more – and it’s just around the corner.
Not a foodie destination?!
One of the findings presented by Tourism Australia that I find particularly alarming is the perception that “Australia isn’t a foodie destination” – 78% of Singaporeans surveyed. The number increases to 80% in Malaysia!
Discussing this among ourselves, one of the reasons we think this might be happening is because the Australian food available in South and South East Asian countries tends to present itself in a contemporary restaurant environment.
Unfortunately, though this makes a certain genre of Australian food accessible, it loses its focus on regionalism and provenance. Diners leave without knowing the real difference.
Even if Singaporeans were to go to the numerous food and wine festivals available in Australia, I wonder how many leave their empty plates and wine glasses understanding the production ethics and cultures of the people who supply those festivals, and the stories of the people who prepare, cook and serve the meals.
Eat regional & seasonal
One step towards developing a better understanding is seeing that food and wine from Australia bears more than the labels “Made in Australia” or “Produced in Australia.”
If we can get more people around the table, tasting food cooked by people who are familiar with the produce and landscape, having people present at the table who are willing to take the time to share insights and stories, Australia will succeed in transforming the idea that its food bowl is not as rich as it really is. In fact, it’s an amazing feast.
Appetiser: Goats cheese soufflé
Main: Spring veal cutlets with fine herbs and pan jus, baby potatoes, fresh peas and beans tossed with pomegranate – seared pine nuts and olive oil
Dessert: Soft lemon curd tart with fine pastry casing and dense whipped cream
Wine: Cool-climate Pinot Noir