Oceania

Published: Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 9:51:03 AM

Jason Down Under: Going on an Aussie food trail

Jason creating his own wine blend at Penfolds Winery in Barossa, South Australia.

Jason creating his own wine blend at Penfolds Winery in Barossa, South Australia.

To say that Malaysians love their food is an understatement. In Australia, one is truly spoilt for choice when it comes to wining and dining options.

FOOD was one of the things I looked forward to every day when I was in Australia for the shooting of Jason Down Under.

Obviously, after a long day of filming, one looks forward to the leisure of sitting back and enjoying a meal but, in Australia, it was much more than that. Everything was simply fantastic – from the freshness of the produce to the flavour of the meats to the variety of the wines. And it’s not just me that is noticing.

Australia is quickly becoming known as a popular food and wine destination. In 2013, three of the top 100 restaurants in The Restaurant Magazine Awards were from the Land Down Under, and Australian wines can be found in top restaurants the world over.

Whether experiencing modern Oz cuisine is your main reason for hitting the island continent or it’s some other adventure, never underestimate Australia’s ability to satisfy your palate and fill your stomach.

Here are some culinary experiences in Australia that are so incredible that planning a trip solely for them isn’t a crazy idea.

Jason (left) trying to pick Adriano Zumbo's brains to see if he can come up with his own macaron creations.
Jason trying to pick Adriano Zumbo’s brains to see if he can come up with his own macaron creations.

Celebrity chefs

As stated above, three of the top 100 restaurants in the world are in Australia. These were Attica, Quay and Momofuku Seiobo.

With representation like that, it’s no wonder that Australia is a great place to sample the culinary wonders of famous chefs. Peter Gilmore, head chef at Quay, whips up delicious meals and you can experience them with an unmatched view of the Sydney Harbour.

And if desserts are your thing, head over to Zumbo, where celebrity chef and overall nice guy Adriano Zumbo concocts a variety of fun, tasty treats. Feel free to bug both guys for photos to make your friends jealous as they’re both friendly and down to earth.

Dining at Quay Restaurant at night, Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks, with great views of the Harbour Bridge. - Photo by Penelope Beveridge/Tourism Australia
Dining at Quay Restaurant at night, Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks, with great views of the Harbour Bridge. — Photo by Penelope Beveridge/Tourism Australia

Tasmanian seafood

It is the state’s best kept secret! We’re talking about fish that’s pulled fresh from the nets, oysters shucked right in front of you, abalone grilled with butter, mussels that taste like little shelled steaks – it’s a seafood lover’s dream. I’m not kidding about the mussels, after eating them in Tasmania, I spent the rest of the shoot days searching menus for Tasmanian mussels, they were that good!

A little secret that I discovered while I was in Tasmania was their whiskeys. Very young and modern, many of their whiskeys haven’t been aged as long as traditional Scottish varieties but the flavours are unique and somehow very contemporary. These are not the whiskeys to sip before a fireplace while stroking your beard; Tasmanian whiskeys are the whiskeys of the young and hip, these are the whiskeys that set the new standard.

Blend your own wine

Australia has some great wines but if you think you can do it better yourself – like me – then head over to Penfolds Winery in Barossa, South Australia, where they will let you don the white smock and have a go at creating your own wine blend.

Sure you can do this using the various test tubes and instruments provided, but I did it with plenty of tasting, and it turned into loads of fun. Plus, they let me keep my creation, probably because they didn’t want it.

Café culture: Melbourne is famous for its coffee and cafés. Block Place is one of those locales. (Right) Kangaroo Island is famous for delectable marron.
Café culture: Melbourne is famous for its coffee and cafés. Block Place is one of those locales.

Live marron

What is a marron? It’s a sort of crayfish but bigger than the North American variety, though not quite as large as a lobster, but really all you need to know is that fresh marron is exceedingly delectable. Head to a marron farm on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and get grilled marron, marron salad, baked marron, everything marron. It’s a lot easier on the wallet, too!

Coffee culture

Nothing is quite as cool as siting in Metropolitan Melbourne, sipping a good cup of coffee. As coffee culture is sort of Melbourne’s thing, there are plenty of places to do it – from trendy, hip cafés to classic Italian bistros that look like they’ve been transported out of the Sixties.

Chocolaterie made breakfast burrito

Am I telling you to go all the way to the Yarra Valley in Victoria just for a breakfast burrito? Of course not. I’m telling you that at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, you can get a great breakfast burrito and a mind-blowing variety of handmade chocolates.

Made on-site by real Belgian chocolatiers, their chocolates are great but for some reason they also serve the best breakfast burrito yours truly has ever tasted – and I’ve had breakfast burritos in lots of places, from Los Angeles to Cape Town.

Kangaroo Island is famous for delectable marron.
Kangaroo Island is famous for delectable marron.

Lobster pot pulling

In Cervantes, Western Australia, you can join the crew and pull lobster pots out of the cold briny ocean. The pots are about the weight of a small person, so do ask for help. However, when you get back on shore, you’ll need no help in devouring those fresh crustaceans.

It was a long busy schedule shooting Jason Down Under (for Life Inspired) but a big part of what kept me sane and from going full diva on the crew was the quality of the food in Australia. Figure out your own culinary adventure at www.australia.com.


Tags / Keywords: Travel, Lifestyle, Jason Down Under, Jason Godfrey, Tourism Australia, food, wine, Life Inspired

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