Bits and Pieces, News and Products

By Franz Scheurer


Let’s start with some interesting products that I’ve seen around the traps:


At Simon Johnson:


Laverbread - natural seaweed from Wales $19.50 for 200 g. The seaweed laver or porphyry that grows naturally on inter-tidal shores around the coast is picked by hand and cooked in Wales.  The same seaweed is used for Nori in Japan - Laverbread, or bara lawr is a long established delicacy in Wales.  Traditionally served with Bacon and eggs and cockles. The unique mineral, umami taste ads depth to sauces, seafood and meat dishes.


Sesame Au Thé Vert Mariage Frères - Sweet green tea flakes with roasted Sesame $36.75 for 40g.  Use it as a wonderful seasoning on salads, raw or cooked vegetables, fish, rice or pasta.  It’s great with sushi, too. Made from sesame seeds, green tea, seaweed, dried plums, shiso and dried fish, salt and sugar.


Argan Oil Mas Portell - Extra Virgin Argan Oil $42.95 250ml, obtained from the first cold press of the fruit of the Argan tree, an ancient tree that grows Southwest of Morocco. Argan oil is one of the healthiest of all vegetable oils. It is said to help improve cholesterol levels and acts as an anti inflammatory agent. It adds a sweet, slightly toasty flavour to salads, creams and vinaigrettes. Use cold only. Only women harvest the fruit from the Argan tree - the fruit is sun dried, the pulp removed and the hard shell cracked between two stones to reveal 3 or 4 Argan kernels. The kernels are roasted before pressing. If you have ever visited a Berber camp and couldn’t quite forget the taste of their greens, then this oil is for you!


At GJ Foods


Calissons de Provence Arnaud Soubeyran, a traditional sweet from the Provence $ 16.65 140g. Made from almond paste and rockmelons, the soft and delicate centre is sitting on a thin rice paper wafer and is finished with an icing-sugared top.  These wonderful morsels are the perfect accompaniment with your coffee.


Marrons Glacés Corsignia Facor preserved chestnuts, 22-23g each $ 3.50. Rich, gooey, soft yet firm to the bite, these are so addictive that I only every buy one to take home, and it never makes the journey! Perfect with coffee at the end of a meal or as a very rich snack, anytime. You have not tasted chestnuts like these, ever.


Wine Dinner at Cruise


Cruise is hosting wine dinners regularly and for the month of March it is Tyrell’s turn, on Monday 21st with Bruce Tyrell himself – Bruce’s effervescent personality and plethora of stories should make this an interesting night. Jane, his daughter, will also be in attendance. Wines that evening will include Vat 1 Semillon 95,96 and 98  (the 97 may make a surprise visit but nothing is guaranteed!). Six courses with matched wines will cost you $150 p/person.


For more information or reservations:

Cruise Restaurant, Bar & Lounge

Levels 1-3, OPT

West Circular Quay NSW 2000

Tel.: 9251 6622


Gourmet Tours


Chef’s Secrets – a tour of Sydney providores and gourmet food outlets showing you where to get immaculate produce and how to use it. Participants will meet at Central Station, then proceed by bus, exploring, selecting, cooking and finally eating the fruits of their labour. These tours will run every 2 months, starting 25th May.

Cost: $ 165 p/person, all-inclusive

For further information or bookings:

Cost  $165.00 per person all inclusive

Johanna Minogue: ph  (02) 9331 5176

Sandra Clark : ph (02) 9665 5639





They are also running a Gourmet Tour to Orange, spending a weekend visiting local producers, wineries and restaurants. If you want to see for yourself just what a fabulous food place Orange has become this is a good way to learn as much as possible in the shortest possible time. Next tour is scheduled for Friday, 29th April, returning on Sunday, 1st May 2005. Cost is $ 695 p/person (single supplement $100) and includes transport (coach), all meals, wines with meals, tastings and farm visits. For further information contact Johanna Minogue or Sandra Clark, contact details above.


Gourmet  Markets


The inaugural Ashfield Gourmet Food and Wine Markets on the Australia Day weekend was a roaring success. Why not check them out? There will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the children on 26th March and the market opening times are 9.30am to 2.00pm. The markets are set up at the St John's Anglican Church Grounds, Bland and Alt Streets, Ashfield and take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month. If you are interested in running a stall at these markets then contact Judith Kennedy on 02 8338 8666 (If a stallholder commits to six consecutive market days they will receive the sixth day free)


A Bear Affair

Bear Cottage’s Fundraising Dinner, will be held at the International College of Tourism and Hotel Management, St Patrick's Estate in Manly on Saturday, 12 March 2005. Acclaimed chefs Christine Manfield and Lanna Tran will prepare the dinner. Live and silent auctions will be held with terrific prizes. Bids are open for the Bennett surfboard before the event. Tim Bailey, of Network 10, placed the opening bid of $5,000 during his broadcast from Bear Cottage on Thursday, 10 February. If you are interested in placing a bid please contact Scott Walsberger at Bear Cottage on (02) 9976 8304. For other enquiries regarding how you can assist with the donation of prizes, for sponsorship packages or to book tickets, please contact Janet Burke at Bear Cottage on (02) 9976 8302. Tickets to the Bear Affair will cost $150 p/person.

Taste of Spain for the Lower North Shore

Locals and visitors to McMahon’s Point will be delighted to welcome the new Spanish influenced providores: Delicado Foods, the flavours of Spain, opening in early April 2005. This unique food outlet is the concept of Ben Moechtar and Ambie Moore. Ben, previously sommelier at WildFire Restaurant teams up with ex advertising lady, Ambie Moore to be part of the fast growing awareness of good food and good coffee on this side of the Harbour. Watch out for the opening details on the Australian Gourmet Pages in the near future.


Catering Empire


The team of Brien Trippas & Michelle Guberina (of Sydney venue caterer Trippas White Catering) have just acquired Absolute Ambrosia – the Caterers. Absolute Ambrosia was established by chef Leigh Stone Herbert and is now managed by Executive Chef David Sampson.  David, a classically trained London chef, has a rich history in the Sydney food scene having worked most recently establishing the “Food From the Farm” project for Geoff Jansz.  Previous roles have included working for Anders Ousback as Head Chef at Margaret Fulton Kitchens, managing the relaunch of floor & kitchen operations at Pruniers Restaurant and working as Executive Sous Chef at the Sydney Opera House including the Bennelong Restaurant. Fiona Rae, an industry professional who has an extensive food background working with a range of exclusive caterers for the last ten years, manages the front of house event coordination.

For more information or bookings:

Absolute Ambrosia – The Caterers

Rear 154 Mowbray Road                                

Willoughby NSW 2068

Tel.: 02 9958 7988


Winery Café


Taltarni Vineyards (in Victoria's Pyrenees) has recently opened a new Cafe at Cellar Door, called Red Earth Café. Established in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Taltarni Vineyards is one of the founding vineyards of the region, dedicated to the production of premium wines. Set amidst the relaxed and friendly ambience of the Cellar Door with glorious views over the manicured gardens and the vineyard this is the place to have a light meal, matched to one of Taltarni’s many award-winning wines. The café opens daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm. Drop in for a pizza, soon!

For more information call: 03 5459 7915


Annual Pinot Noir Tasting


The annual Pinot Noir Tasting at the Woollahra Hotel is on, once again, on Monday, 11th April. Session I from 4.30 – 6.30pm and Session II from 7.0 - 8.30pm. Cost is $27.50 p/person (which is refundable if you purchase 2 dozen or more bottles). Bookings are essential. Call: Amber or Lynette on 02 9362 0299 or e-mail: