Our region on show in Brisbane
WOW. Just wow.
I have no other words to describe last week's Southern Downs and Granite Belt producers' lunch at Brisbane's funky Wild Canary Bistro.
Chef Glen Barratt and his team did not fuss with the fare, things were prepared simply, they were presented immaculately and it was without doubt one of the best food events I've ever been to.
To see the region's produce shine so brightly for such a discerning crowd was a moment every grower and farmer involved should take great pride in.
The five-course degustation indulgence was kick-started on arrival with a tiny flavour explosion - Eggcettera-grown pecan-fed pork terrine atop a slice of spelt sourdough dressed with smoked apple and celeriac. Simple, local and so lovely!
Eggcettera is operated by the Somes family, 10km west of Allora, and in addition to pasture-fed pork they also produce salt-bush-fed long paddock lamb and, of course, pastured eggs.
Next up, Stanthorpe Cheese's Brass Monkey Blue was brought to life with stonefruit, green beans and Lirah's caramelised fig balsamic vinegar.
If you're a cauliflower lover you would have melted off your chair when trying the next dish. The flavours of every vegetable on the plate were intense, fresh and fabulous.
New View Farm and Symara Organic Farm supplied these vegetables, in addition to the beetroot, leeks and kale - all of which had flavour and colour you definitely won't find in aged supermarket produce!
To ensure the menu was representative of the entire region, Mal Smith and his heirloom potatoes grown atop Spring Creek Mountain sat beside some Eggcettera long paddock lamb, local garlic and Mt Stirling olives. I can tell you there were many whispers attesting to never having eaten "lamb like that before”.
And yet another surprise was the wild venison by A&C Game Meats on the Granite Belt. This tender meat was roasted, served rare and it was a hit.
There's nothing else you could finish this menu with other than Stanthorpe-grown apples, baked for 16 hours, accompanied by cider ice cream and wild blackberries. No one knows apples like Sutton's people.
And every good meal needs an even greater drink, so the Suttons Apple Juice, Golden Grove Estate Vermintino and Joven Tempranillo and the Treehouse Apple Cider were perfect accompaniments.
With the last mouthful there was almost silence as content washed over the crowd, there was a moment of calm before Glen returned to present a copy of the region's visitor guide and then there was a flurry of discussion - diaries were out, phones were in hand and available dates were compared.
And with Wild Canary just doing what they do so well, made the Southern Downs and Granite Belt some new friends!
Stock up and make it at home
SEASONAL Feast markets are your one-stop shop for all things fresh, local and delicious.
An array of the components that went into chef Glen Barratt's meals can be purchased from this region's markets.
Seasonal Feast co-ordinator Amy Walker said the markets were about more than just food.
"The markets are a way for Warwick residents to make a conscious decision to spend their dollar and support small, regional business.
"They can also learn about their food, its story, where it was grown, by whom and how.”
For March, the Seasonal Feast markets will be held every Friday in Stanthorpe's Farley St Piazza from 8am.
And if you want to stock up fruit and vegetables in Warwick, Saturday 18 at the Warwick Art Gallery garden courtyard from 8am is your place to be.
Follow the Seasonal Feast Facebook page to keep up to date with recipes, what's in season and market dates.