I was shocked to hear someone say “summer is nearly over” the other day. Well, despite some torrential rain the weather is feeling more like summer so I, for one, am getting out and enjoying it and had a lovely weekend in Palm Beach last week with a couple of special girlfriends. Just the reacharge the batteries needed.
I was also incredibly lucky to be invited to see Sting, in a concert called My Songs, with his warm up act his son Joe Sumner at our world class International Convention Centre SydneyHis real name is Gordon, but he doesn’t recognise that. Apparently as a school boy he performed in local clubs with jazz bands including Phoenix Jazzmen. One of his band mates named him ‘Sting’ because of the black-and-yellow striped sweater he often wore when performing. Well he wore an orange and grey striped tee shirt I have seen in pics before, but he was amazing. 71, rocking and in good voice as were we as we sang along to such favourites as ‘Every Breath You Take,’ ‘Roxanne’ and ‘Message In A Bottle’. And let’s hear it for ICC which ONLY serves NSW wine.
I also took my budding-chef goddaughter on my first visit to Continental Deli CBD. Although there is a bistro menu we focussed on their point of difference – traditional tinned seafood, great charcuterie, cheese and house-made sourdough. We were also incredibly impressed by the knowledge, professionalism and friendliness of the staff. Great fun for lunch.
Tomorrow, Saturday 18th February I’m cooking a BBQ on the 9 Network Weekend Today showaround 9.40am AEST in support of Cure Cancer’sBarbeCURE®fundraising campaign. This is such a great cause and incredible charity, funding brilliant young researchers who think outside the box at the beginning of their careers. I hope you’ll tune in to watch me make BBQ Salmon Skewers with Crunchy Slaw. I have long been a supporter of this charity. Perhaps you might host your own BarbeCURE®? It can be as small or simple as you like. Details here.
The Championship winners, with Geoff Mason, Chair of Dairy Produce Committee, Chief Judge, Tiffany Beer and me
It was fun this week to MC the 2023 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show Awards for a crowd of competitiors, stewards, judges, staff, RAS members and dairy-loving members of the public.
Four days of professional, impartial and blind judging, saw over 500 entries go head-to-head across 95 classes, including such categories as cheese, yoghurt, gelato, and sheep, goat, buffalo or camel milk products. This year we welcomed a range of new exhibitors, with first-time entrants making up 25% of the exhibitor count. From these new exhibitors, 51 medals were awarded, which is an outstanding result for first-time entrants. Across the board 71 gold, 127 silver, and 170 bronze medals were awarded. From this, 18 championships were presented.
It was a delight to again be able to invite an experienced Guest International Judge Craig Gile who found the range of cheeses available and the quality of judges phenomenal. “I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a lot of different contests throughout the world, and this has got to be one of the most interesting and well-organised contests I have been to,” he said.
“What’s been great is the number of cheeses that you had; it’s a high number compared to a lot of contests. There were a lot of stunning cheeses, and it’s been great to get a little bit of experience on a lot of high-end cheeses that are a little bit different to how some of the U.S. cheeses perform.
“One of the big standouts, for me, was the high-end ingredients that were added into the cheese, which I don’t always see at different contests throughout the world – that was fantastic. I’ve also enjoyed having access to your high-end creams. I think that is one category you do even stronger than the U.S.”
RAS 15thAnnual President’s Medal finalist Robertson’s (NSW) Pecora Dairy, reclaimed its 2021 title taking home Champion Cheese of Show for its Yarrawa cheese, while South Gippsland’s (VIC) Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese showed its 2022 Champion Cheese of Show, Oak Blue, is still an award-winner by claiming Champion Specialty Cheese and a spot on the coveted Australian Cheeseboard once again.
For ice cream fans, it was Elizabeth Town’s (TAS) Van Diemans Land Creamery that impressed the judges with its Lemon Curd Ice Cream winning Champion Full Cream Ice Cream or Gelato, while Sydney’s (NSW) Gelateria Goldola took home Champion Low/Reduced Fat Ice Cream or Gelato with its Frutto Della Passione.
Fonterra Australia – Spreyton claimed Champion Butter for its Duck River Premium Butter made in Smithton (TAS), and Brownes Dairy represented Balcatta (WA), winning Champion White Milk for its Brownes Lactose Free Full Cream Milk.