It’s no secret that Australia has fresh produce. What’s less well-known is that the country’s foodies are exceptionally innovative and creative so the food scene is dynamic and ever-changing.
Here’s what food-and-wine loving travellers can expect in Australia.
Australia loves a good taste trend. In 2015, our food and drink obsessions included everything from craft beer and cronuts to kale and salted caramel. While we will remain infatuated with all of the above into 2016, we also have our eyes fixed on the future. Business futurist Morris Miselowski says although the fashion for foams has dissipated in Australia, food “trends” such as foraging, farm-to-fork eating and fermenting are now mainstream. The industry guru predicts that, in 2016, we will be drinking more naked wines, embracing desserts that are more savoury than sweet, cooking over charcoal and continuing to crave comfort food such as burgers.
Barbecuing … it’s on fire
The nation’s obsession for barbecuing has moved from the back verandah to prime position in restaurant kitchens around the country. Author of Food + Beer, Ross Dobson, believes the parilla (Argentine) and robata (Japanese) methods of cooking are particularly popular in Australia because “barbecuing is being recognised as part of the national identity no matter where you’re from”. “There is something magical about the hiss of food on the grill and the aromas that accompany this ritual,” says Dobson.
Food … it’s on everybody’s lips
Writer Barbara Sweeney is the curator of Food & Words, an annual food writers’ festival and member of the TEDxSydney Food team. Sweeney says she has noticed a definite trend in Australia toward talkfests and food festivals that bring together everyone from bakers to makers who want to establish meaningful connections. “There is nothing more human than getting together to talk about food,” says Sweeney “It’s the antithesis of our online lives and it’s the intimacy of these events that the community seems to be craving.”
Fermented foods … going with the gut
Once the preserve of the home cook, the cult of the cultured vegetable has spilled over into markets and restaurants. The age-old art of preserving food is back in the picture thanks to a “cottage-based resurgence” says Ferment It production manager Belinda Smith, who sells everything from kimchi to sauerkraut at market stalls around Sydney. “Traditional preservation methods were a lost art form,” says Smith. “They are popular again because of the health benefits: they help the gut replenish its flora.”
Naked wines … it’s only natural
When it comes to natural winemaking, sommelier Byron Woolfrey has noticed an upward spike in demand for wines made with minimal intervention. Woolfrey, who also runs Trolley’d, a mobile bar business, says what he loves about natural wines is they capture the true terroir of the region. “Consumers are more conscious of having a completely expressive and natural wine so you can taste the flavours of the land,” says Woolfrey. “It’s also about knowing where your product comes from.”
While sweet treats such as the Nutella doughnut milkshake have their own cult following, the menu does not necessarily need to end in tooth-achingly sweet “afters”. In 2015, ingredients such as bacon and sea salt helped bridge the gap between savoury and sweet, says business futurist Morris Miselowski. “Australian palates are now more refined,” he says. “We are also happy to experiment and finish a meal on a savoury note using everything from dark chocolate to chilli and salt.”
Find out more about Australia’s food and wine.