Franck Moreau, Group Sommelier for Merivale and recently judged Best Sommelier of Australia (see my previous round-up), has gained the highest internationally recognised qualification for sommeliers, Master Sommelier. After passing the fiendishly difficult exam set by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Franck became one of only 186 Master Sommeliers in the world. Congratulations also to the four Australians who passed the exam to become Advanced Sommeliers (of the 16 entrants in the Advanced Sommeliers exam, only seven passed). The four Aussies were Josh Elias (ex-Attica), Tom Hogan (Lake House), Jarrod Mills (Merivale) and Mark Protheroe (Grossi Group).
Due to open this week on Smith Street (hopefully on Thursday): Huxtaburger, the new burger bar from Team Huxtable, located across the road and a few doors down from their original restaurant. They're also opening an adjoining wine bar called Bill's Bar (which shares a kitchen with Huxtaburger). If the photos of the burgers that chef Dan Wilson has been teasing us with on Twitter are any indication, we're in for a treat.
Green coffee beans, fresh off the boat from Colombia to the new, still-under-construction Small Batch warehouse off Howard Street in North Melbourne. Thanks for the guided tour, Andy!
I get sent all kinds of random unsolicited food 'n drink swag these days, much of which I'm not really interested in writing about. But I'm happy to make an exception for the samples of Pepe Saya cultured butter I was sent last week, because it is *delicious*. Cultured butter is made by souring the cream with a lactic culture for two weeks before churning it, resulting in an amazingly intense buttery taste and aroma. Stockists in Victoria are listed here.
On Saturday I attended the Ninth Annual Christmas Cookoff, a friends' Christmas party held every year where prizes are awarded for best entrée, best salad, best vegetarian dish, best main, best dessert, best drink and best Christmas creation. This year it was held at the rotunda at Edinburgh Gardens, and nearly 100 of us attended. Although neither my pomegranate, cauliflower & quinoa salad nor my chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel & peanut butter frosting (recipe) won a prize - SOB! - it was a hugely enjoyable afternoon. Many many thanks to the lovely Hannah from 310Fitzroy for organising. See her Flickr album of photos from the Cookoff by clicking here (and while I can't bring myself to post a photo of it on my blog, you can see the wildly inappropriate, NSFW gingerbread tableau that won Best Christmas creation by clicking here).
Despite extensive testing, my recipe for ginandtonicsicles still needs some work. Any suggestions?
Links of Note:
- Advanced Sommelier (and reformed food blogger from many years ago) Josh Elias has set up Tasting Group: a nifty interactive video blog discussing wine, with links so that you can purchase the wines tasted. The website has only just launched, but I look forward to seeing it grow.
- Cindy and Michael from Where's The Beef have been to visit Helados Jauja, the new Argentinean gelateria on Lygon Street. I want to try their dulce de leche ice cream STAT.
- Alas, I own neither a Thermomix nor a Thermochef. But I can point you to a great blog post by Iron Chef Shellie, which presents a very thorough comparison of the two kitchen uber-gadgets.
- Check pastry chef Julie Thai's food blog for sneak previews of the desserts she's whipping up each month at CODA. This summer's CODA Bombe looks brilliant!
- Sibley does savoury (but keeps the Snickers): there has been some online buzz about Philippa Sibley's new Brunswick eatery, Albert Street Food & Wine (see, eg, Nola's review on Milk Bar Mag here). I'll hopefully get down there soon to check it out.
- Sometimes the simplest websites are the best. Type in your location and Nearest Burrito will provide you with a map to your nearest Mexican restaurant.
- In a similar vein: Where the Fuck Should I Go for Drinks?
- VEIL (Victorian Eco Innovation Lab) publishes an online urban food production map of Melbourne, recording primary produce sites such as community gardens, commercial production and market gardens, shared private gardens, and food produced on public space.
- Interesting article about the UK social media platform Sustaination, which seeks to connect food producers with local buyers to facilitate the creation of local and regional food supply networks.
- For language wankers (like me) who like to pronounce names of dishes in foreign languages correctly, LovingPho.com has a useful pronunciation guide to assist with ordering pho and other Vietnamese dishes. Pictured below: the sensational Phở Tái Gân Gầu (pho with freshly sliced beef, tendon and crispy fat brisket) at Pho Tam in Footscray.
PS. Any thoughts on this Fortnightly Round-up blog post format?