Budgeting for the Best

Retail therapy has always been a good antidote for the blues. Mr Rudd was clearly sympathetic to that notion with his cash stimulus package. And if the budget has metaphorically put the boot-in there’s good gastronomic news for those who wallow and drown their sorrows.

Last month the food world was all of a twitter — literally (foodie tweets were chirping like Hitchcock’s “birds”) — with the announcement of The S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Through the back-slapping, gnashing of teeth and we-was-robbed mutterings, Sydney picked up two of the top 50 places for its restaurants, with city fine-diners Tetsuya coming in 17th and Quay Restaurant lobbing in at 46th, and with Pier restaurant in Rose Bay named 94th in the top 100. The rest of the country didn’t get a look in, with a few locals dropping off the radar from last year’s list.

The top 10 were:

1. El Bulli, Spain.
2. The Fat Duck, UK
3. Noma, Denmark
4. Mugaritz, Spain
5. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
6. Per Se, US
7. Bras, France
8. Arzak, Spain
9. Pierre Gagnaire, France
10. Alinea, US

This week the give-a-gong fest continued at home for those who produce the raw ingredients that contribute to some of the best dining possible.

The Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards were announced this week in Sydney at Justin North’s Etch restaurant. Senior Vogue editor and MasterChef’s shaggy dog, Matt Preston, lorded over the microphone before a scrum of food scribes, providers, chefs and producers.

Cheese producer Holy Goat was named Producer of the Year and also won the Dairy category for its La Luna cheese. Best new product was picked up by Redgate Jurassic Quails, Blackmore’s Wagyu was named most consistent product, White Rock Veal won From the Paddock category, Daylesford Organics won From the Earth, Pristine Oyster Farm and Spanner Crabs Noosa jointly won From the Sea and Maggie Beer Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Australian Food was presented to Stephanie Alexander by chef Damien Pignolet.

Back in the Old Dart at the 26th International Wine Challenge Australian wines collected four international trophies against over 9000 wine entries. Australia came second to France in the trophy stakes with Portugal in third place.

Billed as the world’s largest blind tasting (which goes without saying if you didn’t spit), the International Wine Challenge produced International Trophies for:

Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2005; Majella Cabernet Sauvignon 2005; Tim Adams Clare Valley Semillon 2007; Yalumba the Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier 2007.

Other Aussie inners were:

Claircult Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; De Bortoli Noble One 2006; Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny Port; John Duval Wines Entity Shiraz 2006; Penfolds Adelaide Hills Reserve Bin Chardonnay 2006; Pewsey Vale the Contours Eden Valley Riesling 2006; Tim Adams Clare Valley Semillon 2007; Wirra Wirra Vineyards RSW Shiraz 2006.

So throw another Redgate Jurassic quail on the barbie, unleash a Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2005 from its glass prison and put yourself on the wait list for some stunning tucker at Tets or Quay.

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