A DARING experiment by Bodalla cheese maker Sandra McCuaig to use soft cheese wrapped in chocolate has set palates pulsating and delivered a select invitation to appear at one of Australia’s most important food and wine shows.
With support from the NSW Government, Ms McCuaig, a partner in the popular Bodalla Dairy Shed, now gets a chance to impress overseas buyers from 38 countries at the prestigious Fine Food Australia trade show at Sydney’s Darling Harbour from September 9-12.
“We’re thrilled to bits and we’re feeling very special about being chosen,” she said.
The annual Fine Food Australia, now in its 29th year, is expected to again attract a crowd of more than 24,000 visitors and feature more than 1000 exhibits as local producers relish their chance to attract buyers from Australia and overseas.
The trade show is seen as an exciting chance for local manufacturers to make new contacts, get greater recognition for their products and win overseas and local business.
“It’s certainly a wonderful opportunity for businesses in regional NSW to drastically raise their profile,” said Member for Bega and NSW Minister for Finance Andrew Constance.
“They can use Fine Food Australia to launch new products, highlight their most popular lines and build relationships within the various industries.”
The NSW Government is providing financial assistance to the 16 companies it has invited from all over NSW as part of a co-ordinated campaign to show off the diverse array of food and wine in the State.
Ms McCuaig said one of the products she will highlight in Sydney is soft cheese wrapped in chocolate.
“It’s something I haven’t heard of before but they have turned out really well,” she said.
“We’re putting soft cheese inside a chocolate, like a truffle.
“And we’re mixing that with three things, wild pepper berries, lemon myrtle and ginger.
“People look a little surprised at first when they hear about it but then they try it and say it’s good.”
Ms McCuaig said the limited three week life of cheese in chocolate made it unsuitable for sending overseas but it was a delicious immediate snack.
She said other products she hoped would impress buyers at Fine Food Australia were smoked cheeses.
“I’m smoking some brie with Australian bush eucalypts. They’re pretty special,” she said.
“We’re also using wattle seed and lemon myrtle and wild pepper berries. Any plants we can find that go well with cheese.”
She said cheeses smoked in eucalypts had a delicate, subtle flavour.
“We do it hot and smokey so it looks as if it has been touched lightly by a bushfire,” she added.
The Bush Tucker range of cheddars Bodalla Dairy Shed is bringing to Sydney have an Australian name associated with the bush including Stockwhip, Heatwave, Campfire and Desert Dots. They are blended with native foods like thyme, pepper berries and raisins.
Ms McCuaig said she was now looking at export markets to expand the company.