Relish Fraser Coast

A tipple or three kick-starts Relish Festival

“You’ll be taking your life into your own hands,” joked Jenny as I arrived at this year’s Relish Fraser Coast food and wine festival in Maryborough.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“At the free wine tasting stalls, people are lined up six deep and it’s each for their own!”

Jenny waived her free wine glass above her head and stood on tiptoes, showing how she finally drew a stall tender’s attention for a small taste of handcrafted wine from the South Burnett.

Relish visitors are a thirsty and hungry lot when it comes to sampling the wide variety of medal-winning wines and exquisite food from the Fraser Coast Hinterland regions.

Growers and makers from Childers to Kingaroy come together just once a year to showcase their varietals, blends, sparking and fortified wines. The mouth-watering foods include a wide variety of delights from sea scallops to macadamia nuts.

Held each June on the ground where sly grog running was rife and opium was a legal import in the early days of European settlement, Maryborough Portside is now where visitors meet local growers and makers who love to share the fruits of their work.

Waiting 12 months for the region’s food and wines to come together in one place again is a long time for some locals and the temptation to sample as much as possible as soon as the gate opens is huge.

Jenny excitedly gave me a run-down on all she had savoured in her first hour at Relish Fraser Coast, counting on all her fingers and toes (hic!) so she didn’t forget anything.

Soon my friends and I were heading over to the wine stalls in Queen’s Park to kick-start our day. The early rush had tapered off and we filled our day leisurely meeting chefs and wine makers, listening to amazing musicians and visiting Gatakers Artspace.  

Next June’s Relish Fraser Coast isn’t that far away, is it?

Once I’d entered Relish’s gate for just $10, there were plenty of things to do from food lovers’ sessions to entertainment galore without spending much more.

Opportunities to splash out a few more dollars on a Mary River cruise, workshops, or an event session such as Hill of Promise Food and Wine Matching, are also plentiful.

So if treating yourself to an amazing day out appeals, why not start your own Relish fund and pop your spare change into a special jar throughout the year to make the most of this annual opportunity? 

Relish Fraser Coast

Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins

ONE OF life’s greatest pleasures is to relax in the garden, with a cup of coffee and a good book.  To add an extra element of indulgence, I love to whip up a batch of these family favourites – my Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins.  Either fresh out of the oven or reheated later on, these muffins are a wonderful addition to any morning or afternoon tea.  Delicious and superbly easy to make, I’m delighted to share them with you.

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):

2 cups of self-raising flour
1/2 cup of raw sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
250ml milk
80g butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla
1 punnet of fresh blueberries
1 small packet of white chocolate buds (approx 100g)

Equipment:

12 x 1/3 cup capacity muffin tray
12 large paper muffin cases

Method – How it’s done:

Preheat the oven to 190°C
Mix the flour and sugar together in a large mixing bowl
Place the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla in a mixing jug and whisk together until well combined and creamy.
Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together with a large spoon until well combined.
Add the blueberries and white chocolate buds, and gently stir these into the mixture – blueberries are delicate, and they break easily!
Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin cases.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the muffins to cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, before lifting them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The only thing left to do is enjoy!  If you have the patience to let them cool completely before eating one, you’re better than me!  These muffins keep beautifully in the fridge (in a sealed container) for about a week, and you can pop them into the microwave for about 20 seconds to have them piping hot again.  Enjoy on their own or with a dob of butter, I’m sure you’ll be as addicted to them as I am!

STORY: Debbie Foale
PHOTO: Jocelyn Watts

Say ‘I Love You’ With a Chocolate Sapote

Chocolate Sapote treeBy Julie-Ann Bradwyn, 05/02/12

IT IS so frustrating how everything goes up around Valentines Day, with roses tripling or quadrupling in price.

How then, do you find a way of showing your appreciation of a loved one without being caught up in the commercialism of the day or paying an arm and a leg?  If you want to avoid the typical presents that everyone gives, like flowers or chocolates, then why not consider buying something completely different, something that is enduring, like a plant?  The plant I’m thinking of is the Chocolate Sapote tree, also known as the Chocolate Pudding Tree.  Now you know why it’s perfect for Valentines Day!

Diospyros digyna is actually a type of persimmon that is native to eastern Mexico and Central America, extending as far south as Colombia.  It is a lush evergreen tree that looks beautiful even without the added bounty of its fruit.  The leaves are 10 to 30cm long, tapered at both ends and a dark glossy green.  Mature trees can grow very tall but if the tip is cut out of the tree when it is about 2m high, it will promote bushier, wider growth and make it easier to pick the fruit.  As they are frost sensitive and like a well drained soil, they do very well on the Fraser Coast.

The fruit resembles a tomato and grows from 5cm to 13cm, with a thin but firm rind.  It is low in fat and high in Vitamin C, containing about 4 times as much as an orange.  The green fruit is picked when hard and allowed to soften and go brown within 3-6 days.  When it is ripe, pressing the skin with your fingers should leave an indentation.

The flesh inside a ripe fruit is a rich, dark brown colour and custard-like, with a sweet, nut-like flavour that resembles chocolate.  Fruit can be cut in half and eaten fresh, or used as a chocolate substitute in recipes or milkshakes.  Fruit pulp can be blended with yoghurt, milk, cream or ice-cream for a delicious dessert.  Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it?

So this year, why not consider a Chocolate Sapote?  Dare to be different and skip the roses.  You would still be giving your loved one chocolate, but without the calories or caffeine.  That is sure to be well received.