Mayfield delicatessen Pork Ewe Deli is joining forces with Restaurant Mason and Brokenwood Wines to host a seasonal lunch at Customs House in July.
The Winter Seasonal Long Lunch on July 18 will take diners on a culinary journey to France. It is, after all, the week of Bastille Day.
"We were so overwhelmed with the support and interest in our luncheon during Newcastle Food Month. It sold out very quickly," Pork Ewe Deli store manager Lisa Honan said.
"It was a large event so we took control of the charcuterie course and cheese course while Earp Distillery curated the other food and gin and Covered in Crumbs did dessert."
The ongoing seasonal lunches are collaborations with venues, wineries and chefs that "have a connection with what we do at the deli", she said.
"Either we have helped supply cheese or advice, or they have supplied stock to us, or collaborated with us in some form. We used to host events in the store but due to COVID restrictions we have had to think outside the box.
"We also understand the pressure the past 18 months has had on small businesses, restaurants especially. These events give people a chance to support and connect with some of these affected businesses."
The Pork Ewe Deli team sets the theme of each seasonal lunch, and each participating chef designs the menu "highlighting some of Pork Ewe's favourite produce as well as a course that is exclusively cheese".
"It is a Pork Ewe event after all. You will also get the chance to learn about the food, wine and cheese from the chef, winemaker and us," Honan said.
"The cheese course will have a wine match. This is done collectively with Kate Sturgess winemaker at Brokenwood Wines, and Samantha Glover at Pork Ewe, and they will talk you through that on the day.
"The Winter Seasonal Lunch is traditionally French. Bastille Day is July 14 so it's a great excuse to explore French cuisine.
"France was also a huge inspiration behind the idea of Pork Ewe.
"Chris [Thornton] and Kyle [Whitbourne] have come up with a really beautiful French menu - four courses including an all-French cheese course. We won't give away the menu completely but here is a little teaser: twice-cooked cheese souffle with gruyere mousse, and vanilla and white chocolate crème brulee and rhubarb."
Cheese and charcuterie is Pork Ewe Deli's bread and butter. I ask if grazing boards are still on trend.
"They certainly are - I do not think we will be seeing a decline in weekend grazing board consumption any time soon," Honan replied.
"In terms of trends, with people not travelling there are a lot of customers who have missed a European adventure and they are trying to capture that by celebrating with imported produce.
"There is also a trend for eating local. We have been working hard on promoting local producers and people are loving that.
"As for presentation, less is more. Simplicity is being celebrated."
And yes, you can still hire a raclette machine and fondue pot from Pork Ewe Deli during the winter months.
"Melted cheese, how can you go wrong? We include all the accompaniments as well like cured meats and crunchy cornichon."
Pork Ewe Deli's Winter Seasonal Long Lunch is at Customs House Hall, on Sunday, July 18, noon to 4pm. Tickets $189 (includes four courses plus full beverage package) at porkewe.com.au.
Cooking for India
Former MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris are reuniting for a marathon cooking special to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.
A live YouTube event will run from 3pm on June 19 to 3am on June 20. Matt, Gary and George will spend 12 hours together hosting live demonstrations and interviewing culinary friends from around the world while cooking their favourite dishes.
Viewers will have the opportunity to interact with the hosts, ask questions in real time, and chew the fat with international culinary stars like Heston Blumenthal and Massimo Bottura, as well as Aussies Shannon Bennett, Karen Martini, Manu Fieldel and MasterChef alumni Justine Schofield, Khanh Ong, Sashi Cheliah and Poh Ling Yeow. Some of India's most famous chefs are also involved, including Manu Chandra and Ranveer Brar.
India is in the midst of the worst COVID-19 outbreak yet, recording more than 400,000 cases a day at its peak, with thousands of deaths daily. Matt, Gary and George's mission is to bring together the international culinary community to raise as much as possible to support the relief efforts.
Oxfam India says $15 can buy a much-needed PPE kit to frontline workers and $445 a vital oxygen cylinder.
The cooking special will be hosted on YouTube. Viewers can buy a ticket starting from $30 to tune in, with all proceeds going to charities in India supporting people affected by the pandemic (Oxfam India, Seeds and Goonj). Tickets at eventbrite.com.au.
It's been close to 12 months since John Casey took over Bolton Street Pantry from Zach Levien. He's just introduced a new winter menu and has some exciting changes to announce soon.
"We are introducing a fresh new look and feel to the space ... this refresh is an exciting way for me and my team to put our touch on the brand," he told Food & Wine. Watch this space.
New date for Cheese and Chocolate Festival
Hope Estate has postponed this year's Hunter Valley Cheese and Chocolate Festival until 2022. The festival was set down for the first weekend in July but, following feedback from many vendors, organisers decided to postpone the event until July 23 next year. Owner Michael Hope said on Monday: "This has been a tough decision to make given there's such high demand for activities and events. A lot has changed with COVID, along with the changes that our vendors have had to make within their businesses. We realise we have to accommodate for these changes and would rather make this call now and concentrate on making 2022 an amazing experience. Tickets will automatically be transferred to the new date. For questions or other information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org."
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