Orange in country New South Wales is, like Mudgee, one these country towns that have managed to keep their yesteryear feel and at the same time move into the 21st century flow. Gourmet food and boutique wineries abound and people like Annie and Kai move there to act on their passion and find a quality of life away from the "big smoke".
Kai Woltmann is obsessed with cheese and has relentlessly pursued his chilhood dream to become a cheese maker. He trained in Paris, Adelaide and New Zealand, not a bad pedigree...Hence, the recent creation of the "Second Mouse Cheese Company". Yes it is a mouthful, and yes in both senses of the term - the cheeses are certainly looking the part! I have only tasted the very nutty and ripe Camembert and bought some, but I suspect their newer washed rind, a la Munster but milder in taste, will be a winner too. I will certainly try it as well the feta over my next encounter with Kai and Annie in a month time.
Winter is very hard in Sydney, a cool 20 deg - the same as in Paris today...A good time for a walk along the cliff at South Head and we would normally end up having lunch at the pub - one of many Doyle's eateies empire, but they are renovating, so better head off back home and treat ourselves to a simple lunch of seafood & camembert!
We start with some gorgeous pacific oysters and then a nice snapper fillet simply grilled and laid on a cauliflower puree, and simple "champignons de Paris". It is Bastille Day after all! A good multigrain baguette from Pierre Labancz and a real Camembert from Normandy, washed with a Macon-Villages. Et voila!
Interestingly enough, the traditional military parade on the 14th of July - Bastille Day - does not even go there and prefers the wider Place de la Concorde for its finishing line instead. And in a week time, the 100th Tour de France will finish nearby on the Champs Elysees after going back and forth a few times between Place de l'Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. Most would know that the Bastille was once a prison, and in its place, we have now a beautiful column in the middle of a busy complex intersection and a new temple of culture: the Opera Bastille. It is also the confluence of the Marais and the more up and coming 11th arrondissement where one can find great restaurants and bars as well as furniture makers and famous architects practices like Jean Nouvel and Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Kenzo used to live nearby as well...
Tonight and tomorrow night, Paris will be abuzz with the famous "Bals du 14 Juillet" all around Paris, the suburbs and the country. Here in Sydney, there are celebrations at the Alliance Francaise, at "La Brasserie" - with a talented French pianist, Elodie Sablier and her singer friend - they call themselves "The Black Diamonds - and at "Tastevin" in Darlinghurst. And one of my neighbours - Greg and his son Brian, went out of their way to present us with a "baguette" and sang "La Marseillaise" to us!. I am not moving any time soon!!!
Steph's Gourmet Foods is based in Newcastle - nobody is perfect! - and is run by the talented and passionate French Aussie, Stephane Pois. What a beautiful name to be involved with food! Pois means pea in French, just in case your culinary French is not yet up to scratch... But, poin de pois in steph's kingdom, but beans instead in cassoulets and pork and duck in various confits and sausages. I visited too late to be able to sample Steph's creations, as they were sold out - a good sign, indeed! But Steph's also resell or import other beautiful products like these Italian sausages shown on the photo, which I sampled and they got my stamp of approval!
Stephane also sells all the Labeyrie products, mainly Duck in various guises - confit, magret, foie gras, etc...
If you can't wait for the next market, you can order online here: http://www.stephsgourmetfoods.com.au
I first met Lyndey at The Essential Ingredient in February 2010 when this blog was still in its infancy and called "French Impresssions from Sydney". Many thousands visitors later, we had a chance to meet again over what was the first appearance of this "complete food and wine person" at the Pyrmont Growers Market.
Lyndey cooked a beautiful piece of venison - a generic term that Australians use instead of the specific: deer -
with parsnips slowly broiled in olive oil and chicken stock...It looked beautiful, but we were not allowed to taste unfortunately...During her 25mns show, Lyndey also prepared an orange, olive oil and honey dessert and a raw baby beetroot salad, proof that one does not need much time to prepare a good family dinner and a total killer of the takeaway or fast food necessity to feed the masses!
For its 100th edition, the Tour de France starts in Corsica with the first three stages now behind us and a good chance of visting the "Ile de Beaute" virtually...
The most spectacular stage was the second one from Bastia to Ajaccio, as it crossed the island through its most mountainous part. And here is the proof:
Bastia is usually your first port of call - so to speak - if you are coming from Nice via the overnight ferry, which I would highly recommend, as it provides for a spectacular early morning view of Cap Corse and the port of Bastia.
If you are not cycling with the Tour, the most scenic way to go down to Ajaccio is to take the single track train (autorail) that wanders through the dsame mountains with a chance to stop in Corte, one of the most picturesque villages in Corsica, or anywhere else for that matter!
After two days on the rails and a stopover in Corte, you will arrive at the magnificent Bay of Ajaccio, and you may want to take the ferry back to the mainland and Toulon from there...but don't rush as there is plenty to do there!
And certainly not before seeing the sunset on the "Iles Sanguinaires" - the "Bloody Islands" - named like that either for their red colour during sunset, or because of all the blood letting during the various invasions of the island - so far the French have prevailed - but for how long???
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: