Australians don’t seem to be too serious about their food. They serve it up with no pretense and they consume without worry. But don’t let this fool you, their food is damn good—it’s always fresh and carefully prepared. I have just spent three weeks traveling around Australia with Sharon and the Daps. We had to stop our van in the road to allow a Koala to cross, we learned to surf, and, of course, we ate. What follows is a sampler of some of the foods that have been consumed over the past three weeks.
If there is one item that Australians (properly pronounced ‘strialians) do take seriously, its their coffee. Any shop that serves coffee has a proper espresso machine. The coffee is consistently stellar, whether in an airport or a fancy café. Almost as satisfying as the coffee itself are the names of the drinks. At the top of the list is a “flat white”, which is a shot of espresso with milk but no foam. I question why we don’t have a proper name for this drink back in the states. Other items include: “short black”= espresso, “long black” = espresso w/hot water, “short mac”= espresso with a splash of milk and foam, “long mac”= watery espresso w/ a splash of milk and foam. “One flat white please…”
A welcome surprise out here is their usage of corn. Corn, which happens to be my favorite food, is quite common out here. At the Little Creatures brewery in Perth (pronounced puth as in pudding), they brew some mean pale ale but they also make some corn on the cob with butter that will make you homesick (if you get good corn on the cob at home). In Sydney, I happened upon a fancy little restaurant called Bill’s where they serve up corn fritters with bacon for breakfast (pictured below). You get two fritters with bacon, spinach and roast tomatoes in the middle. These are bona fide fritters (the chef’s name is Bill Granger and I picked up one of his cooked books. Email me if you want the recipe).
The slow foods movement seems to be pretty popular down under. I happened upon a slow foods street fair where I bought a lamb sausage on a slice of bread and I have been craving another one ever since. For those of you who don’t know, ‘slow food’ is a movement to counteract fast food. It is based on the idea that we should take time and put care into eating, growing, and cooking food.
A super common street food item is a meat pie. Pictured below is a chicken pie from some fancy organic café in Melbourne. They are similar to chicken pot pies, but they usually come as individual little pies and there are a variety of filling options. These things are damn good and you can get them nearly anywhere. When you get the beef one, you must douse it in ketchup, which is known as tomato sauce out here.
One of the best desserts I have ever experienced is what they call a “pavlova”. Supposedly named after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova after she did a tour of Australia (I am waiting for the “Homer”), this dessert is a piece of heaven. It is a chunk of meringue that is filled with cream. Thus, it’s hard like meringue on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. It is topped with some whipped cream and strawberries and is basically the best thing ever. Thank you Ian Mcinnis and your lovely wife for making us these lovely pavlovas and a full on barbeque out in Albany.