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20 October 2009

Wagyu BBQ at Chef's Armoury, Sydney


I’ve never been a big carnivore, preferring to graze mostly on vegetables, legumes and seafood. Recently, however, I attended the Wagyu BBQ at the Chef’s Armoury in Sydney, where I ate about a month’s worth of the most succulent, tender and flavoursome beef I’ve ever tasted.

On the menu was Wagyu. Two varieties – grain fed and organic, grass-fed beef. Both were expertly barbecued on a traditional Hibachi grill by Chef’s Armoury owner, Leigh Hudson, and served with salad, grilled garlic skewers and fresh wasabi.


Wagyu is highly marbled Japanese beef, also known as Kobe beef. The marbling is what gives the beef its tenderness and complexity in flavour. A fellow guest aptly exclaimed that he could actually "feel the fat melting" in his mouth. I certainly could. It was almost addictive with each bite being somewhat of a revelation.


Thankfully I had other things to distract me from the beef binge -- Japanese knives. Some of the very best.  It's no wonder the Japanese are so skilled at creating such beautiful tools. In the home of the Samurai, forging sharp steel is a most esteemed craft.


Hudson's knives sit gleaming like museum artifacts in glass cases. Each one seems to speak to whomever looks upon it. Knives of all shapes and sizes. All Japanese. All exquisite.

Chef's Armoury 
747 - 751 Botany Road,
Rosebery NSW Australia
Tel: +61 2 9699 2353

07 September 2009

Somage Fine Foods


Love for chocolate dates back thousands of years.

Some of the earliest records of chocolate consumption can be traced to classic Maya civilization in the 1st millennium AD.

Archeological digs have unearthed Mayan dignitaries buried alongside jars and bowls for chocolate. An 8th century painted vase depicts hot chocolate being held up high and poured into a bowl -- an ancient method of making froth.

Love for chocolate was profound and quickly found its way from pre-Columbian America to the courts and castles of Europe.

Today, millions of tonnes of chocolate are consumed every year around the world.

While everyone loves chocolate, some people take it a bit more seriously than others. Somage Fine Foods take chocolate seriously so that you can just have fun with it.

Based in Melbourne, Somage Fine Foods was borne out of passion and appreciation for quality produce. They sell a range of products including the gorgeous Kali drinking chocolate which is gluten and dairy-free.

I drink mine garnished with couverture sprinkles (pictured below) which makes it all the more luscious. Chocolate couverture is simply chocolate with high cocoa butter content. It pretty much melts as soon as you sprinkle it on and adds a rich texture to the smooth hot chocolate.

The best way to enjoy Kali drinking chocolate is by heating it in a pot on the stove with milk. The milk should be gently heated until just before it starts to steam thus allowing the dairy solids and cocoa to emulsify properly. 


For something with a little more kick, try the Kali chocolate coated coffee beans created with premium quality artisan roasted coffee and the finest grade couverture chocolate. But don't stop there.

Continue reading "Somage Fine Foods" »

17 August 2009

Robertson Cheese Factory


When I think of Australia, the images that flit through my mind are of endless beaches (of which it has 30,000), tropical rain forest and stark landscapes of wild, dry bush that eventually peter out into hot red rock and dust.

Australia is infamous for its unforgiving desert and harsh terrains.  But even more famous, are Australia’s iconic sandy shores covered by bronzed bodies soaking in the sun like Galapagos lava lizards.

What many don’t know about, are the lush, verdant parts of this sun-burnt country. Endless bucolic countryside of rolling pastures, emerald green, dotted with dairy cows and pretty black-faced sheep. Almost every Australian State has parts which answer to this description. One such place is the Southern Highlands of New South Wales –- just a few hours’ drive from Sydney.

Housed in a beautiful old wooden building, the Robertson Cheese Factory is home to a team of “foodaholic visionaries” with a real focus on local and seasonal produce. Over 40% of the cheeses are produced locally. The rest are comprised of the best Australian Cheeses the factory can source, including Woodside Cheese Wrights, The Barossa Valley Cheese Company, Berry Creek Cheese Company, King Island Black Label Cheeses and many more. They also stock a vast range of French White Moulds and Blues and a number of Italian, and other European hard and soft cheeses. 


Two very talented chefs produce a range of pates, terrines, relishes, pickles, jams and gelatos on-site. And then there’s the honey-smoked trout. Without doubt the best smoked trout I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.


The Robertson Cheese Factory is a very popular weekend breakfast spot with locals and tourists alike. The café is small (seating about 25) and offers sweeping views of the Robertson’s green, rolling hills. Homemade scones and jams make Devonshire tea a popular choice.


Apart from phenomenal cheeses, you can also pick up lots of other goodies at the Robertson Cheese Factory: quiches, jams, preserves, cakes, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables are all sold at the store and you can really taste the love that's gone into preparing their produce.

Visit them at their website, but I can tell you from experience that it’s much more fun to visit them at 107 Illawarra Hwy, Robertson NSW 2577.


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