Voyager Estate, Margaret River, WA
Australia wants to use its hands. We want to smoke, and gnaw, and hew and mill. We want to eat less meat but be offered better quality. We want more vegetables, but we want them farmed by small-scale producers. And while the fish should be line-caught, the ice-cream can be soft-serve. We might like our food slow and low-impact, but we don't think that means we have to surrender our sense of fun - we want our ethics with a side of hot fudge and nuts. We’ve never been more serious about good bread and butter or being selective about the wood we smoke with. We want our fried chicken brined in shrimp paste, finished with earth-shattering crunch. Festivals around Australia celebrate natural wine - spontaneous ferments and minimal intervention - while supporting local artists, producers, chefs and musicians. We haven't lost our world-famous taste for beer, but we also have a growing craft-brewing culture seeing specialty bars, pubs and festivals popping up everywhere from Fremantle to Fitzroy. We’re hungry, we’re thirsty and we want it on sticks, fermented and tiki (preferably all on the same plate).
Rockstar vegestations, meat highlights
Australian fine dining has been leaning further and further away from meat-based tasting menus, favouring the creative use of grains, rare vegetables, curds, tofus and cheeses. “I reckon we’ll be seeing a lot more vegetarian-based cooking going on,” says Perth food writer Max Veenhuyzen, “dishes where the plant-based matter is the star and protein is used as a flavouring/contrasting texture." Australian TV presenter and ethical-eating advocate Magdalena Roze sees Australia going one step further in the coming years. “I see vegetables having a more of a place in desserts and snacks, something that a lot of chefs are already doing, but I think it will become more mainstream - even spreading to supermarkets.” Kale chips for everyone.