TORONTO — It’s been a month of celebration across Canada as Tourism Australia, Wine Australia and Australian chef John Placko have joined to celebrate and promote the culinary riches of their southern country just in time for its birthday Jan. 26.
As part of the Tourism Australia promotion, dubbed “Restaurant Australia,” there were events in Vancouver and Montreal. Last night, the final stop in the tour was Toronto where media converged at 461 King St. W. to sample food and wine pairings inspired by five of the country’s states. “People know Australia for being a beautiful country … but they don’t know how sophisticated the food and wine offering is,” explained Jane Whitehead, VP, The Americas, Tourism Australia. She added: “This promotion is aimed at encouraging Canadians to visit Australia and dine in the real ‘Restaurant Australia.’”
Chef Placko, a Sydney native, created a rich culinary journey through the country at the Toronto event, with dishes such as forestberry-seasoned white strip lamb; lemon myrtle-scented prawns; mini kangaroo and pepperberry sliders; Buderim ginger and lime-spiked barramundi; and wattle seed ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. “I looked at all the natural ingredients you wouldn’t find here and incorporated them into the dishes where it made sense … with a modernist twist,” said the chef of his culinary creations.
A range of Australian wines were also showcased, including Sticks Chardonnay 2010, Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Y Series Viognier 2012 and more.
And, as Tourism Australia prepares to roll out a global promotion in the months to come, the celebration continues as hotspots across the country offer Australian-inspired menus this month. Participants include: the El Gastronomo Vagabundo food truck, the Omni King Edward Hotel, the Mono Cliffs Inn and Spin — all in Ontario. Montreal’s Sofitel hotel and Vancouver’s Chill Winston are also hosting special events.