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Food Festivals

Food Festivals

Food Festivals are a great way of giving your patrons new and powerful memories they’ll remember for a long time.

Well-planned and executed food festivals can introduce regulars and new visitors to your hotel, resort, conference, food show or other venue to sample delicious flavours, impress them with outstanding food, exceptional wines and beers and provide a glimpse of far away cultures, exotic cuisines or the latest trends in food. Australian food festivals can go even further.

Dining Downunder Promotions celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie are the world’s leading specialists in Australian cuisine from its ancient origins as sustenance for generations of Australia’s Aborigines; to Vic’s experience in pioneering the native Australian food industry; and Benjamin’s international experience in using Australian ingredients while cooking in 4 and 5-star hotels and resorts around the world.

Together they have the industry’s longest collective involvement in the development, use and presentation of Australia’s unique culinary ingredients. Their standing as specialist celebrity chefs also widely promotes Australia as a culinary tourism destination and a place where the food culture is strong, vibrant, exciting and captivating.

Both Vic and Benjamin are highly experienced in providing professional cooking demonstrations for all levels of culinary interests; from home cooks through to Michelin star chefs from the world’s best restaurants. They will tailor the presentation to your needs and to the audience while entertaining, edifying and feeding them. You might consider participatory cooking classes or ingredient hamper inclusions for each participant or the co-promotion of other produce, equipment, services or events.

Whatever type of food festival or event you are planning, our Australian celebrity chefs are available to introduce the modern trend of the newest foods from the oldest living culture on the planet.

For enquiries please contact Rebecca Beuth

So What the Bloody Hell is Wattleseed?

So What the Bloody Hell is Wattleseed?

So What the Bloody Hell is Wattleseed 1

For over 6000 years, Australian Aborigines in different clans around the country, parched and milled wattle seeds from around 100 of the 900 plus species of Acacia, then used the coarse flour in baked seed cakes. This all changed in 1984, when the accidental discovery by
Vic Cherikoff created the modern day product known as Cherikoff Wattleseed).

This is more of a flavouring (natural of course) made from nothing but specially selected species of wattle seeds, carefully and artfully roasted using a particular temperature regime to bring out a wonderful and specific profile of Maillard flavour products which we so love in chocolate, baked foods and roasted nuts. The Wattleseed is then ground, again employing specially developed technologies so that the resultant particle size is small enough for maximal flavour extraction in a wide variety of uses but not so fine as to impart a dusty character on the tongue. This research and refinement of the product makes Cherikoff Wattleseed indisputably the best on the market. The proof of this claim is that it is now highly regarded globally by creative chefs and innovative manufacturers for the unique coffee, chocolate and hazelnut flavours that it imparts.

These days, Cherikoff Wattleseed is used extensively around the world from mainstream bakers in Europe to fine dining restaurants, specialty chocolatiers and ice cream manufacturers in New York. Celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse made Cherikoff Wattleseed ice cream on his TV show; Peter Gordon (of NZ and UK fame) uses it in his London eatery (in his signature dish); Graham Kerr has used it for his new, low fat, super healthy cuisine on his most recent TV series; and now Luis Diaz at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois is about to grasp the flavour impact of it is his cooking. Wattleseed Anzacs biscuits on QANTAS flights are now an iconic inclusion and recently Wattleseed was served to Queen Elizabeth II on her recent visit to Australia. And this is just a smattering.

Numerous Aboriginal communities along with some dedicated, contracted non-Aboriginal harvesters now gather the small wattle seeds across more than a million square miles (kilometres if you must) of country. While plantations are about to begin yielding reasonable quantities of wattle seed, the mechanical harvesting methods trialled so far have not yet provided the most ideal system. Everything from vacuum to combine harvesters have been developed, modified and tested but there is still more work in this area to do. Without doubt, as the market for tonnage grows, the imperative to engineer the best yielding harvesters will grow too and this time is getting nearer as new markets for Cherikoff Wattleseed are found and developed.

While nutrition has little to do with most people’s food choices, Wattleseed is a great inclusion in anyone’s diet. It has an unusually low glycaemic index which means that the carbohydrates in it are slowly absorbed and therefore better for you than sugary, quick release alternatives. Wattleseed can also be incorporated into foods to lower the overall GI and either just improve its nutritional value or to actually make some food acceptable for people with non-insulin dependent diabetes.

But for anyone who simply enjoys great food, Cherikoff Wattleseed is well suited for a wide range of dishes, sauces and condiments. Either in dry form or as the liquid extract, Wattleseed can be used in sauces, rubs and marinades, crumbs, coatings and batters. It’s superb in baked foods such as breads, biscuits, muffins and cakes and also in desserts including custard and custard desserts, bread and butter puddings, crème patisserie and of course, the now famous, rolled Wattleseed pavlova. Wattleseed is terrific in pancakes, waffles, crumpets, scones, bagels or pretzels; also in dairy desserts with Wattleseed ice cream being a certain world flavour soon and even Wattleseed drinking yoghurt, flavoured milk and soy milk are worth trying. And last but not least is the use of Wattleseed in beverages. Try it as an espresso or simply boiled briefly and strained (unlike coffee, Wattleseed can handle boiling temperatures). I find it better with milk as it brings out some sweetness and rounds out the flavour. It’s good blended with coffee if you need the caffeine hit and there are companies already marketing Wattleseed chai. However, one of my favourite uses is to add 1% Cherikoff Wattleseed extract to a mild flavoured beer (not too hopped).

Manufacturers are already using Cherikoff Wattleseed in many of the above applications in commercial and retail products and much of our work is in assisting companies bring out the best in their new product development using this great flavour. And to give you a little insight into the future, we are now looking at new Wattleseed extracts made with liquid carbon dioxide (sub-critical CO2) extraction techniques. These give us concentrated flavours which can be used in low moisture applications (confectionery, chocolate, cheeses, honey etc).

Cherikoff Wattleseed is currently available to chefs and manufacturers in two forms, either as Wattleseed (a milled product like coffee grounds as described previously) or Wattleseed extract which is more convenient and easier to use.

Wattleseed is available online for delivery right around the world. To order, simply visit the
Dining Downunder online store

Paperbark Smoke Oil – the new truffle oil from Australia

Paperbark Smoke Oil - the new truffle oil from Australia

Paperbark Smoke Oil is a uniquely Australian and deliciously flavoured infused oil, which is used in the same way as truffle oil but is far more versatile and widely appealing. It is made from Paperbark, the outer papery bark from an Australian swamp tree and which was traditionally used by Aborigines as a food wrap. In the modern kitchen, Paperbark is a useful, natural, biodegradable material which can replace greaseproof paper, baking paper, oven bags, plastic wrap and aluminium foil while imparting a delicate smokey flavour now infused into Paperbark Smoke Oil.

For years, Cherikoff Rare Spices had been sending Paperbark to their distributor in the USA with no problem or concern and had built up quite a market there. “Unfortunately, this all stopped when the USDA decided that our product be banned as an environmental threat. So in an effort to address both challenges of environmental restrictions and imparting flavour with ease, I developed Paperbark Smoke Oil using canola oil, infused with the natural smoke flavour of Paperbark” says Vic Cherikoff.

Paperbark Smoke Oil is cholesterol free and it is used so sparingly that the added oil hardly matters as dietary fat. It is ideal for fish, shellfish, meat and vegetables, condiments, dressings; effectively it can be used in any dish that a subtle hint of smoke would enhance. Try a drizzle over roasted corn on the cob, or a dash in a seeded, Dijon style mustard. This turns an ordinary condiment into something really special. Add a splash of Paperbark Smoke Oil to your favourite sauce (just before serving) or soup.

“I enjoy using Paperbark Smoke Oil in ordinary sauces like hollandaise or mayonnaise as it offers a much more interesting flavour. I’ve also made fantastic smoked chocolate ice cream or smoked crème anglais” says Australian celebrity chef, Benjamin Christie.

We invite you to visit our online store for Paperbark Smoke Oil and other authentic Australian products and we welcome anyone to submit recipes using our ingredients.

Packaged in a 150ml spouted bag Paperbark Smoke Oil is easily ordered through our online storeand shipped around the world or ordered through our global distribution network for food service sales.

Paperbark Smoke Oil Recipes

Asparagus with Paperbark Smoke Hollandaise
Feta cheese marinated with Paperbark Smoke Oil
Kalamata Olives enhanced with Paperbark Smoke Oil
Marinated mushrooms with Paperbark Smoke Oil
Mashed Potato with Paperbark Smoke Oil
Seeded Mustard with Paperbark Smoked Oil

Heart Foundation Australia Classic Golf Day

Heart Foundation Australia Classic Golf Day

Heart Foundation Australia Classic Golf Day 1The Heart Foundation of Australia recently approached Benjamin Christie to be a part of their Heart Classic Golf Day on Thursday 16th November 2006 which will be held at one of Australia’s most prestigious courses, The Lakes Golf Club.

The day is designed to provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to profile themselves within Australia, entertain key clients or as a networking opportunity to build new business contacts – whilst raising much needed funds for the Heart Foundation.

After the Heart Classic Golf Day, a Grand Auction Dinner will be held to raise funds. Benjamin has offered a prize to have him in your home creating a personalised 3-course menu featuring Australian native flavours for 8 people.

This is a great Christmas gift or corporate gift, whilst raising much needed funds for The Heart Foundation of Australia.

For more information about this exclusive event, promotional opportunities and hole sponsorship please visit the Australian Heart Foundation.

The Heart Foundation is Australia’s leading heart health charity and is funded almost entirely by donations and bequests. Over 50 percent of the Heart Foundation’s income is from bequests alone. Cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel disease) is the leading cause of death and disability in Australia, or 38% of all deaths. Around 3.67 million Australians are affected by cardiovascular disease and 1.10 million Australians are disabled long-term by cardiovascular disease.

Heart Foundation Australia Classic Golf Day 2To find out how you can make a donation to the Heart Foundation please visit the Heart Foundation

Australian Cuisine on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Ship

Australian Cuisine on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Ship

  • Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie have recently returned from their 8-day cruise onboard the Regent Seven Seas Mariner from Darwin to Sydney where they showcased an Australian themed cuisine event as part of the Mariner’s “Spotlight on Wine & Food Tour”.

Cruise Director, Barry Hopkins interviewed Vic and Benjamin on the ship’s in house TV channel, Mariner Today, which is a recent addition to the cruise ship. Mariner Today is hosted by Barry and begins the day by detailing events about the cruise ship and what not to miss. The show also features interviews with Cruise Staff, Guests and even the Captain. Each day the show is filmed in different locations on the ship, dependent on the focus for the day.

The interview goes for about 10 minutes and Vic and Benjamin talk about some of the unique flavours they used for the cooking classes and dinner on board the ship earlier this month.

As part of this event, Vic and Benjamin hosted a native Australian dinner (read their menu below) and cooking classes which featured selected dishes from their menu:

– Wattleseed infused beef fillet with paperbark smoked mash & riberry confit

– Paperbark Smoked Vegetable Parcel served with Bush Tomato Chutney

Guests were also able to purchase signed Dining Downunder Cookbooks, our range of herbs, spices & seasoningssauces and Vic’s newly developed Rainforest Mist facial spray.

Autographed Cookbooks now available online

Autographed Cookbooks now available online

Australian Celebrity Chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie last week signed only 500 copies of their Dining Downunder Cookbookexclusively for online orders in December or until sold out.

The signed Dining Downunder Cookbook are now in the warehouse and are ready for shipping today. There has never been a better time to buy a copy for you, friends and family.

For those that haven’t seen the Dining Downunder Cookbook there is over ninety beautifully photographed recipes from the show and provides a visual feast for the senses and includes detailed descriptions on how to use the many native ingredients including wattleseed, Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle, Alpine pepper, paperbark, lemon aspen juice and Riberry Confit. Also featured are recipes from the restaurants the chefs visit.

Those who frequently entertain at home or are gourmet enthusiasts will find The Dining Downunder Cookbook a must and will appreciate the easy to follow recipes and informative guides, including the secrets of an Australian barbeque.

Our Christmas Gift to you this year is simply purchase a copy of the Dining Downunder Cookbook as well as something else from our online store and we’ll give you 10% off your total order.

Use the code XMAS06 – 10% off your order code

To browse and buy at our online store visit

Rewarding Affiliate Program for authentic Australian Gourmet Food takes off

Rewarding Affiliate Program for authentic Australian Gourmet Food takes off

Prior to Christmas, our Australian Affiliate Program for the Dining Downunder and Vic Cherikoff Online Store grew to over 200 affiliates.

Our range of affiliates in the program now include large international portals, general and dedicated Australian on-line food stores to simple blogs on food, cooking, eating and travel. It certainly is interesting to see such a large cross section of blogs and contrary to what you might think, we have very few with an exclusive focus on Australian indigenous ingredients.

Apart from the number of our affiliates growing, our range of products has also increased to over 55. Recent additions include our SmokeboardsForest AniseMintbush MarinadeWylde Thyme Mix and Blue Gum Smoke Oil to name just a few.

Our affiliates are supported by over 50 graphic advertisements and over 70 text advertisements all promoting the program. However we have recently begun producing videos as additional support materials to help those commissions come in. The first video produced is on our Smokeboards see the video at and is only the first in a plan to offer vodcasts, podcasts and even more banners as tools for affiliates.

How many other affiliate programs offer up to 20% commissions on all sales and our average transactions are over USD$85 each. The system tracks returning visitors through cookies and IP logs referred for 60 days, so any transactions your readers make during the 60 days following their initial visit will be credited to your account. Additionally, our Payout Balance amount is just A$40 (approximately US$31).

Apart from commissions on direct sales, we also have the ability for affiliates to recommend still other affiliates to our program and commissions are then earned from any of these second tier sales generated. This means that the program itself becomes another product to promote and a blog recommending our program or a fixed link and graphic linked to our program on your website or blog can leverage your commissions through other websites’ efforts.

With Australia Day later this month, there has not been a better time to consider joining our Australian Affiliate Program. To join simply fill out the form here.

Australia Day

Australia Day

Each year on 26th January, Australian’s come together to celebrate Australia.

We celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It is a day to reflect of what we have achieved and what we can be proud of, and to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future. This is the biggest day of celebration in the country and is observed as a public holiday in all states and territories.

With formal ceremonies, dinners, flag raising events, citizenship ceremonies, community awards – the celebrations are not only observed within Australia, but all around the world.

What are you doing this Australia Day?

Are you looking for new ideas on how you can celebrate Australia Day with your friends and family? We have many unique Australian recipes for you to try for your Australia Day celebrations that we know you will love, whether you are planning a BBQ, breakfast, lunch or sit down dinner.

We also have three Native Australian Hampers available from our online store, that have been designed to make it easy to explore the majority of our uniquely Australian flavours.

See more recipe ideas from Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie.

Update from Down Under

Update from Down Under

Lots of food has gone through the kitchen since the last blog on this site and we’ll be more regularly adding information on Australian food and cooking as it happens Down Under.

For an update or to keep in touch with developments in the worlds of authentic Australian food, subscribe to the RSS feeds at Vic’s site, Benjamin’s site or the Kakadu Juice website.

In brief, Australian wild food is now more available in the USA with the Vic Cherikoff Down Under range of sauces and splashes in Whole Foods Markets nationally as well as in Andronico’s, Lunardi’s, Wegman’s and Atkin’s chain supermarkets.

We also ship orders from our on-line store and product goes all over the world. The only limitations we have are Paperbark into the USA (although we can ship Paperbark smoke oil) and any orders into Italy (the customs officials are so corrupt we won’t send parcels there after having lost previous shipments for no apparent reason). Luckily, we have supplied chefs and cooks from Alaska to Kazakhstan.

While you’re browsing through our store, please checkout our Xmas hampers which we offer year-round as gifts for any occasion. Some companies even offer them as rewards for achieving sales targets, safety goals or other performance markers.

Anyway. Authentic Australian food is thriving. More people are getting creative with the wild flavors of Australia and chefs are putting their own spin on Australian cuisine. We hope that this site is a good introduction to Australian food if you are visiting for the first time and that you explore our other sites above.

An upgrade for our shop

An upgrade for our shop

We have just upgraded our on-line store to make it easier to navigate.

It’s the perfect site to shop for Xmas with our hampers or how about giving health (and even a business if you want) by gifting a bottle of Kakadu Complex to the people close to you?

And for after Xmas, once the turkey, alcohol, pudding and cake have all taken their toll on your waistline, you might even lose the excess by using our exceptional weight loss program.

Please visit us and let me know what you thin of the new look and feel. And if you have your own website, join us as an affiliate and earn commissions referring us to your visitors. Here’s a great overview of our affiliate program on Chef Benjamin Christie’s site.