August 22nd, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Brands of Meat

Today I had to buy some meat, and being the meat fascist that I am, I needed to be certain it was good. Having discarded most of the butchers close to my work, I found a new one: McFarlands Gourmet Quality Meats.

Now being a Bangalow Sweet Pork girl, I asked a fair few questions of the butcher, and he came up with good answers as to why he chooses Otway Pork over my preferred product. So this week we road-test Otway Pork - results will be published!

From their website:
"Discover the clean, fresh taste of Otway Pork - bred free range so it's more tender, juicy and has more flavour. Naturally better Otway Pork is bred free range in accordance with RSPCA Guidelines. Our pigs are bred outdoors on our farm near the Otway Ranges and are then nurtured in spacious, straw-lined shelters where they sleep, play, exercise and socialise. Our pigs enjoy a natural grain-based diet with no added growth hormones and live in a healthy, comfortable environment that ensures Otway Pork is always tender and delicious."

Interestingly, he also stocks La Ionica chickens, which I have also read about. He thinks it matched the more trendy organic brands in terms of quality and beats them in price.

From their website
"You'll never forget the taste of a La Ionica Chicken. The old fashioned taste of natural, healthy chicken turns every dish into a mouth-watering experience. Grill it, bake it, bbq it, stir fry it. The chemically free process means that your La Ionica chicken, is healthy and tender with the meat retaining its natural juices. The way chicken should be.

You probably want to know why our chicken is so tender, succulent and processed chemically free. Our unique taste and quality is due to the Innovative process we use for every bird. We are the only chicken processor on mainland Australia to use the premium European method of “air chilling”, a process which does not involve the use of traditional spin – chillers filled with ice water and chlorine.

• A great tasting natural product
• A natural, appetizing pink flesh
• Firm and healthy meat that retains its natural juices
• You get what you pay for. No excess water"

The only down point was that his ducks were from Luv-a-Duck which is not my favourite brand... I am determined to start buying duck from the guy down in Thirlmere... I just need to find a contact for him. Perhaps a south coast drive is in order?

And if we do go driving, I think I want to eat here:  Eschalot Restaurant

"Eschalot Restaurant is located in a magnificent historical stone house in the delightful village of Berrima. Enjoy fine dining in one of the cosy, intimate dining rooms within the house. The service is professional, but the atmosphere is relaxed.

Eschalot has been awarded a coveted Sydney Morning Herald chef's hat. The owners, Tony Capps (chef) and Richard Kemp, with their extensive international experience, offer diners the opportunity to experience the frequently changing seasonal dishes through their degustation menu. Of course, if preferred, there is the seasonal lunch and dinner menu to choose from. This menu changes every two to three months, depending on the local produce available.

Many dishes such as the entrée, Highlands Heritage Pork Prosciutto, with roasted green fig stuffed with Roquefort, drizzled with olive oil and Cuttaway Creek raspberry vinegar, provide a delicate explosion of flavours. The eight course Tasting Menu includes Eschalot’s signature dish, Thirlmere Duck confit, with desserts like Fennel Tarte Tatin with licorice ice cream, to follow.

The full vegetarian menu and the vegetarian Tasting Menu include an entrée of Mushrooms from the Mittagong train tunnel on hazelnut brioche, with fromage blanc.

They could be more anal than me - describing that their mushrooms come from the "Mittagong Train Tunnel". Way cool.

McFarlands Gourmet Quality Meats
Shop 14, 14 Railway Ave, Wahroonga
Ph: (02) 9489 3281