Christian's best foot forward
IT'S a big deal for a small regional producer to be told to bring a truckload of goods to a metropolitan showcase.
Fromart Cheese owner Christian Noble will take this advice literally when his popular cheese varieties Tilsit and Devil's Foot feature at next weekend's Regional Flavours Festival at South Bank in Brisbane.
Fromart will be among a handful of producers representing the Sunshine Coast growing region at the festival.
The festival this year focuses on how local produce comes together with various cultural influences to create a unique Queensland cuisine.
A world way in Switzerland six years ago, while on a hike up a Swiss mountain, Christian and his wife Yvonne decided to spend the night in a hut enjoying a cheese platter with dried meat and white wine.
Christian said that having both come from a family of entrepreneurs, the couple had always flirted with the idea of starting their own business, but this experience was the catalyst that had turned the vision into reality.
"At this cheesemaker's hut, we actually said, 'Let's realise this dream'," Christian said.
"The hut was the ignition of the whole thing. Sometimes you just need a little bit of fire to start you up."
Christian said Australia seemed to be the best place to realise their once-wild dream and the pair had been perfecting the cheesemaking art at Eudlo since 2006.
The two cheese varieties produced and featured at next weekend's festival are complete opposites in terms of flavour, structure and texture.
"It is like comparing a strong red wine to a young, acidic fruity wine," Christian said of the Tilsit and Devil's Foot.
The Tilsit cheese is typically matured for between two and four months, producing a milder flavour, while the Devil's Foot is left to mature for 12 months or more, producing a stronger cheese with a real bite.
Christian said the Devil's Foot was for the cheese connoisseur who enjoyed a good drop of red wine, while the Tilsit was "easy to eat because it has a nice creamy texture".
He said a white wine such as a sauvignon blanc was the ideal match for a cheese such as Tilsit as the fat from the cheese was perfectly balanced by the fruity, acidic wine.
He advised that when it came to cheese, similar flavours should be married - a strong red wine with a punchier cheese, for example.
But complimentary flavours also work: "You can bring together two components that are different but balance each other out."
Another Sunshine Coast company appearing at the Regional Flavours event is the Noosa Chocolate Factory.
Chocolatiering and lolly-making have been in the family business since the 1940s when lolly king Charlie Thomson came to Australia from Scotland after the Second World War.
Pamela and Gordon Thomson's son Chris is now the driving force behind the business after leaving law school and deciding to resurrect the family recipes.
The Noosa Chocolate Factory has been operating on the Sunshine Coast for the past four years and prides itself on using the best-quality chocolate and fresh ingredients, which are sourced locally.
"Our point of difference is that we are fresh and get the products to the consumer fresh," Mrs Thomson said.
She said their most popular products were honeycomb and rocky road, made from scratch using marshmallows and strawberry pectin jelly.
Locally sourced macadamia nuts form the basis of an unusual creation in which the nuts are coated in a mixture of white chocolate with mango.
Another one of the company's popular products is a dark chocolate sour cherry slab, which will be one of the stars of the show at the Regional Flavours Festival, where chefs will pair the product with wine.
A cooking demonstration by former MasterChef dessert queen Skye Craig will turn the 73% dark chocolate supplied by the Noosa Chocolate Factory into a decadent creation.
Most of the products produced by the Coast business are sent to Fortitude Valley in Brisbane for the weekend markets.
But the company is set to reach many more sweet tooths with a retail outlet soon to open in the city in Adelaide St.
Date: July 21-22
Venue: Little Stanley St, South Bank