Producers Lunch Forum: Maya Sunny Honey, Bilpin, Alto Olive Oil & Melanda Park Pork at Quarter 21

The Producers Lunch Forum at Quarter Twenty One celebrates the relationship between producer and chef, promotes sustainable farming and eating and brings it to the diner’s table.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Chef Justin North and Host Simon Marnie

And this time, the autumn lunch brought an additional element to the experience with guests dining in the company of nearly 20,000 bees in a beehive from Maya Sunny Hunny.

Maya Sunny Honey

Hosted by radio personality Simon Marnie, the menu embraced an autumn theme and showcased produce from Alto Olives from Crookwell, Bilpin Cider from the Blue Mountains, Melanda Park free range pork from the Hawkesbury River and Maya Sunny Honey from Mudgee in NSW.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Bilpin Cider

A refreshing spritzer-style cocktail of Bilpin Apple cider with apple juice, fresh apples, elderflower, lime and mint was served on arrival.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Epi and crostini

Wholegrain epi from the Bécasse Bakery, crostini and Alto Volos olives were served as appetisers.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Alto Olives

The olives were marinated in a little olive oil with orange, chilli, lemongrass and rosemary and placed in a sous-vide at 60ºC for about 4 to 5 hours which imparted the olives with a tender flesh and citrus flavours.

Introducing the first course, Chef Justin North explained that the inspiration behind the dish was the Alto Olive Oil hence it was created to enhance the flavours of the autumn vegetables.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Warm salad of autumn vegetables

The warm salad of autumn vegetables was slow-cooked in Alto olive oil with marinated confit blue eye. Using trevally cheeks, the head was spread in half and the cheeks are salted, confit and flaked. The dish was a delicate celebration of the olive oil which enhanced the flavours in the vegetables. The confit added saltiness and a lovely texture to the dish which was paired with a 2009 Nugan Estate“Frasca’s Lane Vineyard Chardonnay from the King Valley.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Robert Armstrong from Alto Olive Oil

Robert Armstrong from Alto Olive Oil explained that the point of difference of Australian olive oils lies in their freshness. Australia imports around 35 million litres of olive oil, some of which is incorrectly labelled. The Alto Estate grove is located near the township of Crookwell in NSW, a three-hour drive from Sydney.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Q21 Head Chef Michael Robinson

Quarter Twenty One Head Chef Michael Robinson introduced the next course, which is also the first part of a 40 kilo free range pig from Melanda Park Pork. A mosaic of pork shoulder, neck, smoked hock and pickled tongue with chilled cider consommé was a visual and textural dish with a breadth of flavours set to convert non-pork lovers.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Mosaic of pork

The dish was matched with Bilpin Original Cider.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Sean Prendergast

Sean Prendergast from Bilpin, whose business partner is a winemaker, explained that his cider is made primarily with Granny Smith apples, freshly crushed with a cold fermentation process. The cider contains no added sugar, artificial flavours or concentrates.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Bécasse Head Chef Monty Koludrovic

Continuing with the remaining cuts of pork, Bécasse Head Chef Monty Koludrovic introduced the next course, a delicious roast pork loin and belly with Jerusalem artichoke pear, celeriac and licorice with a light and tasty crackling.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Roast pork loin and belly

The dish was paired with 2010 Willoughby Park Shiraz, Denmark in Western Australia.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Matt Simmons of Melanda Park Pork

Matt Simmons of Melanda Park Free Range Pork spoke about his farm at Swallow Park Reach and how it is a fine example of sustainability in action.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Ironbark honey cream and mousseline

Ironbark honey cream and mousseline with compressed melon and melon sorbet put a sweet end to the lunch with Maya Sunny Honey. The dish was paired with 2008 Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon, Darlington Point in the Riverina, NSW.

Autumn Producers Lunch Forum
Maya Wyszynski from Maya Sunny Honey with her apiarist father Andrew

In what was arguably the highlight of the event, Maya Wyszynski from Maya Sunny Honey explained how each unique jar of Iron Bark honeycomb is made with approximately 400 bees, a process that takes approximately one month. Her apiarist father, Andrew, comes from a line of bee keepers in Poland and the unique system on display is his own invention. Maya further explained that there are holes in the apparatus to allow the bees to breathe and they can remain there for three days.

Maya Sunny Honey
Maya Sunny Honey

The Producers Lunch Forum was an initiative that started out at Bécasse in March 2009 by Justin North, current Ambassador to the Australian Year of the Farmer, to celebrate the diversity and excellence of Australian produce and to support local producers.

Much like the previous Producers Lunch Forum, guests are known to leave with renewed appreciation for the combined passion, effort and talent of producers and chefs that goes into making a memorable and fine dining experience.

The Quarter Twenty One Producers Lunch Forum runs every two months. More information in the website below.

Quarter Twenty One

Gourmantic attended the lunch on Tuesday 8 March 2012.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.