Multiculturalism and fresh food celebrated at Northland Cultural Food Academy, featuring Milk the Cow and De Bortoli Wines
Northland is more than a shopping centre in the North. It is home to the Northland Cultural Food Academy, bringing you quarterly cooking masterclasses presented by some of our favourite food venues. With inspiration derived from popular cooking shows and the rich multicultural history of traders in the area, the masterclasses explore the latest food trends. I was lucky enough to attend Popular Pairings: Cheese and Wine Academy, delivered by Milk the Cow and De Bortoli Wines.
I perched at my bench in Northland’s Fresh Food Precinct and eagerly awaited the presentation by Laura Lown, regional manager and cheesemonger for Milk the Cow, and Chris Reeves from De Bortoli Wines.
An overinflated estimation of my cheese and wine connoisseurship meant that I quickly tried to guess the four cheeses and wine pairings splayed on the flight in front of me. Very soon after, however, I realised the benefits in listening to the wise words of our experts.
To start, we had a De Bortoli KV Prosecco paired with a French Brillat Savarin. The Brillat Savarin has a creamy texture, with an earthy mushroom flavour. Discovering that the cheese is 85% fat immediately explained why it is so delicious and creamy. The Prosecco, with notes of apple and pear, was perfect to balance the flavour of the cheese.
Our next union was the Bella Riva Pinot Grigio, paired with Meredith Farm Chevre, which happened to be only 2-3 days old. The wine is fresh and vibrant on the palette and has the right amount of acidity to match the freshness of the cheese.
Moving on from whites brought us to the La Boheme Rosé, which was paired with French Beaufort d’Alpage. The pinot was delicate, with brioche and strawberry notes, and the cheese -my favourite- was creamy with a burnt butter taste. The French say you can discern 83 flavours in this cheese, but I’m still stuck on flavour number five! Interestingly, 760 litres of milk is needed from one type of cow to produce a wheel, a cost of around $15,000-20,000.
Lastly, we enjoyed a nice red, a Villages Heathcote Shiraz Grenache, matched with Reypenaer VSOP cheese from Netherlands. Its orange hue is from a natural colouring agent, derived from the South American ‘lipstick tree’. The texture is similar to fudge, with a flavour of butterscotch, caramel and a hint of raisin. Again, this matched perfectly with our wine, with aromas of spice and red fruit.
We were spoiled further by an incredible Grudlegend Fondue which Laura prepared in front of us using a variety of cheese and alcohol, and drizzled with to-die-for truffle honey. Finishing on a high note saw Laura prepare a flaming saganaki using Aphrodite haloumi. At this point I was most definitely in cheese and wine nirvana.
Recipes for these dishes can be found at the Northland website. Cheese or local alternatives used in these recipes are available for purchase at Northland’s Fresh Food Mall. Alternatively, if you prefer to have the experts do it for you, Milk the Cow has stores in Carlton and St Kilda, where you can devour over 150 artisan cheeses and an array of boutique wines and booze.
With Northland being such a vibrant multicultural community, it’s hard not to find cuisine reflecting the contributions of people from many nationalities. After my Northland Cultural Food Academy experience and a walk-through of the Fresh Food Precinct, I can honestly say that it was serendipitous to come across such variety in an unexpected location.
Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming masterclasses:
January 2017: Chocolate and craft beer exhibition
April 2017: Pasta and wine
Northland Cultural Food Academy
Fresh Food Precinct – Northland Shopping Centre
2-50 Murray Road, Preston, Victoria, 3072
Milk the Cow
323 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria, 3053
1/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
De Bortoli Wines