A culinary journey through Australia
It would be a big mistake to generalize when talking about Australia - you can't expect uniformity in a country of 6.7 million square kilometres! In order to understand this land, both a country and a continent, you have to make a trip around and through it. Situated below the Equator, the oldest - as well as the flattest and driest - island of Oceania, Australia is a country of extremes. When it is 30° C at Darwin in the north, the temperature can dip to 5° C at Hobart in Tasmania.
In the land down under, summer happens in the winter, the wine grapes are harvested in February and Christmas falls on a midsummer day. You'd be tempted to think that Australians begin their day with a cup of tea, bacon and eggs. We tend to group them as a southern branch of the great Anglo-Saxon tree, with a lingering Victorian influence, weather-beaten from their time in the open air raising sheep, hunting crocs and pursuing kangaroos. Surprise! Today you're more likely to find an Australian starting the day in French or Italian style, with a cappuccino or espresso, brioches or croissants.
Since the end of the Second World War, the British archetype has become increasingly diluted in this melting pot of cultures. Australian cuisine eagerly embraces new international flavours. The food scene is exploding across the country, inventive, daring and built on European foundations that increasingly incorporate traditional Aussie and Asian influences. But one unchanging fact remains: the cooking here is based on a respect for the great Australian products issuing from the country's vast rich soil and seemingly endless shorelines.
Dairy products here are outstanding, thanks to the wonderful pastures. The delicious butter is often browned and seasoned and used instead of other sauces. And in the realm of cheeses, you'll find Australian versions of French brie and camembert and Italian gorgonzola. There's no better way to get the true taste of Australia than to travel across the country sampling local products in their place of origin.
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