June 21, 2013 · 2:21 pm
One of the things I emphasize when I do presentations about Australia is what an awesome dining destination it is. You’ve got all the great seafood everywhere (not just fresh, but awesome in variety), wonderful beef and lamb, tropical fruits in the north, great wineries and cheese makers in the south, Macadamia nuts in Queensland, and a combination of world-class chefs and the input from the many cultures that have settled in Oz. Just an amazing place to eat.
One of the more recent and more newsworthy developments in the culinary realm is that Australia has actually been successful in growing truffles. This is something many countries have tried without success. Tasmania had the first success, and their French Perigord black truffles have people comparing them favorably to winter truffles from France. Today, truffles are actually growing in many of Australia’s states, and their fame is growing. In fact, Aussie truffles are sufficiently awesome that Thomas Keller of California’s legendary French Laundry is now sourcing truffles from Australia.
Truffles are seasonal, but the seasons are reverses in Australia, so just as truffles vanish from European sources, they are becoming available in Aussie sources. Best of all possible situations for truffle lovers the world over. And big enough news to make it into the papers: World’s Best Sniff Out Aussie Truffles.
So one more reason to love dining in Australia.
Fortunately, one can still get a nice meat pie from time to time. But the high end keeps on getting higher in the land Down Under. (And did I mention they’re raising Wagyu beef?)
June 19, 2013 · 8:39 pm
When L. Sue Baugh announced to the writing group a few years back that she and her friend Lynn Martinelli wanted to document the oldest places on earth, there was no way for those in attendance to know how serious she was–and how glorious the results of that project would be.
Sue and Lynn sought to experience landscapes that resembled what ancient Earth might have been like long before humanity appeared. Their search led the two women into remote regions of Western Australia, Canada, Greenland, the United States–and eventually into territory not marked on any map.
The outcome of their research is Baugh’s book Echoes of Earth: Finding ourselves in the origins of the planet. The work combines science and philosophy, but it is dominated by the photographs that so gloriously capture the primitive beauty of the places explored. The book is remarkable not only in its subject matter and beauty, but also in its format. There are die cuts, half pages, and fold-outs, making the book an interactive experience.
While Baugh says she loved everywhere she visited, she said Australia was the place that most captivated her. She relates, “I don’t think my heart ever fully came back from there.” Of course, that’s a sentiment I share with her.
The book is not just getting noticed by Baugh’s associates in local writing groups. It has in a short time racked up an impressive number of awards:
• A silver medal for Photography/art from the Nautilus Book Awards
• Awards in two categories from the Benjamin Franklin Awards (Baugh is happiest with the award in the nature/environment category).
• A gold medal for science/nature/environment category from Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Not too surprisingly, the book is available on Amazon. However, if you want a signed, numbered version–with additional materials–you can go to the website for Wild Stone Arts.