Exhilarating EYRE Peninsula!

Priceless Pearl of South Australia

Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The intrepid Travelling Gourmet explores Australia’s Seafood Frontier…

Friday 27 April, 2012

MY titanium Breitling watch showed o7:41.

A quick dash to Adelaide Airport and I was airborne on the Regional Express Saab propjet. After a 50 minute flight we were at Port Lincoln Airport, 645km southwest of Adelaide. Touchdown and it was off to the 4 star Port Lincoln hotel, a grenade’s toss from Boston Bay. An energizing cappuccino in Sarin’s Bar with the GM Andrew Case and we zoomed off to Port Lincoln Fresh Fish Co. at 20, Proper Bay Road. Finding NEMO! I felt like I was in the movie “Finding Nemo” as there was ‘fruits de mer’ galore or super quality sustainable seafood that is available in Australia’s Seafood Frontier! Garfish, King George Whiting, Spencer Gulf Bugs (little lobsters), Southern Spiny Red Lobster (called crayfish by the locals), Spencer Gulf King Prawns, Bluefin Tuna, Nannygai, Bronze Whaler Shark, Vongole, Calamari, and more! Dynamic Craig McCathie, the MD revealed, “Ninety nine percent of the lobsters are exported to China and ninety nine percent of the tuna exported to Japan.” Selected fish, squid, oysters & mussels are also smoked in the factory with Maldon Sea Salt, Pine and other secret woods. His lovely wife, Sandy prepared the seafood for tasting. OMG! Fabulous!

At home with Chef Kris!

Creative Chef Kris Bunder, Owner of Del Giorno’s Café Restaurant, 3 time winner of SA Leading Seafood Restaurant kindly hosted lunch at his house with superb views of the Marina. Delacoline Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 201o was fresh, crisp and clean and perfect with Coffin Bay Casanova Oysters ‘au naturel’ with a squeeze of lemon, and sweet & tender Kingfish Sashimi, plus Kingfish in soy with tomatoes & onions brunoise. I also liked the Minniribbie Yabbie Farm Marrons & Yabbies with Chilli, Lime & Coriander paired with Delacoline 2010 Riesling. Relishing outstanding King George Whiting in a light but ultra crispy Coopers Pale Ale batter, I conversed in German with jolly Hagen Stehr, ex-French Foreign Legionnaire & Founding Director of Cleanseas, which produces premium Tuna and Kingfish, “Seafood has come a long way since the early days…jetzt Port Lincoln is der Meeresfrüchte Zentrum von Australien! (Port Lincoln is now the Seafood Capital of Australia)”

Swim with …the TUNA!

From the jetty of Chef Kris’ house I boarded “Adventure Lady” of Adventure Bay Charters, winner of the 2011 South Australian Tourism Awards for Adventure Tourism. We headed out to sea on a bearing of 075 degrees and speed of 14 Knots. The fresh salt air was invigorating. Four nautical miles out we arrived to see the Cleanseas Kingfish farm and Trent D’Antignana demonstrated how they were fed with scoops of fish meal. Our next stop was the Kinkawooka Mussel Farm, also in the ocean miles from land. It was fascinating! Amiable Andrew Puglisi showed the baby mussels grown on black ropes which they stick to in bunches like grapes. At first the Australian Blue Mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are only the size of a 20 cent coin but when they grow to their delectable serving sizeas big as a ‘Madeleine’. The meat to shell ratio of these gourmet shellfish is very high. Andrew boiled up some fresh mussels in sea water for tasting. They were absolutely fabulous on the palate! Matt, the Captain of the boat said, “Let’s go see the tuna!” The boat cast off and we were off to see the Bluefin Tuna… Rick Kolega of Kolega Fisheries & Sekol Farmed Tuna told us all about Tuna farming. The sun shone happily in a cloudless, azure blue sky as I changed into a wetsuit, then put on with my face mask and snorkel. Without hesitation, I jumped in to swim with the sleek Bluefin tuna. It was exciting! The big fat torpedo shaped tuna as long as your body are very powerful & swim very fast! I was surrounded by dozens of the streamlined fishes and sometimes they knock in to you as they glide past. I was astounded at their speed and amazing grace. When you feed them sardines dangling them just in the water, the tuna gobble it up in a flash very forcefully almost knocking the tongs out of your hand! You must try this most exhilarating escapade!

Back at Port Lincoln Jetty, I strolled over to see the life sized bronze statue of the famous racehorse called “Makybe Diva” who won the Melbourne Cup THREE times in 2003, 2004 and 2005! Night at the Museum… Dinner was very unique. It was in the historic Axel Stenross Maritime Museum where after a VIP tour conducted by the mild mannered Curator, George Wiseman, the Ship’s Bell rang & the gourmet Dinner commenced. Chef/Owner Kris of Del Giorno’s Cafe Restaurant, arguably Port Lincoln’s finest restaurant, served up a fabulous feast of the freshest local seafood cooked in the ModOz style with Thai influences. Starters of Coffin Bay Oysters comprising Valentine, Cupid and Casanova…plus the KING OYSTER which costs A$100 a piece! I was very privileged to savour the succulent KING OYSTER which was absolutely the BEST oyster I have tasted so far! I have tasted oysters in the world’s finest restaurants from 3 Michelin Starred Guy Savoy to 3 Michelin starred Michelin Starred La Pergola in Roma so I know. Entree was a declinaison of Kinkawooka Black Mussels cooked in 3 styles. I loved the Thai ‘a la Green Curry’ style with aromatic Kaffir Lime (Daun Limau Purut) leaves, Ginger and Coconut Broth as well as more traditonal ‘Tomato & Chilli’ as well as ‘Garlic & White Wine’ combos. Classic ‘Pacific Rim’ cuisine! Cheerful Brian Turvey of Lincoln Estate supplied the wines with the gourmet fare. They were rich, ripe wines showing the unique maritime meso-climate of the Eyre Peninsula. It was sooo…good, especially the oak aged, BUT not over-oaked fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon. A match made in heaven with the Eyre Peninsula Beef Fillet roasted with Fresh Garlic and dusted with aromatic Szechuan Pepper! Another impressive main course included Eyre Peninsula Lobster spiked with zesty lemon grass, coriander & Thai sweet basil. It was absolutely fabulous! Shuck the OYSTERS and play with the PIGS! Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM The inspiring Travelling Gourmet sails to Coffin Bay to savour… MOUTHWATERING Oysters! 06:00 As dawn broke over the pristine waters of Bostin Bay I jogged along the Parnkalla Trail after a gym workout. Then it was off to Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula. The serene and tranquil bay framed by blue skies looked like the Cayman Islands. The sea was like a piece of turquoise glass. Sailing out in the early morning in the ‘Coffin Bay Explorer’ ship powered by two Honda 200 outboard motors was a most relaxing & enjoyable affair. This is Coffin Bay’s only fully accredited Marine Tour operator. Along the way as we cruised along, I saw a plump seal cavorting happily on starboard, a family of parading pelicans and an armada of orange and white jelly fish floating like ‘double L’ parachutes in the clear greenish blue water.

Casanova’s favourite…OYSTERS!

Darian Gale is not only an affable oyster farmer but also a marine tour operator. I saw many sacks of oysters in black plastic netting on wooden rails. This is termed the ‘rack & rail’ method of oyster farming. One was hauled up and I savoured freshly shucked oysters full of the flavours of the sea and that unmistakable “umami” taste… I tried my hand at shucking the oysters and did very well. After all I have been trained by CIA (Culinary Institute of America). Actually, the Culinary Institute of America was founded in 1946. The Company (Central Intelligence Agency) was founded in 1947, but that is another story.

Enjoy! {:-)

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About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cusines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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