Swan Valley and Eastern Regions  

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The Magic of Charcoal

Slow Food Swan Valley and Eastern Regions joined the Eat Local Challenge one day earlier than its official launch on World Food Day (16th October).

The 15th of October will be remembered by many, for the atmosphere and the sheer Magic of a night spent with like- minded  “SLOW FOODIES”!!!

We celebrated the night by sharing seasonal produce sourced from local small farmers and we asked everybody to take up the challenge to eat local, seasonal food for the next three weeks.

First of all we would like to thank Antonio and the Battistessa Family for providing this magnificent venue for the event. So much hard work went into the preparation of the grounds and we were treated to an amazing display of art, from the stonewalls to the metal candle holders that were made especially for the night and added to the magic of the atmosphere.

Also thank you to Father Ken for educating us about the importance of building gardens in his homeland to sustain and bring the community together. The Swan Valley and Eastern Regions Convivium has already sponsored 2 gardens in Zimbabwe (part of 10,000 African Gardens Slow Food project) and is excited and honoured to help and support Father Ken establish a Community Garden in Kenya by contributing some of the proceeds from the night.

Those lucky enough to find themselves seated at the Battistessa and Slow Food event were welcomed at The” Alchemy and Magic of Charcoal” by the calligraphy artist Judith Tubby who promptly secured your place by writing your name onto the table with charcoal! From there you could wander into the Battistessa studio to admire the forged works and to meet Natalina Cherubino and purchase a signed copy of her new book “Summer in Calabria”; in her book Natalina shares stories about growing up in remote Australia and the way they adapted their traditional recipes using local ingredients like kangaroo and parrots.    

Turn the corner and you could have a close encounter with the sparks of a forging display and move down the walled garden , glass of local, boutique, wine in hand,  to the producers market stall. Free tastings and a flourish of delectable products increased the anticipation for the food being offered up on the night!!

The preparation for this event started weeks earlier with the collection of vine wood from Harry and Cheryl’s property on West Swan Rd and turning it into charcoal that was used for cooking on the night.

We started with a fantastic antipasto of home-made sausages and olives, roasted Kangaroo tail with indigenous spices, served on salad with native condiments, steamed Swan Valley asparagus and Frittata with Gidgegannup asparagus, accompanied by Pizza Bianca freshly made in the wood fired oven.  

The vine wood charcoal imparted a special flavour to the sardines, lamb and chicken that were grilled to perfection by our team of chefs. A BIG shout out to the” Young Lads” who helped out all week and to Vince Garreffa for helping with the cooking.

Opposite the charcoal grills, we used an open fire to cook our spring spezzatino made with Chianina beef and fresh seasonal vegetables; the food was complemented by a fresh and colourful salad picked from Antonio’s garden and melt-in-your-mouth artichokes cooked in the ashes. The sensational dessert included home-made traditional Sicilian Cannoli and Almond milk and Coffee Pannacotta. The guests also enjoyed the special treats of Sweet Charcoal and Fresh Blueberries from our local grower.

Even though, we knew the food was going to be spectacular, Antonio couldn’t resist calling in some special guests, which included, the authentic sounds of the Zucchini BROS, a honky tonk piano player, an Abba Tribute Band and a resident Disco/ Karaoke/dancing opportunity and David, the blacksmith who also played the Saxophone  

So many people to thank for making the night possible: Ineska & Stu for your eager kitchen duties, Cam, Jake and Josh for manning the bar, everybody who helped on the night and for the preparation of the venue and City of Swan for including us in the” Entwined in the Valley” calendar of events.

We had a Blast and can’t wait to do it again next year.

To the hard working committee members , thank you, and to future slow food members.. .We look forward to harnessing our continued friendship and Love of good, clean, local and fair food, for the betterment of ALL, who sit at our table .