Some facts about Australian cuisine and beverage?
When planning a trip to Australia, prepare to plan part of your budget around dining. That being said, no trip abroad is complete until you’ve not only experienced the sights and culture, but also the local cuisine!
As Australia has largely been settled by outsiders over the decades, all areas of the continent have pretty much evolved into a large melting pot of various cultures, traditions, and cuisine. The heavy influence from culinary cultures from all over the globe has made a direct and lasting impact on the flavors and traditions of cooking down under.
English settlers brought in imported food staples such as tea, biscuits, coffee and other local flavors.
Displaced Irish folk arrived in large numbers after the Great Potato Famine, bringing their cultural dishes and ingredients with them to Australian cuisine as well.
Cuisines from the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Asian countries also took root ‘down under’, and at a rapid pace. New and exotic crops sprouted anywhere as the good fertile soil was available in abundance. A melding of a wide variety of cooking techniques sprung up in all areas, each developing their own styles.
Not until fairly recently has the diet of the Aborigines, the true natives of Australia, made any influence on local fare and its preparation. As local chefs began to
dig into their country’s roots, dishes using ingredients such as kangaroo, emu, muntari berries, lemon aspen and lemon myrtle, bush tomatoes, and other ingredients indigenous to the region, have begun to appear on the menus of some of Australia’s best fine dining restaurants.
For those who consume alcohol, a meal in Australia is not complete without a sampling of local brews. As is common practice in brewing, Australian beers generally contain around five percent alcohol and are most popularly made in the style of a light ale. This is not the case, however, for all beers. For those of you who like something that packs more of a punch, forget Foster’s. Cooper’s Brewery in South Australia is family-owned and produces a variety of styles of beer. There are plenty of other breweries in different regions, all serving up different styles to suit anyone’s taste.
Australia also boasts one of the most successful up-and-coming wine industries in the world. Year after year, their award-winning wines gain more praise and recognition. Because of the large range of climates over the vast expanse of land, important wine areas and their most successful grapes include the Yarra Valley, featuring great sparkling wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; Barossa Valley, one of the best areas in the world for the Shiraz grape, and Hunter Valley, where Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Semillon grapevines dominate the landscape.
If you intend to drink and drive, please be safe, and keep in mind that the Australian blood alcohol level limit by law is lower than those of the United States and Great Britain. As much as we recommend you take in as much as you can when visiting, a trip to jail in Australia is not a suggested addition to your itinerary!
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