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DON Luncheon with Masterchef Judge Matt Preston and Fleischmeister Gerhard Feiner

Submitted by Adrian on September 29, 2009 – 12:35 pm15 Comments

Pre- event

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I was feeling very chuffed when I received an invite to to dine with Matt Preston (MasterChef Judge and Food Journalist for The Age, Vogue), Paul Mercurio (Mercurio’s Menu) and  DON’s Fleischmeister Gerhard Feiner (1 of the 6 fleischmeister’s in the world!).

The invitation arrived in a butcher styled envelope! Very appropriately themed I say.

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The Great Salamis of the World Lunch

Details

The European – Tea Room

161 Spring St

Melbourne VIC 3000 (03) 9654 0811

28 September, 12:30pm

Who was there?

In attendance were thirty guests that included the press, Matt Preston, Paul Mercurio, Gerhard Feiner and five bloggers or should I say, food groupies whom I finally got to meet after our many post comments. Pictured from left to right- Matt Preston (doing his masterchef stern look) and the Apprentices: Rilsta (myfoodtrail), Penny (Addictive & Consuming), myself (the pig), Sarah Cooks and Shellie Iron Chef Shellie.

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DSC00922(Looks like I'm missing some of my body parts..here with Paul Mercurio & Head Chef Adam Moore)

Intro

DON Smallgoods has been around since 1947. I still recall that oldskool TVC quoting “Is Don. Is good.” Such a classic line that’s still used, well, predominantly in drunken social conversations that is.

By the way, I have a weakness for their bacon range.

Gerhard Feiner and the DON team have developed a delicious range of salami products made the authentic way and have thankfully chosen this event to give us a guided taste bud tour of the range.

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My objectives for the event were simple.

  1. Eat like pig
  2. Talk about pig and other food related topics of course
  3. Chat with Matt Preston and Gerhard about pig
  4. Like a Asian tourist, photograph everything in sight
  5. Watch my fellow bloggers eat like pigs

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What is a Fleischmeister?

Fleischmeisters aka meat masters are trained specialists in the making of smallgoods and meat products. It takes five to seven years of training and is the highest regarded qualification in Europe. Gerhard Feiner has worked in the meat industry for over twenty years.

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For a more detailed description, I took the liberty of filming Gerhard’s and Matt’s fantastic presentation on this subject below.

Chat with Matt Preston

Being lucky enough to sit next to Matt during the event, we discussed the great Melbourne culture and the ever growing mecca of undiscovered eateries, the love of pigs, growing up with food, blogging, stealing his food whilst he was out of his seat, his new book Cravat-a-licious and what literally sends him to Food Rehab.

The salami sinful indulgences- what sends you to Food Rehab

Matt: Salami heated up in the microwave for 30 seconds served with sweet chili sauce.

Adrian: Doritos Chips topped with mild salami

Food staples you loved grew up eating and still do to this day

Matt: Either Apple Crumble or Apple and Rhubarb. Stew with all the trimmings like thyme, rosemary, turnips etc..

Adrian: Sinigang, a traditional Filipino tamarind based soup served either with Oxtail or Pork

Fragrant memories. We were on the topic of different aromas that harken back memorable moments in our lives.

Matt: The smell of strawberry leaves brings back memories of when he used to visit his grandfather who had a greenhouse filled with fresh produce

Adrian: Tamarind. The smell reminds me of sitting in the kitchen with mum, helping her peel veggies eagerly awaiting the taste of the hearty soup that was to come.

Pigs, pigs, pigs – how we like to eat them

We discussed how we like to respectfully look the pig in the eye before we start hacking into the poor, though utterly delicious . Matt celebrates its timely death with friends in June whereas I rejoice its goodness during Christmas, where you’ll see a shameful display of my friends and I fighting over the last piece of crackling. It’s mine!

Penny's camera expertise at hand. Though it looks I'm eating a sour WarheadDSC00933
The beloved doughnuts at Footscray, jams and Laksa. The Olympic Doughnut van next to Footscray railway station. These are hands down the best in Melbourne.

Matt brought this up and it definitely brought back memories of when I used to devour these treats during my high school years. Penny, who also did a great review, also agreed. His love of making jams was also hot in topic.

It was great to know that Matt is also on a quest to find the best Laksa. As written on my Curry Laksa Battles, I’m still looking for Melbourne’s best and it’s proving difficult.

Blogging and photos

Matt gave Penny and I some great advice on what to blog and how to take great camera shots. I totally agree that as bloggers, it should be our duty to discover and bring out those hidden gems rather than going for the big boys that can afford a PR launch. By the way, Matt if you’re reading- cheers for the camera techniques.

The upcoming book Cravat-a-Licious. This is about food right- not the stylings of the cravat?

Matt assured me that it wasn’t, but did mention that there would be a chapter on cravats. “Of course!”  I yelped. It just wouldn’t be a Matt Preston book otherwise.

Thanks for taking the time to talk food and for the advice. Feel bad for you though- if I  hadn’t taken numerous photos of your food, you would’ve had an actual meal!

Getting down to business, what did we eat?

Canapés

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Don White Hungarian Salami, chardonnay vinegar, citrus olive oil, fresh mint and basil fire roasted capsicums in a shot glass.

The Salami Tasting

Antipasto featuring Don White Hungarian, Don Hot Hungarian, Don Danish, Don Pepperoni and Don Kabana.

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The kebab was my definite fav. Truly exceptional: smokey but subtle, right amount of saltiness.

Don White Hungarian: was also sublime. Smooth in texture, bursting with flavours from smokey meats, tomato paste, salt and black pepper. This variety has a longer maturation period than the other salami ranges. History tells us that the recipe was developed in 1859.

I put a few pieces in the griller for 5 minutes this evening. I also finished a pack within 5 minutes.

Grab your pack of DON salami, a bib, an eager appetite and check out the below video where Gerhard and Matt took us through each of the the salami varieties. Who better to take you through the gastronomic journey right?!

Mains

Angus Fillet with Don Chorizo and apple rosti and red wine jus

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Pan Roasted barramundi with roasted beetroot and beer cream with Don Chilli Cheese Kabana Chips. This dish was a knockout. I hardly eat any fish these days, so this was a treat. The lightly salted skin still intact was crisp whilst the juices just kept flowing out of this once water wanderer. The beer cream offered a smooth counterpioint with just a touch of acidity.

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Dessert

Sage and honey panacotta with candied sweet potato – how bloody interesting does this sound huh?! I finished this off happily showing how much of a pig I really am. The sweet potato tasted like mum’s pumpkin and sweet potato glutinous rice cake.

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Sticky Date pudding- Rilsta, Shellie and Sarah all put their hands up for this!

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Highlights

  1. Gerhard’s take on great salami vs subpar quality. His analogy on a leg of salami was also hilarious. Keep reading. Actually, watch the below video!! It was way too funny not to load up now.
  2. As soon as the bloggers walked into the room, there was an immediate commotion. Camera lighting fell down, tables were knocked, forks dropped. It was too funny. I’m not mentioning any names…LOL
  3. Check out your next pizza order. If the salami or pepperoni raises to a bowl like form this = bad quality. Why? I’ll post a video soon.

The Cap Off

Thank you to Nuffnang, DON’s and Mango Communications for giving the hungry little me the opportunity attend this meaty event. It was definitely an educational experience having learnt a great deal about salamis, cured meats as well as camera techniques. Thanks to DON,  no longer will I be just a Mild Salami man.

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There are more videos and content to load up but I’m seriously way too full to write anymore and am about to fall asleep! Keep an eye out for part 2 yo.

To finish off, and if you didn’t get to play the video, I”ll leave you with the infamous quote:

“A good salami should feel like the leg of a 17 year old girl”

Gerhard Feiner

PS. Don’t forget to watch Season two of Masterchef, 7:30 Wednesday September 30, Channel 10.

Also check out the event reviews by fellow foodies Iron Chef ShellieMy Food Trail, Addictive & Consuming and Sarah Cooks

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