The launch of Australian Bacon Week (12-19 May) held at Colin Fassnidge’s restaurant 4Fourteen was headlined by the possibly the most decadent bacon & egg roll ever conceived. The thought of all my guilty pleasures lavishly applied in one roll was simply too much to resist when I received the invitation from Whiteworks PR, who thankfully are never involved in half measures. Seductively crispy and flavoursome award-winning Slade Point Meat Specialists bacon, duck egg cooked in truffle butter (no less), roasted foie gras, punchy 18 month quality cave-aged cheddar, shaved truffle, semi-dried smoked gourmet truss tomato with a crème fraîche and caviar dressing, all served in a brioche bun ticks all my indulgence boxes. You know it is decadent when Chef Carla Jones is not sure she would even eat one, but that’s clearly what I yearn for in my dreams, and I am more than happy to be of assistance.
Seriously though, Bacon Week is essentially about highlighting the alarming quantity of imported foreign government subsidised pork that unfortunately is being used in the processing of our bacon. Essentially it constitutes two-thirds of all bacon sold, and in weight terms it is over 2.9 million kilograms every week that hits our shores. To counter this, consumers can collectively choose to buy only bacon with the pink square PorkMark label, and be guaranteed it is 100% locally produced from the 384 butchers and smallgoods producers currently licensed to use that mark. Australian Pork Limited (APL) to mark the occasion, challenged local chefs to use our amazing local product to create the most indulgent roll, with Colin Fassnidge, Paul Cooper, Lauren Murdoch and Danny Russo already accepting the challenge in Sydney, with no doubt more to follow. In Melbourne, Daniel Wilson, Ian Curley and Stewart Wesson are strutting their stuff in the National bacon challenge.
No doubt the question you want answered is whether the Fassnidge/Jones collaboration lived up to the hype that was generated in the media. Well in my opinion, if the brief was to deliver unprecedented decadent richness, then it met that heady criteria in spades. The bacon is simply spectacular, and rightly is the star of the show with a depth of flavour that is distinctive and impressive. It is a slightly difficult time of the year to source quality fresh truffles, but the one’s used carried sufficient resonance, with the more restrained background note working harmoniously with all the components. Clearly, it not something you would eat every day for obvious reasons, but certainly it provides a great one-off food experience.
The other major focus of the event, apart from raising awareness of local pork was to announce winners of The National Bacon Awards for Excellence. Steve Chapman took out the top gong for full rasher bacon after being runner-up last year, and having tasted his bacon, the recognition of his skills is very well deserved. Speaking to him at the event, his duty of care in the whole production process is impressive to say the least, and surely it will act as an inspiration for others to aspire to that level of excellence. Mark Stapleton, took out the short cut bacon category for his Gymea business in The Sutherland Shire. Worthy winners indeed, so remember choose Australian bacon and support our local industry.
Full Rasher Bacon
1 Steve Chapman
Slade Point Meat Specialists Mackay QLD Ph: 07 4955 1009
2 David Blue
Kenthurst Butchery Kenthurst NSW Ph: 02 9654 1557
3 Clint Sharman
Sharman’s Butchery Wivenhoe TAS Ph: 03 6431 2213
1 Mark Stapleton
Stapletons Meats Gymea NSW Ph: 02 9525 1019
2 Tony Rapone
Bertocchi Smallgoods Thomastown VIC Ph: 03 9355 5109
3 Aaron Reddy
Balhanna Junction Meats Balhanna SA Ph: 08 8388 4724