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Jam and chutney creations kick off Taste

Jam and Chutney Taste Bundaberg Festival
Celebrity chefs Mark Olive and Kirsten Tibballs with Bargara Berries owner Deb Meiers judging the Jam and Chutney competition for the Taste Bundaberg Festival.

Jam lovers and chutney connoisseurs’ finest creations were tasted and judged today on the first day of the Taste Bundaberg Festival.

The 2023 Jam and Chutney Competition was introduced to the August festivities to educate and showcase the abundance of local produce.

In the lead up to the event entrants were kitted out with a Taste Bundaberg Festival jar pack to help prepare for the competition, which saw 19 jam and 17 chutney entries.

Tasting the competition were celebrity chefs Kirsten Tibballs, Mark Olive and Bargara Berries owner Deb Meiers.

The winning entries will be announced tomorrow, Saturday 5 August,on the cooking stage at the Taste Bundaberg Market.

Chutney tasting

The most common flavour served up in the chutney category was pineapple wile other ingredients like sweet potato, beetroot and caramelised onion also proving a popular choice.

Chilli was the dominant spice in the chutney section, with mustard seeds also one of the heavily-used condiments.

One chutney entry uniquely featured Bundaberg Rum.

Celebrity chef Kirsten Tibballs said judging was a hard task, with plenty to consider.

 “We were looking for a combination of sweetness and acidity,” she said.

“The consistency was also important, not too runny!”

Jam tasting

Refreshing their pallets, judges then tasted the jam section.

Strawberry was the dominant fruit ingredient in the entries received much to the delight of Bargara Berries owner, Deb.

She said she was thrilled with how the community had taken the competition on board.

“People have come through our shop to look for fruit to create different recipes for this competition,” Debbie said.

Celebrity chef Mark Olive was also impressed with the entries and said the perfect jam was a combination of colour, consistency and flavour.

“I’m looking for consistency, not too watery and the ability to identify the fruit and flavours that I’m tasting,” Mark added.

“The colour is also important; you can tell by looking at the jam if it’s been cooked correctly.”

Raspberry, mango, dragon fruit and pineapple with ginger were some of the other jam creations on show.

Celebrity chefs

The jam and chutney competition was the first taste of the 2023 festival for renowned Australian chefs Kirsten Tibballs and Mark Olive, who will be on deck during the next week and a half to support the major event.

“I think the great thing for me is that the region is really magical with the amount of produce,” Kirsten said.

“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the regions’ growers and people during the festival.

“I’m also excited to be cooking local produce during my demonstrations.”

Mark said being part of the Taste Bundaberg Festival was always fantastic.

“I’ll will be great to showcase indigenous food at my masterclass on Sunday,” he said.

“The amazing eateries and the food that’s on the scene now, compared to two years ago when I lasted visited, is so exciting.”

Learn more about the Taste Bundaberg Festival here.

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