Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sensory Evaluation

In the course of a regular gershgoods week, we talk to and meet the most interesting and inspired food-people, and have the every-day pleasure of learning so much from each other. However some days, some exchanges, and some people are extra, extra special. A few weeks ago, two of our most esteemed food-friends treated us to a more formal exchange of knowledge.

Renowned cheese expert, judge & sensory evaluator Russell Smith and his partner Sally, encouraged the whole gershgoods team to close the warehouse for the afternoon, get out from behind our desks, behind the wheel and behind the packing benches, and participate in a Sensory Evaluation - a revealing educational afternoon in the field of sensory perception - How and Why we Taste.

From our personal relationship with Russell, we know he really tastes his food and wine, and meals with him and Sally are always fascinating and especially enjoyable. However, in this educational we came to truly understand where he is coming from, and the importance of knowing our palates and our own taste thresholds. So, what we thought would be a pretty interesting afternoon turned out to be totally revolutionary!

Russell explained that the existing simplistic theory of palate break-down - the idea of sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastebuds is actually incorrect. In fact there is a lot more to understand about taste than this simplistic theory. To outline this Russell explained flavour perception and taste thresholds.

Through tasting, we analysed our own taste thresholds and compared them to studies conducted across Australia. We were tested to find out at what strength could we detect a particular flavour. The results were exciting and revealing - we each found out if we on, above or below the average level of detection.

Following this exercise we were presented with a cheese judging experiment where we applied our new knowledge. We tasted and compared our detection of five key taste components across a range of cheeses - Cheddar, Brie, Camembert and Blue from various producers around Australia.

As this theory is now shaping the understanding of producers and chefs around Australia, understanding these principles and having a sensory experience of it was vital for us as a food-team. It was also a pretty fantastic way to spend the afternoon, and has left us all inspired, informed and excited about tasting every little sip and new bite.

To find out more about Russell Smith and his Sensory Evaluations, take a look at the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Recipe: Dark Chocolate Tart with Drunken Muscatels

Prepare the muscatels the day before, the tart can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance.

  • 300g Carême Dark Chocolate Pastry or Vanilla Bean Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
  •  170g Kennedy & Wilson couverture chocolate 70%*
  • 400ml cream
  • 80g unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • Good quality cocoa powder for dusting
  • 150ml sherry
  • 150g bunch of dried Muscatels, cut into small clusters (we recommend Tabletop Grapes)


  1. For the drunken muscatels, heat sherry to just below boiling point. Place muscatels in a medium bowl and pour over the sherry. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak overnight until muscatels have softened and plumped.
  2. Prepare and blind bake a 20cm round dark chocolate pastry tart shell according to instructions on inside of packet.
  3. Cut the chocolate chocolate into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate, add butter and whisk to combine.
  5. Place pre baked tart shell on a baking sheet, pour chocolate mixture into tart, fill to top . Place in refrigerator to set, allow at least 1 hour. Or if cool in kitchen can be left on kitchen bench to set, allow at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, dust with cocoa powder and garnish the centre of the tart with muscatels, plus serve extra muscatels on each plate along with a dollop of thickened cream.
*It’s important to use a minimum of 70% cocao content chocolate for the tart to set, available from gourmet food stores.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Malfroy's Gold Availability 2011

Tim Malfroy of Malfroy’s Gold Honey contacted us recently to let us know about the latest issues affecting the beekeeping industry.
Due to a high level of rainfall in the Central West Tablelands over the past few months most beekeepers in the region have experienced a weak season in honey production.

Tim Malfroy explained that while “Malfroy’s Gold honey products will be in short supply over the winter months, the next season which resumes in October 2011 promises to be much better.”

Gershgoods apologises for any inconvenience and hope you will continue to support this food artisan in the next season.

Overview of product availability:

330g Soft Set: available all year
400g Honey varieties: available in reduced quantities all year
300g Honeycomb: expected November 2011
150g Wollemi Wilderness: available, but almost sold out!

On a more positive note, Tim Malfroy has spent the past 3 years working on a new style of honey production and beekeeping. This ‘natural’ beekeeping is the first of its kind in the Australian market and the product ‘Wild Honey’ will to be the only commercially available honey from this method. It attempts to mimic the behaviour of bees in the wild and allow the bees to draw virgin comb by using French Warré hives.

The first harvest of this ‘Wild Honey’ product will be available in very limited quantities late this year.

“It is produced from virgin comb, and genuinely cold pressed before bottling. This honey complies with the Demeter International Guidelines for beekeeping and honey production, and will be the only biodynamic honey available in Australia” explains Tim Malfroy.

Those who have tried Wild Honey & Honeycomb have been bowled over by the difference in flavour and texture compared to conventional, commercial honey.

Tim is also teaching beekeeping courses in this new method, through Milkwood Permaculture:


Please contact the Gershgoods office if you would like any further information on Malfroy’s Gold honey products including the ‘Wild Honey’ product available at the end of 2011.

p: (02) 4759 1100

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sami's Kitchen - Baked Deep Sea Perch marinated with Shish Tawook

Shish Tawook is a deliciously versatile Middle Eastern chicken dish using; garlic, paprika, pimento, nutmeg, thyme and cinnamon. Sami's Kitchen have re-created the spice blend used in this style of cooking and adapted it to this warming baked fish recipe.

  • 2 Deep Sea Perch fillets cut into half
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sami's Kitchen - Shish Tawook spice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • Bunch of Broccolini
  • Handful of Green Beans
  • 1/2 cup of Red Quinoa
Place perch fillets in plastic container with onion, garlic, oil and spice mix. Put on the lid, shake the container to marinate fish and set aside.
Thoroughly rinse the Red Quinoa under running water to remove any bitter taste.
Add 1/2 cup Red Quinoa to 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring it to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer whilst covered for 15 minutes. Keep your eye on it and once cooked set it aside and fluff with a fork.
Wrap the pieces of fish individually in baking paper and place on a tray. Make sure all the mainade is divided between the fish.
Place wrapped fish on a baking tray and place in oven at 180 degree heat fan-forced for 15-20 minutes.
Chop the end of the green breans and cut broccolini to 3cm lengths and place in saucepan. Boil for 5-7 minutes.
Serve fish on top of the Red Quinoa with the side of greens. Serves 4.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I don't believe we've met

In the last 12 months the Gershgoods team has expanded. We don't believe we have formally introduced you to our new staff members.

Bethany Jarvis commenced employment with Gershgoods in September last year as our Administration Assistant and brings with her an excitable can-do attitude. You may have spoken to her recently on the phone as she takes your orders. Bethany assists Sharelyn and Rae with the accounts and lends a helping hand to our sales staff.

Rae Cobb commenced employment with Gershgoods last May. She looks after our accounts and ensures we have enough in the bank to acquire new stock for all our customers. Rae comes to us from a strong accounting background.

Matthew Williamson commenced employment in March this year and assists Wilson and Elliot in the warehouse packing your orders and organising delivery. Matthew comes to Gershgoods from a varied creative background and has a keen eye for detail which works in our favour as he helps to sort out our warehouse and make sure everything is in it's right place.

Juliet Leahy is our newest face on the road, who started with us in March this year. She is well known in the ACT for her proactive sales approach, and brings a wealth of experience to our team. She services sales in the Southern Highlands, South Coast and Canberra region.

Our photographer Jennifer from Silversalt photography has been snapping Gershgoods staff and products for the past 7 years so we like to think of her as family. She has also just given birth to a beautiful baby boy and we would like to extend a warm welcome to August Conri Leahy-Watson into our family.

Photos courtesy of SILVERSALT Photography

Nuts about Duck Creek Macadamia

If every macadamia nut in the world was as good as Duck Creek Macadamia, we would be in nut-heaven.
These quality, boutique macadamias are grown in the subtropical hinterland of Byron Bay on family owned plantations.

Only the largest sized nuts are selected to be used in Duck Creek Macadamia's premium range. These grade 1 macadamia's are pure luxury. 
Macadamia's are industry graded and range from a maximum of 4mm in size (grade 8) to premium wholes which are required to be at least 17mm and a minimum of 95% whole kernels.
 Duck Creek Macadamia's speciality is in producing premium quality, grade 1 macadamias, for the premium end of the retail market.
The Duck Creek Macadamia product range features gourmet macadamia nuts coated with a diversity of couverture chocolates (chocolate of the highest quality), and exotic savoury dustings that have won a multitude of national gourmet snack awards at the Sydney Royal Show.
These unique product offerings have attracted the attention of Qantas Airlines who offer Duck Creek Macadamias on more than 2000 domestic flights every week.
Duck Creek Macadamia's are high in energy, containing a high concentration of mono-unsaturated (healthy) fats and are cholesterol free. Their oil and spread contains 100% macadamias and has also been awarded medals at the Sydney Royal Show.
Duck Creek has a macadamia product for lovers of sweet and lovers of savoury. These products are best suited to the retail environment as their packaging and counter display are very attractive at point of sale and on the shelves.
Duck Creek Macadamia's make great gifts for friends and family or as a well deserved personal indulgence. Once you have one, you will want the whole jar.