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Thursday, September 29, 2016

09/26/2016 - A Taste of Victoria, Australia

Slow Living Radio checks in with host Sally James, traveling in Australia and reporting on her recent trip to Victoria to discover their amazing food and wine scene.  She selects two of her favorite producers from the show, Australian Superfoods making Australian native foods accessible to the world, and Classica International creating Italian baked goods using Spelt.

Long known for their quality and value, Australian food and beverages are now winning new fans all around the world. More and more Australian products can be found on the menus of Michelin-star restaurants, in the first-class cabinsof global airlines and on the shelves of high-end retailers, including growing numbers of online stores. Visitors and international buyers are discovering what Australians have enjoyed for some time – we love to dine and celebrate the incredibly diverse, fresh and readily available produce and premium products Australia has on offer.

People all over the world trust Australian food and beverages to be premium quality, nutritious, clean and sustainably produced. Now growing numbers of buyers are choosing Australian products for special occasions as well as everyday enjoyment.  And Victoria is, without doubt, the most prolific state, producing over half of the agriculture and farming in the country.

With local specialties like beef, wine, seafood, truffes and olive oil ranked among the best in the world, Victoria’s unique and diverse offerings have become a major drawcard for visitors. And recent research showed that people who have visited Australia rank it in the top one or two countries worldwide for food and wine experiences.

Victoria’s different regions all bring something special to the table. 

Hayley Blieden
Managing Director

Meet Hayley Blieden, her passion for nutrition and Australian bush tucker has helped her create The Australian Superfood Co. Her company has brought Indigenous Australian foods to the forefront of our culinary radar, producing highly nutritious and delicious snacks from ingredients found predominantly in the Australian bush. 

Hayley holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics and an MBA in Health and Human Services, but said she never wanted to be a traditional dietician. After completing her degree Hayley started researching native Australian ingredients and set out on a journey that took her through Alice Springs, Uluru and remote Aboriginal communities. It was along these journeys that she discovered delicious native ingredients but also alarming health and education issues is some of the Indigenous communities. She wanted to find a way to help but wasn’t sure how.
Back in the cities, nutrition and wellness had started to take hold of the minds the public. Hayley noticed that there was a huge focus on international superfoods but there were no home-grown alternatives on the market. Having been exposed to the nutritional benefits of many of these foods during her travels throughout Australia, Hayley knew that there were equally beneficial products growing in our own backyards.
Hayley filled this hole in the market with The Australian Superfood Co. Through a range of unique products including raw bars, superfood powders and dried fruits the company not only promotes healthy eating and nutrition but also showcases the natural abundance of the Australian outback while supporting rural communities.

As one of the few companies with native products, Hayley is keen for her brand to take on a truly Australian identity. The visual identity of the company reflects the vibrancy of colours in the Australian landscape and helps set the company apart from its competitors.
Hayley and her team source most of their ingredients directly from Aboriginal communities – she has a great respect for the way Indigenous Australians have been able to source food from the land in a sustainable way. As people become more interested in native ingredients Hayley hopes that working with these communities can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty among the poorer rural communities.
Australian Riberry
The Australian Superfood Co. supports Aboriginal communities that have provided them with both produce and knowledge. They aim to improve education standards for Indigenous children and increase employment opportunities. Hayley believes that we all have the ability in our lives to make a difference, whether that be through friends and families or within our local community.
As a new mum to baby Mila, Hayley is now busier than ever but she is excited to see interest in Indigenous foods rising throughout Australia. As well as building brand awareness for The Australian Superfood Co., Hayley is committed to finding Aboriginal communities around Australia that she can develop mutually beneficial partnerships with.

Alfred Abbatangelo, 

Like all Italians born in Australia, Alfred has a love for healthy living and eating good natural wholesome food with family and friends.  During his final years of school, Alfred worked part time at The Hilton Hotel in Melbourne which spakred his passion for cooking, though always liked to cook at home and would cook for his whole family whilst growing up.

Following this took a sales position for a major Italian Food Importing company and after 4 years, decided to venture into his own business.  Whist travelling through Italy in 1986, Alfred discovered the art of Grissini breadsticks made with Spelt flour. It was a revelation, and he decided then and there to give up his job and import grissini into Australia.

Alfred’s company, Classica International, started out as a niche company selecting only premium products of distinction.  Classica International now specialize in Ancient Grain Organic Tuscan Spelt products and have the largest variety in Australia, right down to a couple of their own creations.

In 2007, Alfred created Perfetto Mini Ciabatte Flat Breads, a healthier alternative to water crackers and rice crackers, as well as the world’s first Spelt Panettone without sugar, butter, margarine or preservatives.

Over the years Alfred has created recipes and performed cooking classes and demonstrations on how to cook with spelt (farro), this amazing ancient grain.

His passion for good quality food and health intensified especially when his brother developed cancer, giving him a desire to learn as much as he could about how what we eat plays a major role in most illnesses.