Latest news, Northern Territory, Australia

Darwin cuisine and culture on show

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The Top End of Australia may soon establish itself as the “Super Food Bowl” of the north, with a pending $3.5 million study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to assess the potential suitability of more than one million hectares of land for irrigated cropping in the NT’s Roper River catchment area. 

Such potential developments will serve to enhance the already significant culinary reputation enjoyed by the Territory. Its diverse and ready supply of fresh, local produce, including native foods and spices, is a highlight for many business event visitors, and nowhere more so than in the cosmopolitan harbour-front city of Darwin.

A recent Darwin Showcase event, hosted by the NT Convention Bureau and its industry partners, ensured that the bountiful food offerings of the region were on show throughout every aspect of the four-day event. The 15 event participants, who hailed from some of Australia’s largest capital cities, were astounded at the depth and variety of cuisine, which ranged from Aboriginal bush food tastings to modern, contemporary dining.

Renowned Darwin venues such as Pee Wee’s at the Point, Mindil Beach Casino & Resort and Wharf One Food and Wine featured gourmet fare on their menus such as crispy salt and pepper crocodile, NT tiger prawns and mudcrab, Paspaley pearl meat sashimi, buffalo carpaccio, and the NT’s famous barramundi.

A memorable “Bushfood Breakfast” was also hosted by Darwin’s award-winning Karen Sheldon Catering at the Speakers Corner Café, located in the NT’s iconic Parliament House building. Breakfast was presented by trainees participating in the Accelerated Aboriginal Cooks of Excellence program run by Karen Sheldon. This commendable training and employment initiative has enabled ten local Aboriginal apprentices to launch their cooking careers and provides a meaningful and enjoyable dining option, with a strong CSR angle, for business events held in Darwin.

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Jodie Sinel, Sales Manager with the All Occasions Group made special mention of the catering experience. “I really enjoyed the breakfast at Parliament House with the Indigenous apprentices,” she said. “I was blown away by how they work so closely with Karen Sheldon Catering to find positions once their apprenticeship comes to an end – that story was incredible!”

Culinary experiences were not the only highly rated elements of Darwin Showcase. Delegates also identified cultural activities and experiences such as the Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tour, a performance by the Katherine Outback Experience and a Segway tour through the gardens of the extensive East Point Reserve as highlights.

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Rebecca Quilty, Project Manager Corporate Team at Arinex talked about her involvement in Darwin Showcase. “We’ve always known that Darwin offers something completely different in Australia, for domestic and international guests. It’s an authentic Australian experience, with an incredible amount to see and do,” she said.  “The level of product on this famil has really reinforced my view that Darwin is a great destination,” she said. 

Overall delegate feed-back indicated that the famil program had very effectively provided invaluable insights into what sets Darwin apart from other destinations, encompassing cultural, business and industry perspectives.