05 July 2010

Aperitif: Ham Awards for Excellence, Potts Point (5 July 2010)

7 Kellett Street Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone (02) 9357 4729

Ham Week 5-11 July

Thanks to Stewart White from Whiteworks Public Relations for inviting me along to the launch of Ham Week (5-11 July 2010) at the very sexy Aperitif restaurant. I think tonight's event is both a celebration of the winners of Australia's Awards for Excellence and the cooking of Aperitif's chef Derek Baker who prepared a selection of canapés using ham as the main ingredient. I'd love to revisit this cosy restaurant with it's combination of Moroccan, French and Spanish decor to try some of their tempting menu dishes of Seared Wild Sea Scallops with Carrot Purée & Dried Quinoa ($18), Confit of Duck with Puy Lentil & Lardon ($22), Bouillabaisse ($48 share plate for 2) and for dessert the Crème Brulée ($14) to compare to Tabou's.

It's been just under 4 months since Australian Pork launched National Bacon Week and I still haven't finished it all but I'm down to my last pack of BB Products Lachs Shinken. Tonight is a feast of so much ham including two delicious winning entries which have been prepared as a Glazed Baked Ham marinated with a combination of Orange Zest, Orange Juice, Brown Sugar and Mustard — so juicy and tender without being too salty. Another favourite of mine tonight is the Croque Monsieur with such yummy Gruyère Cheese. The Double Smoked Ham Croquettes and Ham Terrine were good as well and easy to eat. The pastry on the Smoked Ham & Mushroom Pie was excellent although not the easiest canapé to eat as it required two hands — I think a fully enclosed mini pastry pie would have been the go so one could keep holding their wine ;-). There was a similar dilemma with the Pea & Ham Soup but if the ham was diced finer I think it could have worked OK as a one handed shot of soup. Wines were generously provided by the appropriately named Piggs Peake.

The entrants for the ham competition were in the main, small companies and butchers who still use age old recipes and methods, and not high tech machinery and processes. To support Ham week, David Jones have partnered with some of their suppliers and will be running a sampling program all this week of some great Aussie hams. The square, pink Australian PorkMark is a no-ifs-no-buts guarantee of Australian origin and what is in the packet is 100 per cent Australian home grown and manufactured ham. To date there's 170 butchers and smallgoods manufacturers Australia wide licensed to display the logo on their products, which are the finest smallgoods available in Australia.

95 hams from 72 different businesses entered and judged against four key criteria such as appearance, aroma, texture and most importantly, taste. The judges were three experts in their fields. Fleischmiester Horst Schurger from CBS Foodtech, and Chefs and commercial cookery teachers Paul McDonald and Simon Bestley from Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE who are here with us tonight.

Traditional Australian Bone - In Leg Ham category
1st Prize: Barkly Smokehouse - Preston Victoria
2nd Prize: Pastoral Ham & Beef - Sydney New south Wales
3rd Prize: Gregs Tender Joint - Belgrave Victoria

Boneless Australian Ham category
1st Prize: CutFresh - Dandenong Victoria
2nd Prize: Quin's Gourmet Butcher - Northam WA
3rd Prize: Simco Meats – Macquarie Canberra

And the Best Ham overall, chosen as the top scoring ham across the categories:
Barkly Smokehouse - Preston Victoria

Other blog reviews:

PROS: Nice and romantic decor, Friendly service, Interesting menu, Quality ingredients
CONS: Limited parking, So much ham and cheese makes you thirsty
MUST TRY: Revisiting Aperitif to try the menu and wines, Buy Australian Pork

Carving up the Jambon Glacé au Caramel aka Glazed Baked Ham

Traditional Australian Bone - In Leg Ham, Cutfresh, Melbourne
1st Prize

Traditional Australian Bone - In Leg Ham, Simco Meats, ACT
3rd Prize

Terrine de Jambon: Ham Terrine

Croûtes à La Diable: Smoked Ham & Mushroom Pie

Croque Monsieur: Toasted Sandwich with Ham & Gruyère Cheese

Croquettes de Jambon: Double Smoked Ham Croquettes

Soupe au Jambon & Petits Pois: Pea & Ham Soup

Piggs Peake 2009 Pork Barrel Viognier, 2008 Super Tusker Sangiovese

Derek Baker busy in the kitchen

Sample goodie bag
Ham samples

Barkly Smokehouse grandmother ham

Otway Pork Greg's Tender Joint ham

Cutfresh Leg Ham

Simco Fresh Meats Ham


Kat and Kim said...

This looks amazing ... I loved Apertif and I LOVE HAM - what a combination. The little goody bag is quite the treat as well ..

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said...

Ah your venture into the kitchen was well rewarded! The food definitely looks better in the brighter light!

Fig and Cherry said...

Looks so yummy, I'm sad I missed out :)

Would love to eat at Aperitif too, the decor looks amazing.

baby cribs said...

I am dreaming about a place where the place is class and peaceful. And specially with the greatest food. I think that place is on your blog.

Madam Wu said...

You got more samples? When's the next pizza party? That terrine de jamon looks amazing and the croque monsieur heavenly.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Thanks for the comprehensive wrap up! that goodie bag looks fab!

Tina said...

I thought Ham Week was a joke at first - but clearly not. I might have a ham and cheese toastie tomorrow in honour :)

Maria said...

This is pretty awesome, ham tasting, I like it! And the goodie bag, oh man it looks really generous!

Jim said...

All those ham photos really made my mouth water.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Simon Leong said...

hi kat and kim, i think i love Aperitif too. it's such a sexy well designed looking place.

hi forager, i need light! hehe so i'm like a moth to the flame. otherwise i would have had really crappy photos of the canapés :-)

hi fig and cherry, sorry you missed it too. hopefully see you at the next event.

hi baby cribs, quite possibly so. i'd definitely like to revisit Aperitif to see what the usual menu food is like but i know the decor is lovely.

hi madam wu, i got more samples! hehe and just today i also got some McCains sweet potato fries to try out in the oven. we need a rematch of jenga too. i've got Piranha chip samples as well i need to share :-)

hi lorraine, i'm half way through the samples now. i've found ham a lot easier to get through than bacon because you don't have to cook it :-)

hi tina, no joke it seems. actually there's probably a week for everything. i reckon we should have a Food Bloggers Week :-) i just had my ham, cheese and tomato toastie for lunch yummm

hi maria, i love a goodie bag, especially an edible one :-)

hi j bar, i wish you could have been there. i reckon they had so much glazed ham left over they'll be eating it for weeks.

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