5 Australian food trips inspired by Noma's Rene Redzepi

Rene Redzepi. Photo: Jason Loucas

Danish chef René Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant Noma, named the best restaurant in the world four times, opened at Barangaroo, Sydney, for 10 weeks yesterday.

Noma Australia is a collaboration with Tourism Australia and developer Lendlease designed to showcase native Australian produce. The early critical acclaim is that the 12-course meal there is brilliant and worth the $485 diners are paying.

The meal features ingredients such as wattle seeds, crocodile fat, Western Australian marron, green ants, magpie goose, fermented kangaroo, saltbush and abalone.

Redzepi spent several weeks touring Australia, from the Tiwi Islands off Darwin, to Tasmania’s Flinders Island, the Margaret River and South Australia’s Limestone Coast, looking for distinctive ingredients that make Australia unique.

“The last few months have been about experiencing first-hand where produce comes from, then trying to recreate it in situ, adding our own touch,” Redzepi said.

Noma Australia’s seafood platter and crocodile fat. Photo: Jason Loucas

But he admitted that a lot of the ingredients he found couldn’t be used on the menu because they were too difficult to source.

“We had to let go of many ideas due to the fact that we just can’t get the ingredients. For example, we really wanted to have mud clams on the menu,” the chef said.

In the meantime, Tourism Australia has compiled a list of five places for those who missed out on a booking at Noma Australia to visit to create their own René Redzepi trail, based on the places he visited.

Here they are.

Koomal Dreaming Whiteland, Yallingup, Western Australia

Take a guided bushwalk with Josh “Koomal” to forage for native bush foods, plants and medicines whilst hearing about their traditional uses. Taste traditional foods and flavours including kangaroo, emu, quandong (native peach), emu plum (native plum) and salt bush around the campfire. Whilst on the tour, you can journey into Ngilgi cave for dreaming stories and a unique didgeridoo experience.

Kangaroo Island Food and Wine Trails, Southern Australia

The Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail introduces you to producers and products at their source. Enjoy the rich fruits of Kangaroo Island producers’ labours in your own time in a natural unspoilt environment. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot a sea-lion on the island’s white sand beaches or the iconic Remarkable Rocks.

Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours, Cooya Beach, Queensland

Cooya Beach is just a 15 minute drive north of Port Douglas and home to the traditional fishing grounds of the Kuku Yalanji people. Join Linc and Brandon Walker as they guide you through mangroves, mudflats and sandy beaches to find shoreline plants used for food and medicine. The tour also includes the opportunity to hunt for crabs, mussels and other seafood.

Tasmanian Seafood Seduction, Hobart, Tasmania

Tasmania is mainly known for lobster, Pacific oysters, octopus and abalone. Take the Seafood Seduction boat tour around Bruny Island, enjoying fresh abalone, crayfish and oysters shucked straight from the sea whilst cruising along Tasmania’s pristine waters. Keep your eyes peeled for abundant wildlife, from wombats and wallabies to little penguins.

Mushroom Tours, Moorooduc, Victoria

Hunting wild mushrooms is fun but fraught with danger unless you know what is safe to eat. Mushroom expert Cameron Russell leads autumn mushroom tours along the winding lanes of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, teaching hunters to locate and identify half a dozen edible varieties including pine and field mushrooms. Just an hour away from Melbourne, you will also find more than 200 vineyards on the Peninsula, as well as some of Victoria’s most loved beaches.

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