Australian macadamia growers have shipped in bucket loads of freshly harvested macadamia nuts, macadamia oil and macadamia milk to Australia's best chefs at this year's Noosa Food and Wine, and you'll be hard pressed finding a festival menu without the delicious native nut this weekend.
Matt Golinski, Luke Mangan, Shane Bailey, Cory Campbell, Lee Jeynes and Brad Coats are just some of the many acclaimed chefs featuring locally grown macadamias in their signature dishes at the premier event.
Sunshine Coast-based Golinski grew up on a macadamia farm, and his appetite for the precious nut continues to grow. At this Sunday's 'You're Better on Beef' event he will create a Japanese inspired Soba noodle salad using ginger, macadamias & coriander.
"I spent half my childhood sitting under a macadamia tree with a rock (cracking them)," laughs Matt.
"They're just so versatile and great to cook with, and every time I use them I'm showcasing a little bit of this area. I love that you can get freshly harvested macadamias from local growers.
"And I love the fact that producers can now make them to whatever size I want," he says referring to the innovative new process of creating different sized macadamia 'chips'.
The Rump House's Cory Campbell couldn't agree more.
Campbell, the former Executive Chef of the 3 Hat restaurant Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Sous Chef of Noma in Copenhagen (which was voted Best Restaurant in the World) says he's serving up "Queensland on a Plate" on Saturday - a mouth-watering pineapple and macadamia dessert featuring macadamia ice cream, sprinkles of roasted and shaved macadamias on top and a macadamia 'mayo'.
"Macadamias are really versatile. I use them with beef and fish, they're a winner with desserts, and roasted and salted are just my favourites," says Cory. "And they're the 'Queensland nut' which makes me want to use them more."
Needless to say, festival goers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to Australian macadamias this weekend.
Macadamia milk has stepped into the spotlight for the first time too, and is featured in a number of dishes including Brad Coats' delectable entrée at 'A Taste of Noosa' on Saturday evening - Harvey bay scallops one with lemon myrtle and macadamia crumble, and one with finger lime and macadamia milk foam (and seasoned with dehydrated snails).
Australian macadamia growers are sponsoring Noosa Food & Wine by suppling local macadamia nuts, oil and milk for chefs to use throughout the event. The promotion is part of the Australian macadamia industry's marketing program, funded by Aussie macadamia growers via an industry levy.
Australian Macadamia Society Market Development Manager Lynne Ziehlke is delighted to see such a strong macadamia representation at the festival.
"The Glass House Mountain - Gympie region is the third-largest macadamia producing region in Australia, producing around 10% of Australia's macadamias. This region is the macadamia's ancestral home, so it is fitting that it is so highly featured in such a signature event," said Ms. Ziehlke.
"There are more than 700,000 macadamia trees in the region, 150 macadamia growers and the industry is proud to be one of the major horticultural contributors to the local villages and towns."