Getting a taste for Byron Bay and Northern NSW »
In the new enriched edition of Byron Bay: a taste of the region
By Kerry Scambler
Wherever I go I can’t seem to help but be drawn to local books. They can be a fascinating insight into the locals, their favourite pastimes and icons and how they project themselves to the world.
Regional cookbooks are a favourite and many are full of glorious photos of surrounds and smiling residents, not to mention some mouth-watering dishes. All of these can guide your travels and rekindle happy memories.
And so to Ballina in Northern NSW where a copy of Byron Bay: a taste of the region lay in wait with morning coffee in the Ramada’s café. After flicking through a few pages, it was a purchased with thanks that the weather was warm, the clothing light and the bags not full! (Living on an island necessitates constant baggage limits.)
Nelly le Comte is a Byron Bay convert and long time photographer specialising in food and wine, with magazine and book credits. Remy Tancred is Sample NSW Food Festival Director and publisher, with several books and magazines to his name. Sharing a passion for delicious food, stunning images and high quality publishing, together they published The Byron Bay Cookbook in 2013.
Following three distinct routes of south, west and north, it showcases recipes from restaurateurs, producers and caterers, accompanied by sumptuous images of the dishes, the produce and the surrounding landscapes.
With the first edition quickly selling out, this new enriched and re-titled edition includes many of the new cafés and restaurants opened in just the last two years.
The journey: with its namesake at the centre of the journey, the book covers the rich and picturesque lands of northern NSW stretching from Yamba in the South to Kingscliff in the north and out west to Nimbin. Places like Ballina, Mullumbimby, Wollongbar roll off the tongue.
The recipes: the first that caught my attention was the Kingfish Carpaccio from Italian at the Pacific because it was very similar to the dish I enjoyed the previous night at another local restaurant. Others included:
- Turkish Style Sardines by Sevtap at Beachwood Café (and author of Turkish Meze)
- Orange and Macadamia Crusted Chicken Salad from Summerland House Farm
- Sake-infused Beef Cheek with a celeriac puree, pickled daikon and wasabi green salad from Nightcap Restaurant at Wollongbar TAFE
- Womlette from Rock and Roll Café
- Harissa Chicken with Caramelised Orange and Pomegranate from 100 Mile Table
- Tian of Tuna Sashimi by Steven Snow of Fins
- Oven baked Snapper and Surf Clams in whole roasted garlic cream from The Point Ballina
- Prawns with Pickled Wombok and Miso Caramel from Foam
There are too many more to mention, worthy of trying out over coming months.
If you're travelling and spy a recipe you like, the online contact details for the recipe provider are included on the page. This is a better option than printing the physical address and phone etc, as these can and often change. And if you're travelling, chances are a smartphone or iPad are on hand to do a quick search.
Buy it because: you're planning to visit the region and food is on your agenda. Flick through the pages and find the dishes that intrigue or attract and then track down that restaurant or café.
Plus, with many farm-gates and providores in the area, the book can also provide inspiration for self-catering as well.
If you've already journeyed through these lands, the book can be a lovely memento of the trip with a mix of photos to remind you of the scenery, people and of course, delicious food!
As the authors say, Byron Bay: A taste of the region “creates a whole new foodies' map of the region.” I certainly won’t disagree.
In the next edition? For a book that so clearly has passion for the produce, and therefore the producers and chefs/cooks, at its heart, it would be great to meet some of them, read their stories and see the farms and kitchens. More and more we want to see and get to know the people behind our food whether that's at the farm gate, cellar door or in the restaurant.
Other hightlights from our Ballina trip
- Staying at the Ramada Ballina with a large balcony overlooking the river. Perfect for morning coffee, afternoon refreshments and pre-dinners watching the activity on the water and the sun go down. We even saw a stringray jumping out of the water!
- Dinner at la Cucina di Vino – food was great and the service was excellent on a very busy night.
- Lunch at The Middle Pub in Mullumbimby was delicious and remarkably cheap. Good beers and ciders available on tap.
Byron Bay: A taste of the region by Nelly le Comte and Remy Tancred was self-published in 2015 (second edition, Byron Bay, NSW, 2015, SC, 222 pp, A$49.95 from publisher). First edition Byron Bay Cookbook self-published in 2013 (A$20 from publisher).
The book is available throughout the region and direct from the publishers here »
- Northern NSW (NSW)
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