Heaven from Down Under


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Every once in a while I find a line of products that really knock my socks off. In typical Matt-style, I go overboard, hoarding cases and boxes of said product, eating it until I can take no more. Then I start all over again. Somewhere in between I force friends and family to listen to me rant and rave, pushing bites of this week's new flavor right down their throats. Sometimes I'm met with acceptance, usually it's with resistance, unfortunately. It seems not everyone wants to share my love of high-quality anchovies in glass, or perhaps they don't get excited over Shaft's Ellie's Vintage Blue eaten alongside every meal for a week. Come on, people, work with me!

If you know me you know how much I love cheese. You also know that I always have a ridiculous amount of it left over from photo shoots, tastings, samplings, etc. I believe that a cheese tray is one of life's greatest gustatory delights, but you can't just lob down a chevre or blue when friends come over and call it a day. Of course not. One must offer contrasting tastes and textures: that's where Valley Produce Company comes in.

I can't remember if it was last year's Fancy Food Show or a chance meeting of the taste buds, but I do know that ever since I tasted (read: devoured) Chris Smith's line of condiments I considered myself a loyal follower. Chris Smith started Valley Produce Company in late 2000 in Australia's Yarra Valley. Chris, a chef by trade, had a vision for high quality oils, honey and condiments and before long his dream became a reality. To say he's the hardest working man in self promotion would be an understatement, and this man travels the world telling his story and sampling his goods. Unfortunately his award-winning oils haven't made their way to the US just yet, but luckily we get to enjoy his Fruit Pyramids, which if you ask me, are the best things this side of heaven. A slice of his pear & hazelnut fruit spread with a bite of brie? I'm drooling as I type.

Then there's his Truffle Infused Honey. This is the product that causes everyone to react the same way the first time they taste it. First there's silence, then the eyes rolls back as a wave of pleasure takes over, a temporary state of bliss kicks in which is followed by a "OH MY GOD I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT". Trust me, it happens every single time. Even for those who don't particularly care for truffles. It might be so good because Chris personally hunts for truffles in France himself (ok, he has a pig that helps him, seriously). Or it might be because there are a few ounces of sliced truffles in each jar. Or maybe because the honey comes from bees from his own farm–is there anything this guy doesn't do? Whatever it is, this honey is something I cannot do without. Drizzled on a pungent blue cheese and enjoyed with fruit makes me a very, very happy boy.

Oh, back to that bit about hoarding boxes and cases of stuff. If you're too far away to stop by my house for some cheese, wine and a tasting of Valley Produce Company's line of products, I urge you to hunt this stuff down and experience it for yourself. It really is that good.

Figs stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in proscuitto drizzled with truffle honey

Ingredients
15 figs
8 slices of proscuitto cut in half
200 grams blue cheese cut into 1x2cm rectangle
Valley Produce Company Truffle Honey

Method 
Cut a star in the top of the fig and stuff the blue cheese in the fig. Wrap in the proscuitto and secure with a tooth pick. Bake at 180.c for 10 min on a greased tray and the figs Should be soft. Drizzle with the truffle honey and serve immediately. Serve on a plate with rocket (or as we Americans call it arugula).


4 Responses to “Heaven from Down Under”

  1. Anonymous L 

    You sold me!

    The only thing missing is the picture of of the tasty figs that I can drool over. Of course, the photo you did post works for that too.

  2. Anonymous Darrell 

    Heaven from Down Under...were you referring to the condiments, or the Chris? I love this photo and the other amazing work you post on Flickr. Now, are you going to tell us how Californians can get Chris's stuff? I'm talking about the truffle honey, of course.

  3. Anonymous Liz 

    Mmm... gorgeous. Where can a Right Coaster get this stuff?

  4. Anonymous Chris Smith 

    Hello Matt,
    The words you have written are really very nice and I do appreciate the effort you went to with all the photos etc while I was in LA doing my Meet the Maker tour.
    Thanks so much
    Chris Smith

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About me

  • I'm Matt Armendariz
  • From Los Angeles, California
  • A man with a passion for good food and a wonderful life with a dash of irreverence. Read at your own risk. Advertising director by day, wino by night. All photos on this site by Matt Armendariz.
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