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Blending bush tucker with European cuisine?


Bush food from The Centre seems set to play a role in international export and investment as relations with China are in turmoil and Australia is negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU).

A 19 member delegation from 14 countries – ranging from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, to the new ones, like Estonia – were in Alice Sprigs yesterday.

The group was headed by the German ambassador of the EU to Australia, Michael Pulch, in search of “opportunities for trade and investment”.

Asked for what he regarded as the highlights he named a demonstration and tasting of bush foods by Rayleen Brown, co-founder and owner of Kanga’s Can Cook.

He said blending traditional foods with modern cuisine in Europe would “enrich” the food.

“I am convinced there is a market for these type of products in Europe.

“Particularly young Europeans are now looking for healthy food, organic food.

“There is a strong vegan development in Europe, and many of these products would fall exactly into these type of categories.”

Aboriginal art came a close second for Dr Pulch: “And of course Central Australia is the birth place of Indigenous arts, and no visit to Alice Springs would be fully consumed without having access to the fine art that is produced here by Indigenous artists.”

He described the planned national Aboriginal art gallery as a “very good idea”.

The Indigenous owned dialysis service The Purple House impressed the delegation by “how they deal with medical supplies in their care for the Indigenous population”.

Dr Pulch said the development of technology permitting the reduction of coal requires rare earths, scheduled to be mined north of Alice Springs, and other minerals: “We are very interested in diversifying our supplies.”

The negotiations started in June 2018, with the 11th round due next week. Dr Pulch says he is “optimistic” a conclusion can be reached by the end of this year or early next year.

The deal wants to engage small to medium-sized companies: “These are the backbone to our economy in Europe and in Australia,” including Indigenous businesses, traditional food, medicine and arts.

PHOTO (supplied): Dr Pulch (front) and other European delegates are introduced to bush tucker by Rayleen Brown.


  1. Having been running Australian cuisine promotions in Prague, Paris, Moscow, Essen and some I can no longer remember back in 2003-4 and broadcasting my TV series Dining Downunder via the ABC Asia Pacific Network, I see the opportunities for food products.
    However, this is dwarfed by the unparalleled nutritional qualities of Australian wild foods which, in appropriate preparations, can address a host of the diseases of nutrition simply, quickly and safely.
    The challenge in the EU has always been that the foods of the world’s longest living culture are still predominantly and negatively affected by the protectionist policy of Novel Foods.
    In comparison to potatoes, tomatoes and even wheat, Australian wild foods are less “novel” by about 60,000 years.
    If Europeans wish to benefit from the health-giving and healing qualities of the foods which reflect the types of foods with which humans evolved, they need to remove this anti-competition barrier to imports of wild foods.
    And the title of the story would have been far better if it were more along the lines of “Blending Ingredients from the World’s Oldest Cuisine with those of Europe”.

    [ED – Vic Cherikoff is regarded as an authority on Australian native foods and its associated industry, having been involved in the selection and commercialisation of many of the 35 or so Indigenous Australian plant foods now in the market place. He is an author of three books and a number of scientific papers. – Wikipedia]


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