The Paech family have been farming, preserving and bottling produce in the Hahndorf region of South Australia since 1838 (they were one the 52 Lutheran families that established the town after emigrating from Prussia).
Seven generations of Paech's have grown fruit and vegetables here since that time. In the early seventies they, or more specifically, Grant and Carol Paech, decided to open a small shop on the road by their farm to sell fresh produce and then a few jars of strawberry jam. They labelled the jam 'Beerenberg' (meaning 'berry hill' in German).
In just over 40 years, Beerenberg has become a real Australian success story, selling jams, sauces and preserves all over Australia and internationally. Grant and Carol's children Anthony, Robert and Sally now run the business and have expanded the farm shop considerably. During the summer, visitors can also pick their own berries.
I'd always known and loved Beerenberg products, so when the gorgeous Sally Paech got in touch to say that they were going through a re-branding process and would I like to work with her on some recipes for the relaunched website (check it out - lots of lovely stories and recipes) - I was thrilled. I love that this is a family business doing good things with Australian produce and employing loads of people in a regional area.
Last month I beetled down to Sydney to join Sally and the rest of the Paech family (here she is, below, with her mum Carol) for a stunning lunch at Vaucluse House to celebrate the brand's new labels. It was one of the nicest lunches I've had the pleasure to attend, beautifully styled and organised by an old friend of mine, Emma of The Elk Group (Emma also helped with the re-branding process). Also at the lunch was chef and food writer Adam Liaw. Adam grew up not far from Hahndorf and has many memories of visiting the Beerenberg farm as a child to pick strawberries. Adam has written some wonderful recipes for the family and many of them were on the menu at our lunch. Here was my favourite dish (photographed above and recipe below).
Adam Liaw's goat cheese tart with pickled celery and balsamic beetroot relishServes 4
Preparation time 30 mins plus 1 hour pickling time
Cooking time 30 mins
A basic goat cheese tart is an easy and delicious entrée or light lunch, but combine it with some lightly pickled celery and some flavourful balsamic beetroot relish, and it’s picture-perfect.
2 large leeks
2 tbsp butter
200g goat cheese
200ml thickened cream
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp Beerenberg Balsamic Beetroot Relish, to serve
1 cup baby herbs or salad leaves, to serve
1 rib of celery
1 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
200g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
¼ tsp salt
For the pickled celery, slice the celery into thin sections, discarding any woody threads or especially tough skin. Combine in a sealable bag with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. For the pastry, place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add chilled water a little at a time while processing until the mixture just forms a ball. Remove from the food processor, knead lightly or fraisage just until the dough is well combined, then wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 175°C (fan forced). Roll the pastry until 5mm thick and place into 4 greased individual tart tins, pressing off any excess. Put the lined tins back in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill. When chilled, weight each tin with pastry weights and blind bake the tart shells for 10 minutes. Sauté the leeks in butter with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until well softened. Divide the leeks between the tart tins and press into the base. Top the leeks with slices of goat cheese.
Whisk together the eggs and cream and pour into the tart tins until the tarts are filled. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tarts are golden brown. Top the tart with the beetroot relish and scatter with the pickled celery, baby herbs and/or salad leaves.