1st July 2008 | 09:00 AET
School has never been so interesting. A group of Victorian students learn how to make a local specialty, from paddock to plate.
The hills and valleys around Daylesford, north-west of Melbourne, were a natural settling point for migrants drawn to the Victorian goldfields in the late 1800s. The migrants included a group of northern and Swiss-Italians. They lived in their typical stone houses and made their traditional foods from home.
Three generations on, Maurie Gervasoni is still living that life and making the unusual pure-meat sausages known locally as bull-boars – half beef half pork.
It was this spicy local specialty and recipes like the Gervasonis that inspired students from the local high school to make their own bullboars. The students were looking for a food project that reflected their regional heritage for a competition known as the Farm to Table challenge.
The Farm to Table challenge is about the notion of taking a food from the very beginning – the paddock, to the very end – the plate. To make their sausages, the students needed a pig and a cow. They hand picked and raised a calf and a pig for the meat, picked grapes for the wine and bought the spices (not available in their area!) They also grew the garlic.
It was an amazing experience for all concerned – not only did they learn how to cook, they also learned about marketing, labelling, promotions and their local heritage. (And they also learned about the media when controversy erupted over their plans to have their pig slaughtered for its meat. Funnily enough, the cow didn’t attract the same kind of controversy!)
In the end, they didn’t win the competition. But they were runners-up. And their sausages were absolutely delicious.