33rd Convention of Beefsteak and Burgundy Clubs – John Bowen – 20-22nd May 2016
198 delegates from 39 clubs registered their attendance. Some clubs were well represented, particularly Adelaide, Fortitude, Townsville and Blumers. Naturally it was also well supported by the local John Bowen Club. It was also pleasing to see overseas clubs attending. Wellington had its usual contingent and Tauronga, another Kiwi Club journeyed across “the ditch” Last year’s hosts, Shanghailanders were represented by Howard Bennett, Charlene Koi, Hans Michel and LiRui Wang. It was good to enjoy their company again as well as Tokyo’s Frederic and Spring Lucron. Luis Coronado from Singapore was also registered. Jill and I were just able to keep our successive attendances since 1986 going (now 24) by sandwiching in our visit between two weddings, a niece in Toowoomba the week before and friends daughter’s wedding in Bali the following Wednesday. Aware of our interest in food and wine the bride had delayed the wedding for our convenience! That was not to be the only piece of generosity we encountered concerning this Convention. We arrived on Thursday evening and enjoyed catching up with long time friends before the official opening of the Convention on Friday afternoon.
REGISTRATION 1pm to 5pm Mezzanine, Hotel Grand Chancellor
This is always an exciting time as what we had been looking forward to at last comes to pass. We registered, collecting our distinctive “show bags” and were soon engaged in conversation with many friends we have come to know as well as meeting delegates attending their first Convention. Over the years we have been guests at many Clubs’ meetings and John Bowen Club is no exception. After the 1999 Convention in Launceston Jill and I joined several delegates at the culmination of their post Convention tour when we were made welcome at a dinner hosted by John Bowen. It was good to reminisce with them, I recall David Tremayne commenting on the roasted hare fillet. It gave him the opportunity to “rabbit on” with some “hair raising” comment. This day we were treated to various Tastes of Tassie, the highlights being freshly chucked oysters, samples of wagyu beef and wines from Diamond Island and Breamcreek vineyard. It was then back to our apartment across the road from the Grand Chancellor to inspect the contents of our “show bag”. It contained tourist information about Tasmania, map of Hobart city centre, breamcreekvineyard exclusive offer for Beefsteak and Burgundy Club Members, 10% discount and free shipping on 6 bottles of their wine or 20% discount on 12 or more bottles free delivery. In addition was the Convention handbook with a wealth of information including the President’s welcome, an explanation of the name John Bowen, Club traditions, Convention programme, details of menus and wines, list of delegates, a contact telephone number during the Convention and photographer information. Photos may be downloaded on the website solsticephotography.com.au
WELCOME FUNCTION GRAND BALLROOM HOTEL GRAND CHANCELLOR
I was reminded of the charge of the light brigade. As the unprepared staff tried to serve canapés and welcoming drinks there were people ahead of them, people behind them. People to the side of them to the left and people to the side of them to the right! Eventually things settled down and we all seemed to have been served before the doors were opened to the Grand Ballroom. In a change from tradition for an opening function table seating was predetermined.
We had an interesting group at our table and enjoyed pleasant conversation with friends from Sheoak Hill and we met Melbourne Club member Robert Papageorge and his wife Rosemary. Throughout the evening, Ivan Pearson, from John Bowen was helpful in giving us some insights into the Club and to Hobart and Tasmania. No doubt it was similar at other tables as the organizers had arranged for a member of a Hobart club to be at each table.
Brian Burgess, Treasurer and Food and Wine Master spoke about the food and wines to be served, all food and wine from Tasmania, the food to be matched by seven different wines including the sparkling we had enjoyed with canapés. There would be a continuous supply of bottles until an hour before the scheduled 11.30 conclusion of the dinner. He introduced Master of Ceremonies and Convention Secretary, Arthur Jones, who conducted a roll call before in turn handing over to Convention Chairman, Hein Vandenberg. Hein invited Adelaide President, Bruce Perks to open the Convention. In his short speech Bruce mentioned that this was B&B’s second convention in what used to be called The Apple Isle, following the memorable one in 1999 at Launceston. Bruce first visited Tasmania in 1966 as a young Graduate (he is an anaesthetist by profession) when he was impressed by Cradle Mountain and the now heritage listed wilderness areas of the island, plus the colonial charm of Hobart. It is renowned for its fresh produce and boutique breweries. He declared the Convention open to loud applause from the delegates.
Crispy Long Name farm pork belly with cider toffee
Yoghurt marinated smoked trevalla
Grilled sweet potato, spinach & fetta pesto on crostini with balsamic glaze
NV 42 Degrees South Premium Cuvee
Tasmanian Seafood plate:
South Coast oyster with pickled seaweed salad
Abalone & shitake pie
King fish cured with beetroot & Lark whisky
2010 Kate Hill Riesling
2012 Breamcreek Chardonnay
24 Hour slow cooked lamb rump with carrot & cumin cake,
Buttered beans, & orange & star anise jus
2011 Pressing Matters Pinot Noir
2012 Freycinet Cabernet Merlot
2008 Stefano Lubiano Reserve Merlot
Frangelico cheese cake
With quince & cinnamon puree & glace chestnut
2015 Joseph Chromy Botrytis
Cheese Platter – Ashgrove
Mr Bennett’s blue
Bush pepper cheddar
Dried fruits, nuts & water crackers
Freshly brewed coffee & selected teas
We were treated to a delicious meal with the entrée being the outstanding course.
It was a new experience for most of us to partake of seven wines that we had not tasted before and at our table there was much discussion about them, with the comparisons between the two whites and the two red table wines.
Overall, it had been an impressive start to the weekend and we all retired for the night looking forward to the next day’s activities.
SATURDAY MORNING BUSINESS SESSION 9am to 11am
We had no difficulty finding our way to Hadley’s Hotel as there were guides strategically placed on the way to make sure that we did not take a wrong turn. The morning air was particularly crisp, as would be expected in latitude 40 degrees south in late autumn. I do not think I have seen a bigger attendance at a Business session. More chairs were continually being brought in. Hein Vandenberg explained that the Convention had been chosen to be held in May, close to the 50th anniversary of the Club’s charter which fell on 19th May. Regular meetings/dinners had been held in the very room in which we were now gathered since the Club’s founding that half a century ago. After Apologies and minutes of the previous Convention were taken as read President Bruce Perks presented his report. He spoke in praise of The Shanghailanders Convention last October. Friday dinner at Fairmont Peace Hotel overlooking the Bund area had been an outstanding start. During that Convention life membership was conferred on the totally surprised Howard Bennet (a similar reaction came later back in Adelaide when Peter Johnson was similarly honoured). Both men have made an enormous contribution to Beefsteak and Burgundy over many years. He also said that the Adelaide club is thriving with a rejuvenated committee, meeting monthly in a functional role. Continued work is being done on website development with David Dyke overseeing the new format. Building a data base with generic email addresses is part of the improving communication process. 2016 Handbook has been sent to secretaries for on forwarding to members and work continues to produce the Handbook online. Security and privacy issues are being addressed. Bruce would like to see another International Convention. Quite rightly, he praised General Secretary Craig Thornquest for his outstanding work. I have observed over the years that the patience of Job is needed in this role. Strategic development initiatives are in place covering making the club more professional. Convention bids are in place for 2017 and 2018 with Orange,(magnificent in the autumn) bidding for 2019 having hosted a Convention in 2009 (Please ask them not to spoil Saturday night’s dinner with an ear splitting band). Bids would be welcome from clubs for 2020 and onwards. Vin Thomas from Burnside is working on compiling a history of B&B over the past 60 years. Chapter headings should soon be on the website. Bruce finished with what he thought might be controversial remarks. He mentioned slowing membership growth particularly as men get in to their eighties (That is one reason why our Club meets for lunch. Night travel by train is always a risk and you would not want to draw attention to yourself by wearing a dinner suit.) He thought that the future of B&B may be more female. (As I have often said “Does not a woman thirst?”)
General Secretary Craig Thornquest presented his report:
- There has been a gradual change in Conventions over the years with Friday night now a proper sit down dinner.
- Generic emails provide contact through the website and enable access by more than the office bearer. No need for personal addresses or advice of change in office holders.
- Website enhancements continuing work in progress with modernising to promote involvement by younger people. Details of how to become a member and form a new club,
- Affiliation Fee last year small increase of $5 to $370 per Club Australia including public liability insurance. $190 overseas clubs. Remittance advices to include affiliation number.
- Clubs celebrating 50 years: John Bowen, Sunshine Coast, Whyalla Monarch
- London Club has been reformed and given its original number, 055 8/12/1964 Past President Martin Keith presented their Charter
Tim Fischer from Woodville has had a yearning for many years to host a Convention and he was in his element entertainingly describing the revolutionary proposal to host a convention aboard the Pacific Eden on a cruise from 24th to 27th March 2017. His presentation was supported by a slide show showing
some historic B&B sites such as the Imperial Hotel, “birthplace of B&B” and life aboard ship with his wife Gaye and Bruce Perks. It grabbed the imagination
of his audience and there was a great demand for registration forms. His symbol was a lifebuoy representing throwing a lifeline to B&B as no other club has stepped forward to host a convention in 2017. To top things off he handed out complimentary peppermint lifesavers, a confection I have not enjoyed since they put the price up from four pence when decimal currency came in fifty years ago!
Rick Paltridge and Dru Reschke outlined Black Swans, Penola and Coonawarra’s proposal to host a convention in the renowned wine area of Coonawarra in South Australia, once the most southerly vineyard in Australia. Details are being worked out but for those of us who are familiar with the area and its outstanding wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, it is certain to be an outstanding convention. It is planned to be held in November 2018, probably shortly after the running of the Melbourne Cup and before the Adelaide Test Cricket. A presentation pack including booklets detailing wineries in the area and nearby Limestone Coast was provided. Delegates were invited to complete a quiz about the proposal with the prize to be a magnum of 2003 Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon to be awarded at the evening dinner.
WINE MASTERCLASS Hadley’s Hotel 11am to 12.30pm $50 surcharge
This was one of those disappointing breakdown in communications which had many of the delegates unaware that there was a Master Class on the agenda until we arrived in Hobart! It appears that emails had been sent out advising the change as it had not been on the website agenda, but the emails had not been sent to all of us. Nobody sets out to make such a mistake deliberately and the organisers were just as sorry as we who missed out. In an act of extraordinary generosity Jenny Wilkins from Sheoak Hill offered to give me her place in the tasting, but it would not have been right to accept. Alan Porter from the same club and later Adelaide’s Peter Johnson offered to give me details of the wines. Thanks Jenny, Alan and Peter. The wines from Tas Wine Show Cellar were:
- Ghost Rock”Ol’ Man’s Ghost Pinot Gris 2011 13%, Port Sorrel Rd. Central North Coast
- Bay of Fires Pinot Gris 2011 13.5% Derwent River Valley and Coal River Valley
- Waterton Riesling 2009 11% Rowella, West bank, Tamar Valley
- Riversdale Estate Crater Chardonnay 2009 13.5% Cambridge Coal River Valley
- Devil’s Corner Resolution Pinot Noir 2014 13% East Coast Vineyard, Bicheno/Cranbrook
- Home Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2014 13.5% Ranelagh Huon Valley
- Pooly Coal Valley Pinot Noir 2014, Cooinda Vale Vineyard, Campania, Coal River Valley
- Pooley Butcher’s hill Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 13% Richmond, Coal River Valley.
- Kreglinger Brut Rosé 2005.
SATURDAY GALA BLACK TIE DINNER GRAND BALLROOM HOTEL GRAND CHANCELLOR
6.30pm to midnight
What a difference a day makes! Canapés prepared and welcoming drinks poured and on trays as we arrived to the sound of a quartet playing one of my favourite Strauss Waltzes. Everything had that extra touch of excitement as we all arrived in our fine evening wear. The room had been given an extra bit of treatment to make it more attractive. It was a little difficult for the photographers among us and even the professional had trouble with the pink lighting. Apparently, confused by the light her photo of our table group disappeared into the ether. The NV Janz Premium Cuvee has been served at our club on occasions and it was the only wine served during the Convention that I had previously tasted. Once again seating had been arranged. We had Neil and Irene Stewart, whom we have known for many years from Townsville at our table together with Brian and Sue Lilley and others we were meeting for the first time. As mentioned earlier at the morning business session Coonawarra had run a quiz with the prize being a magnum of Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. There was great excitement at our table when the winner was one of us, Joanne Martin from Blumers Club.
It is always pleasing to see some remnants of our British heritage and Alderman Sue Hickey, The Right honourable Lord Mayer of Hobart looked resplendent in her Mayoral Robes of gold and black. She spoke of the attraction Tasmania in general and Hobart in particular has for tourists. An island population of just half a million attracts one and a half million visitors per year. In addition to its fine food and wines a local distillery has just won an award for the best single malt whisky in the world! (Great applause from the audience.) Howard Bennett and Hans Michel from Shanghailanders presented Hein Vandenberg with a plaque in honour of hosting the 2016 Convention and Bruce Perks presented him with the gold medal in recognition of the Club’s golden jubilee. In addition Food and Wine Master Brian Burgess, having discarded his green jacket for formal wear this night, took us through the wines and food that we enjoyed. Tasmania is noted for its Muttonbird, available for only a short season. At Burnside Club’s Bob Brinkworth’s suggestion a small sample was included in the menu. As it is actually Shearwater birds chicken it has all the taste you would expect from a Shearwater’s crop, lots of oily flavour reminiscent of anchovy. Whoever named it had gone a long, long time without eating mutton. At least now most delegates can say that they tried it. The rest of the food was outstanding, as were the wines. We enjoyed them all and learnt a bit about the work behind the menu when Brian Burgess interviewed the Chef. As always seems to happen we found ourselves among the last to leave but content in the knowledge that in just a few hours we would be enjoying fine food and wines again.
Hot smoked venison with apple jelly on rye bread
Grilled scallop & caramelized pumpkin pepper berry macaron
Tongala goat’s cheese, toffee apple & walnut tart
NV Janz Premium Cuvee
With Sorrel farce, artichoke dressing, kipfler & labneh salad
2011 Stefano Lubiano Chardonnay
2014 Pressing Matters Riesling
Mutton bird, simply grilled with salad and relish
200g Cape Grim eye fillet, crayfish medallion
Celeriac mousseline, sautéed mushroom & light Madeira jus
2013 Home Hill Pinot Noir
2012 Breamcreek Merlot
2011 Stony Vineyard
Chocolate tart with pinot noir sorbet & black currant poached pear
2014 Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling
Cheese Platter – Coal River Farm
Vine hash log
Fruit paste, nuts & lavosh
Freshly brewed coffee & selected teas
SUNDAY board ferry 9.30am for “Mona”till 5pm last ferry back to Hobart
What better way to start a Sunday than a brisk walk to Brook Street Pier from our accommodation? We had a pleasant cruise and upon arrival climbed the 99 steps before arriving at Mona. The aroma of roasting meats greeted us on arrival and what better way to continue the morning than a 10.30 am glass of local Moo Brew Pilsener. After a couple of those it was on to the first of Muse wines, the NV Moorilla Sparkling Riesling with freshly chucked oysters. Once again the food and wines were outstanding and we were so taken with the idea of pre lunch drinks at ten o’clock and lunch at 11am that we thought we might start another B&B Club named B&B Brunch with the motto “from brunch till late”. We were certainly in good company for such a suggestion as we were with the Brinkworths, Yaxleys and Lee Miller. The slight hitch that we live in three different States did not curb our enthusiasm at the time. The service by the staff at the venue was first class. It did not seem long until farewell speeches were being made. It had been yet another successful convention and congratulations are due to all those who put literally years in to its organisation.
Mona lunch menu:
Various treats including oysters Kilpatrick
Moo Brew Pilsener and Ale
2015 Moorilla St Matthias Vineyard Sparkling Riesling
Hot smoked Ocean Trout with pickled vegetables, roe and basil, to share with Barbecued octopus with green wheat, olives and herbs
2015 Moorilla St Matthias Vineyard Pinot Gris
2014 Moorilla Moorilla Vineyard Riesling
Main course from the wood fired Churrasco to share
Red wine and & mountain pepper marinated rump cap, red wine jus, caramelised onions, kunzea béarnaise
Piri piri chicken, roast pepper & basil salsa
Smoked paprika spiced pork scotch, salsa verde
Sides to share
Cavalo nero salad, almonds & anchovy lemon
Roast winter vegetables, rosemary & truffle butter
Red cabbage sauerkraut, toasted seeds
2013 Moorilla Moorilla Vineyard Pinot Noir
2013 Moorilla St Matthias Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc
2013 Moorilla St Matthias Vineyard Syrah
Tasmanian cheeses with accompaniments
During the Convention I took a few snaps and have put together collages of the various events They show how well we ate and drank and enjoyed good company. After returning to Hobart we had an early light dinner of local seafood before retiring. At 4am we rose and travelled to the airport for our flight to Bali. We met Howard Bennett and Charlene Koi there who were catching an early flight to Sydney and then on to Shanghai. We look forward to seeing them again at Penola, and we look forward to meeting many who we know from so many clubs in 2017 for the cruise. They know that they are always welcome at Nital on 4th Tuesday of the month except December for lunch at noon website www.nitalbsb.org.
For those statistically minded the Convention cost $750 early bird prior to 37/12/15 and $850 thereafter. Our accommodation was $700 for four nights. I believe it was $800 at The Grand Chancellor. Finally, I think I have one of John Bowen Club’s 1999 Joke Master’s efforts:
Murphy was taking a psychology test when it was put to him, If you had a choice between wine or women, which would you choose? He thought for a moment and replied “It would depend on the vintage of each.”
Jim Freebairn (Nital)