Northern exposure leads to increasing exports for Golden North ice cream

You would be hard pressed to find someone in South Australia who doesn’t enjoy the creamy taste of Golden North ice cream. However, the local market is only so big, and when the new SA owners came together 10 years ago the company’s key growth strategy was to look outside of their current postcode.

Trevor Pomery their director of marketing took on the additional responsibility for export sales, while the sales director expanded his focus to interstate sales.

Both streams have been a success and Golden North is now available in independent supermarkets across all Australian states and overseas, as well as through the foodservice market. Exporting to China, Malaysia, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Nauru, Golden North is also in the process of finalising a new deal that will eclipse the current markets.

Golden North was recently voted Australia’s best ice cream maker for the second year running by a Canstar Blue survey.

“Australia is the ‘green food bowl’ for Asia,” Trevor says. “We have a reputation for being a clean, green supplier of food with good food security. Putting ‘Australian Made’ on the products is akin to adding a tick of approval.”

Trevor says most of the export deals have come about as a result of attending trade shows that have been held in Asia.

“Unfortunately, taking samples of ice cream with you when travelling is particularly difficult,” he says. “Even more so when visiting warm countries. I often think to myself how much easier it would be if I could just put a few samples in my carry-on luggage. But, ice cream needs to be kept at between -18C and -20C, so it’s a bit harder than that.”

The product sold to China uses the same recipe as the product consumers buy here. For the Chinese market, Golden North has also launched a green tea flavour, conducting taste tests with first-year Chinese university students living in SA in order to get the right balance.

“The most popular line we have for sale in China is the 125ml individual serve vanilla ice cream,” Trevor says. “Food shopping in China is done very differently than how we do it in Australia. Not everyone owns a refrigerator, so often ingredients are purchased on the day a meal is to be made and eaten. It’s not surprising that the individual serves are popular.”

Golden North’s marketing director Trevor Pomery says China has been a big export focus for the popular ice cream products.

Some historians believe that ice cream was actually invented in China, though it has only become popular there in recent years.

“Ice cream is certainly becoming more and more popular in China,” Trevor says. “Our sales continue to creep up and we are happy with the way our export market has grown slowly and steadily.”

Even with the increase in their market, Golden North is firmly rooted in their hometown of Laura, in the state’s Mid-North.

“Laura is our home – it’s where it all started,” Trevor says.

The regional town of Laura has been the home of Golden North since the 1920s.

The company began in 1880 when William Bowker and his family began selling milk and vegetables from their property. Later, in 1923 they began making ice cream there.

“The original homestead is still located on the property where our factory is,” Trevor says. “All our infrastructure is there. All our knowledge is there. Why would we move anywhere else.”

Golden North employs about 60 people at the factory, which in a township of 550 people is a large percentage of the eligible workforce. Many of the employees have been with the company for a long time.

“Our research and development manager, for example, has been with the company for 40 years,” Trevor says. “Our people and their expertise are located in Laura, so that’s where we are staying.”

Recent investments have been made to the factory to improve efficiencies and upgrade equipment such as the churns and freezers. This has allowed Golden North to increase production to cater for future growth.

Golden North Giant Twins are among the brand’s most popular products.

The raw ingredients used by Golden North are largely supplied by growers in SA’s northern areas, and Trevor says the company consciously supports other local businesses including for transportation, and packaging.

“Operating a national ice cream business out of Laura is challenging and while we encourage South Australians to buy local, we make sure we lead by example,” Trevor says.

Golden North has again been rated Australia’s number one ice cream following an independent customer survey by Canstar Blue. This is the second year in a row Golden North has won the consumer award.

“There are lots of ways to make ice cream, but we still believe the best way to do it is with fresh milk and fresh cream,” Trevor says. “Some call it the old-fashioned way, but we think it’s the best way. Importantly, we also don’t use any palm oil in our products (for environmental reasons) and our products are gluten and nut free.”

The simple formula is clearly a winner, and the Golden North taste is one which continues to gain appreciation the world over.

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SA cheesemaker plans for new home in state-of-the-art manufacturing plant

Celebrating 30 years of success in cheesemaking, South Australian family business La Casa Del Formaggio has recently announced their move to a new state-of-the-art cheese manufacturing plant, to be built in 2020.

Renowned for their award-winning cheese products including ricotta, bocconcini, mozzarella, pecorino, parmesan, haloumi and burrata, La Casa Del Formaggio will expand from their current site at Glynde, north-east of Adelaide, to the Northern Adelaide Food Park.

The food park at Edinburgh Parks about 25km from the CBD is a food processing and manufacturing hub allowing businesses to innovate and collaborate with industry to access international markets.

La Casa Del Formaggio’s managing director, Claude Cicchiello, says the business is currently in the master planning stages of what they believe will be one of Australia’s best cheese manufacturing facilities.

Cherry bocconcini being made in the Glynde factory.

“I feel very fortunate we’ve been able to do what we love for 30 years, and we’re excited at the opportunity to expand our operations,” he says.

“The world-class modern facility will allow us to continue to produce cheese and dairy products for the Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets.”

Claude’s parents Gerardo and Rosa Cicchiello, migrants from Italy, started the business in 1988. It grew slowly and organically from its origins as a small operation supplying only the Cicchiello’s own continental deli, before higher demand saw the deli close and the cheesemaking operations take centre stage. Today, the business employs 130 people and supplies fresh cheese products Australia wide.

“Our family introduced bocconcini into the Australian market,” Claude says. “It was a product that was foreign to many families who were not used to enjoying fresh cheeses in their meals.”

“However, our local European community was certainly glad to find the product available, and over time we educated consumers through recipe sharing and cooking demonstrations.

“We also had a bit of luck in the early days with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver using the products in his recipes.”

Claude’s sister Marissa behind the counter at La Casa Del Formaggio’s retail shop.

In the early 1990s Claude successfully implemented manufacturing processes that enabled the bocconcini product to be transported from the manufacturing facility onto supermarket shelves. The bocconcini products are still their number one seller.

“The Australian palate has certainly changed over the past 20 years. I remember a time when it was all about cheddar, with some blue and a little brie, but the demand for fresh cheese has taken off,” Claude says.

“We’re always keeping a close eye on European cheese trends, and our traditional hands-on cheese making techniques allow us to develop these products for the Australian market.

“Last year we launched our burrata – a delicate shell of fresh mozzarella that encases a decadent filling of stracciatella (mozzarella shreds soaked in cream), and it’s already proving to be very popular.”

Claude, left, and his father Gerardo in the factory.

Claude says making a consistent high-quality fresh cheese is not as simple as following a recipe.

“The milk from which you make the cheese changes regularly, and our cheese-makers need to adjust accordingly – it really is an art,” he says.

Along with the new facility at Edinburgh Park, Claude looks forward to maintaining a presence at their current location in Glynde, with a small cheesemaking operation and sales outlet open to the public.

“We still want to honour our home,” he says. “I love South Australia and I couldn’t imagine doing business and living anywhere else.”

Burrata features a delicate shell of fresh mozzarella encasing stracciatella.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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The Polly Waffle is back … and it’ll be made right here in SA

A decade after disappearing from supermarket shelves, the legendary Polly Waffle chocolate bar is back.

Fourth-generation South Australian family business Robern Menz has acquired the long-lost chocolate treat from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé, which discontinued the Polly Waffle in 2009.

Robern Menz – maker of much-loved Fruchocs – will take ownership of the Polly Waffle brand and trademark as well as the famous recipe.

The Polly Waffle’s history dates back to 1947, when Melbourne-based Hoadley’s Chocolates first made the chocolate-coated wafer and marshmellow bar.

Robern Menz acquired another iconic sweet – the Violet Crumble – from Nestlé in 2018 and rolled the first bar off its production line last October. The addition to the company meant 30 jobs were created and the factory expanded.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says the Polly Waffle has entered into the territory of Australian legend, after production ceased almost 10 years ago.

“There are kids and even young adults out there who don’t really know what a Polly Waffle is and haven’t tasted it before, but there are also many devoted fans who have been campaigning hard for its return,” he says.

“Since taking over the Violet Crumble brand we have been bombarded with two distinct questions, when are you bringing back the bags of Violet Crumble and when are you bringing back Polly Waffle? There is even a Facebook page that has over 55,000 members petitioning to ‘Bring Back The Polly Waffle.’

“As an Australian family-owned business, we have a real affinity for local brands and to have the opportunity to revive them and bring them back into the market is such a privilege. We also love a challenge and are honoured to be the business that gets the chance to try to bring back the Polly Waffle.

“Australia’s food production industry is important to our future economy and sustainability. We believe our role and contribution is keeping as much manufacturing here as possible and creating jobs, and we’ve been doing this for over 150 years.”

When Brand SA News shared news of the Violet Crumble acquisition in 2018, social media users inundated Brand South Australia’s Facebook page, commenting on their desire for the Polly Waffle to return.

“Great news for SA! Now bring back the Polly Waffle,” said Derek Turner, while Sam Gibbs agreed. “Fantastic. I’m also on the POLLY WAFFLE bandwagon too. PLEASE.”

Nestlé business executive officer–confectionery, Chris O’Donnell, says Nestlé is also excited about the Polly Waffle’s return.

“Polly Waffle is one of those iconic brands that despite its absence from market still has a loyal following,” he says.

“We wish Robern Menz the best of luck in bringing it back and giving Australia’s Polly Waffle lovers the opportunity to enjoy it once again.”

Robern Menz is also bringing back the much-loved Violet Crumble 180g bag, featuring bite-sized versions of the chocolate bar, available at a number of national retailers from March 2019.

The Robern Menz factory is located at Glynde in Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs.

Header image is of Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Sweet export deal for SA-made chocolate icon

The iconic South Australian-made chocolate bar, Violet Crumble, will make its way from Adelaide and into the hands of American chocolate lovers as Robern Menz expands its export plan in the US.

A 20-ft shipping container holding 77,000 of the chocolate honeycomb treats will leave Adelaide for Los Angeles and San Francisco this week, following a deal between Violet Crumble’s maker Robern Menz and distributors British Wholesale Imports last month.

Violet Crumbles have been available in a small number of US outlets including Cost Plus World Market, Wegmans, Stater Brothers and 7 Eleven for more than 20 years, but Robern Menz has a strategic focus to expand internationally.

Inside the Robern Menz factory. Photo by Julian Cebo.

Fourth-generation family business Robern Menz, also the maker of the round chocolate apricot treat Fruchocs, acquired Violet Crumble from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé earlier this year, bringing ownership of the famous purple and yellow wrapped bar back to Australia for the first time in 46 years.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says the company is “thrilled” to be in a position to manage the expansion of the well known Aussie brand into international markets, including the US.

“The reception around our planned expansion in the US has been really positive; Violet Crumble’s unique taste profile and branding is really resonating with Americans, who want to know how they can buy it locally,” he says.

“It’s so rewarding to see the first shipment leave the factory and make its way into the hands of American consumers and we can’t wait to hear the reaction from many more Americans to something that Australians hold so dear.”

The Violet Crumble is known for its tagline ‘it’s the way it shatters that matters’.

Production of the Violet Crumble in Adelaide began in October, following a $4 million refit and extension of the Robern Menz factory at Glynde in Adelaide’s east.

The factory’s overall output was increased by 37% and 30 additional staff were hired to oversee production and management of the Violet Crumble.

Robern Menz is also celebrating for another reason this week, after becoming the inaugural inductee for the Consumer Award Legend at the SA Food Industry Awards.

The Violet Crumble chocolate bar has been around since 1913 when it was invented by Melbourne man Abel Hoadley.

It was made in Adelaide until 1985 before moving to Melbourne under Nestlé’s ownership.

Header image by Julian Cebo.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Adelaide Hills shoppers nuts about Charlesworth

Longstanding family-owned business, Charlesworth Nuts, will have a crack at the Adelaide Hills retail market when it opens its 11th South Australian store in Mt Barker later this month.

The new nuts, dried fruit and chocolate store will open on October 17 in the Mt Barker Central Shopping Centre, with four staff soon to settle in their roles, plus another 12 workers employed in time for the peak pre-Christmas period.

It will be the first time the 80-year business has branched out into a regional area, and CEO Brett Charlesworth says the company has already been warmly welcomed by the local Hills community.

“We are really happy to be opening in Mt Barker,” he says. “The area has a lot going for it, with new estates opening, as well as a new sports centre recently announced.

“We have been pleased by the level of enthusiasm from the community. We had around 500 people send in a résumé once word had spread that we were recruiting.”

New Charlesworth Nuts employees undergo an in-house training program both away from the shop and in-store.

“The main thing we look for is a bright and bubbly personality and someone who is interested in helping our customers,” says Brett, who is also I Choose SA ambassador.

“We are very passionate about what we do, and we have built up the business on our reputation for quality, fresh products.

“We take a lot of pride in our work, and our people do as well. We have many employees who have been with us for 20, 25, even 30 years. We are very lucky to have such genuine people working with us.”

Charlesworth Nuts CEO Brett Charlesworth is also an I Choose SA ambassador.

There are also those who are second, or even third generation employees – taking after the Charlesworth family, with Brett and his brother Mark, chief financial officer, the third-generation business custodians and Brett’s sons Rhys, Kain and Liam also working in the business.

The Charlesworth legacy began in March 1934, when Herb Charlesworth bought a small nut stall in the Adelaide Central Market, one of the largest undercover fresh produce markets in the southern hemisphere.

The store continued well for the next 20 years, but when Herb’s health began to deteriorate, he called upon his son Chappy to take over the business.

Chappy built the business further, laying a strong foundation for Brett and Mark who took over and were able to open the company’s first new store in 40 years in the Westfield Marion Shopping Centre.

Four more retail outlets soon followed at Colonnades Shopping Arcade, City Cross Arcade, Tea Tree Plaza and Elizabeth Shopping Centre. New stores have since been opened in Rundle Mall, West Lakes Shopping Mall and Burnside Village.

“We are careful about the locations we pick,” Brett says. “We are all about making sure we are in the right centre, and the right site at that centre.”

Brett says the fit out of the shops is kept similar between outlets, but that the Mt Barker store will include some ‘experimental’ displays.

“Our shop fitters have just finished refitting the Tea Tree Plaza and Marion stores, so it was straight from those projects onto the Mt Barker build,” he says.

The shop displays take around 2-3 weeks to be built off site, then another 2-3 weeks in store when the displays are installed.

“One of our core principles is that customers should be able to buy fresh nuts, cooked on-site, at each of our stores,” Brett says. “The hot nuts are certainly a product which leads people in with their noses!”

The Charlesworth family at the Marion store.

With the retail market set to enter the busiest time of year – the Christmas shopping period – the nuts, dried fruits, chocolates and other treat maker is set to experience yet another influx of consumers.

“At this time of year our gift sales go through the roof, as do our mixes, cooked products, and chocolate range,” Brett says.

“We find that people are looking for something to either take with them to a party, or to serve when they are entertaining.

“Now is also the perfect time to pick up one of our Christmas cake ingredient packs which have the dried fruit and nuts you’ll want to make your own cake – and the tried and tested recipe to put it all together.”

Charlesworth Nuts also has a new product out – Salty Macadamia Pearls – with a portion of the proceeds going towards a local cause.

The new line has been launched in conjunction with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation with 20% of the proceeds donated to the foundation’s Beach House Project.

“The Beach House Project is a holiday house at Encounter Bay which has been fitted out with all the equipment necessary for families with children in palliative care to have a relaxing holiday,” Brett says.

“It is all about creating beautiful memories and making the most of the time the family has together. We are really pleased to be supporting this worthy cause.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Beerenberg celebrates $14m factory expansion in Hahndorf

Renowned South Australian jam and condiments maker Beerenberg is celebrating the official completion of its $14m factory and headquarters at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

Sixth-generation family member and managing director Anthony Paech has fired up the new bottling line, processing hundreds of bottles of the food producer’s popular tomato sauce.

The multi-staged redevelopment, which began in 2015, will see the longstanding family company’s production capacity double, securing its long-term future in the country’s oldest surviving German settlement.

The 6500sqm head office expansion includes state-of-the-art factory equipment, allowing 15 tonnes of product (60,000 bottles) to be processed per shift.

Beerenberg managing director Anthony Paech switched on the new bottling line recently.

Anthony says the expansion provides a platform for major growth and stability for Beerenberg’s future.

It currently employs 85 people.

“This is a state-of-art design which enables higher control over the cooking and bottling of product, allowing us to craft an even higher quality of product in larger volumes,” says Anthony, whose family has been working on the Hahndorf land since 1839.

“There is also natural light and a climate controlled modern environment for staff, with the latest safety features.

“Finally, there is a room for expansion which we have needed for some time.”

The facility will be officially opened today (June 5) by South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le.

The project was worked on by a number of local businesses, including Moto Projects, Sarah Constructions, McMahon Services, Michael Watson Architects, and Swanbury Penglase.

“We sought to find a community-friendly approach to expand our Adelaide Hills base into an ultra-modern facility, securing its future in the Hills and gearing it for further international growth,” Anthony says.

Siblings Sally and Anthony Paech outside the $14m new Beerenberg factory and headquarters in Hahndorf.

Beerenberg is also a ‘pick-your-own’ strawberry farm and this summer it attracted more than 80,000 people.

Beerenberg – which means ‘Berry Hill’ in German – has more than 90 products in its range, including jams, sweet and savoury sauces and condiments.

The products are available in 24 countries, on major airlines and in more than 300 hotels worldwide.

The business is run by the three Paech siblings, Anthony, Robert, who is farm manager, and Sally who is marketing manager.

Their late father Grant Peach began selling strawberries from a roadside stall in 1971 after the first strawberry patch was planted near the family home.

The Beerenberg family Robert, left, Sally, Carol and Anthony Paech.

In 1975, Grant and wife Carol launched the pick-your-own strawberries concept which quickly became a thriving tourist destination before new products, including chutney and pickled onions, were added.

In 1980 the factory and shop were built and five years’ later a contract was secured with airline Qantas to serve mini Beerenberg jams to customers.

As the years rolled on the first export deals were made and the brand continued to grow until 2013 when it underwent a major overhaul, leading to a boost in national sales.

Grant Paech died in 2011 after a long illness and is remembered as a pioneer and innovator in the state’s food industry.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Raw milk cheesemaking on the horizon for regional producers

Four regional cheesemakers have banded together to explore the possibility of allowing South Australian-made raw milk cheese to hit the luxury food market overseas.

The Barossa Valley Cheese Co in Angaston, Hindmarsh Valley Dairy near Victor Harbor, and Adelaide Hills cheesemakers Section28 and Woodside Cheese Wrights have formed a collective to explore the potential for raw milk cheese to enter lucrative national and international markets.

The group, named the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective, recently received a $68,000 grant from the State Government’s Advanced Foods Manufacturing Program to create a consistent approval regime across the industry for the production of raw milk cheese.

It is illegal to sell raw (unpasteurised) milk for human consumption in Australia, however, raw milk cheeses must be approved by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and meet certain criteria in maturation time, temperature and water content.

The South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective will collaborate with DairySafe SA and the University of Tasmania to establish protocols and validation for category two raw milk cheesemaking.

It’s believed the advancements will help expose South Aussie cheesemakers to a new market and rival with international counterparts.

Production trials and tests will go ahead across the state and are expected to expose challenges associated with unpasteurised cheesemaking.

The four regional cheesemakers have more than 50 years of cheesemaking experience between them.

Barossa Valley Cheese Company managing director Victoria McClurg says the grant will help the collective to access new markets and put SA at the forefront of cheesemaking.

“We hope to give SA the leading edge on cheesemaking by working with DairySafe SA towards unified standards and verification protocols for raw milk cheese production,” she says.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone says the goal is to enable high-end local cheesemakers to target the luxury food market overseas and interstate.

The collective also hopes to create new market opportunities and scalable food safety mechanisms, he says.

“This project would see strong collaboration across some of the state’s most highly skilled and passionate cheesemakers,” Mr Whetstone says.

“It is a pleasure to assist the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective access the expertise they need to put other exceptional SA-made products on shelves around the country.”

The world of cheese will be celebrated in Adelaide later this year when Kris Lloyd brings back the popular Cheesefest (incorporating Ferment the Festival) at Rymill Park on October 27–28.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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TAFE SA patisserie lecturer to compete on world stage

TAFE SA patisserie lecturer Justin Williams is hoping to achieve sweet success when he represents Australia in the “Olympics of pastry” on April 24 and 25.

Justin, who teaches a patisserie course at TAFE SA’s Regency Campus, will head to Singapore to compete in the prestigious Asian Pastry Cup in hope of qualifying for the world championships in Paris in 2019.

The pastry chef, who teaches a patisserie course at TAFE SA, has been working with teammate and Sydney pastry chef Sonia Quek, training for 15 hours a day for the event.

The duo has spent the past six months cooking with hundreds of kilograms of chocolate and sugar in preparation for the contest.

TAFE SA patisserie lecturer Justin Williams will compete in the Asian Pastry Cup in April 2018 in hope of qualifying for the world championships.

The Asian Pastry Cup is the biggest live pastry competition in Asia and is attended by talented pastry experts from a number of different countries.

Contestants must create two elaborate chocolate and sugar-themed showpieces, 20 desserts and two modern gateaux in eight hours.

Details of exactly what Justin will create are top secret.

“This event is highly competitive – it’s basically the Olympics of pastry – so we need to keep our cards close to our chest to get an edge on our competitors,” he says.

“We have put in many hours of training, trying and testing new techniques and finessing our creations for the event.

“We have put a lot into this so hopefully we can get a good result on the day.”

Justin says the pair has collaborated with 3D chefs and an industrial designer to help create structural elements for the chocolate and sugar showpieces.

“Our 3D chef creates a 3D image of our showpieces then prints each component using 3D printers and we then make moulds out of silicon from these printed items,” he says.

“Our industrial designer is designing and building our finished buffet decorations.”

The live competition will involve patisserie experts sweating it out over eight hours in hope of creating the winning elaborate showpieces.

Justin has years of baking experience under his belt after working as a pastry chef in hotels around the world.

TAFE SA educational manager Fee Lee says he is confident the Australian team will finish in the top three.

“TAFE SA has a strong record of success in these competitions winning in the SIGEP Remini in Italy and the Mondial Du Pain in France,” he says.

“Justin has taught the Certificate IV in Patisserie at Regency Campus for seven years. He has a strong background as an executive pastry chef having worked for many years in Australian and international hotels.”

Fancy a career in cooking? Check out TAFE SA’s courses here.

Kytons turns 80, bakes half a million hot cross buns

Sugar and spice, Easter and hot cross buns, Darren and Sharon.

Some things are just meant to be together, and for South Australia’s Kytons Bakery duo Darren and Sharon Sutton, their business’s 80th year will be met with more hard work and truckloads of flour.

By Easter weekend, their Edwardstown bakehouse will have churned out 500,000 hot cross buns, made by a team of bakers from 18 tonnes of Laucke flour and several pallets of dried fruit.

Sharon says the longstanding bakery is “manic” in the lead up to Easter as its workforce swells from the usual 10 staff to 30 people who work around the clock to ensure South Australians can enjoy the spiced sweet buns on time.

Kytons will bake 500,000 hot cross buns in the lead up to Easter this year.

“In the last week before Easter we’re running for about 24 hours a day,” she says.

“Aside from the hot cross buns we also sell a lot of lamingtons, waffles and cookies.

“Products are piled up on pallets ready to be delivered, the music is usually up really loud and we’re working very long hours, but it’s a good time.”

In the past 80 years, Kytons has been through a few transformations and put a spin on a classic Easter treat.

Six years ago, a local radio station ran a campaign to discover a new flavour of hot cross buns.

The result was a Kytons and Robern Menz collaboration, with only 1000 Fruchoc hot cross bun packets made for the exclusive promotion that certainly caught on.

“People were queued up outside the radio station on Easter Thursday morning,” Sharon says.

“The Fruchoc hot cross bun has now become a part of people’s Easter tradition. I have a friend who takes them away every year and grills them on their barbecue, to melt the chocolate with that charred barbecue taste.”

Aside from hot cross buns, Kytons is also renowned for making the quintessential Australian cake, the lamington.

The Kytons wrapped, chocolate-dipped and coconut-sprinkled sponge cake has existed in children’s lunchboxes and pantry cupboards for decades.

The lamington is believed to have been invented in Australia in the late 1800s and named after Lord Lamington, who served as the Governor of Queensland until 1901.

“There are lots of stories but that’s the most plausible one,” says Sharon.

“They were invented by the cooks in government house in Queensland … they had guests for afternoon tea and all they had was dry cake.

“So they dipped it in chocolate to make it softer and then dipped it in coconut so they’re fingers wouldn’t get as sticky.”

Kytons lamingtons have twice been crowned best in the country, while the recipes used to make the cakes have remain relatively unchanged.

School children of the 1980s and ’90s would remember Kytons’ fundraising lamington drive, an initiative that would benefit thousands of community groups and projects over the years.

Kytons supplied sheets of sponge cake, chocolate dip and shredded coconut to schools, Scouts, Girl Guides and churches to make lamingtons, sell them and raise money.

“Kytons has become a part of the SA community whether it’s through the fundraising drives or just those habits like kids having a lamington in their lunchbox at school,” Sharon says.

“That’s something we’re really proud of and happy to be a part of people’s memories.”

Sharon Sutton is an I Choose SA ambassador.

The Kytons brand was established in SA in 1938 by the Hignett Brothers.

The catering company had a stall at the Adelaide Central Market in the 1940s before a bakehouse was built on Carrington Street in the 1950s.

In 1975 the business was sold to John and Carol Darwin but remained in the Central Market until 1988, selling cakes and buns.

In its 80 years, Kytons has only been sold twice.

The Suttons bought it in 2003 after owning a bakery at Flagstaff Hill for 10 years. Darren had worked at Kytons as a teenager, as his best mate’s father was the owner.

Darren baked, while Sharon – who has a university degree in politics – took over administration and marketing roles, later becoming the face of the bakery and an I Choose SA ambassador.

It’s not every day you’re on the back of a bus. Unless, you’re an I Choose SA ambassador of course!

The Suttons introduced Kytons products to Foodland and Woolworths supermarkets, cafés and greengrocers, while the fundraising drives now makes up about 25-30% of the business.

More recently Kytons has secured a NSW distributor, meaning Sydneysiders are set to enjoy the baked secrets of SA.

Sharon says she’s noticed that SA consumers are consistently eager to back local producers and makers, as seen with the the revival of Spring Gully in 2017.

“SA consumers are becoming very parochial about what they want to eat, where it comes from and the provenance behind it,” she says.

“The food community we have here in SA is the envy of other states.”

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Look out USA! Beerenberg sauces are on their way

By Melissa Keogh

South Australian sauces will soon hit supermarket shelves in California after much-loved jam and condiment maker, Beerenberg, caught the eye of a US distribution giant.

The sixth-generation Hahndorf farm is releasing six of its Slow Cooker sauces in 100 Californian independent supermarkets by October.

The sauces will be distributed to stores across the Golden State by US giant United National Foods Inc.

The Slow Cooker sauce range, which includes a Spanish chicken, French chicken (coq au vin), and Cuban mojo pork sauce, aims to add convenience to classic, slow cooked dishes.

Beerenberg marketing director Sally Paech says the sauces were launched in Australia last year and were an instant hit.

“We were so happy with it and people were raving about it, there hasn’t been a premium offering like this that gives you a really beautiful meal,” she says.

“You add (the sauce) to your protein and other pantry items and put it in the slow cooker.

“There’s nothing on the market that offers a slow cooked sauce so we saw a gap in the market.”

The sauces are designed to add convenience to slow cooked meals.

The sauces are designed to add convenience to slow cooked meals.

Beerenberg also exports its products to South East Asia but Sally says the United Foods shipment was the company’s first “big order” to the US.

She hopes it will kickstart success in the American market but says the world of food exporting can be tough.

“It’s a really competitive environment,” she says.

“We produce jams, sauces and dressings, which are all different products in different parts of the supermarket and we’re competing against multiple brands.”

Sally says the majority of Beerenberg’s exported products are single-serve portions, such as small jams, which are distributed to hotels and airlines.

The company is also in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion to its Hahndorf site.

A new warehouse and offices have been built near the existing building and a new factory is also under construction, expected to be completed by mid-2018.

Sally says the expansion was necessary as product demand has increased significantly.

“Our factory is flat chat, it was built in the 1980s and it’s not big enough for what we need to put out onto the market,” she says.

Beerenberg is behind more than 90 products.

Many of the ingredients used in the spreads and sauces are grown at the 81ha Hahndorf farm including strawberries, chillies, gherkins, plums and quinces.

The Beerenberg family Robert, left, Sally, Carol and Anthony Paech.

The Beerenberg family Robert, left, Sally, Carol and Anthony Paech.

Beerenberg is headed by three Paech siblings, Anthony, Robert and Sally, alongside their mother Carol.

Their father Grant Paech, who passed away in 2015, founded Beerenberg in 1971 after launching a roadside stall selling strawberry jam made in the family’s kitchen.

In 1987 Beerenberg struck a deal with Qantas for mini jam jars to be supplied to passengers.

As the years rolled on the small company grew to become an Australian household name.

Grant also pioneered the pick-your-own-strawberries concept which lures thousands of visitors to the Hahndorf farm to pick their own fruit.

The strawberry fields will soon be scattered with hungry fruit pickers, as mid-October marks the typical start to the strawberry season.

The Beerenberg Slow Cooker range is available at independent supermarkets nationally, at the Hahndorf farm shop and online.

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