Australian Foods, Herbs And Spices


australian desert limeAbout Vic Cherikoff's Australian Spices And Herbs

We met with Vic Cherikoff at the 2007 San Francisco Fancy Food show to get a brief overview of the products that are up and coming with chef's here in the U.S. With the help of information from Vic and his website we've provided you with a Readers Digest version of some foods you might want to consider adding to your culinary repertoire.

The image to your left is that of an Australian Desert Lime (citrus glauca fruit) image by Mark Marathon.

Where To Buy Australian Specialty Herbs and Spices

You can buy these specialty products online at Vic's website:

Australian Herbs And Spices

Herb or Spice  Description Uses
Alpine Pepper (Mountain Pepper)
A mixed peppery blend with mountain pepper and pepperberry scented with forest anise and sumac to enhance the fruitiness and a little conventional pepper for some short pepper notes. 
An all purpose salt and pepper sprinkle for meats, eggs, soups and vegetables Add some early in cooking and a little more at the end to > add the zing and the aromatics 
 Forest Anise
A mixture of aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle essential oil used with white meats as a sprinkle, mixed in stuffing or part of a stock seasoning. Add to desserts (eg. ice cream), cream cheese or bread. Use with white meats and seafoods as a seasoning or infuse into finished sauces. Compliments feta cheese. Add to desserts (eg. ice cream), cream cheese or bread
 Forest Peppermint
 A free-flowing light green powder with Peppermint flavor with woody eucalyptus and lemon myrtle note and a vanilla finish. Use with desserts, particularly with chocolate and also as a seasoning for white meats. 
 Fruit Spice
Fruit Spice An amazing fruity herb mix with a hint of lemon myrtle and the addictive quality of aniseed myrtle  An ideal fruit enhancer to make strawberries or any fruit more impactful. Great in curries.< Add as you would a generous salting when just enhancing fruit flavours, otherwise use at 0.5% in ice creams and other desserts.
 Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle (Oz Lemon)
A lemon myrtle mix which is more lemony than lemon myrtle but used in all the same sorts of ways. This means more flavour for less cost but all the versatility.< Allow the flavours to infuse in without heating too much A lemon myrtle mix which is more lemony than lemon myrtle but used in all the same sorts of ways. This means more flavour for less cost but all the versatility. Allow the flavours to infuse in without heating too much
 Mintbush Marinade
 Menthol, mint, pepper and anise in a complex aromatic mix.  The mixture has a medium fine fleck of a combination of various green herbs  Ideal used as a marinade for any Mediterranean vegetables, olives and especially fetta, labni or other soft cheese prepared in oil.
A bushy spice with a very hot peppery zing. The spice is a dark free-flowing powder that bleeds burgundy in sauces, butter and cream As an Australian substitute for pepper but with a distinctive unique flavour. 
 Rainforest Rub
Contains macadamia nuts, aromatic herbs and spices in a natural (vegetarian)chicken flavoured base.   Use as a crusting or pre-dust, particularly with meats wrapped in paperbark or pastry. Also good as a finishing seasoning over poultry, eggs or vegetables. Try it sprinkled
over potato wedges or in sour cream 
Red Desert Dust An Australian Cajun seasoning powered with mountain pepper and native pepperberries  Try this seasoning on chicken, pork or red meats either as a finishing touch, a dry marinade, added to meat stock, demi, mornay or as a grilled topping for those
blackened meat dishes
 Wylde Thyme
A herbaceous mix with some wild picked thyme and its tarragon and oregano similarities  Use as you would thyme, oregano, native mint or other herbs which enhance tomato dishes and sauces 
Yakajirri and Akudjura
Bush tomato complimented with dried conventional tomato, garlic and Australian herbs.
Use wherever ordinary tomatoes or tomato paste is used soups, sauces and accompaniments but also as a marinade,crust or coating, in breads, oils or as for
Wildfire Spice 
 Wattleseed Dark brown, free-flowing coffee-like roasted grounds with chocolate, coffee, hazelnut flavor. Use as a flavouring for sweet or savory sauces or in batter, desserts and baked foods. Use 1 teaspoon of wattle per cup for Wattleccino 

    Other Australian Foods And Ingredients

    Macadamia Nut Oil

    Containing a whopping 85% mono-unsaturated oil, macadamia nut oil is an excellent product for stir-fries and sautees.  Other attributes include a low smoke point,  naturally high in anti-oxidants (Vitamin E) and a two year shelf life.

    Native Peppermint Oil

    Primary peppermint flavor with a woody eucalyptus note. Use to flavor cream, milk, oil, vinegar or stock for desserts, sauces, dressings.

    Paperbark Smoke Oil

    Paperbark smoke oil is a delicious flavor oil used in the same ways as truffle oil or sesame seed oil only even more versatile. It is ideal for any meat, fish, shellfish, vegetable (try it over roasted sweet corn on the cob), eggs, rice, mash, condiment, dressing in fact, any dish that a subtle hint of smoke can enhance.


    Paperbark is a natural product which is used for its visual appeal as a platter liner or for presentation when used as a cooking wrap.  As a wrap, it imparts a delicate smokey flavor from oils in the paperbark. 

    Use to wrap fish, chicken, pork or any white meat in paperbark along with any vegetables, greens or herbs you may wish to use to flavor the dish. Fold over one long end and roll up the food in the Paperbark. Fold over the ends and use string or skewers to secure the end flaps.



    Australian Fruits

    • Davidson's Plum  - Tart, very sour plum. Can be substituted for tamarind. Use in sauces, dressings, desserts. Ideal for sweet and sour sauces.
    • llawarra Plums  - Deep purple seedless plums, plum flavor but less sweet. Use in sauces, preserves, muffins, cheesecakes and fruit compotes.
    • Kakadu Plums  - A small olive size fruit which tastes a bit like an apricot. Slice the flesh off the seed while frozen or cook the fruit and strain the juice. Then, use raw fruit strips or pickle whole in sweet vinegar and use as a garnish.
    • Munthari  - A small apple with a spicy Granny Smith apple flavor. Also known as muntries, they are about the size of a pea, with tiny seeds. Can be eaten as a fruit out of hand or eat them cooked.  A few munthari will go a long way in cooking and can be incorporated anywhere apples are traditionally used. They go well with pork, chicken, turkey, goose and duck.
    • Quandong  - This bright red fruit has a mildly tart apricot and peach flavor. The fruit is eaten either whole or halved and best not overcooked. Simmer the fruit in a sauce or apple juice with some added orange juice.  Don't eat the seed kernels unless they have been roasted; they are otherwise unsafe to eat.
    • Riberry  - The riberry, aka the small leaved lillipilli has a distinct clove-like flavor and are best used in confit form. The flavor is best suited to game meats like kangaroo but they compliment any red or white meat and even seafood.
    • Wild Small Desert Limes  - A small wild lime with a tart lime flavor.  Use as a substitute in any recipe where lime is called for. Try a wild lime and coriander dressing or a wild lime and ginger tart.
    • Wild Rosella - The bright red flowers are used in sauces, pie fillings, pastries, ice-cream, sorbets, syrups and as a garnish.

    Featured Recipe

    Pork Medallions Wrapped in Paperbark

    Recipe by: Steve Pullen, Executive Chef – The Barn Restaurant, Campbelltown
    • 1 pork fillet
    • 1 apple
    • 3 pineapple rings (canned)
    • ¼ cup pineapple juice
    • 150g spreadable Kakadu plum
    • 10g roasted macadamia nuts
    • 1 sheet paperbark
    • 5-6g cornflour
    • 10g warrigal greens (blanched)
    1. Trim the fillet and cut into medallions, seal off the medallions in a pan and place to one side
    2. Peel and core apple, then cut into large dices 1-2cm
      Cut the pineapple rings in half
    3. Lay out the paperbark and place the blanched warrigal greens on it.
    4. Place the medallions on top with the apple and pineapple between each one, sprinkle the macadamia nuts over this, then wrap the medallions in the paperbark. Place in the oven at 180ºC for approximately 30 minutes.


    Heat the Kakadu jam in a small pan with half the pineapple juice, then thicken this using the cornflour and the remainder of the pineapple juice, add the pan juices. 

    Cut open the paper bark and pour the sauce over the medallions, then serve


    Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.