James Mitchell from Burnett Heads harvesting the seaweed from the farm's ponds.
James Mitchell from Burnett Heads harvesting the seaweed from the farm's ponds. Contributed

Gourmets go gaga for Bundy sea grapes

A BUNDABERG company has achieved an Australian first by producing a seafood delicacy for some of the top restaurants in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Coral Coast Mariculture managing director Clive Keenan said the breakthrough for the company came when world famous chef Tetsuya Wakuda used their sea grapes during a demonstration at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival.

Mr Keenan said the company was the first in Australia that had been able to supply the market with commercial quantities of the seaweed.

The company has been supplying its produce to the market for only about a month after a tornado in January damaged some of their facilities.

Close up of the seaweed. Photo Contributed
Close up of the seaweed. Photo Contributed Contributed

"We've now got enough to start supplying the commercial market," Mr Keenan said.

As with any produce, it was important to be able to guarantee an ongoing supply of produce.

Mr Keenan said after Mr Wakuda grabbed a bowl of their sea grapes at the Noosa festival several other chefs started to use the delicacy.

"We were tremendously surprised at the interest in the product," he said.

In a restaurant situation sea grapes are used mainly as a garnish.

"They have a very interesting texture and flavour," Mr Keenan said.

"They have a crunchy, salty flavour."

Sea grapes could also be used in a salad with onion and tomato.

Mr Keenan said at present they were selling about 40kg a week, but the orders were increasing every week.



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