March 2012

The Age - "Backs, bikes, bears and cows"

Backs, bikes, bears and cows

AS A teenager, Daniela Mollica worked in her father's restaurant Il Gambero (Lygon Street) making coffees, but she dreamed of becoming a chef. She never realised that dream; instead, she became a chiropractor, then a professional cyclist, a founder of Slow Food Victoria and then — at the ripe old age of 34 — she turned to farming. Mollica and husband Sam Walker bought their land at Cape Liptrap in South Gippsland six years ago. They are, as far as they are aware, the only Australian farmers to breed slow-growing Italian Chianina beef cattle (pronounced key-a-knee-na) for the table and their product is beloved of some chefs. Mollica handles the gastronomic side of their business, Isola Chianina.

Please feel free to read the entire article on The Age site or download the download the PDF.

September 2011

Feast Magazine - "Daniela Mollica"

Daniela Mollica.

A pioneer of the Slow Food movement in Australia, Daniela is taking her passion and respect for locally grown produce one step further in Victoria by breeding Italian cattle on her South Gippsland farm.

Sharing the season's first ripe figs with her family - picked from a big old tree she'd lovingly brought back to life after settling in on her farm - takes Daniela Mollica's food memories full circle to her Italian grandfather who ignited her love of good homegrown produce as a child.

Please feel free to read the download the PDF version to continue reading the article.

July 2011

The Australian Financial Review - "Future of wagyu at stake" by Rachel Lebihan

Daniela Mollica and her husband Sam Walker are believed to be the only farmers producing chianina for meat in Australia.

They grass feed a herd of several hundred on their farm in Victoria’s South Gippsland. They hope to expand it by about 50 per cent over the next few years, but they don’t want to get too big.

Their animals are not full-blood chianina but full-bred (or pure bred), which means they have been bred up from a cross-breed to a high percentage of chianina genetics over a number of generations.

The couple cannot meet consumer demand. About eight cattle are slaughtered a month. Two are broken down into 10-kilogram “home packs”, which comprise a mix of cuts for $175.

It is sold as Isola Chianina and doesn’t have the buttery flavour or fatty mouth-feel of wagyu, but being grass fed for two years means it develops a distinct, clean flavour.

Please feel free to read the entire article on the AFR site or download the download the PDF.

Food on Friday - Chianina beef, from Italy to Gippsland

A breed of cattle imported from Italy, the Chianina, produce a quality of meat not always found in local beasts.

Daniela Mollica and her family raise grass-fed Chianina for restaurants and for direct sale to consumers from their property in Victoria.

Daniela helped bring the Slow Food movement to Australia, and she says she's very conscious of growing and using these beasts from nose to tail.

Please feel free to read the entire article on the Bush Telegraph site or download the episode of their podcast to hear an interview with Daniela.

November 2010

The Weekly Times, Farm Magazine, "White Knights" by Gemma Gadd

Roaming the coastal dunes of Cape Liptrap, looking out to Bass Strait, is a herd of Italian Chianina cattle.

Despite being one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world, the Chianina — pronounced kee-a-nee-na — is still relatively new to Australia. The first of these snowy-white cattle were farmed here in the 1970s and arrived on the South Gippsland coast just four years ago. However, the breed is certainly making its mark on one dedicated couple, who have become one of just nine registered breeders in Australia.

To read the rest of the article, please download the PDF.

The Australian, "Ethical beef eaters move against the herd" by Pia Akerman

FOR a new breed of city-living carnivores, a great steak at a good price is no longer enough.

This small but growing band of urban consumers is demanding "ethically produced" meat to soothe their conscience, particularly from cattle that have roamed free on green pastures, are hormone-free and killed at a small local abattoir without huge scenes of panicked cattle.

To read the rest of the article, please visit the source or download the PDF.

The Weekend Australian Magazine, "Pleasures of the flesh" by John Lethlean

Having sworn off factory-farmed meat and made a modest case for eating less of the stuff generally (but still with a vaguely clean conscience), something quite primitive has overcome me. It's been back to the cave around here, a flesh fest. I have eaten more beef in the past week than most males manage in a month. And I should be ashamed, but I'm not.

To read the rest of the article, please download the PDF.

July 2010


The winners of the 2010 Produce Awards, brought to you by ABC delicious. magazine, were announced tonight at Circa, the Prince in Melbourne. Now in their fifth year, the Produce Awards encourage, showcase and reward Australia's top producers in categories including "From the Earth", "From the Dairy", "From the Paddock" and "From the Sea". Within each category, the remaining top producers have been awarded as medallists, acknowledging their consistency in submitting top-quality produce.

All producers who entered the awards were shortlisted by a panel of Australia's leading chefs from around the nation before being presented to the national judges - Matt Moran, Philip Johnson, Cheong Liew, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Neil Perry and Maggie Beer, patron of the Produce Awards. This year, judging took place over two days at Justin North's Becasse restaurant in Sydney, where our six national judges tasted their way through more than 50 finalists from around the nation before selecting the winners and medallists in each category.


  • Cornucopia Biodynamic Farm - Duck Eggs (NSW)
  • Isola Chianina - Beef (VIC)
  • Macleay Valley Rabbits (NSW)
  • Mayura Station - Wagyu Beef (SA)
  • Mondo White Rocks - Veal (WA)
  • Sher Wagyu - Beef (VIC)
  • Schuam Berkshire - Pork (SA)
  • Redgate Farm - Jurassic Quail (NSW)
  • Warialda Belted Galloway - Beef (VIC)

To read the rest of the press release, please download the PDF.

Langton's, "Beautiful Beast" By Kelly Donati

Driving from Sienna to Florence several years ago, a small hand-painted sign reading "ristorante" caught my eye, and I made a detour. Veering off the road with no idea where I was going, I followed several equally inconspicuous signs which eventually led me down a dirt road to the small village of Lornano in the Chianti region of Tuscany. My friend and I were on the last leg of our journey before returning home to Australia. We were on a mission to find bistecca alla fiorentina, the steak for which the region is known. Not just any steak, it is traditionally a primal cut, served on the bone, of the regal Chianina cow, a breed developed in Tuscany from animals brought to Italy from Asia and Africa. As the names suggest, Chianti is Chianina country.

To read the rest of the article, please visit the source or download the PDF.

Gourmet Traveller, Italian Issue, May 2010 "The Producers - Chianina beef." By Richard Cornish

Big cows, huge steaks, massive flavour, the signature beef of Tuscany comes to Gippsland.

What Isola Chianina Beef

Where Cape Liptrap, South Gippsland, Victoria

Who When Slow Food Melbourne co-founder Daniela Mollica and her husband Sam Walker bought a farm on the rugged Victorian coast near Venus Bay, they decided they wanted to run cattle. Mollica remembered savouring the bistecca Fiorentina, from Chianina cattle, while living in Italy, so the couple took the plunge and purchased a herd of Chianina. It's a breed derived from the herds that have been used as beasts of burden in Tuscany for centuries. Chianina are thought to have come to Italy from Asia about 5000 years ago, which would explain the similarities between them and Indian Brahman cattle — long faces, slender legs and loose skin over muscled flesh.

How Their small herd is quiet and ranges freely over the coastal property, grazing on a mix of exotic and native grasses. The animals are handled and slaughtered in a humane manner — essential for quality meat — butchered into easy-to-use cuts and delivered in 10kg boxes ($175) to restaurants and homes in metro Melbourne. As this is a whole-carcass operation, there are fewer steaks but more of the lesser-loved-though-tastier cuts in the mix.

Why It's all about the taste. The meat from Isola Chianina is full-flavoured, deeply coloured and surprisingly lean, considering its considerable succulence. The secondary cuts make for impressive braises, while the steaks (the famed Fiorentina is simply a very large T-bone) are best cooked over charcoal, seasoned with a little salt, lemon juice and olive oil. RICHARD CORNISH

The Age, Epicure. Tuesday March 2nd 2010 "A whole new cattle class." By Richard Cornish

The Italian breed Chianina offers nose-to-tail eating at its best, writes Richard Cornish.

GUY Grossi is in his city kitchen. In front of him is a whole steer, 280 kilograms of boned and bagged meat that when alive weighs more than half a tonne. "Steak, osso buco, rump, chuck, mince, T-bones. Great!" Grossi says. He has taken a risk and bought the beef from a Gippsland farmer without even tasting a single gram. But this was no ordinary steer. It was a Chianina, a sleek, almost pure white, beast that stood nearly 180 centimetres high at the shoulder. It came from an ancient line of Italian cattle that is the source of perhaps the most famous beef dish in the world.

To read the rest of the article, please visit the source or download the PDF.