Salt and gin vinegar chips. Gin chocolate. Gin cheese biscuits. Expect plenty of gin-soaked goodness now that chef Matt Wilkinson has joined Healesville-based Four Pillars as director of all things made from gin.
Since his Brunswick East cafe-restaurant Pope Joan closed last June, Wilkinson has spent some of his free time tinkering with product ideas for Four Pillars, officially signing on a fortnight ago.
Wilkinson, who polished his skills in the kitchens of Vue de Monde and Circa the Prince, has been tasked with putting the company's craft gin to use in a range of about 20 new products using gin and byproducts of the distilling process, such as oranges and botanicals. Also on the drawing board: facial scrub for men, meat rubs, smoking pellets and ice-creams.
Spent gin botanicals already go to local pig breeder Brett Ellis at Yarra Valley Berkshires, to fatten up Gin Pigs, which will then be used for smallgoods such as salami, prosciutto, bacon and sausage rolls.
The products will be sold at Four Pillars' distillery door.