The Taste of Sydney took place in Centennial Park from 11-14 March this year and was designed as a showcase of Sydney restaurants and food/wine distributers.
I was lucky enough to get two tickets from the organisers for free entry (usually $30pp), so I dragged Jonas along and set out to see what new and exciting products are around.
Poor Jonas was a real trooper. Not only was it a hot day (which makes him grumpy at the best of times) but he was actually suffering from concussion after being hit on the head with a rolling pin on Friday night. No, this was not the result of a domestic dispute and nor was he taking part in a French slapstick comedy. The poor boy was at work when a huge metal rolling pin (that one of the chefs cleverly decided to store on the top shelf of the staff locker!) came crashing down on his skull.
My little sister, Stinky, also joined us which pepped up the mood from Mr Concussion (yes, I’m a harsh mistress on my poor injured Swede).
The stalls were full of interesting products and sample dishes. I was keen on the cocktails and spotted some interesting and tasty liqueurs.
Domaine de Canton was a popular colonial drink in French-ruled Vietnam and is made from cognac, ginger, vanilla beans, honey and ginseng. It had the strong fiery taste of ginger and would make a great thirst-quencher with soda and ice.
I tried it mixed with into a luscious and refreshing Indochine Caipirinha ($10) while Amy did a Pomegranate Caipirinha ($10) based on PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, which was an alcohol with an unpleasant medicinal aroma but a good, tart and uniquely pomegranate flavour. The pomegranate caipirinha was sweet and definitely tasty too.
I tried another delicious beverage: Le Pere Jules Poire ($6), a French pear cider from Le Pays d'Auge in Normandy. It was moreish and sweet-dry, with a strong pear flavour. I wish I could get my hands on a case!
With his concussion, Jonas couldn’t drink anything so he bought a tasting pack from Otway Estate so when he recovers he can trial six of the microbrewery’s products including a stout, pilsner, wheat beer and a couple of ales.
It was also really great to see all the chefs at their restaurant’s stalls, talking happily to the hungry hoards. I spotted Matt Moran (Aria), Mark Best (Marque), Guillaume Brahimi (Guillaume at Bennelong), Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo)and Matthew Kemp (Balzac). And I hear Jamie Oliver was showing up later in the evening for an exclusive dinner event.
Each restaurant tent produced interesting dishes and I managed to try two:
Yellow-fin tuna with sweet pork crackling and ruby grapefruit from Flying Fish ($10)
Fagottini di Carne (home-made sausage) with parmesan and truffle egg from Buon Ricordo ($10)
Unfortunately there were a couple of other dishes I wanted to try but just didn’t have the $$:
- Alba White Truffle Popcorn from Jonah’s at Whale Beach ($8)
- Beef ribs smoked in watermelon with watermelon and avocado salsa from Danks Street Depot ($12)
- Sydney rock oysters with Vietnamese dressing, crispy shallot and baby coriander from Assiette ($10)
- Strawberry Jelly w Champagne Foam from Aria ($8)
My three most interesting discoveries of the day were:
Gorgeous retro Smeg dishwashers and fridges in vibrant kitsch colours. Now all I need is a home to renovate and install them into!
Sexy Cat, a lurid pink marshmallow liqueur. Unfortunately they weren’t giving out free samples so I didn’t try it, but it looked and sounded wonderful.
Diamond Salt which is supposedly fossil sea salt crystals from Himalayan Khewra, an area of the Pakistani Kashmir. These pretty pink crystals come with a grater to season your food.
It was a lovely day, with wonderful weather, and I forgot how pretty Centennial Park was.
I was glad I got the tickets for free entry, since it would have been a very expensive day otherwise. Instead I had a lot of fun and we spent about $30 per person on food and drinks.