Quick! Get down to the Taste of Sydney Festival – today is the last day! Read this review on your phone while you’re driving there to get you even more excited. Well, not literally while you’re driving, get your better half to drive while you check this out. OK, you’re strapped in? Let’s go…
The first thing I notice is how neat and tidy all the stands are (it was the first night, Thursday, but still). Being someone who loves cleanliness this immediately impressed me. The stands are all white, sturdily erected and neatly set out in rows that are super easy to navigate.
Dillon and I weave our way through the stands looking for the Wine Theatre tent where we’re meeting Lorraine and her husband Mr NQN. When we get there we also briefly bump into more Sydney food bloggers Suze, Helen and Billy – Taste is obviously the hottest foodie ticket in town this evening!
We get Dillon and MR NQN to score one of the few tables and guard it while we run off to get supplies. Note: Make sure you grab a menu brochure from one of the friendly girls selling crowns (the currency for the event) or print it off the website.
Ah yes, the food. One word – delicious! It was such a wonderful novelty to have all the chefs walking around at arms distance. More importantly though, that there was such direct access to the most innovative flavour combinations and first class cooking.
Of course I had my favourites though. Restaurant Balzac’s saddle of suckling pig was absolutely divine. Crisp flavoursome crackling with tender meat, a light pan juices gravy and pop in your mouth peas was a magical combination.
I also adored the Centennial Parklands Hiramasa king fish. The marinated and lightly ceviched fish had a soft buttery mouth-feel and the citrus oil and creme fraiche added the perfect amount of freshness and creaminess. The pork neck was a generous serve and Dillon and MR NQN loved it. Lorraine and I found it a bit tough although the flavour was good and the salad was a very fresh accompaniment.
We also tried the truly delectable Moussaka of Eggplant, Sea Scallop & Taramosalata from Civic Dining. The lovely Peter Conistis even posed with his dish for me (see picture below left). I would never think to pair scallops with eggplant / aubergine but it works incredibly well and then the taramosalata added another layer of complexity and sophistication. Outstanding.
It was shame I didn’t get to try anything from Longrain as it’s a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. If you go to Taste, can you please order the Spicy pork sausage betel leaves & pickled ginger, because it sounds delicious! They’ve also got a cocktail stand and the Ping Pong Cocktail with Lychees and passionfruit would go down a treat.
Other than all the gorgeous restaurant quality food there are also loads of fresh produce stalls. I think I was almost more excited about these stalls because there’s nothing better than chatting to people who are passionate about the products they produce.
Greek yoghurt from Barambah Organics: Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know I’m a big dairy lover (not milk!) and that cream is at the top of my most loved foods. You might also remember the post when I first discovered Barambah at the Australian Organic Expo last year.
I go totally ga-ga over Barambah Organic cream and became extremely excited when I saw their stand. Alas they didn’t have any cream to sell, but I did grab a beautiful tub of their Greek yoghurt which has some of their cream mixed in…. yum! Highly recommended.
Cheese from Paesanella: I got a tub of cherry bocconcini, mascarpone and ricotta. Because one type of cheese is not enough. Hehe. It’s gorgeously creamy cheese.
Fresh Wasabi from Coppers Folly NZ: Woah this packs a punch! If you want clear sinuses and watery eyes, this brand is for you. Grown in beautiful New Zealand and eaten right here in Sydney by me. Wasabi mayonnaise you are about to be born… better go buy myself some soft shell crab to tempura and serve it with! (Remember the one at Crazy Bear? Amazing!).
Chocolate Mousse from Sabor: This man (pictured above) was the nicest stall owner there! His delicious Portuguese style chocolate mousse was to-die-for. There’s also hazelnut and mocha flavours too. We got chatting and he said it’s beautiful spread between layers of coffee soaked biscuits like tiramisu. I’ve definitely got to try that. (Although I’ve eaten the whole tub, so I’ll have to get some more).
Cupcake from Sparkle Cupcakery: Dillon loves cupcakes. He chose the flavour Morning Glory in homage to our company Morning Copy. It was a cinnamon cake with a hint of apple and dusted with cinnamon sugar. It satisfied his sweet tooth and he deemed it very good.
I think the above speaks for itself! A first class set up and a superstar chef line up equals an absolutely fantastic festival that Sydney can be extremely proud of. Can’t wait to go again next year :)