Oh. My. Lordy. I was so excited when I saw that Taste of Sydney was back in town. I had read about it many times, in fact even driving right past the event TWICE in the years before, seeing all the lucky ducks shuffling into the glorious food filled event but, alas, I had never been. So this year it was time, especially since I was lucky enough to get a sweet deal on some tickets, which made the day even more awesome. This year was a great time to go and I’m super glad I got to go with Mr. M because he always makes everything way more fun and enjoyable. He also knows all too well how to put up with my rambling on and on about what food I just saw, wanted to try, am currently trying and subsequently which delicious beverage I shall wash it all down with. He’s a good sport indeed, even taking photos for me and patiently waiting for me to take photos before we can even eat our meals.
Anyway, I shall carry on. So we went on the very last day of the event, a beautifully sunny Sunday, just perfect for wandering around in Centennial Park eating and drinking all day. As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a free Gourmet Traveller magazine, very awesome, then our first celeb was spotted. Ok, so something you should know about me is that I will get a touch bit excited about seeing anyone that has the slightest hint of celebrity about them. Now, we first came across Justine Schofield (contestant on MasterChef and now host of her own show Everyday Gourmet) hosting a cooking demo in the Taste Kitchen. I like watching almost any cooking shows, and while I do watch hers from time to time, I always thought she was a bit staged and stunned. After seeing her in person I found her much more personable and friendly and I appreciated how nerve wracking it must actually be to perform on camera and also in front of a live audience.
Righto, now, I better get onto the best and most important portion of the day, the food. We thought it would be the right idea to meander around the whole delicious festival to see what tickled our fancy. One place we couldn’t go past was the Croquembouche Patisserie stall. Absolutely gorgeous looking sweets gazed out at us from behind the glass. With a huge selection to choose from we had to be quick and just take a punt. My first choice was a little treat I used to enjoy getting from a local patisserie until they stopped making it , so I just had to have it when I saw the opportunity. A choux pastry puff filled with silky, subtly sweet custard, coated on the outside with a beautifully crunchy toffee, topped with flaked almonds. It was luscious! Mr. M went with such a pretty little item. It wasn’t technically a macaron, but it was a raspberry macaron shell, filled with light and lovely whipped cream and fresh raspberries. As always we tasted each others choices and I can tell you it was yummy. Fresh tart raspberries matched perfectly with the sweet macaron shell and lightly sweetened cream. The last item was one to properly share, a classic and simple fresh fruit and creme patissiere tart. Short pastry, creamy custard and lovely glazed fruit, couldn’t really ever go wrong with that.
After a little snack, we decided it was after 5pm somewhere in the world, so it was time for a cocktail. Over at the Sensology stand you could get a range of cocktails for $10 or do a cocktail class, where you got to learn how to make your cocktail and mix it up yourself, then drink your finished product for the same price! So it was pretty clear to us, why wouldn’t you have some fun and shake your money maker and cocktail shaker at the same time and end up with a tasty cocktail?! We took the Daiquiri class. Not your shaved ice, strawberry Daiquiri nonsense, a proper, traditional style Daiquiri.
So with all our yummy ingredients, lime, sugar, ice and Bacardi Rum ready to be combined, we muddled, shook and poured away. Sounds really simple and yes, it really was, but everything was in perfect balance and it was absolutely tasty and refreshing.
Now we’d actually had a tot around and eaten some food in between this beverage and the next cocktail we decided to have a go at, we weren’t guzzling them all down in one go, but I might as well show you the other delicious drinkable we concocted while I’m already at it
Next up we were very excited to make a traditional Pina Colada. I’m sure most people are familiar with one that heavily features a creamy topping, making it somewhat lacking in refreshment, which is definitely not what it’s traditional counterpart intends to bring and fully succeeds in.
I was very eager to sample this one, it smelt so fresh and sweet. With our presentation portion of cocktail making complete, it was now time to try.
We were very excited to get into sampling some of the savouries that were on offer, we’re only two people after all, so we couldn’t try nearly as many things as we’d have liked to. Not to worry though, whatever we had the opportunity to try made us happy enough indeed. So first up we headed off to Four in Hand run by Chef Colin Fassnidge. Some may be familiar with him from his appearances on food shows such as MasterChef, which by the way, that tv show really bugs me with all the emotional hoo-ha and over-the-top dramatics of the judges, but never the less, the call of watching people cook and make lovely food is too strong to turn me off
Anyway, Mr. M was definitely lured over by the big ol’ pig on a spit being roasted out the front. We are fans of roast pork so we were interested to try the pork dish being served here. While in line I saw the other dish on offer which was the smoked salmon, mozzarella and chorizo croquette, which sounded just scrummy, so I had to grab us one of those as well
The croquettes were soft and creamy inside, crunchy and crisp on the outside. They were seasoned well and the flavours clearly worked well together, I definitely would’ve eaten another couple of plates of these.
This plate looks a tiny bit worse for wear but still, you get the picture. The pork was amazingly soft and the onion ring was nice and crisp. The hot sauce could have been hotter for my preference and the coleslaw lacked a bit of tang in the dressing, but over all it was a yummy dish and we were glad to have tried it.
So as you can see we got into this one a little bit before my mind came back into function over my mouth, to remind me to take a photo. We thought it would be a nice time to try some organic food so we picked this plate up from Chef Simon Lawson at Agape’ Organic. This little dish was a surprise, while at first bite I found the flavours to all be a bit subtle for my liking, once I persevered through, it was subtlety that really appealed to me. The polenta was firm but creamy, the pork very well cooked and all the little chunks of apple and fennel were just delicious. I really loved the sage and the salsa verde too.
Last but not least for our lunch was the Kingfish Ceviche from Sake where Chef Shaun Presland was working his magic. He has also featured on MasterChef showing off his vast knowledge of Japanese cuisine. This dish was lovely and fresh, could’ve done with a touch bit of seasoning but nice and refreshing to finish of our lunch with.
I have dessert after lunch as well as dinner, so it was time to find something sweet to tantalize my taste buds. The Patisse stand had some amazing looking desserts that I just couldn’t go past. I am a huge lover of rhubarb. Since way back when I was a little girl I’ve loved it because my Grandma grew it at my Grandparents farm, she’d pick it fresh, cook it up with some sugar then we’d get to sit down and gobble up a big bowl with double cream for dessert. So English, so simple and delicious.
I loved the look of the Rhubarb Verrine, the mousse was perfectly sweet, so super creamy and kind of dense. The tartness of the rhubarb and champagne jelly worked perfectly with the vanilla bean mousse. I really enjoyed this dessert, not to mention it was such a pretty little thing to look at.
Before it was time for us to head on home, we were treated to a fantastical cooking demo, come competition, put on for us by very well known and well loved chef Manu Feildel, Executive Chef of Pattise Vincent Gadan and Damien Parcineau Head Pastry Chef of Shocolate. They were given obscure ingredients and about 15 minutes to come up with a gourmet dessert, hilarity ensued of course and the show ended with whipped cream all over every single one of their faces and heads.
We had a fabulous day out filled with fun, food and festivities. We will certainly be returning next year to sample many more edible and drinkable goodies