This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to the Good Food and Wine Festival in Sydney. I’d been a bit cooped up lately so it was great to get out.
The lines appeared to be long but pretty quickly I was inside and wandering around. My first port of call was to try and make the signing for Marion Grasby one of the competitors on last years Masterchef. She’d been my favourite and I’d been devastated when she’d been eliminated as I was sure she’d win. At least I thought she SHOULD win. Having said that, she’s still come out a winner with a new cookbook and a new line of ready made sauces.
To my delight there wasn’t a huge line (I’d been worried I’d miss her) and she was as lovely and I expected her to be. I guess she’s had plenty of time to get used to the whole “fame” thing and you dont have a signing not to reach out to the people. So she signed my two books (one for me, one is a present) and I was on my way.
There’s a lot to do and see. For $3 you can buy a wine glass which basically lets you to go and taste at any of the many, many wineries there showing their wares. You could easily get wiped out for free – I’m just saying. You can also wander around and eat for free. Yep, most vendors were putting on free food. There was also food to be purchased – particularly food you’d take home with you or some of the more specialty meals – such as the dining experience put on by both the aforementioned Marion and the runner up of the first Masterchef Poh. They had a little dining area you could buy their meals and sit and eat.
Gloria Jeans were giving away free coffee (not for me – I dont drink it) and free sausage rolls – yum! And to my delight – free chocolate cake, which was really really delicious. I did stick to the one square though. The other stand I hung out at was the Luv A Duck stand. The duck is delicious but the potatoes cooked in duck fat are to die for. It’s diet food right? (dang!) The Taste of the Riverina stand was doing a great trade with free burgers and there were a couple of Thai places dotted around that had delicious smellling food, done by local restaurants. Honestly, you could stagger home full and drunk just on the entry price!
There were also a number of training sections too where you could have a lesson in meat cuts, or wine tasting or how to make perfect coffee or how to make chocolate. These generally had to be booked in advance but some of them still had tickets available on the day. There were also, of course, the “celebrity sessions” that you had to also buy, however most of the celebrities did other sessions in the main arena so I dont know that I’d have paid to see them. Toby Puttock did a nice session for Good Taste magazine. To be honest, I’d never really thought that much of him – bit of a Jamie Oliver coat tails rider – but the session changed my mind. He was friendly, an excellent presenter, had a some great tips and his dsih looked great. I shall show more respect in the future 😉
The one session I do wish I had organised in advance was called Chef’s table and they had three well known chef’s leading a “class” in which the participants sat and ate the resulting food and the carefully selected paired wine. I watched the very cute Justin North do his thing and finally left when the food temptation was too much for me. Next year I’m booking in for that one.
Having bought books, wine and later bottles of Balsamic and flavoured oil from my favourite Pukara Estate, I wisely purchased a Good Food and Wine Trolley. They are like the trolley old people drag around, only now apparently it’s trendy. (I dont care about that, I care about not having to carry everything). Mine is blue and I named him Bob*.
Unfortuntately Bob ended up being drenched inside with sticky sticky Fig Balsamic which broke (SO upsetting) when I swung him wide and he hit a pole crossing the road. SUCH a mess and what a waste.
Still, despite that mishap, I had a great time and will definitely go again!
* I blame my bestie for this trend of naming random household items. Perhaps there will soon be a blog entry on Ruby my new chair.