Just in time for the Adelaide Good Food & Wine Show I’m getting around to my [stunningly Instagramed] Sydney wrap up, how very convenient!
It’s no secret I love a good food event, so I was chuffed when I was contacted by Chobani asking if I would like tickets to the 2012 Sydney Good Food & Wine Show. Having never attended, I was eager to go this year and as such had already entered into a Facebook contest for a double pass from Australian Good Taste Magazine – but really who ever wins those things… right? Would you know it, the next day I ended up with another set of tickets.
So I got my hands on a few more and ran a giveaway – Muppy and Laura were the lucky winners – and then, just two days before the event, I another few appeared in my postbox due to an intern oops. At this stage I took to Twitter and Suz was first in. Even with all the love-sharing I still managed to get to the event twice myself!
First up was Saturday afternoon. I was in Darling Harbour already for lunch with Glow and an assortment of other Sydney Bloggers, non-food ones at that – horrors, so it was an easy stroll to the Convention Centre. Who am I kidding, I was running late as usual so an easy stroll took the form of a mad-dash in heeled boots, dodging and weaving through tourists and hurdling over children, while making my way around to meet up with a friend.
We headed straight to Cheese Alley to begin. Better known in the Twitterverse as @VanityFare1, K knows most everyone in the Sydney foodie scene which is always handy… although at times it results in amusing circumstances such as nearly being recruited by owner and cheese-maker Karen Borg to man the tasting-side of the Willowbrae Cheese stand.
Re-enforcements arrived just in time and instead of being put to work we escaped with some delicious samples of the lovely goat cheese and our visitor status still intact. From feta marinated in olive oil and herbs to fresh chevre rolled in Tomato & Dill, Kalamata Olives or Peppercorn & Lemon Pepper to Mould Ripened rounds, the selection was divine.
Our next stop was Rowie’s Cakes for perusal of some moreish gluten free goodies. K has known Rowie for years and we promised to head over to watch her demo in the Wholefoods Kitchen.
We drooled through the creation of her Decadent Chocolate Mousse Cake then loitered around for long enough to secure two enormous slices for ourselves – um, YUM.
There was more tasting and discovering and schmoozing for the remainder of the afternoon – K stocked up on vanilla and spices and other miscellaneous goodies while I treated the outing as reconnaissance in anticipation of my return with RJ on Sunday.
In the meantime I even managed to introduce K to something she didn’t know about, the wonders of the artist formerly known as Conscious Chocolate. Conscious have recently changed their name to Pana Chocolate, taking on the founder’s moniker, in order to expand into international markets but the namesake approach still stands.
The next day RJ and I spent quite a while chatting to Pana himself about the product – vegan, dairy free, organic – his life in Melbourne – driving his Vespa to work each day – and his passion about his amazing fudge-like chocolate bars. We went home with the spectacular show special of 5 bars for less than what you would buy 3 for in the shop – two Mint, an Orange, a Goji & Coconut and one Raw Cacao. Plus Pana was kind enough to slip in a yet [at that point] unreleased Cinnamon one too. Um, chocolate much?! At least we haven’t eaten all of it yet!
We picked up a couple of bags of Four Leaf organic rolled oats on our way past [I love their flours as well but it was early in the day and I was already getting dirty looks from my bag carrier – haha] then paused at the Pangkarra Foods display to talk to the owners about ‘the way pasta should taste‘.
Based in Clare Valley South Australia, the Maitland family grow and stone mill wholegrain durum wheat for both flour and pasta. We picked up a bag of the silky wholegrain durum flour and while I haven’t made pasta yet we’ve been through a few pizza bases.
Trying to avoid having snack-y foods around [other than the enormous amount of chocolate already secured, obviously] we didn’t take any Tuckers Natural Crackers home but both the traditional Savory and the Multifibre range [slightly unfortunate name for the utter delicious nature of the product] will be the first thing I go-to for a cheese platter. Speaking of which, while we’re talking crackers we may as well chat about cheese – Cuore Blu Buffalo Mozzerella and Ricotta amongst others from La Latteria.
Sam Tucker the founder of Tuckers Natural was great to chat to and I love that the product developed out of a need to create healthier options for his family. I didn’t try the Dessert Biscuit flavours but can only imagine the Chocolate or Honey [or Coffee or Vanilla for that matter] wafer with a schemer of baked ricotta and berry coulis would be fabulous.
I put chia seeds on my breakfast every morning so I was intrigued to learn at The Chia Company that, apparently in Australia, chia seeds are not sprayed. It impressed me when one of the women at the stand said ‘even if you don’t buy our product, make sure to buy an Australian grown brand‘ – no doubt I’ll look to theirs first in the future though.
I was conveniently out of my usual vanilla paste and the show special from New Zealand based Heilala Vanilla was far too good to pass up. This family owned business is not only producing A-grade, organic [non-certified] vanilla products but they are providing jobs to the Tongan community where the plantation was built. Win, win really.
And you know I couldn’t go this whole show without at least one cuppa. Take a look at these gorgeous tins from Harney & Sons Tea. Amazing flavour combos everywhere, none of them came home with us, but now that this NYC based company is in Australia they will some day!
Now tell me, would you buy one bottle of extra-virgin, cold-pressed Grove Avocado Oil if you could get three for the price of two? Me neither. And so, since they were all out of both the chili and garlic infused oils, three of the straight up version made their way into our bag and have been topping or sauteing pretty much everything I cook since.
As an aside, not only is Avocado Oil brilliant on it’s own but it is fantastic for high-heat cooking. Added bonus – I was cleaning out an old pile of magazines recently and read that Avocado Oil rubbed into cuticles twice a day will heal them in a week. You can bet that I’m doing that right now.
Our last stop was at the shared stall of The Stock Merchant [Hi Ben!] and Pat & Stick.
A litre of Sustainable Crab Stock and a brilliantly naughty Hot Chocolate [that’s chocolate and chilli folks, so good!] Ice Cream Sandwich later and we were on our way back over the bridge with our haul for the day.
It was quite a productive afternoon – productivity obviously being measured in deliciousness brought home!
We didn’t even get over to the wine side of the floor at all, nor did we manage to catch any of the cooking demos, but I’d say we made a pretty good dent none the less! The show is over for 2012 in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth – but Brisbane and Adelaide are still to come!
The Good Food & Wine Show features over 200 exhibitor stands with food, wine and kitchen goods to taste, try and buy. That’s all before the cooking demonstrations in the Celebrity Theatre, features [Cheese Alley, anyone?] and special events. Entry to the show is $30 per person and includes entry to the exhibitor floor and the Celebrity Theater demonstrations [pending seat availability] plus you can grab a seat at many of the other presentations that occur throughout the day.
Have you been to the Good Food & Wine Show, and what was your best find?