Wow! Thanks to Christie of Fig & Cherry, and Prue from Mint Partners the Sydney blogging community is going mainstream! Along with some of the luminaries of the Sydney foodblogging scene, such as Not Quite Nigella, Grab Your Fork, Spicy Icecream, Jenius, Fooderati, the crew from Eat, Show and Tell, A Table for Two and last but not least, Chocolate Suze, we descended on the recently refurbished Centennial Park Dining for the launch of the Taste of Sydney Festival
The Taste Festivals are new to Sydney, but have been running since 2004, starting in the UK, then spreading to Ireland, South Africa, and in 2008 expanding to Dubai, Amsterdam, Brussels and Melbourne.
With a slightly different format to the usual food and wine events, this festival promises much deliciousness and an opportunity to showcase some of the best restaurants in Sydney. Crowns are the currency de jour and required to purchase the delicious goodies that will be available. 1 crown = $1 and plates will be available from as little as 8 crowns.
The media launch of the Taste of Sydney Festival featured the star chefs who will be cooking up a storm at the festival.. as the goodies flew past the foodbloggers descended on the waiters with cameras in hand!
Pretty pink macaroons! We were all a little confused when we saw this pretty little treat emerge from the kitchen..was it a sweet? No, it turned out to be the most lip-smackingly delightful little morsel of spongy beetroot macaroon, stuffed with fois gras! Yummo! I think we all reached for these on multiple occasions..Chef Mark Best guesting for Centennial Park Dining, did an outstanding and creative job on these.
One of my particular favourites of the evening, (and I’m not a huge fan of oysters) were these Large Sydney Rock oysters with a Vietnamese dressing, crispy shallots and baby coriander by Chef Warren Turnbull of Restuarant Assiette in Surry Hills..So moreish, I could have devoured the whole platter!
There were two different betel leaf canapes over the course of the evening, one I didn’t taste and one I did. The one above; Spicy pork sausage betel leaves & pickled ginger by Chef Martin Boetz of Longrain was missed as I was on a “No Pork day”. However I did taste the Prawn Miang served with peanuts and lime on betel leaf by Chef Ty Bellingham of Sailors’ Thai..but I didn’t get a photo of it! You’ll have to take my word for it when I say it was tasty!
Another canape I passed on due to “No Pork Day” was this gorgeous looking item from Chef Peter Kuruvita of Flying Fish. I trust the other bloggers when they say that this loving spoonful was scrumptious.
One of the most popular canapes of the night, particularly for the vegetarians amongst us, and Da Boyfriend were these balls of goodness, soignee truffle risotto with mozzarella and a Spinach/ Fennel Rockerfella Sauce by Chef Dietmar Sawyere of Berowra Waters Inn…the crispy outer shell gave way to a warm and oozing centre of gorgeous rich risotto. I wish I could make these myself!
Chef Jared Ingersoll of Danks Street Depot came up with this generous bite consisting of pastrami of kingfish with smoked oysters and a cucumber and apple salad. This didn’t thrill me like some of the others, but was still an interesting combination of flavour and texture.
One of the last canapes to come my way was from Chef Alex Herbert of Bird, Cow, Fish a celeriac and smoked trout remoulade with ocean trout roe. These were lovely, but I must have been unlucky and didn’t get any of the smoked trout in the one that I tried!
Da Boyfriend pigged out on these with gusto and finally understood what I had been raving about for months!
Now, unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the Etli Borek: crisp home made filo rolls filled with braised veal shank, currants & pine-nuts, served with pomegranate and yoghurt sauce by Chef Serif Kaya of Ottoman Cuisine (yay for Canberrans!), which we were initally told by the cheeky server was snake! Which I would’ve eaten anyway as these were crispy delights, nor did I get a decent shot of the Wagyu Beef ‘ Bourguignonne’ with Truffled Cauliflower and Onion Rings by Chef Matthew Kemp of Restaurant Balzac in Randwick, another of Da Boyfriend’s favourites over the course of the evening, but I did get pictures of dessert!!!
First out was piles of double chocolate hazelnut baclava by Chef Peter Conistis of Civic Dining…This was some of the richest and most dense baclava I have ever eaten, and for those that know me well, you know I have a seriously sweet tooth, but I could only cope with one of these! They really were amazing..
The second dessert of the evening was the most entertaining! What we dubbed: Porno Pannacotta…Why porno? Cause they jiggled like Pamela Anderson’s breasts when she ran down the beach on Baywatch! If you don’t believe me, check out the wobble over at ChocolateSuze!
What it actually was is, mini vanilla pannacotta with pomegranate molasses and lavender honey by Chef George Francisco of Jonah’s at Whale Beach. This was seriously, so far, the best pannacotta I’ve ever had, and all the more admirable because many, many of them had to be made, so to sustain the consistency of this dish would have been tres difficult. Really, an outstanding way to end the evening.
If this is just a taste of what we should expect in March, then I can’t wait!
Taste of Sydney Festival 12 – 15 March 2009
Centennial Park – Brazilian Fields
Session Opening Times:
Thursday 12th March – 5pm-9pm
Friday 13th March – 11:30am-3:30pm & 5pm-9pm
Saturday 14th March – 11:30am-3:30pm & 5pm-9pm
Sunday 15th March – 12pm-5pm
Entry only ticket (Pre purchased) $25
Premium ticket $50 includes entry and $30 worth of Crowns
Pre purchase essential through http://www.tastefestivals.com.au and Ticketek 132 849
Standard Entry is $30 on the door.
The Emirates Lounge VIP Ticket $100 includes entry, $30 worth of Crowns & access to the VIP Emirates Lounge including complimentary drinks
Child (age 6-14) $15 entry only