The end of October also marked the end of the Sydney International Food Festival 2009, but what better way to send it off than with the Sydney Food and Wine Fair in Hyde Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. With around 80 food and wine stalls including the likes of Quay, Bourke Street Bakery and Flying Fish, what's not to love about it?
Sir D and I bought $30 worth of coupons and started wandering around checking out what each stall had to offer. We passed the Lean Cuisine stall which was giving out plates of Lean Cuisine food with a glass of wine to match, all for free! I had the sundried tomato chicken with pasta with a matching chardonnay. The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was very flavoursome.
Sir D had the beef in red wine casserole which was served with mashed potato and a glass of shiraz. The beef was very tender and there was a definite red wine taste in the sauce. The mash wasn't as creamy as I would have liked but then again, it is Lean Cuisine, right? Pretty good for a free meal!
At Cafe Sydney they were offering a main and a dessert. We opted for the main - grilled ocean trout with avocado, capers, kipfler potato salad, baby leaves and coddled egg dressing. The dish was presented beautifully and the ocean trout was absolutely superb. The creamy potato salad and avocado complimented the saltiness of the trout and the capers and it was a fantastic dish overall. My only disappointment was that there wasn't more on the plate!
Wandering over to the other side of Hyde Park, we grabbed a couple more freebies like Ferrero Rondnoirs and bottles of Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling mineral water. We also spied a luridly colourful Ben and Jerry's van, and saw the long queue right next to it. It could only mean one thing.... free ice cream!
We joined the queue and scored a cup of each flavour. Sir D tried the chocolate macadamia which he says tasted like great chocolate ice cream at first, until you hit the the chunky bits of chocolate covered macadamia nuts! He seemed very happy with his ice cream - so much so that I only got a tiny spoonful =P
Not that I was complaining because my strawberry cheesecake flavour was just as good! It was wonderfully creamy and complete with bits of cheesecake biscuit base. And it tasted exactly like strawberry cheesecake ;)
The stall that completely caught my attention was Quay because a) Peter Gilmore was inside the stall and b) they were serving Seven Texture Chocolate Cake! Yes, I know that at the actual restaurant it's eight textures but for only 3 coupons ($9) I was more than willing to miss out on one of the textures.
With no hesitation I handed over the coupons and was rewarded with chocolate bliss! I have no idea what all the seven textures were but there was a chocolate biscuit base, light mousse-like layers, a thick, almost fudge-y layer in the middle, crunchy pieces of rice crispies (or something similar) and the crisp chocolate layer on top.
I'm in chocolate heaven.
We were grateful that we only had 3 coupons left at this stage because we were approaching satiety, especially from the rich chocolate cake. We decided to spend 2 of our coupons at the Australian Mushroom Growers stall, who were offering a Brazilian style Mushroom and Beef Burger. Although the Brazilian spices eluded me, the patty was delicious and moist due to the addition of mushrooms. There was also a generous serving of salad and lime mayonnaise, all in a crusty bread roll.
To finish off, we went to the Bourke Street Bakery stall which was selling tarts for 1 coupon ($3) each. They were offering 4 different tarts, unfortunately none of which were their fantastic brulee tarts.
We opted for the chocolate ganache tart which was divine. The pastry was so crisp it shattered upon biting into it (in a good way) and the chocolate ganache was luscious and creamy.
On our way out we passed the Abbott's Village Bakery stall who were handing out free loaves of bread! We got a Country Grain loaf and a Farmhouse Wholemeal loaf.
It was a fantastic day and a wonderful end to the Sydney International Food Festival for 2009! Thanks to Sir D for walking around with me, helping me carry stuff and being a hand model for a day. I'm already looking forward to more Noodle Markets, Let's Do Lunches and Sugar Hits next year =D
The Sydney Food & Wine Fair runs every year as part of the Sydney International Food Festival.