Sunday, June 3, 2007

Good Food & Wine Show

Today, I attended the Good Food & Wine Show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. It was absolutely huge - heaps of people, heaps of exhibitors and, best of all, heaps of food and wine. I was primarily there for the food, so I didn't pay much attention to the wine. However, if wine is your thing, there was plenty of it.

I started the day with a session in the Lifestyle Channel's Celebrity Theatre presented by Donna Hay. Donna's presentation was entitled "The Easiest Dinner Party Ever", and Donna undoubtedly made it look easy. Here is Donna herself (both on the big screen and tiny from a distance down the bottom of the photo):

For starters, Donna made goats cheese and bay leaf wontons served with caramelised fennel and tomato dressed with a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar sauce:

For mains, Donna made tarragon and lemon chicken breasts served on a bed of green beans with crisp parsnip ribbons. (My photo of this did not turn out.) Finally, for dessert, Donna made gorgeous individual passionfruit souffles (you can also just see the chicken course at the front):

Donna also showed the audience how to make some simple but elegant placetags using luggage tags, baby apples, flowers and empty Italian juice bottles:

I really enjoyed this presentation, as Donna did make it look easy, and I believe that all of the dishes could even be successfully made by yours truly :). Donna also kept the audience entertained by her banter with Stephen, her sidekick, and Wes the cameraman.

I then hit the many stalls in the exhibition area. Despite a resolution that I wouldn't buy much, I couldn't resist all the delicious food on show, and my "loot" is as follows:

Lindt chocolates (a bargain at 3 for $5) and Pantheon nougat (for my Mum and brother when I visit them next weekend)

Alpine Berry Farms (from the New South Wales Southern Highlands) Christmas jelly, Lite Raspberry Jam and Lite Blackberry Jam (which are just gorgeous and nothing like those tasteless, glutinous diet jams you buy at the supermarket)

Organic Farms dips (made in Victoria)

Some trans-Tasman treats - Tasmanian Heritage cheeses and Pitango soups (from New Zealand)

I also bought two of the magazine goodie bags filled with treats for the bargain price of $5. (Sunday proved a good day to go to the Festival, as being the last day, the goodie bags were being sold for half price).

The only sour note is that when I got my the Tasmanian Heritage St Claire cheese home, I found that I had been sold a seriously mouldy piece:

This of course went straight in the bin, as I recently learned that the mould spores penetrate the whole cheese so you can't just cut off the mouldy bit and think that the rest is OK.

Of the many tastings and experiences that I indulged in, special mention goes to The Sofitel's mango panna cotta with orange jelly; Rouiz's white chocolate yoghurt; the groovy plastic kiwi fruit spoon given to us at the door, with a serrated edge at one end to cut the kiwi fruit in half and a spoon at the other end to eat the fruit with; and the warm custard danish from Dan's Danish (which I purchased from the lovely smiley boy manning the stall).

I really had a good day out, and would definitely go again.

Finally, I wanted to share my excitement at the arrival of my
Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook from Amazon UK:

This book is written by one of the doyennes of food blogging, Clotilde Dusoulier, who writes a food blog of the same name as her book. Clotilde's recipes are devine, and she adds special, personal touches to her book by prefacing each recipe with a story of its significance and by taking the gorgeous photographs in the book herself. This book will eventually be on sale in Australia, and I highly recommend it as an addition to your recipe book collection (or just a cracking good read at bedtime!).

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