Friday 16 July marked a delicious day in Sydney’s calendar – the opening day of the Good Food and Wine Show.
Stud and I have attended the past couple of years and always end up eating too much, drinking too much and off course, spending too much. It’s the best day ever!!
This year we had mentioned to my dad how great it was and he seemed really excited about it so for his birthday we purchased him (and ourselves) a Wine Lover’s ticket. That gave us show entry, a Riedel “O Series” wine glass and a wine tasting session with the Riedel crew.
So the three of us headed off, camera and notebook in toe bright and early Friday morning. We aimed to arrive pretty early this time as got burnt last year by all the crowds so arrived just after 10am and headed on our Show journey.
It’s so great to be at the Show first thing. The isles seem so much bigger, there’s no crazy people standing in front of you to try all the samples and you can actually have a conversation with each stand about their product, its best uses and of course, what deals you can wangle on the day.
We entered on the side of the alcohol and decided it was a little too early to get in to the wine just yet, so we made a quick stop past the Baileys stand for a sample of their Coffee flavoured Baileys (because it was coffee after all. At least that’s a morning thing) and after a mini-buzz, decided to tackle the isles in a regimented manner.
We headed up and back, up and back and stopped at some great stalls, like one of my favourite Japanese items Choya Plum Sake also known as Japanese Plum Wine. I was obsessed with this a little while ago and Dan Murphy’s needed to restock thanks to me but increased their prices quite significantly so I stopped buying it. After going to the stall I learned that they are also bringing out a new product, “Choya Umeshu” which has plums in the bottom of the bottle (similar to the worm inside tequila – fab!) so once you finish the liquid, you still have some plump wine soaked plums to use in a dessert or cocktails.
It was about 11:00am when stud decided it was time for lunch. Dad and I tried to put him off it for at least an hour (who eats lunch at 11am ??? We only woke up at 8:30) but ended up succumbing at around 11:30. The boys settled on Peter Evans Chilli Mussels
and beer, while I went for Gary Mehigan’s Lamb Bastille with a nice glass of red.
The flavour of the mussels really packed a punch but didn’t overpower the delicate mussel flavour. I find a lot of mussel sauces can be mass produced and end up quite watery and with no flavour, this definitely wasn’t the case with Evans dish. There was rice underneath the mussels to soak up the sauce also so both men were reasonably happy. Stud awarded 7/10 while dad went with 6/10 as he found some shell in his and it kind of put him off. My dish, although full of flavour and very pretty, was a little dry and needed a bit more sauce than the yoghurt they placed underneath. All of the flavours did tie in well with each other but it was, as stud called it “just a fancy sausage roll”. I gave my dish 6/10 also.
After lunch we headed back to the isles to get down to some more sampling and also stopped at quite a few stall for electronics and gadgets. I bought a lemon saver and also an avocado saver which basically is a piece of plastic you strap tot the back of a lemon/avocado and it helps it last longer. I find myself going through a lot of lemons as they don’t last in my fridge. Scored myself a fluoro pink spreader for icing, etc. I had been looking for a good one for a while and couldn’t go past that girly number.
At 1:00pm we watched Gary Mehigan make some simple pasta (cannelloni and tortellini)
to show everyone how easy it is to make at home and a lot quicker (and cheaper) than buying a Lego’s every week. Although I must say in a rush, I have been known to use the off jar or two. Only when no canned tomatoes are available though! Don’t judge me! Having previously made pasta it was great to get the odd little chef tip from Garry, like don’t add salt to your pasta dough if you aren’t using it immediately otherwise you will get black flecks through the dough when it’s resting. I had wondered why that happened to my other batch.
After Garry had finished, stud pointed Miguel Maestre out (another foodie crush of mine) so I went over to have a photo taken with him. I waited a little while he finished his convo as I didn’t want to be rude, then politely asked if he wouldn’t mind having a photo with me. He said something in Spanish and then gestured towards my breasts and mentioned “patatas”. Now I’m not sure why my breasts were compared to potatoes however I just laughed it off and continued posing for the photo. After stud took the photo, he grabbed my hand asked my name and then kissed me on both cheeks. Something I am quite use to with meeting new people but there was a linger with this that I didn’t appreciate and I have to say, he has ruined it for me now. I hate it when that happens! You really like someone on TV and think they are so cute and really sweet then you meet them and their head has almost exploded and they are really rude.
So after that fiasco, we headed for some booze! I went straight for the ladies stand – Strawberry EVERYTHING! I had been last year with stud and then another friend of mine and her husband a couple of days later (obsessed much?) and both times had bought from them. I needed some more liquor so got a bottle of that, and also a new moscato and semi sweet wine they had brought out. So divine! I highly recommend anyone with a sweet tooth picking some up online at www.rebellowines.com.au/. There was a little old man in his late 60’s standing next to me and asked why there were so many women at the stand. His wife had just walked away but after I let him know that the strawberries normally attract the women, he hung around. I stayed at the stand for about 10 minutes trying a few new bottles and also purchasing and when I left, he was still there haha. I think he thought he would get lucky – bless him.
On to our Wine Lovers part of the day with our teacher for the hour, Mr Matt Skinner (love him!!). We plopped ourselves down at the head of the table and so it began…
Each wine is discussed openly throughout the table and also advised what kinds of food would go best. We were presented with a placemat with six glasses on it and the reds had already been poured ready for our arrival.
Once seated, the staff came around and poured our first tasting for the day, Yarra Burn Blanc de Blancs (2004) which was fab. A very subtle flavour however not very sweet so a great pairing with things such as oysters and also salty foods like fish and chips, Japanese tempura and such.
Our next wine was the Haselgrove Bella Vigna Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc (2009) which was also really light in both colour and flavour. I find some Sav Blancs can be a little strong however this one was so delicate and subtle and a great accompaniment to peas and greens, goat’s cheese, white fish and chicken.
I have to say, our third wine was my least favourite as it was a Chardonnay and I won’t describe what I think the ol’ Chardy tastes like normally but let’s just say I’m not a fan. Very reluctantly I sipped on the Giant Steps Sexton Chardonnay (2008) and although it was my least favourite, it wasn’t as bad as some Chardy’s I’d tried. It was much more mild and fresh and you could def taste the oak but as per my notes, I’m “still not a fan”. For anyone who is a Chardy lover, I would suggest trying this one as it goes well with shellfish, scallops, roast chicken and bbq pork chops.
Now we get in to the reds which my dad has secretly been hoping for. First up is the Wirra Wirra Original Blend Grenache Shiraz (2008) which was quite spicy in flavour and a little fury on the palette but otherwise really nice. Best eaten with lamb shanks, red meat and big flavoured dishes, it would be fab for a winter’s night (or day even?).
Our fifth wine was the Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz and I love my sweet wines, however am not a fan of the fizz (something about the bubbles just gets me, I don’t normally do soda but with alcohol I can let it slide). Although very sweet, you could still very clearly taste the Shiraz which was nice. Some of the sweet wines can really take over with the sugar but I think as this one contained vintage port, it wasn’t as heavy. This one goes great with beef or sweeter dishes like Peking duck.
Our sixth and final wine for the session was the Buller Liqueur Muscat which smelled very strongly of port and was extremely sweet (my notes have highlighted this so I remember as I capitalised the entire word). The Muscat was very thick to drink and would be fab with any kind of dessert or even over some ice cream. I asked if the sweetness would go well with the funkiness of say, a blue cheese or the likes but Matt said probably not a blue cheese and suggested maybe brie.
By the end of “class” we were suitably warm and my notes were sure to resfresh my memory.
All in all, I’m very glad we did the wine tasting as it was a good way to learn a bit more about what goes with what and how they can be used in cooking.
Throughout our day I kept repeating “I love it here – I could stay for days!” to which I mainly received grunts and snide comments between my male counterparts but not loud enough for me to make out complete sentences. Sadly our day was to come to an end as both were tired and irritable from the crowds. We headed out, trolley, bags and bottles in toe back home to go through all of our goodie bags. I was like a 6 year old after the Easter Show. Happy, content and full to the brim!