Being in the right place in the right time is an art and I am coming to learn a lot about it. Ellie from Kitchen Wench, put a post on twitter asking if anyone wanted a free ticket to the Taste of Melbourne. I jumped at the chance.
I few days later I received 2 in the mail, and as J was on his only day off for the week, I decided to ask my best girlfriend.
Jade works in Melbourne, so I jumped on the train to meet her after work and then we trammed to the event.
On arrival I was awestruck, the food tasting opportunities were endless, wine, cider, ingredients and amazing restaurants all displaying their wares.
We began by slowly tasting our way around the vendors, fudge, coconut water, salmon caviar, cider, tea, cup cakes, oysters, pickles, there was more options than we could have tried. Jade said at one point that he stomach was curdling with all the different flavours.
The Pickle Gallery was one of our first ports of call. Their amazing array of jams, pickles and chutney’s was a feast for the eyes and the nose (?). The aroma coming from this stall was delightful, sweet, spicy, and instantly mouth watering.
We were given some biscuits and given the opportunity to taste to our hearts desire. My favourites were the Tomato and Chilli Chutney and the Zucchini Relish. Jade loved the Chilli Pickled Onions. I’ve mentioned before that she loves hot food and finally she had met her match with these onions.
The prices were so reasonable, and the produce delicious. The Pickle Gallery is an Australian Disability Enterprise of St Laurence Community Services Inc which is based Colac, Victoria.
Crabtree’s Murray-Darling Salt was an absolute adventure for the senses. These amazing colours come from the flavours added and the uniquely rich flavour means that only a small amount needs to be used.
Each one had a wonderfully distinctive smell and taste. And the additions of charcoal and Merlot changed the flavour and colour of the salts.
They were also sharing a space with Foodie Trails. The walking tours of Melbourne were developed so that owners could share their passion of food. Melbourne being the cultural capital of Australia, the diversity of its people is reflected through the numerous eateries.
I think this would be such a great experience to see Melbourne through someone else’s eyes and hope to get some time to do this early next year.
We were attracted to any cheese vendors, and this one was packed so we couldn’t pass it by. We slowly pushed our way to the front of the crowd. The staff were lovely, so accommodating and willing to give us their time.
The first cheese we tried was the Maffra Glenmaggie Blue, now to be honest, I generally don’t like blue cheese but recently I’ve been all about trying new things, so I tried a piece. It wasn’t as potent as blue cheese often is, it was soft and creamy with a subtle but sharp bite.
The Maffra Cloth Aged Cheddar had a fantastically smooth texture and a distinctive sharpness.
Once we’d finished our tastings, we decided it was time for some tapas sized restaurant dishes. First up we eyed the Beetroot Cured Salmon, Vanilla and Lime Pickled Cucumber, and Horseradish Cream, at Livingroom.
The salmon was soft and melted in your mouth, the cream and pickled cucumber complemented the dish perfectly. I loved the addition of the capers and micro herbs, adding that little bit of salt, bringing everything together in harmony.
Following this we decided to try something from Botanical. While we were waiting in line we over heard the ladies in front of us talking about breakfast at Botanical and how great it is. I can’t wait to try but in the mean time, our snippets of dinner will have to do.
This time we decided to taste two different options off their menu and share them. Jade ordered the Lamb Burger with Truffled Mayonnaise and I ordered the Crumbed Press Confit Pork Medallions with Apple and Fennel Coleslaw.
The burger was delicious, the ideal snack for a venue like this. The small amount of mayonnaise and the crisp lettuce complemented the burger perfectly.
The pork was crispy on the outside, succulent, moist and tender, you didn’t even need to cut it. The coleslaw was salty, with the addition of capers, crunchy, the apple and the cabbage and the seasoning was inimitable.
One our way out we returned to the first stall that we had tasted at, Spotted Dog Fudge. We were spoilt for choice with the flavours they were offering and made it our mission to try as many as we could, settling on Creme Brulee and Lemon and Chocolate Gelato.
The fudge was perfect completion of an inspirational and overwhelming evening.
Have you ever been to a taste festival? How did you give all vendors justice? What was your favourite new discovery?