On Monday I got the call up from Urban Society that I was the lucky winner of 2 passes into the Taste of Sydney Festival. Score, serious score. For those of you who don’t know, I am a massive foodie. I’m certainly not one of those people who dedicate their life to food – except in my dreams – but I do love my my eats and love to cook. My dream job is to be Jamie Oliver. I know foodies would scoff at the idea of that but come on, he gets to cook all day long, has TV shows, restaurants all over the world, cookbooks, cookware, says “lovely jubbly” and makes a bucket load for doing so – that bastard.
My friend and I set off after work to Centennial Park. Both massive anti-train compainers, so we bussed it and inevitibly missed our stop, ending up at the Waverley bus depot. Miffed and confused as to where exactly in Centennial Park that the festivus-for-the-rest-of-us was, we asked a dude directing the Moonlight Cinema traffic if we were on the right track. “Oh, just cut straight through here *points to bushland*”. For some reason we listened despite the fact we realised this could have totally been a Moonlight Cinema parking director abduction ring and that we were probably about to be kidnapped, and we started our bushwalk through the park. Rolling ankles (we’re in work attire, lets not forget), dirt and dust and monks. Wait. What? Yes, monks. As we continued on our journey through this unkempt torrain, we came across a group of people (including a monk) spraying garden supplies and collecting bugs. We smiled and walked past them, slowly increasing our speed to get as far away as possible in fear of our being wrangled into their cult. We continued on.
Finally, and I mean finally, we seriously scaled the perimetres of the festival to finally make it to the opening gate. Picked up the tickets from the “Media” line at the box office – yes peasants, please move to the side while I collect my tickets – and went on in. To our complete and utter devastation, we realised that we were going to have to pay a lot to have a good experience that night. Instead of going and spending actual dollars at each of the stalls, you had to convert you money into “crowns” on a swipey card (a clever ruse to make sure that you spend an uneven amount on food so that they get more bang for the buck, I can only assume – I guess it did end up making transactions a lot faster).
The most noticeable marquee as you walk in is the Rekorderlig Cider Bar – chairs, tables and lounges, music blaring, table tennis tables and really hot staff? Seriously, these people probably couldn’t string a coherant sentence together should you have attemped to get to know them, but it was clear that your babe prowess had to be high to get a job in this tent. I chose the Raspberry and Mango flava flav and my friend went the passionfruit and we sat to discuss our plan of attack for the night.
My bucketlist for the evening included heading to Longrain, Porteno, Three Blue Ducks and Salt Meats Cheese. We started at Popolo and smashed out a potato and octapus salad with a seaweed custini (something like $8, I mean 8 crowns, for the equivalent of a handfull of this salad). Don’t get me wrong, t’was delish but it soon became evident that we were totally getting scammed on our crowns and that this would continue all night long. We went around to the various smaller stalls and latched onto their taste testings. It was actually 2 peoples jobs to stand there and continually cutting cubes of cheese all night long while us vulchurs swooped in and scooped it up with our tallons – they were clearly hating life.
As we moved further and further around the festival, I had a sudden realisation – the Taste of Sydney Festival is where old Masterchef contestants go to live after the show. Amina Elshafei had a stall going of Middle Eastern tasties (not that I could get a hand in to try them), we saw Aaron Harvie (the band manager guy with the unnecessary beanie and hipster glasses) trapsing around giving his suggestions to people that probably didn’t ask for them and then we saw Poh Ling Yeow(!) (who I adore – best show everrrr on the ABC, totes check it out). We just happened to turn up at the end of her cooking demonstration where she had bunged together a noodle dish (which really lets be honest, I could have instructed everyone to make myself) and then they started handing it out and I was like “Omgggg Poh cooked for me!” so that was pretty cool – come on guys, you know my love of D-grade celebrities, plus Poh is like a D+.
Apparently there were also chefs there that made it without losing Masterchef? For example, KYLIE FREAKING KWONG. We stumbled across her cooking demonstration in the Tasmania fresh produce tent and I almost dropped my portable glass of wine which I had gotten from the Calais Estate Wines stand. I had no idea that she was going to be there. My friend had no idea who she was or why I had just completely lost my shit, but there she was, cookin’ before me. Little did I know that about half an hour later, we would be standing in the same line at the port-a-loos together. Yep. We’re besties now. Deal with it. My friend hassled me to go and get a photo with her, but in fear of facing the wrath (and/or bitch slap) of THE Kylie Kwong, I refused. But still, we had a moment…she’ll call me later fo shiz.
Longrain – tick. Three Blue Ducks – tick. Salt Meats Cheese – tick. Porteno – NO DEAL. The line for Perteno deadset stretched from one side of the festival to the other. By then I was a little bit drunk and impatient so I really could not be effed. Devastated, I walked away from Porteno, wondering when we shall ever meet again.
By now boyfie was giving us the hurry along – “I’m coming to get you now…” – it’s really hard to negotiate with someone who is willing to come over the bridge to pick you up at 10pm on a school night. So the race was on – 12 crowns to spend and no time to waste. It was a toss up between a gourmet gourmet Pluto Pup from Kitchen by Mike (I’m obsessed with sausages by the by – please get your mind out of the gutter) or anything else. I realised that I couldn’t really share my potential Pluto Pup with boyf so, because I’m a really top chick, I decided to buy something that was sharsie’s abled for his efforts in coming to pick us us. Behold…Croquembouche Patisserie. I’ve got one word to say to you Kimmy…Macaroons. Despite these two stereotypical Eastern Suburbians standing in my way ordering the entire stall – “Get the girls the same thing so they don’t fight…we’ll take 100 of the chocolate, 100 of the strawberry, no wait 100 milkshake *stall lady unpacks 100 strawberry*, 100 blueberry and 100 orange, do you have orange?” who the fuck ever heard of an orange flavoured macaroons – get your head in the game people. Finally I found myself in a position to order. With my 12 crowns, I ordered 3 macaroons – after Mr and Mrs Macaroons-for-breakfast-lunch-and-dinner, my 3 macaroon sale must have been a massive let down to the patisserie but they certainly weren’t a let down for me. I got a rose and a lavender flavour macdaddy and a salted caramel for my chauffeur. Let me just say – incredible.
All-in-all Taste of Sydney was a great night. The weather threatened to ruin the fun the entire evening but it managed to postpone its bitchiness until the moment we literally stepped into the car to leave – it’s like it knew. Boyf questioned by alcohol intake as soon as I wouldn’t shut up about all the celeb chefs I saw which he had no idea had ever existed – you can guess who cooks dinner in our household. I told him that I was high on life, which I was. Not only was I full-as-a-bull from tasty delights from so many of the places that I had once loved or wanted to love in the future, but I also had 3 macaroons and a jar of Salt Meats Cheese olives waiting to be opened as soon as I walked in the door at home – what more could a girl want?
See you next year Taste of Sydney. Next time, I’ll come prepared (packing crowns).