Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sydney Food and Wine Fair & Norton St Festa 2010

Boo to this horrible temper-mental Sydney weather! One minute the sun is out, and the next - you are stuck in a downpour, it really does play havoc with your health! I have been feeling rather unwell for nearly a week and poor Demos has had to bear the brunt of my whinging. Lucky for me though, the only way he knows how to fix a broken, iron-defficient, and flu struck girlfriend is by offering food..and lots of it!

It was bright and beautiful on the Saturday morning in Hyde Park. Although I hardly had the energy nor motivation to do anything, we decided to head to the Sydney Food and Wine Fair - food fixes everything right? It took a bit of convincing for me to get out of my PJ's and with a bit of flu relief from trusty panadol, we were ready to take on this event with much gusto. Demos' decided that we were guaranteed a good feed here and more importantly, it was for a good cause. The sun was sweltering, and the crowds were well and truly present. This event benefits the AIDS trust of Australia, and organised as part of the Sydney International Food Festival. In its 20th year, very generous restaurants, bakeries, bars and cafe's donate their time and signature dishes to hungry patrons. Upon entry, a sheet of 5 coupons can be purchased for $19 - these tokens are then exchanged for delicious dishes, sweet treats or a refreshing drink. All proceeds of course, are donated to the AIDS trust of Australia and i'm all for eating for a cause!

We did a quick round to see what was on offer, bumping into fellow food bloggers Jacq from Penguin says Feed Me and Simon from The Heart of Food. Demos and I were quick to ask them for their suggestions as to which stalls to attack as we arrived at 1pm and stalls were starting to sell out. I was dizzy with hunger so Demos and I found our first selection - A delicious Chorizo roll from Brasserie Bread. This was a perfect start because we could multitask by eating and browsing the other stalls. This gourmet sandwich was worth 2 coupons and we did not even have to line up! 
Its never fun when you have the stay away from the fruity cocktails but finding the Aids Trust Bar stocked with Greek Metaxa Spirit, Demos had to try the fruity concoction. Metaxa is a traditional Greek cognac and they mixed it with Orange juice and tonic water, providing much needed refreshment.
 Ninja Domo also had to tag along to provide protection against... now that I think of it I'm not really sure why he tagged along.
 The crowds were out in full force - what better way to spend the day than indulging in delicious food at Hyde Park. It sure beats staying in bed and watching Kardashian re-runs on the E! Channel, right?
 Everyone was out enjoying the sun, such a beautiful day! Hyde Park is so picturesque in the Springtime!
Our next dish was the Gnocci with Napolitana Sauce from Mezzaluna. I would not usually order gnocci, I find it very starchy and not exciting at all (which is weird because I love potatoes and pastas..) The sauce was not a standout either but we were honestly running out of options of food to buy because everyone was running out of dishes!
 One of the dishes that Simon had recommended were the Duck Spring Rolls from the Hungry Duck. I was really excited to try this but unlucky for us, the sold out sign went up as soon as we found the stall!

The Bourke St Bakery stall next door provided a sweet consolation. I order the Pear tart and Demos has the Chocolate tart. I absolutely love the biscuit base and it is a very light dessert. The pear is not sickeningly sweet at all, as I was worried it would make me feel a bit queasy. I was so hungry, my piece disappeared in a minute flat! I was able to sneak a bite of Demos' Chocolate tart and really enjoyed its gooey pudding-like filling.
 The Longrain stall had a very long line. I think most of the crowd, like us, were tempted in by the delicious aroma of their Berkshire Pork Yellow Curry. The pork - amazingly tender. The cuts would just melt in your mouth and the curry was not too spicy at all, although it was a bit too hot for the meal. It would be comfort food for a cold day.
We were down to our last tickets, but at this stage most of the stall holders were cleaning up and leaving, and I was still craving some comfort food. As we walked past the Guilliaumme at Bennelong stand, I notice some fresh crepes being prepared. The chef told me this Nutella covered dessert would cost me three coupons, but since I was down to my last two, he was happy to give it to us anyway! What a lovely gesture. It really made me happy that all the restaurant workers that donated their time and efforts on the day were all in a very cheerful mood, I must say it really lifted my spirits!
 After only an hour out and about I was ready to call it a day and get back to sick bay. However, we saved the best for last. After lining up for a short while we were given a free scoop of Ben and Jerry's Ice cream - and lucky me, we get my favourite cookie dough flavour too! We headed home with our full tummies, it was a bit too much excitement for my sick self and I didn't leave my room until the next day!

Of course we had to eat on a Sunday too right?...
 The Norton St Italian Festa has to be one of my favourite annual community festivals, and I was happy for an excuse to leave sick bay once again. My professional medical opinion was that I was hungry, but as I mentioned before, I am committed to eating. Since I had to visit my GP anyway - we detoured via Leichhardt and met up with our awesome and equally hungry friends and "Mangiare!". We found a spot at the Barilla stand, which offered a $5 meal deal with 2 serves of pasta and a San Pellegrino drink - breadsticks included too!

A food festival wouldn't be complete without the "Chips on a Stick" and for those who are not familiar with this, its basically a whole potato, cut spirally, deep fried on a stick and seasoned with different flavours. I usually order plain salt but the bbq and cheese flavour is just as addictive! Deep fried goodness.
For something more substantial, we share some Calamari and BBQ Octopus from the seafood stand. No name in particular, just some delicious calamari fritti and perfectly seasoned baby octopus. 
 Just hanging outside nonna's house like the good kids we are! Unfortunately for me, my appetite could not be as enthusiastic as I was, so I had to pass on the Nutella Crepes, Gelati, Granita and the Ricotta Canolli - yes, you know you are sick when you pass up the Canolli.
We head to Vanilla Room to escape the heat, my forehead literally felt like it was on fire! They were serving jugs of Sangria for $15, and originally I had passed it up - but the heat got the better of me of course! Lucky for me, my very patient and caring Demos takes me home, I had enough excitement for a sick person - but it just shows that nothing can keep me away from my food! Besides, it was the last day of October - what better way than to end October, aka Good Food Month?

Despite feeling Deathly and getting approximately 4 hours of sunlight, it was still a fun weekend. The best part of food fairs and festivals is the way that it brings friends together, and you can sit on the sidewalk sharing a plate of food, love it. Here's to making every month Good Food Month! Until the next post everyone, Happy Eating!


Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Ah, you got to Bourke Street Bakery in time..!

I missed out on Central Baking Depot's brownies on my (possibly) third time round. Oh well...

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

ninja domo! too cute! and i love your shot of the "clinking" chips on a stick. Looks like a glorious weekend - hope you get better soon!

iamEVI said...

Mmmm sangria! :)
Hope you're feeling better soon!!

the dainty baker said...

Looks like you had a packed weekend despite being sicky! .. Those Bourke St Bakery treats look so yum! Get well soon x

Simon @ the heart of food said...

Was great to catch up with you! Had no idea that you were sick. You fake it pretty well for an unwell person :P

Was wanting to go to the Norton St. Festival. Thanks for the coverage. Now I know what I missed :)

Gianna said...

Thanks guys! I was off sick until yesterday, but I feel much much better now :)

Im always happy and excited when im surrounded by food! Honestly, good food and company cures eveything even if its temporary!

Haha Simon, sunglasses hide the tiredness so well! when the next food festival season rolls around I volunteer to be your food wingman :) Unfortunately we missed out on so much at the norton festa too...including the suckling pig :(

Julie said...

I'm stealing your ninja domo kun! I wants! I hope you are feeling better dear! I am sadly sick as well :( in fact our company going kayaking today while i am sick *cries*. I think the duck spring rolls had the longest line damn they were awesome :(.

Jacq said...

It was great to bump into you that day, I had no idea you were sick! Hope you're feeling better by now and it's good to see you still got to grab some good food while the stalls were still open!

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