Friday, July 23, 2010

The Good Food and Wine Show 2010, Sydney Convention Center

Im not going to lie, I was a bit apprehensive about going to this event. Okay, it was indeed a cold sunday morning, and I may or may not have had too many saturday vino's - but for the love of food we did it. My heart was set on seeing George Calombaris with Gary Mehigan at the "Celebrity" Chef Theatre but unfortunately the chef demonstrations were sold out via ticketek. We crossed our fingers decided to chance it and see if we could get tickets at the door.
We arrived at 10.30 and speed walk straight to the "Celebrity Chef Theatre" trying our best to not look like over-excited hungry crazy people.  It was my lucky Sunday, and we got seats to the demonstration that was about to start. George and Gary were so entertaining to watch - lots of banter, a few gags here and there - but they were having lots of fun on stage and the food they cooked looked delish! Now i'm not a huge masterchef groupie, but how can you not love George? He's officially now the other Greek man in my life!
By the end of the hour long demonstration - my tummy was grumbling as always after skipping brekky to get there on time. I needed sustenance to get through all the exhibitions - stat. Was it too early for vino? Of course not!
A "restaurant" is set up for the day - with signature dishes from some of Australia's favourite chefs - George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, Pete Evans and Tobie Puttock. The way the restaurant worked was by purchasing tokens - entree's were priced at $16.00, mains at $24.00 and desserts for $8.00. Each entree and main came with a glass of wine or beer.
Armed with our $72.00 worth tokens - it was decision time!
Our first main meal was the Bastilla of minced lamb with olives and pine nuts This was served with a glass of Hardys Oomoo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
The dish is like a giant lebanese kebbe but instead of the chick pea crunchy crust  - it was a soft warm and very buttery pastry - mixed with labne I had found my kryptonite and I was not sharing! 

Demos told me that the Braised chicken and celery fricasse tasted like the traditional greek food that he ate as a little Demos. The chicken melted in your mouth and the broth was just so tasty! How i wish George could send me a serving of this the next time I am sick - there was something so comforting about this dish. I sure hope Yia Yia can recreate this for me! This dish was served with Hardys Oomoo Adelaide Hills Chardonnay. Both mains were $24.00

Our "entree" actually arrived last - which we forgave as the set up was more like a cafeteria then a fine dining establishment. We had another dish from Chef Colombaris' selection and it was the Warm salad of squid and chickpeas served with wild greens. served with Hardys Oomoo Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc. I attacked the squid like a crazed seagull at bondi beach, but the chickpeas were too hard for my liking. Demos may have attempted to throw one at my forehead. Why? because he wanted this dessert to himself:

MMM..vanilla panna cotta, ala Gary Mehigan - with roasted apricots and honey. 
This was a delicious dessert and the vanilla flavour was just perfect after our very rich meal, technically - our breakfast. Lucky that we did start early, throughout the day, the restaurant area kept getting busier and busier.

Since we had our energy levels up - we braved the crowds with their bulky showbags and proceeded with the wine tasting. Another Happy Sunday indeed.

Pete Evans is my pizza hero. I credit him with the creation of what I think is Australias' best Pizza - my favourite sunday night treat..the $5.00 pepperoni at Hugo's Bar and Lounge in Kings Cross. He put on a great show -  the smell of the pumpkin and feta cooking drove me insane, as we were right next to the stage! I mean, So what if we hung around after the show was over to see if we could salvage some leftovers? Im convinced that I need a Pete Evans Pizza oven for my birthday. Thats #1 on the wishlist. 

We ended spending a good 5 hours at the show - just sampling food and walking around. At $29 per ticket, you need to plan your day and make the most out of it. There were alot more activities that we missed out on, such as the cheese masterclass, coffee class and even cupcake decoration classes! The early, much more organised birds got the spots. At the end, I was happy with our freebie caramel sundaes from weight watchers. Only 2 points, but who's counting?


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