About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, June 19, 2006
A Big Day Out
My daughter P invited me along to the Good Food Show on the weekend along with her mate S. I kind of didn't want to go as I went last year and didn't find it that interesting, it was mostly big commercial brands on the stands and the set up didn't seem that good, but in the end decided to go anyway.

Now I'm glad I went.

The set up was a lot better, with all the wine stands grouped together and fenced off from the rest and there were a lot more interesting stands this year, still mostly big commercial interests, who seemed to make more of an effort to be accessible, but also stands that piqued my interest. There were cooking demonstrations everywhere and samples galore. We very nearly got stuck at the Lindt stand; can you believe they had a basket from which you could help yourself?!!

We wandered into the wine and beer section and as the girls were only drinking whites we separated so I could have a go at the reds which were of no interest to them. The best I tasted was the Tarrawarra pinot from the Yarra Valley, fantastic wine with sweet cherry flavours, perfectly balanced by fine tannins with great grip. It's probably not as feral as some with no real gamey or forest floor character, but the length was excellent. As the chap serving got into conversation with me over the clones that went into the wine, I could feel my eyes glazing over. Why oh why do they have to call them by dry scientific type names like NV1, couldn't they think of something with a bit more romance to it?

Caught up with the girls again and they were telling me that they were disappointed that Stella Artois wasn't there as it was their favourite beer that they had discovered at the Belgium Bar. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a stand with a Stella Artois sign, so we made our way there. The girls ordered a cherry beer, which they said they loved. My wife D does something similar using sour cherry or raspberry syrup to flavour her beer and she tells me it's common to do so in Poland. They had Leffe on tap, so after a pronunciation lesson - it's pronounced Leff, unless you speak German, then you pronounce it Leff-e, so it doesn't seem to matter at all how you say it, but it is a damn fine beer, very creamy with a lot of mousse and just the right hint of hop bitterness.

It was a bit too early for much drinking, we had arrived at ten a.m., so we ambled out of the drinks area in a pleasant state of mind and over to the chile stands, it transpired that S was a big fan. We hit Byron Bay's stand first and S asked for the hottest sauce straight up, I just sighed inwardly, for I knew that I had to try some, but when you have young kids, you kind of get out of the chile groove and when you eventually go back to the well, you know it's going to be trouble. And so it was. I could feel my mouth go cold then burning hot as a torrent of saliva arrived to put out the fire. S loved it but was keen to try some more, so we headed over to the Redback Chile Co., the people that put on the chile festival over at Jindivick in Victoria every year.

S again asked for the hottest sauce and when she tried some she exclaimed that this was VERY HOT! Oh dear god, I put some in my mouth, but guess what? My chile groove kicked in and I found it to be rather pleasant. S bought a three pack of the cutest bottles with pictures of skulls and the word death everywhere. She seemed keen to sneak some into her dad's food, who it seemed was in the naughty habit of sneaking hot sauce into her food, then laughing at her and her mum when they soon realized that they'd been got. Some hot karma was headed straight for him!

After all this we decided to have a cup of coffee and a sit down and we found a place near a book stall. Looking at the stall I saw a lot of people queuing and figured they were doing good business. After the coffee the girls were keen on another stall, but I can't miss a good browse in a bookshop so headed over to the stand and soon discovered the reason for the long queue. It was a book signing queue and at the very head of it was Bill Grainger, author of Bill's Food.

I now know the reason for Bill's success. It's not his cooking abilities, fine and all as they are, it's his smile. I've watched him on the telly and he does smile all the time, but the camera doesn't do it justice. Bill's smile is gorgeous - not in the gay sense, though there could be one or two boys who would have to tell their beating hearts to be still, but gorgeous like on a cold, drab winter's day when the sun suddenly breaks through and everything lights up and even though it's winter you feel warm from it. His smile is instantly warm and affectionate and he had all the women in the queue swooning for him.

After browsing the book stall I looked for the girls but couldn't see them, so started to search and check out a few more stalls, taking little samples as I went. At a pancake stand there was a plate of little pancakes, fluffy little pillows dusted with icing sugar, looking very scrumptious. As I reached out to try one, the woman next to me said I could have one and I popped one straight in my mouth. Imagine my surprise when she then pulled out her purse and paid for them, they weren't samples at all! We all had a good natured laugh at my embarrassment.

After I caught up with the girls again, we decided that three hours of eating and drinking was enough for us and we headed off. Would I come again next year? You bet.
 
  posted at 10:46 am
  6 comments



6 Comments:
At 11:59 am, Blogger Changeit said...

Do you still live in Melbourne? I'd love to visit Australia sometime. I have some travel pics at my blog.
Dave

 
At 7:14 am, Blogger neil said...

Yes, I'm still in Melbourne. You would love it here, it's a great place. BTW nice pictures.

 
At 8:29 am, Blogger gigi said...

This sounds delightful! I know what you mean about the wine chat chap, although I think all the romance is in the descriptions by aficionados, "It's probably not as feral as some with no real gamey or forest floor character, but the length was excellent..." What could be headier than that?


A mere 3 hours? And you call yourself a foodie. That's why god invented the siesta. ;D

 
At 11:14 am, Blogger neil said...

Thanks gigi, I probably needed that reminder, sometimes it's sooo easy to get carried away.

And man invented the stomach pump!

 
At 8:11 am, Blogger Reb said...

It's on in Sin City starting tomorrow and 'though I totally would have gone anyway, with the same reservations re last year, you have provided me renewed enthusiasm!

 
At 11:03 am, Blogger neil said...

Hey reb, you will love it if it's anything like Melbournes. I do recommend eating something before the booze tasting. The hot chocolate stand was to die for. If you like all things Indian try the Mango Mescut - green mango with tons of heat and not sweet at all, at the Goan Cuisine stand.

 

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