Whilst we were all assigned different areas to cover for the day (I got an easy task and could relax while Penny and Adrian were running around like headless chickens), we all arranged to meet up at the al fresco dining area to eat lunch. While most festivals are usually just indoor, this one had both an indoor and outdoor component, which I love. The vibe outdoors is much more relaxed, with the smell of food cooking and music on the stages bathed in glorious sunlight that day. Indoors, all the food product stalls were setup and it was easier to walk through them as people were not congregating in the aisles eating their food.
There was a host of interesting food and product stalls. I loved how cute this coffee stall was.
I asked some random stall holders questions to get a feel for what they do. Naomi Garcia here runs Casa Pepe, which is a catering service she operates. They come to the events and set up their cooking stations and off they go making Spanish cuisine. The Seafood Paella she made definitely drew in the crowd with that massive pan and the colourful rice.
My Californian mate John Boland looked slightly angelic when talking about his chilli sauces, staring off into the skies above while explaining how he came about making his sauces. What started off as a love of chilli sauces from his home country has turned into a complete range featuring chips, dips and even a take away shop. His famous prize winning coconut chilli sauce was a winner in his fish tacos.
The pizza from Woodfire Gold Coast is Simone Wright's business. She tows the wood fired ovens to various events and also sells the ovens, as well as pizzas. The pizzas contained their special Heathcoote Shiraz reduction, which really gave the pizza a zing and made all the difference. Their "A Load of Bull" pizza was great, containing shredded beef they baked that morning and lots of cheese. I was trying to do the cheese pull you see on pizza advertising. We washed our pizzas down with some crispy Robello Apple and Strawberry Cider, delicious. Then we promptly got told off for taking alcohol into the licensed al fresco area. Booo to that. They should have a general dining area next time.
The Argentinean meat platter from Senor BBQ was full of meaty goodness, with ribs, sausages and wings all grilled to perfection.
I spotted a couple of familiar faces when I saw Costa Georgiadis, the gardener formerly from Channel 31 and now SBS. I also saw my mate Rob Mikecz from Rochester Ginger. I bumped into his previously at various food festivals and again talked to him about his ginger drinks. He's just developed a new one and it definitely has a nice kick to it.
I was full after eating so much food that I didn't try the Lush desserts of Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Tart. They did look delicious.
The Ganache Chocolate stall looked so enticing with their beautiful chocolates, but again the waistline was already fully expanded.
Finally, I was off to cover my assignment for the day, the Italian heirloom vegetables demonstration. There, former geologist turned gardener, Geoff Hudson showed everyone how great heirloom vegetables are by making a simple pasta dish. You can read about my account of the demonstration over at the SBS Food website.
And last, but by far least, I got to meet my favourite TV food presenter, Maeve O'Meara. I love her on Food Safari and it was such a pleasure to meet her. She was so nice and had her trademark smile and laugh. She even told me about her new series French Food Safari where she got to meet luminaries like Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocouse and my food idol Pierre Herme. How exciting, can't wait to watch it.
That was the end of yet another very enjoyable food festival. Thanks to SBS for inviting me to the event and I look forward to going again next year.