Today was the last day for the Taste of Melbourne festival and what a glorious day it was! By midday the sun was shining, a cool breeze kept us honest and the swans were out and about at Albert Park. We arrived around 1pm starving for something to start our day. We’d noticed on opening night that Mamasita had some really delicious street corn and tacos on the go and that their food seemed a bit more generous than some of the other restaurants on show. So we started making our way down to their stall when we got side-tracked by the beautifully made Rekorderlig Cider stand. We’d decided to try some of their newer flavours which we hadn’t had before – Miss SL opted for the latest flavour Premium Orange-Ginger Cider [8 crown] while Mr LB went for the Premium Apple Blackcurrent Cider [8 crown]. We’d never noticed how beautifully coloured the ciders were before!
Continuing on, we queued up for Mamasita which surprisingly wasn’t as long as we expected. Miss SL ordered the Taco de lengua (braised ox taco) [8 crown] and Mr LB ordered the Taco de pescado (market fish taco) [8 crown]. We’d ordered some Elotes Callejeros – ‘Street Style’ Corn [6 crown each], which are really just a Mamasita staple. We have to admit, having some of these little samplers made us want to revisit this fine Mexican Melbourne establishment again.
We walked around a little bit admiring some of the stalls on display. Miss SL took particular delight in the High Tea In the Bath stall, which sold soaps in the shape of cupcakes and other edible treats.
Monsieur Truffle were doing their bit for Movember, selling moustache shaped chocolates for $4, donating $1 from the proceeds to Movember!
As continued wandering around the festival grounds we noticed that Cacao Fine Chocolates were selling Salted Caramel Donuts [2 for 6 crown]! What a bargain that was! Miss SL pointed out the Cacoa Fine Chocolates do great macarons, as she used to work near the store off Little Collins Street on the South side of the CBD, but we really didn’t need any swaying to order this dish.
High on our sugar buzz of delicious salted caramel donuts, we were approached by the lovely people at the Plumm Wine Theatre asking if we were interested in attending the Sake Samurai School (sake taste testing session) for a mere 6 crown. She didn’t have to ask us twice!
The session was very educational, hosted by Gourmet Wine Traveller’s Nick Stock, featuring some guests (one of which was one of Melbourne’s top sommeliers).
We learned the about Junmai sake (sake made purely from rice and water) and Ginjo (which is the acidity of the sake). The session was very educational, as our hosts explained that the different water from the different parts of Japan resulted in different flavours in the sake, and that the rice went through a series of polishing that resulted in the varying levels of purity and quality.
Almost as soon as we exited from our taste testing session, we stumbled upon the Sustainable Living session hosted by Scott Eddington from Mamasita, who was Making Goat head tacos using goats cheek and tongue. Mr LB was so inspired by this somewhat squeamish demonstration that apparently he’s going to give this recipe a try at home!
Enjoying the warmth of this brilliant summer day and the live music playing in the background, we stumbled upon Miss SL’s friend The Doctor, who was at the festival with her friends. How lovely! Breaking away from them we decided to spend some crown on B&Ps cake pops [2 crown each], snagging the very last two that were up for sale. We also bought some salted caramel in a jar. What we can use if for, we have no idea, but we’re sure we’ll find some use for it!
Passing by the Malaysia Kitchen cooking stand, we noticed that Masterchef contestant Poh Yeow was cooking up a storm. Miss SL went all gooey eyed as she watched Poh, one of her favourite on-screen cooks.
It seemed to have been a rather productive day of cooking demonstrations, free tasters, paid tasters and booze. There was just one thing left for us to do, and that was to pick up a cocktail making set from Sensology [34 crown]. We’d simply loved the equipment we used at The Art of Cocktail Making class that we did on the opening night and the equipment was really great. With our new purchase in hand we had 6 crown left to spend, deciding on a slice of Margarita pizza [6 crown] at ItaliCo., a somewhat new pizza bar opening up in St Kilda. It was approaching the end of day so the gentleman at the bar threw in a couple of extra slices in for free! Score!
Taste of Melbourne was certainly just that, exhibiting some of Melbourne’s finest restaurant talent going around. We heard a couple of people whining about portion sizes, or how ‘they can no longer get photos with George Calombaris because it’s become so big’, but that’s really not what this festival is about. This festival is all about fine food and fine beverages. The festival was managed exceptionally well and was a real joy to go to and experience. Would we go again? Most certainly. We’ll see you there next year for sure!
Final thought: “Looking forward to Tasting 2013″