Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show

Do you ever go out to shows, markets, fairs with your other half? And feel niggled that there’s someone looking bored and uncomfortable at your heels whilst you are trying to snatch a piece of chocolate, or talk to the maker about their wares? And then you leave before you really want to?

And that’s why I went to the Good Food & Wine Show last Friday by myself. Best. Move. Ever. (Sorry, Mr Eleanor.) I was wonderfully free to roam about at my will, answerable to no one, sliding an arm in between groups pressed together around stands to pilfer a morsel of cheese, chocolate, olives and more and then disappearing to the next stall.

2016-06 June

Eating with your eyes – Sweets for Tilly

Food envy - maybe one day they'll make a gf version

Consumed by terrible food envy – maybe one day they’ll make a gf version

Cheese Alley

Many a happy hour in Cheese Alley

Matt Moran

Matt Moran in the Good Food Theatre

Wine

Don’t forget there’s food too

This is a tiny selection of the things that went in my mouth:

  • Fix & Fogg – peanut butter makers out of NZ with great ethical credentials, producing real, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth peanut butter with no ‘dead orangutan’ (ie palm) oil. Get your hands on the Smoke and Fire flavour
  • Grandvewe – this is real cheese, this is what cheese should be. A piece of beautiful soft, wash-rinded Brebichon is awaiting my attention in the fridge.
  • Kez’s Kitchen – I had a disappointing experience with a gf florentine from these folks once, but the gf Vienna eclairs and melting moments are crumbly, buttery-tasting and just delicious
  • Macaron de Paris – the first thing I ate when I arrived was a butterscotch and macadamia macaron. Since the commercialisation of the macaron, innumerable disappointing versions have started to appeared in cafes and delis. So don’t risk it; eat these ones instead – crisp and then soft, intensely flavoured and big enough to make you feel a little bit naughty
  • Nick’s Beef Jerky – I’m allergic to beef but Mr Eleanor was very happy with the 10 flavours sampler bag
  • Smelly Cheese Shop – I can’t stay away from these people. They are the reason I came back with so much cheese which is now stinking out the fridge. With artisan cheeses from all around the world, what’s not to love?
  • Sticky Balsamic – syrupy balsamic vinegar in a variety of fruit-infused flavours which are crying out to be poured over ice cream, but are also fabulous in more conventional glazes and dressings. I wish now that I’d picked up a bottle of the fig flavour, but my arms were dropping off by this point.
  • Hartshorn Distillery – the world’s first vodka made with leftover sheep whey from Grandvewe. Sounds odd. Ok, it sounds a bit yuck, but if it puts you off then good; that’s more for the rest of us. It is smooth and clean with vanilla notes. A really impressive product.
  • Josef Chromy – with both modern, easy drinking and more complex French styles of sparkling wine, a taste took me straight back to the beautiful Tamar Valley and our Tasmanian road-trip
  • Melbourne Martini – it’s an espresso martini in a jar. Only in Melbourne 🙂
  • Gin Fever masterclass  with Four Pillars, a local distillery with a tasting room in Healesville which has been on my list of things to do for a few weeks. We were treated to their Rare Dry, Navy, Spiced Negroni and new Bloody Shiraz gins. These are distinctly modern styles to my traditional English palate, being smoother and a little sweeter. Yes. That’s just what I need. Gin that’s even easier to drink.

The show in Melbourne is done for another year but if you want to go, it’s doing the rounds and will be in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane over the next few months.
But for goodness sake, go by yourself.

Heading north

We’ve just got back from a little road-trip up to Victoria’s north west, following the Murray River along the NSW/VIC border, returning through a monoculture desert of wheat fields the size of towns, that covered mile after mile after endless mile.

mildura roadtrip 10-2015

2000k later …

I know that I’ve only just got back from overseas, but poor Mr Eleanor couldn’t join me due to that unfathomable concept called work. So I promised him we could take a break when I got back. I know! Who’d have my life, hey?

We saw loads of beautiful birds …

Red-rumped parrot

Red-rumped parrot

But don’t expect you wanna hear about that, so here’s the food!

Considering that it is renowned as a “gourmet” region, we were disappointingly lacking in good eats for the week. I think (hope?) this may have been down to poor judgement on our part, but … ? A few exceptions were:

Milawa Cheese Company

The service in the café was SHABBY, but we took some cheese away with us and the Milawa Aged Blue just blew me away. Think gnarly, crusted PROPER cheese – none of your sweaty bits of rubber wrapped in plastic which the Aussies have a tendency to gravitate toward. I think that the ageing gave it a more rounded, sweeter flavour than the usual bitter tang of a blue. It was DELICIOUS! More please!

Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers are well known for making sickly sweet styles of wine and fortifieds – I noted that they have done quite UNSPEAKABLE things to perfectly innocent and unsuspecting whites. But this is all forgiven because they also make this Shiraz which is quite superb.

Although …. it does go to show that they really do know what they are doing which makes THIS crime even more unpalatable …

The River Thai

The final mention goes to The River Thai in Moama. Whilst their food was delicious and enjoyable, what made it my favourite meal of the trip was the friendly, welcoming staff who took the time to chat with us rather than treating us like just another lot of grockles. AND they had a separate gluten free menu. So thank you!

Now to plan the next trip …