Melbourne Convention Centre
2 Clarendon Street
It’s was that time of the year again where Melbournians from all suburbs had the chance to indulge in good food and wine at the annual, Good Food & Wine Show. There was something for everyone from the introduction of new kitchen gadgetry to cooking demonstration and tastings of all sorts. The ever-so-popular Cheese Alley made a re-appearance this year as well! There was plenty of energy and enthusiasm as we entered the event with G (The Doctor and Carly were also joining us, but running late) with our taste buds ready to explore.
Maggie Beer at Yalumba The Y Series Restaurant
Once we had started making our way through the diverse selection of stalls, it was quickly established that we were starving. As if appearing like a mirage, the Maggie Beer at Yalumba The Y series Restaurant appeared in front of us.
“With the limited menu options, the Lamb with raisins, rosemary, preserved lemon bitter sweet orange and corn cous cous, fresh herbs & pan juices, matched with a glass of Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon [$21] certainly caught my eye. For a couscous dish I felt the portion size was on the light side, but the flavours were terrific. The lamb had a lovely tender texture which effortlessly teared off, melting in my mouth. The marinade was rich with hints of rosemary and lemon. The couscous was matched perfectly with welcoming citrus flavours. It was a well-constructed dish and perfectly matched with the Cabernet Sauvignon.”
“I wasn’t all that hungry but G was starving, so we decided to order a couple of meals to share. I ordered the Barossa Chook & Mushroom pie with bitter salad greens and Barossa tomato sauce, matched with a glass of Y Series Shiraz Viognier [$20]. G ordered the Lamb with Raisins, rosemary, preserved lemon, bitter sweet orange and corn cous cous, fresh herb & pan juices, matched with a glass of Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon [$22]. Feeling that we simply had to have dessert, we ordered the Warm Pear, Chocolate & Almond Crumble with runny cream [$10].
The chicken pie was delicious – the puff pastry was crisp and flakey, crackling in my mouth as the thin pieces of pastry snapped in half on my tongue. The pie itself was creamy and the chicken tender – more tender than any chicken I’ve experienced before. It was really succulent with a strong flavour. Mixed in amongst the sauce burst juicy mushrooms. Yum!
While G preferred my pie, I preferred his lamb, which was so tender it tasted as if it were slow cooked. The unique combination of the preserved lemons and bitter sweet oranges were immediate yet gentle when matched with the couscous. The gravy was beautifully rich and thick binding the lamb and the couscous together into a harmonious dish.
The crumble was simple and not as sweet as expected, however, the dish really showcased its star ingredient – the pear. The crumble was not too heavy with butter or sugar as it was sprinkled sparingly, saving our tastebuds from an assault of sweet flavours. A layer of chocolate sat underneath the crumble. The flavours of the cocoa were smooth and creamy, barely inflicting its signature taste within this dish. The pears were the real star – some pieces grated and short, others large and par-boiled. Whilst I preferred the main dishes over the dessert, I could appreciate the intent to ‘keep it simple’ and allow nature to showcase its fruits.”
Featured Exhibitors – Julie Goodwin – Gather, Party Time!
Once we’d filled our bellies, we finally met up with The Doctor and Carly, who’d decided to grab some lunch. The rest of us decided to walk around the venue, scoring some tickets to the watch ex-Masterchef contestant and home-cook-turned-food-author Julie Goodwin perform as part of the Celebrity Theatre.
In her loving manner, she showed the audience easy recipes to prepare for parties of all occasions. She demonstrated how to make buffalo wings marinated and baked with a blue cheese dressing, a quick and easy vegetable and soaked bread soup served in shot glasses, Thai chicken balls – and more.
The famous Cheese Alley was back for another year and it appeared to be stronger than ever. It was hard to miss and even harder not to try some world-class cheeses.
“Carly and I shared some Movenpick ice cream – a scoop of Raspberry & Strawberry and a scoop of Mango to clear our palates. The mango had chunks of real fruit running throughout it and it was really light and cleansing. The raspberry & strawberry was also nice but not as refreshing as the mango.
The Doctor also ordered the Mango and mixed it up with a scoop of Crème Brûlée. She felt that the combination of the sweetness of the crème brûlée with the mango was perfect, however, if she had to pick a preferred flavour, she would also go with the mango.”
The Good Food & Wine Show has been running for many years and provides a great opportunity for Melbournians to try different products that they may not usually select. There are showbags and special offers also available throughout the festival at quite reasonable prices. Cooking classes and demonstrations liven things up and get the whole family involved, so if you missed out this year, make sure to mark it on your calendar for 2014.
Final Thought: “A fun day out to sample a variety of different food items and products”