Sally was on the microphone throughout the night - she was fabulous - she has a great gift for working with people and wine. Towards the end of the night, the three chefs came out to talk to the room about the food - I loved their passion. As they were leaving, I tapped Jake on the arm, telling him I work with his cousin's wife. Jake and I got chatting about the night, exchanged twitter handles, and Paul joined the conversation. It was interesting to hear how the food supply is affected by the climate - the fish Paul sources has been limited by both the recent fires and floods. Our conversation made me realise just how precious our produce is, and that our ecosystem is so precarious. It certainly reinforces the need to source whatever produce is locally available at the time, and puts the cost of fine dining into perspective. I enjoy learning about the food sourcing and cooking processes as much as I enjoy eating, and I am so thankful to Paul, Jake and Sally for taking the time to talk to me.
It was a night of indulgence - with seven courses - eight if you count the seaweed lavosh. There was beautiful food - such fresh produce, and every course was matched with imported organic wine. The premise of the night was to celebrate the earth - 100 people enjoying natural ingredients.
The journalists were good company - we talked about journalism - the old and the new guard, paywalls, my uni lecturers, and how the great voices can get lost in the Internet noise. I also learnt a little about wine - one of the journalists, Jeni Port, specialises in wine journalism. I learnt to swirl the glass to release the aroma and flavour, and also that wine and food matching is designed to compliment or contrast a dish.
I was really pleased that our table was directly under a downlight, so it made it easier to take photos. Though my friends viewing my social media accounts were getting major food envy, with the beautiful Naomi PT playfully telling me to stop it on a number of occasions - deciding that she couldn't be my friend anymore after I posted the dessert photos. If it was any consolation to those suffering from food envy, I felt like a massive sloth after the eight courses, and lay heavily on my bed for some time.
So before my table company arrived, I was serve some seaweed lavosh with eggplant dip. The lavosh was deliciously kelpy - a little salty, a little fishy. It worked well with the rich eggplant dip. I liked that because the lavosh was vegetable based, rather than grain based, it didn't fill me up too much.
It was whole goats cheese wrapped in a brandy snap, scattered with native and wild berries, and dotted with salted caramel and berry sauce. It was beautiful, delicate and flavoursome - I liked the sourness of the goats cheese - it was almost like icecream, firm and frozen - with the berries (raspberries were stuffed with goats cheese). I tasted soft cardamom (amazing) and wild strawberries, which were like Willy Wonka lollies - superpowered strawberries!
I thank the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival for sending me along to this event.