September 25, 2020

Taste Of Melbourne – Event Review

TASTE OF MELBOURNE

 A: Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

With a multitude of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds Melbourne is, without fail, distinctly multicultural.  Resultantly, and with little wonder, over the decades a plethora of divergent eateries have spawned from this gift of multiculturalism.  Indeed, Melbournians are all but spoiled for choice when it comes to eateries.  And with its abundant cafes, bars, markets and restaurants, it naturally translates that Melbourne is never short of an expo, fiesta or festival in the hospitality, food, wine and beverage industry.

Our CEO at the Taste of Melbourne

Our CEO at the Taste of Melbourne

As Summer arrived last year, with accomplice and good buddy in hand (internet guru @MelissaNorfolk) we attended the Taste of Melbourne (held at Albert Park, 15-18 Nov 2012).  Advertised as being “…four days of alfresco foodie feasting with 18 of the city’s hottest restaurants and chefs, 100 premium producers and brands, and lots of NEW features and theatres” (http://www.tasteofmelbourne.com.au/exhibitors/trade-contact-form/#.UMRLUpGIkUU) with much anticipation and, admittedly, high expectation, we attended the twilight session on Friday 16 November 2012.  Gladly, we were not disappointed.

Effie Gidakos (our CEO) & Melissa Norfolk

Effie Gidakos (our CEO) & Melissa Norfolk

Nespresso coffee machine

Nespresso coffee machine

I commenced my coffee journey at the Nespresso marquee where I tasted a shot of espresso from the new generation of Nespresso machines (‘DeLonghi’).  The sales rep informed me this machine is designed for those who enjoy a milk coffee as it has the added feature of a removable milk container.  As for the espresso, and it did have a lovely amount of crème atop it and I thought it was a good effort for an ‘all in one’ one touch button coffee machine.

Specialty Beers by McLaren Vale Beer Company

Specialty Beers by McLaren Vale Beer Company

One of my favourite stands was the McLaren Vale Beer Company where I tasted all beers on offer.  My favourite was the Vale/Drk. Why?  The coffee flavour in this American dark lager really shone through – how could I resist?!

Moving around the festival, a third of the way through, we found our coffee Mecca: Espresso Martinis at the Patron Australia bar: O…M…G!  This drink was an absolute hit; there were loads of people enjoying it and rightly so because it was a lovely fusion of gin and coffee.  Dee-lish!

Espresso Martinis

Espresso Martinis

SereniTEA tea packs

SereniTEA tea packs

My tea journey commenced with sampling (and buying) some teas from SereniTEA.  I purchased their Variety Pack which contained the following teas: Earl Grey, Spice Chai, Chamomile Herbal, Peppermint Herbal, Dajeeling Second Flush, English Breakfast, Darjeeling Green.  This Variety Pack is a fantastic concept as it allows the tea enthusiast to journey through the varying teas the company offers and potentially to extend one’s palate.  Commonly, a novice tea drinker with a limited palate for tea begins with drinking blends (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast and alike).  This pack is ideal for such a drinker who wishes to extend beyond the realms of the supermarket grocery store bought teabags he or she currents drinks and to improve and broaden his or her palate.  And SereniTEA offers good quality conventional tea.

Macarons by 180 C Cupcakes

Macarons by 180 C Cupcakes

At the 180 C Cupcakes stand, we tasted the chilli chocolate macaron, the green tea macaron, and the chocolate fudge cupcake.  The macarons were well made (the biscuit part itself was a lovely crusty and crunchy exterior with a chewy centre).  The chocolate chilli was an exquisite thick chocolate chewy fudge and had a delicious sugary taste with bite as the chilli part hit you after you swallowed.  A real delight and tasting journey!  The green tea was more savoury in flavour and more of an acquired taste as green tea often is.  However, it too was delightful with a good balance of the sweet and savoury…the cupcake, was a nice ordinary chocolate cupcake.

Soaps by High Tea in a Bath

Soaps by High Tea in a Bath

The High Tea in the Bath stand offered patrons the most innovative products there with their deliciously aromatic and skillfully crafted soaps in the guise of cupcakes and slices of cakes.  Indeed, these soaps looked so amazing and were so well crafted you would be excused for believing they were actually food rather than soaps!  (We had to check!).

Best...cupcake...ever!

Best…cupcake…ever!

Admittedly, we aren’t cupcake specialist nor reviewers, however, the strawberry cupcake I purchased from the Tutto stand was, without fail, the best cupcake I have ever had the pleasure, nay, privilege, of tasting. O…M…G..!  So moist, so fresh, a balanced fusion of vanilla pound cake with strawberry through it.  And the icing well, it really was the icing on the cake (pun intended!).  This icing had an exquisite fresh strawberry taste, and it was dense in texture but yet dually fluffy and aerated.   A real highlight and this cupcake would be well accompanied with a good strong black tea from china, perhaps a well blended earl grey tea, or, for the coffee drinkers, a light and smooth coffee (perhaps a robusta bean coffee or a blend, and a milk coffee, eg/ a latte with robusta beans) so the coffee does not overpower the cupcake but rather  compliment it.

Darren Purchese!!!

Darren Purchese!!!

At the Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio stand I drooled over their cake pops and meet the absolutely delightful, charming and humble Darren Purchese (what a treat!).

Niccolo coffee beans

Niccolo coffee beans

Cacaoa Fine Chocolates & Patisserie (coffee).  This coffee, Niccolo,  is one of my favourite blends for milk coffees: Its balanced fusion of Arabica and Robusta beans (85/15) results in a creamy and smooth coffee with that Arabica ‘zing’.  And Cacaoa must be congratulated for its great contribution to the macaron craze that has hit Melbourne in recent times…as for their chocolates, well where do we begin!

 (* We know it’s a lot of calories galore on offer, but tooo tempting…and we gave into temptation!)

Cacaoa's Macarons & Chocolates

Cacaoa’s Macarons & Chocolates

One drawback and criticism I have, however, was that you had to pre-purchase ‘crowns’ (the festival’s currency where $1 = 1 crown).  I never have liked this idea and do not really understand the purpose of events that create their own currency (it is with the ideal that people who pre-purchase this currency actually attend?).  It just gets all fiddly and complicated.  Seriously, ‘cash is king’ and indeed the majority of exhibitors accepted cash.    In fact, those exhibitors who only accepted crowns missed out on our patronage as well as others who had not purchased crowns.

Despite this, the Taste of Melbourne was a magnificent experience.  This festival truly was a delight to all of our senses, tastes and styles.  It was a great mix of the ‘big guns’ (well-known and established brands) as well as smaller artisan boutique operators.  A feast for all of the foodie’s senses, this festival did not disappoint and we had a swell time sampling the professionally crafted products on offer.  Highly recommend it.

Taste Of Melbourne - Event Review, reviewed by Admin on 2013-03-03T23:01:29+00:00 rating 3.3 out of 3

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3.3/3


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