A great Sunday morning visit to the 2014 Canberra Food and Wine Expo. I enjoyed this so much more than the multicultural festival as there weren’t the crowds and there was room to move around. Plus and perhaps more importantly, there were lots of tastings available.
My friend and I arrived pretty early so wine tasting was not on the agenda for the first round of stalls. But there was lots of lovely food to try and taste whilst I woke up with my first coffee for the morning. There were a lot of stalls selling relishes, flavoured olive oils and other condiments. Some great flavours including harissa, lime infused olive oil and chipotle mayonnaise. But I tend not to buy these items as I find that as a single cook I just don’t use enough of them over a period of time. They are just a bit too specific for every day cooking.
I did consider buying the harissa but at nearly $15 a jar it just seemed a bit too expensive, especially given the amazing looking harissa recipe posted on half baked harvest the other day: http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/homemade-harissa-spicy-red-pepper-sauce/.
My favourite taste for the day was the chilli chocolate from Robyn Rowe’s Chocolate http://www.robynrowechocolates.com.au/Our-Chocolate. I bought a chilli chocolate and an orange crème chocolate (both in dark chocolate) to have with my coffee. The orange crème chocolate was pretty good but not fabulous. I love the combination of chocolate and orange but prefer it with the orange infused through the chocolate as a puree rather than with a crème centre. Growing up, my favourite chocolate was from a Terry’s chocolate orange and whilst I have broadened my chocolate eating horizons, I do still like these.
However the chilli chocolate was just beautiful. The chilli taste developed as you at the chocolate and left a lovely taste in your mouth at the end. I am a huge fan of chilli in chocolate and this was a very good example of how to do it right. The chocolates have just received fairtrade certification so you can feel you are doing some good whilst indulging.
It was great to see lovely producers such as Robyn Rowe at the expo and I would have liked to have seen more and inn particular, Lindsay and Edmunds, another fabulous Canberra chocolate maker. It would have given me an opportunity to compare chocolates – such important work. I managed to find some chocolate coffee beans to taste from the Byron Bay coffee company. I bought a packet but think I will give them to my Dad. I find them way to addictive to have in the house.
I also enjoyed having some biltong again from the Biltong Man. Biltong is a dried meat, a bit like jerky that is found mainly in South Africa and Namibia (and probably other places that I am completely unaware of). I lived in Namibia for a while and got hooked on biltong and used to take it on car trips instead of lollies. It has to taste great for me to swap sugar for protein. The biltong was quite good. But it was beef and I really like the biltong based on game. No so politically correct I know but just so much more flavour. I succumbed though and bought some drywors which is a sausage version.
My other purchases included some green tea with ginger and a chai latte mix – both for my Mum. This was the first time I tried chai latte and it was much nicer than I thought it would be. I had always found the idea of milk and spices a bit off putting. But the cinnamon chai from Bondi Chai Latte was a lovely balance and not too sweet.
Once the day had progressed, I tried some local and not so local wine. Found a great pinot gris from Tallagandra Hill winery which is near Canberra. I hadn’t hear of them and they have a café at the winery so a place to add to the list of cafes to try near Canberra. I also tasted some delicious apple cider from Spreyton Cider, a Tassie company. It was a traditional cider so not as sweet as some you can buy now. I prefer these drier ciders, especially on a hot day when the sweet ciders can seem a bit sickly sweet.
There were also some good cheese stalls and I had a great bockwurst for lunch. We had a good chat to a guy running Italian tours where you eat and drink as well as sometimes viewing the landscape that sounded great. There were some non food stalls which seemed out of place such as the massage chair stall and one or two kitchen equipment stalls. I would have liked to have seen more equipment suppliers and some stalls specialising in bread.
But all in all a great way to spend some time and try some new tastes.
I have not received any compensation from the brands mentioned above aside from free tastings that were available to all who attended the food and wine expo.