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Perth Good Food & Wine Show 2010

July 7, 2010 · 46 comments

We interrupt this broadcast of painstakingly slowly eked out overseas posts to bring you a Good Food & Wine Show bulletin.

The Good Food & Wine Show hit Perth last weekend and saw thousands having a quiet word with their livers, polishing their elbows and battling the crowds to check out what is new and exciting in the world of food and wine.

I was lucky to receive free tickets to the event, and joined the masses with my friend S on Sunday, walking down to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from my house in a futile attempt to get ourselves into a negative calorie state before taking full advantage of all of the samples. After arriving and cursing winter as our outside coats filled up the bags we were planning to fill with products, we went down to the box office to secure seats in the Celebrity Theatre (included in your ticket price). Bitterly disappointed that Manu Feildel wasn’t on the menu that day, we consoled ourselves with tickets to see Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.

After a backtrack to the entrance to buy glasses once we realised that they were necessary to partake in any wine tastings (and being scoffed at when we questioned whether we would need the proof of age wristbands offered at the information stall) we then proceeded to work our way methodically through the stalls. What followed was a few hours of tasting some fantastic wines and foods, interspersed with periods of feeling tipsy and focusing more on the cheese and carbs, then getting stuck back into the wines (so, erm, please forgive some of the less-than-sharp photos in this post).

Australian Harvest Horseradish Mustard

S and I both really loved this Australian Harvest horseradish mustard. It wasn’t shy on the bite, and I think it would be great with salmon, mixed through mashed potatoes or just to spice up a toasted sanger.

Yarra Valley Dairy cheeses

Yarra Valley dairy had two goat cheeses that interested us for different reasons. The first one we tried was called Gentle Goat, and was a fresh cheese that was very mild in flavour and S suggested it would be perfect to serve to people who weren’t very big on goats’ cheese. The second cheese, Black Savourine, was a semi-matured cheese coated in ash, and had a gorgeous tart flavour just perfect for goats’ cheese fiends such as us.

Pukara Estate Olive Oils

The Pukara Estate Premium olive oil was the first one of the day that I enjoyed. It seems I am a little special in my olive oil preferences, as I don’t enjoy the grassy, green tasting oils that most other people seem to fall over themselves about. I think this means I prefer later harvest oils. What this says about my personality I am unsure.

Bio Burger from Nicholson Fine Foods

We arrived at the Nicholson Fine Foods stall just after a Bio Burger had come hot off the pan, so we got stabbing with the toothpicks and had a few pieces each. I am easily excited by burger ideas for the non beefeater, and this one looks and tastes like a winner. Made from a blend of dried peas, beans, lentils, vegetables, spices and herbs, it was similar in taste to falafel and would be great in a burger, stuffed into things like capsicum, or even to bulk up meat burger patties. Not sure how much it costs, and although I like to make things from scratch I think this would be perfect for a quick tasty midweek dinner.

Cambinata Yabbies

I’ve often wondered what Cambinata yabbies are like as I eyed them off in food stores, but I’ve always baulked at the price. To demonstrate why they cost so much, the friendly Cambinata yabby lady showed us a fetching lifesize golden yabby, which completely dwarfed the tiny tails in the jars. The meat yield per yabby is very small, especially as the claw meat is apparently not really used, and this combined with the processing required results in the high cost per gram.

S and I bought a little jar of the yabby tails with lemon to sup on while watching Gary and George later in the celebrity theatre. We also got a little celebrity action at the yabby stall, as I recognised one of the men there as being from an ABC show that aired a few years ago. It involved bringing a group of women out from the UK, and introducing them and some local girls to a number of West Australian farmers in an effort to help them find love. From memory I think this particular farmer was lucky in love, but I didn’t spy the girl from the show in the stall so perhaps the yabby life wasn’t for her after all.

Jack Link's Beef Snacks

The woman at the Jack Link’s stall almost made me wish I ate beef. Imagine how happy she would look if you bought some of the ambiguously named “snacks”!

Coles biccies and Bannister Downs milk

I found it a little difficult to get overly excited about Coles brand biscuits (though in fairness I haven’t tried them), but I was happy to see Bannister Downs milk products at the Coles stall as well as I wasn’t aware that Coles stocked them. I rarely use milk at home except when cooking, but they produce some lovely milk – apparently due to their lower, slower pasteurisation technique when compared to the big boys. Their packaging is also made of Ecolean, which is a much more ecologically sound material than standard milk packaging and can even be safely burnt as it produces no toxic fumes (yes, I tested this when I first learnt about it).

Playboy Energy Drink stall

We didn’t think we were part of the Playboy Energy Drink stall demographic and so left them to their good work.

Yerba Maté teas at the El Asador stall

My recent trip back to Montreal reminded me about Yerba Maté tea, which I first discovered a couple of years ago at my favourite restaurant there (soon to be written about!) and enjoyed numerous times before moving back to Australia and promptly forgetting all about it. I bought myself a pack of the orange infused Yerba Maté from the El Asador stall and have placed it next to my kettle so I can’t forget about it for another few years. Soon I will need some sort of tea organisation system as the area around my kettle is getting a little out of hand.

Fremantle Sardine Company

As soon as I spied the Fremantle Sardine Company stall I cried out “Ooh! Sardines!” and instantly a girl appeared in front of me with a plate of freshly cooked crumbed sardines with the ubiquitous pile of toothpicks. I wish my cries for sardines were always so readily met. After giving my toothpick a good workout I also bought a container of their marinated sardine fillets for later consumption.

Gary and George in the Celebrity Theatre

Before we knew it it was time to get ourselves down to the Celebrity Theatre to watch Gary and George. After sitting through an audience participation game with an excruciating MC, the two MasterChef men came out on stage and shared Rob Sitch’s recent sendup of George with us before making a few dishes and being generally quite entertaining, though also somewhat irritating with the use of such words as “raviolis”. They also did their best to spruik the pizza oven and Thermomix they were using, though it was a little hard to get on the respective bandwagons when they used the former to burn multiple loaves of bread, and the latter to just blend some things.

Why yes, I would love some Crocs with my cheese!

These type of shows always have a number of WTF stalls that don’t really seem to fit in with the others. The Good Food & Wine Show is no exception, and we found ourselves bemused at the people wasting valuable eating and drinking time trying on Crocs and shawls, though I guess they may be useful to wear in the kitchen if you often find yourself spilling food on your feet and unable to enjoy your dinner due to chills in the shoulder region. There were no less than three Shin’s Bio-Health stalls – handy for those going through punishing puff pastry rolling sessions or post self-flagellation due to multiple failed macaron attempts. It was quite entertaining to watch people trying out the fat shaky machine things, though perhaps not as entertaining as watching the lycra-clad men on the demonstration video they were screening.

Heading in to try some of the Barossa wines

Although we only managed to taste a handful of the dozens and dozens of wines on offer at the show, we came across a number that took our fancy. Why I didn’t write them down I don’t know, but some of the ones I can remember are the Magella Wines Shiraz and “The Musician”, the 2007 Dead Arm Shiraz by d’Arenburg (which I was particularly keen to try as I bought the 2005 Dead Arm when my Goddaughter was born for her mum to hide away until she’s old enough to enjoy it) and we were also really pleasantly surprised by the cheap and cheerful Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio.

We were keen to try one of the whites at one of the stalls in the Barossa region area, but weren’t sure if we wanted to try the Riesling or the Pinot Gris. We asked the heavily mutton-chopped man behind the stall for some information about each of them, and he took one look at us and said “What do you girls normally drink? A bit of Chardonnay?”. We did not buy his wine, and my appreciation for a good set of mutton chops is now somewhat diminished.

Mutton chop appreciation aside, and forgetting the fact that I managed to leave my glass somewhere towards the end of the day, S and I had a great time at the Good Food & Wine Show. I had heard from last year that the amount of free samples was disappointing but things must have picked up because we were eating and drinking for hours. I can recommend it for a fun day out with friends, as long as you can handle crowds without getting too homicidal, and I highly suggest that you leave the car at home to take full advantage of the wine, beer and spirits tastings on offer.

Also, congratulations again to Meggy, the winner of my Good Food & Wine Show ticket giveaway. I hope your belly was as full as ours!

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah July 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

*fans face with hand* Oh, Manu Fieldel… my very favourite RSCer… Just as well you weren’t seeing him, as I may not have been able to concentrate on the rest of you post. :D

I *just* bought myself a jar of horseradish, having for years forgotten how awesome it is. Do you think simply stirring it into mustard will work? DIY-style? I’m also with you on the sardine-love, but am very sad you didn’t spend longer at the Playboy stall. Didn’t you know I was working there, with my bunny tail and muffin top both?


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

Hannah, if anyone can MacGyver up some horseradish mustard it is you! Doing it in a Smurf Kitchen can only make it work better.

Goddammit, I thought I recognised one of those muffin tops! Actually, you just reminded me of something I forgot to tell you – you have a doppelganger working as an air hostess with United Airlines in the US. I didn’t get to see her muffin top though.


Hannah July 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

Your faith in me feels like a warm doona on a rainy day.

And oh heavens! We lived in America when I was a young thing… what if my dad was rambunctious! What if I have a half-sister? What if I’m MISSING OUT on opportunities for relatives to send me flavoured peanut butter and Vitatop muffintops?!
Hannah´s last blog post ..A Trio of Supermarket Gelati from Florence


Conor July 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I think you need to have a serious discussion with your parents. The possible ramifications for your peaceful family are far outweighed by the potential for muffintop receiving.


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite July 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Oh my Conor! I cannot think of a better way to ease your way back into blogging than the Good Food and Wine Show – what a great looking event though yes, there are a number of head-scratchingly confused stalls in there!!! Yabby tails, huh???


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

Yes Mardi, easing me back in with copious amounts of wine. ’tis the only way, and how I shall ease myself back into everything in the future.

The yabby tails were nice enough, but I think we chose poorly with the lemon flavour (guided by the nice lady).


OohLooKBel July 7, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I can’t wait for the Sydney GFWS in a few weeks – already practising the sneaky moves and ‘oh, sorry, didn’t see you there’ as I push past. That’s a great roundup from you, Conor. And those MasterChef guys really get around, don’ they?
OohLooKBel´s last blog post ..Vegetarian At least Im trying with this pasta-


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:46 am

Excellent, Bel, good to hear. You could also go in with a pram and a fake baby to mow people down who linger too long in your way.


Arwen from Hoglet K July 7, 2010 at 10:46 pm

The ash-coated goat’s cheese sounds amazing! It’s a good idea having your own glass to take around, and the milk packaging sounds environmentally friendly too. Good luck with the tea cataloguing system!


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:47 am

Oh yes Arwen it was mighty fine indeed. Luckily we can buy it around town, as it was very difficult to walk away without a big slab of it.
Thanks! It wouldn’t surprise me if IKEA had a selection of tea cataloguing systems.


Trix July 8, 2010 at 1:44 am

Lucky girl! This looks like so much fun … I fear I would have it made room for waaaay too many wines though ; )


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

Getting boozed in the middle of the day is always dangerous, but for such events it simply must be done! The cheese counteracts it all though, I’m sure…


Karen Harris July 8, 2010 at 6:04 am

Now this is my idea of a fun day!


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

Karen, you can see that my cheese avoidance mode is now well and truly over. I’ll start saving up for that trip to come get arteriosclerosis with you :D


Lauren July 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

I think the guy you saw at the yabby stand who was on that ABC show is the son of the owners of the yabby company…


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

Yes I think you might be right, Lauren. I saw him in a family photo shot on their website. I did not see the girl from the show in the photo, so I fear their love was shortlived.


Iron Chef Shellie July 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

ahhhhh I love free tickets =)

We had those skanky Playboy bunnies in Melbourne too :P

I think I missed the Croc stand though.. eeek.
Iron Chef Shellie´s last blog post ..Week 34 – The Cookbook Challenge- Cream of Pumpkin Soup


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

Aren’t they the best?

It does not surprise me that the Playboy bunnies get around..


gcroft July 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

No Matt Moran??
We had a similar event in London a few weeks ago in Regent’s Park. Lucky for us, it was nice and summery. Did you have to pay for a taste of the food? We get MasterChef Oz about 9 months after it airs in Australia, so I only got to ‘know’ Gary and George earlier this year!


Conor July 9, 2010 at 7:53 am

Oh no! Sorry! No chance to give him your regards! He was in the Celebrity Theatre but not for our session. I should have hunted him down.

I was in London a few weeks ago and still cannot believe how great the weather was. Seriously. I may never return to London as I don’t think I can ever recreate the magic.

Pretty much all the tastings were free, but you could buy proper food to eat as well if you wanted.


Simply Life July 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Oh my, everything looks great- how fun!
Simply Life´s last blog post ..A Picnic in the Vineyard


Conor July 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Great way to spend a day with a hungry friend!


penny aka jeroxie July 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I went to the one in Melb. It seems like there were more processed food! Anyway, I was not too impressed with the food offerings but more so with wine… so much did I have again…


Conor July 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Yes Penny, the wine sampling far outweighed the food sampling… there was a lot of good drinking to be done. I was pretty sensible about it (soaking it up with lots of cheese, of course) but I wonder if anyone got super rowdy, heckling the chefs and running off with wheels of cheese?


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella July 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Great recap Conor! the yabby looks great and lol at Playboy stand. Were they actual bunnies from the club or girls dressed up in the outfits? And I must admit that I watched the whole George C impersonation. He got it down quite well I think! :P
Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella´s last blog post ..The Press Club Restaurant -amp Bar- Melbourne


Conor July 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Thanks Lorraine! I didn’t get close enough to assess just how authentic the bunnies were, but I suspect they were just girls pretending to be actual bunnies. Actually, if I did get close enough I’m not sure I’d know how to tell a real bunny anyway..?


Nancy/SpicieFoodie July 8, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Oh how lucky for you to have been there. All your photos look great and all that food & wine so so yummy!
Nancy/SpicieFoodie´s last blog post ..Bohemian Buckwheat with Wild Mushrooms


Conor July 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Thanks! Yes very lucky to be invited along, and glad I was able to spread the eating and drinking joy with my friend. Also glad I had some willpower and didn’t spend too much money buying things. All that drinking combined with having lots of tasty things to buy could be dangerous.


mademoiselle délicieuse July 9, 2010 at 12:00 am

Not going to the Good Food & Wine Show this year, I’m afraid. Got disillusioned last year, after attending 5 years straight, by the increase in size without increase in quality and with a decrease in sampling as you described. Last year in Sydney we too had some interesting stalls – gourmet dog biscuits, super chamois cloth thingies, floor mops and Chinese massage amongst others!
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..Epicure Recipe Card 17- Spring chicken with asparagus- peas and broad beans


Conor July 14, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Interesting you should say this. It’s hard for me to assess how it has changed given that I haven’t been before, but I’m certainly not a lover of crowds so if I saw the show going down this path you describe then I think I would be doing the same as you!

The super chamois cloth thingies weren’t Shamwows were they? That infomercial is just so bad, and yet I actually know people who own them. Didn’t even get any free steak knives thrown in.


tasteofbeirut July 9, 2010 at 3:51 am

looks like loads of fun! love the playboy girls, haha; must be fun to spend time nibbling and tasting all that glorious food.


Conor July 14, 2010 at 11:01 pm

It was! Funny how you can spend hours nibbling and never seem to get full. I think I could nibble all day long.


Lisa (BBB) July 9, 2010 at 6:45 am

ooooh I was so sad t not be able to get to Melb for this…….looks like such a great event!!


Conor July 19, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Next year, next year!


MaryMoh July 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Wow…that looks like a lot of fun! Wish there’s such an event here!
MaryMoh´s last blog post ..Best Local Fruits Of Malaysia


Conor July 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Sure was Mary! Hard not to be with so much delicious wine to be tasted.


pierre July 11, 2010 at 9:35 pm

hi conor
you are so lucky to have this kind of show !! and your comment on the Bunnies is not very nice !!!!! what kind of energy do they provide?!! Pierre
pierre´s last blog post ..Frisbee sucré- rhubarbe et fraise- espuma Ivoire-lime


Conor July 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Yes Pierre, but you are lucky to be warm so I think we’re even? I think they may provide kinetic energy…


Jenn @ defunkt gourmet July 12, 2010 at 10:19 am

Hi Conor,
WOW!!! This show sounds spectacular. Love the pics, love the commentary. WTF – Playboy NRG drinks??? It’s amazing what food/drink companies will come up with. Totally wish that our prairie city would have something even remotely, equally cool but sadly we do not. Maybe we do and I just haven’t picked up on it.
Either way, wish I could have gone cos it looks like brilliant fun and of course there’s nothing like filling your belly with good eats. ;)
Jenn @ defunkt gourmet´s last blog post ..Chocolate Beer breakfast


Conor July 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hi Jenn! I know, right? I doubt too many buyers of such drinks will be using the extra energy partying with playboy bunnies.
You know what you have to do though… come here for the next Good Food & Wine Show!


ylenate July 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for the great coverage of the food and wine show! I especially like your comments on the playboy bunnies energy drink stand. I was not able to go this year so this post has been a good substitute, albeit it without food or wine. Oh – if you want a glass, let me know, I have managed to accumulate a bundle from last year’s show.


Conor July 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

My pleasure! It’s funny how many comments those bunnies have garnered. I bet the Good Food & Wine Show was a little different to the normal places they have to spruik their wares.
I am curious as to how you managed to accumulate multiple glasses from last year… I think I may have to go along with you next year ;)


Gourmantic July 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Mardi mentioned your coverage of the Perth show (and the Playboy bunnies) on my website. I went to the Sydney show on the weekend and found it disappointing but I thought the wine component was very well done. My review wasn’t as positive as yours, as for the bunnies, they weren’t nice to people at all!
Gourmantic´s last blog post ..Good Food and Wine Show 2010


denise @ quickies on the dinner table July 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

Eeeeek!! How did I miss this??? Playboy energy drinks! Oh Lordy! ROFL You’re definitely not part of that demographic ;)

And my God, the mustard display alone would’ve been worth the price of admission for me!
denise @ quickies on the dinner table´s last blog post ..Just Pointing in the General Direction


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