We decided to go on the Sunday session, because I liked the crowd (not so good for photo blogging, so please bear with my crappy photo framing). Although it seemed like it was crowded than last year, this year's exhibition stands were well apart with plenty of room for traffic flow and it also provided a bigger celebrity chef theatre.
There were a few familiar stands returning to the show, like the ever popular Luv-A-Duck, Mahogany Creek, the Bratwurst Hut, Turban Chopsticks, Chilli Salt, etc. We also noticed there were quite a few new and interesting stands offering excellent products.
|Staff at Turban Chopstick working hard to feed the hungry crowds with food samples|
|Dare to try all of his Chilli sauces and condiments?|
My friends and I tried his hottest chilli condiment and it burnt our tongues so bad that we needed a few glasses of cider to cool down. If you were a chilli wuss, I suggest you avoid trying anything from this stand (with the exception of chilli salt with chips, they were good!).
|Variety of award winning flavoured extra virgin olive oil at Pukara Estate|
|Founder of Pukara Estate - Bruce, trying to put on a funny face|
As we were tasting a bit of cider and a bit of food, we came across Pukara Estate's stand. There were award-winning flavoured olive oil for sampling and ranges of premium flavoured balsamic vinegar as well. A few standouts were their Premium Robust E.V.O.O.(Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Garlic E.V.O.O., Wasabi E.V.O.O., Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar, Red White Liquer Balsamic Vinegar and their new Guava Flavoured Balsamic Vinegar. These premium products didn't come cheap. Olive oil was $16 per bottle and balsamic vinegar was $22 per bottle. We bought 3 bottles for $50 (show special price).
|Boscastle Pies $7 for 4 mini pies|
|Selection of hot chocolate for sampling from Crema Gourmet Coffee Roasters|
|Regal King Salmon|
Regal King Salmon, a new exhibitor showcasing New Zealand King Salmon. Unlike other smoked salmon brands that have this overly salty and fishy after taste that we all accustomed to (which are from Tasmania or Norway), theirs were salted to perfection and smelt fresh. They also managed to retain the glorious salmon flavor. I liked it!
|Would you like one of these lovely smoke machines from Bradley Smoker?|
One of the highlights of this year's show was Malaysia Kitchen. Two kitchen stands were set up. They proved to be favorite stands of the crowd, as there was always a constant stream of people queuing up for delicious Malaysian food samples from Malaysian restaurants in Perth. We were lucky enough to have tried three different dishes that day, which was Rendang by Makan-makan Cafe, Chicken Curry from Curry on Lord, and a Fish and Lemongrass curry.
|Kitchen stand 1, giving out food sample every hour|
The second stand was a demonstration kitchen, which a cooking demo on various Malaysian delicacies was performed every 2 hours. Remember Alvin from Masterchef season 2? He was one of the ambassadors for Malaysian Tourism and was also a cooking demonstrator in this year's show. The splendid aroma filled up every space in the exhibition hall.
|Alvin from Masterchef season 2 performed live at Perth's GFWS|
Another newbie to the show this year was Jean Pierre Sancho. An array of delightful and mouthwatering pastries and breads were on offer at this French stall. A display fridge full of colourful macarons beautifully decorated the venue, making the stall almost the center of attention. It was almost eye candy-like to participant in this show. We bought a vanilla macaron and a jaffa macaron. Personally, I preferred jaffa flavor over vanilla flavored macaron.
|Macaron flowers, just for display though!|
Just like every other year, a WA Food Pavilion was set up to showcase WA's freshest produces. When we walked past the pavilion, all we could smell was the wonderful BBQ aroma from Harvey Beef, Mt Barker Turkey, Linley Valley Pork, The Bratwurst Hut and Mondos Butcher.
|Steak Sandwich and Chips from Harvey Beef for $10|
There was no sampling here at these stalls. Instead, if we liked to try, we had to pay for a meal. I would much prefer to have tried the meat before buying them. After all, for all the money people paid to get in the show, I'd expected more food sampling than having to pay more. I thought Food & Wine show was about showcasing great produce and educating the masses. In this instance, the tunnel to educating people about importance of good quality produce was narrowed down, which was unfortunately a little downside of this show.
|Linley Valley Pork Burger $8|
Having said that, I got myself a Linley Valley Pork Burger towards the end of the show to fill up my otherwise boozed up stomach. Although messiness was caused by sauces dripping everywhere, the pork was juicy, tender and flavorsome. If only the bun was a toasted gourmet Turkish bun (just like Jus Burger's), I would have enjoy it even more.
|Pork Burger got it for $5, 15mins before the show ends.|
Another highlight of the show was the increase presence of coffee exhibition. Among them, Nespresso stood out as one of the most popular stands. Crowd gathered around to experience the latest coffee trend on the market. We could choose our choice of Nespresso Coffee Capsule and were opened to all options or preferences to our coffees (strong or mild, with or without milk, just like normal espresso bar minus the chunky machine). It was a pretty functional and practical fully automatic coffee machine on the market available to coffee connoisseur, who didn't have time to go through all fine processes to produce a fine cup of golden mixture of caffeine and milky nectar. Having said that, I would much preferred using a manual espresso machine, as I'd always enjoyed trying out different varieties of coffee beans that local boutique cafes offered.
|Nespresso stand attracted unbelievable amount of show goers.|
Apart from Nespresso, there were also other coffee aspects featured in this show. However, I wish there were more coffee education element added to the show, such as coffee cupping or different ways of brewing a cuppa or more participation of local coffee roasters.
|Rekorderlig Cider - sweet Sweedish cider|
These were like the golden nectar to the palette of cider lovers. They were so good! There were more cider for tasting this year ad Rekorderlig was one of them. There were also ciders from England for tasting and our local Perth hills cider - Core Cider. I loved cider myself and I thought it was often overshadowed by beer and wine.
|Inner Bystander's Moscato|
Returning to this year's show, Inner Bystander brought in moscato in a keg. We bought 2 bottles last year and absolutely loved it. This year I was tempted to buy the keg home! How could one not be tempted to bring home a PINK KEG full of sparkly Moscato!
|Celebrity Chef Theater - Matt Moran and his apprentice.|
We also attended Matt Moran's masterclass at the Celebrity Chef Theater. Last year, he dissected a lamb and this year he showed us how to fillet a whole salmon and different ways of preparing salmon. It was an interesting and educating class; though not as funny or crazy as George and Gary.
|Wine taste at Riedel Wine Theatre - Dinner for Eight|
After all the food, cider and wine we sampled, we queued up for a wine tasting class at the Riedel Wine Theatre. The queue was enormous as everyone was trying to get a spot to learn from the wine guru in the country. Having said that, we were the last few that got a spot for tasting. We ended up sharing a seat for the 4 of us.
|Wine expert sharing their knowledge|
There were 6 glasses of premium wine pre-poured on our table, from a young riesling to a sweet semillion. The class was free and it was good for those who loved to learn more about wine tasting.
All in all, my friends and I did have an enjoyable day at the Food & Wine show this year.
However, there were some downsides:
- Most aspect of the show was the same as last year's, including celebrity chefs. Would love to see more variety of chefs apart from judges from Masterchef, perhaps Jamie Oliver or even Marco Pierre White or Thomas Keller.
- We also noticed the lack of food tasting compared to last year. Most of the food in the show needed you to fork out money, it didn't make much difference than going to a weekend market. At one point, it looked like a giant food hall.
- Some interesting food stands from last year didn't return to the show this year. I would love to try the ones that I missed out on last year.
- Comparing to the show at Melbourne and Sydney, Perth's show looked rather pathetic.
Let's just hope next year is going to be BIGGER and will come with more interactive surprises for all show goers. If not, I might have to consider flying to the east for something new.
Once again, thanks to Devahasdin for the free tickets.