Q: What do you get when you cross a perfect Spring day with a city that is in the midst of an International Food Festival?
A: A perfect Sydney Food and Wine Fair, that's what!
Believe it or not, this is the first Food and Wine Fair that I've attended, because in previous years, I've been away on holidays or the weather has been rainy and windy (not too good for outdoor events). This year, the event was calling out to me, so I made a last-minute effort. It was held on Saturday, October 31.
Before we get there, here are some pictures taken while waiting for the bus. Spring has definitely sprung, and it's good to know that my council rates are going towards the upkeep of the local floral displays. Aren't they gorgeous, especially the jacaranda trees in the church where Balmain markets are held.
I finally arrived at north Hyde Park, where the Fair was on, and it seemed that many others had the same idea as me - to see what food and drink was on. The Fair was like a more civilised version of the Night Noodle Markets in that the queues at the food stalls were fairly short, maybe because I arrived at 1.30pm, and the food was supposed to be on from 12-2pm.
They use the coupon system for paying for the food, with each coupon worth $3 though they come in sheets of five. So, armed with my 5 coupons, I toured the stalls looking for something tasty.
The stalls are quite spread out, from the Macquarie Street end of the park down to past the fountain. You can sit on the grass or on provided seating, though on a great day like Saturday, the grassed areas were popular. Also popular was the Ben and Jerry's ice cream van, because they were giving out free ice creams - the queue for it was the longest of them all!
There were even tables set up around the Archibald Fountain, though you may have gotten sprayed by water when the breeze swung around.
Some of the stalls had run out of food when I got there, though some were still serving after 2pm. Restaurants like Quay, Longrain, Ocean Room and Jonah's were represented, serving mini-dishes that cost 3 to 4 coupons each.
I scored a delicious sausage sandwich from Brasserie Bread (2 coupons). The bread was lovely, as was the salad which included red slaw and walnuts.
Some stalls served desserts (2 coupons), though I didn't have enough coupons to get anything... I had spent another 2 of my coupons on a Vogue Entertaining showbag which, it eventuated, contained a back issue of the magazine that I already had.... things that make you go 'hmmmm...'.
By this time, I'd finished my sandwich and walked around the park a couple of times. I had one coupon left, enough for a piece of Rocky Road from Bondi's Brown Sugar. It was a sweet way to end my quick tour of duty at the Food and Wine Fair.
This was also the final event of the Sydney International Food Festival, and by most accounts, a successful month all round.