Taste of Melbourne, 2011

Being a Taste of Melbourne virgin, I felt it was an absolute necessity to attend this year… and not only once, but twice! Taste of Melbourne is a festival where restaurants and other food and alcohol producers exhibit their goodies! There are food demonstrations by some of Melbourne’s most renowned chefs, food and wine tastings by a range of producers, an abundance of exhibitors selling almost anything and everything food related, and not to mention copious amounts of free samples, yes people, I said FREE samples. Tickets range from $25 to $125, allowing entry into the event as well as additional perks such as VIP entry and access to the exclusive VIP lounge (if you’re willing to pay the extra, of course).

Royal Exhibition Building @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

This year I managed to score cheap tickets to the opening night for my partner and I, as well as an early bird special for any other session with 30 crowns inclusive of the price. Crowns are the festival’s currency (1 crown = $1) which come in booklets of either $10, $30, or $50 with each ‘coupon’ equalling two crowns. While you can pre-purchase crowns, I would suggest holding out until you actually get to the event as there are plenty of staff walking around with portable eftpos machines selling crowns as well as booths where you can purchase them.

Anyway, moving on to the actual fun stuff ;) I took a ridiculous amount of photos, and had a hard time cutting down on them, so I figured I would put them in and let them speak for themselves (apart from a few funny stories). So, enjoy! :)

Day 1: Gala Night, Thursday 15th September, 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Sher Wagyu Meatballs @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Mezzo & Mister Bianco: Sher Wagyu meatballs, Sicilian cous cous & salted ricotta, 10 crowns.

I really enjoyed this dish! The meatballs weren’t heavy and the salted ricotta was delicious!

Truffle Salt @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Truffle Salt from Murray River Gourmet. 

Tobie Puttock and Me @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Toby Puttock and me outside The Kitchen Cat’s booth.

I said to Cam as soon as we got there: ‘Ok, mission number 1 is to find Toby Puttock and get a photo with him!’. After rushing over to The Kitchen Cat we spotted him on a mission but I quickly jumped at the opportunity to get a quick photo! He was very friendly and polite and was more than happy to have his photo taken with me! I was stoked :) Top guy, definitely going to The Kitchen Cat soon!

Pasta Frolla @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

The Kitchen Cat: Pasta frolla with Giorgio’s mozzarella, black olives, fresh oregano and Victoria cold pressed olive oil, 8 crowns.

Yarra Valley Smokehouse @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Yarra Valley Smokehouse.

Smoked Goods @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Their chicken kabana and smoked chicken was SO good. We would’ve bought the entire place had we not worried the meat would spoil by the time we got home. We did come back at the end of the night to buy some chicken kabana though, and we will most definitely be taking a trip to their butcher’s store soon :)

Macarons @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Macarons from Shocolate.

KFC @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

St Katherine’s: KFC ‘St Katherine’s fried Lilydale chicken’ BBQ sauce, 12 crowns.

This was definitely our favourite dish for the night – I heard some mixed opinions on it, but it was delicious and good value considering how small the portion sizes were at a lot of other restaurants on the night.

Shane Delia and Me @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Shane Delia and me outside St Katherine’s.

After scoffing down the KFC I was lucky enough to get a quick photo with Shane Delia! He was also extremely friendly, I didn’t see him without a huge grin on his face during the various times I spotted him throughout the night! I was pretty happy at this stage that the chefs were willing to chat and have photos with the public, it’s definitely great publicity and makes people love them even more! Haha.

Goodies from Mahjong Black @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

All three dishes from Mahjong Black.

Peking Duck wraps @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Peking Duck Wrap from Mahjong Black, 10 crowns.

Macaron Tower @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Macaron Tower at LuxBite.

Tarts @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

 PB&J Popcorn Tart & Lemon Meringue Tart from LuxBite.

Chocolate Tarts @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

 Chocolate Tarts from LuxBite.

Time for some cocktails? I think so!

Cocktails @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Charismatic Staff @ Longrain Bar

Ping Pong @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Longrain Bar: Ping Pong – Eristoff vodka with lychees, passionfruit pulp @ a squeeze of fresh lime, 12 crowns.

Acapulco Gold @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Longrain Bar: Acapulco Gold – Cazadores tequila over crushed chunks of lemon & lime with chilli, vanilla & citrus soda, 12 crowns.

Pistachio Panna Cotta @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Sarti: ‘Pistachio Panna Cotta’ with caramel salted popcorn, 10 crowns.

Wine tasting? OK!

Wine Tasting @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Tasting different Prosecco’s from the King Valley Prosecco Road.

Toby Puttock @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Tobie Puttock’s cooking demonstration, cooking ricotta gnocci with broadbeans and speck.

Great way to finish off the night, although he managed to make us hungry again! :P We got front row, middle seats ;) woohoo.

Broad Bean @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

A broad bean..

Why is Cam holding a broad bean, you ask? Well Tobie was explaining how to clean them, and decided to give one to Cam to take home and try himself ;) funny he hates broad beans, although I’m sure I’ll find something to do with it, hehe!

The Botanical Wagyu Beef Burger @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

The Botanical: Wagyu Beef Burger, 12 crowns.

Definitely our least favorite dish for the night. After rushing upstairs 10 mins before closing time to try to get one of these burgers, we had to wait for at least 5 minutes (which was fine as it was the end of the day and they were making them to order) only to get this unappealing, poorly constructed burger. Not sure who liked these, but ummm pickled ginger? Excuse me!? Yes, this burger had pickled ginger in it – YUCK. Further dissapointment occured when I saw this burger appearing in other blog posts (and on my second visit to Taste) looking much better constructed with TWO beef paddies. Talk about ripped off, not happy Botanical, not happy!

Day 2: Session 4 – Saturday 17th September, 12pm – 4pm.

I went with my best friend, her sister in-law, and mum on my second trip to Taste. Girls day out, woohoo!

Macarons @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Macarons from Shocolate.

After regretting not purchasing some Macarons on the Thursday night, my first stop was Shocolate to grab some! From left to right, the flavours on the skewer were chocolate, (something tasty, unfortunately I can’t remember!), and salted caramel. Yum!

Turkish Lamb Dumplings @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

St Katherine’s: Turkish lamb dumplings, garlic yoghurt, sumac, dried fruit, 10 crowns.

I tried a little bit of this dish and wow do I wish I had have bought a whole one! Sooo good. I also had the KFC again ;)

George & Manu @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Celebrity chef spotting!  Manu and George. No idea what George’s face is in response to, though! Haha!

Made Establishment Photo @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

All of a sudden all of the chefs were rushing out of St Katherine’s for a corporate photo, initially I was right in behind them trying to photobomb, but after feeling left out I decided to take a behind shot! Who can you spot in this photo? ;)

George Calombaris and Me @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

George Calombaris and me outside St Katherine’s.

Hang on a minute.. Who’s that in the background…?!

Josh Thomas @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Why, it’s Josh Thomas! He looked like he was enjoying his KFC ;)

Rekorderlig Cider @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Rekorderlig Cider, 6 crowns (for a stingy half-full plastic cup’s worth).

Choc Delice-ouse Tart @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Choc Delice-ouse Tart from LuxBite.

Again, regret for not buying something from LuxBite on the Thursday night! My posse bought these and I was lucky to have a generous sample.

Lemon Meringue Tart @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

 Lemon Meringue Tart from LuxBite.

Ping Pong #2 @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Longrain Bar: Ping Pong (had to get this again!).

Jindi Cheese @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Jindi cheese tasting.

ALL of that cheese for our small table… For free! The blue was amazing, I wasn’t suprised to find out that it’s ranked the best blue cheese in the world.

Wild Dog Wines @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Wild Dog Wines.

Ian Curley and Me @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

 Ian Curley and me outside European.

Justin North @ Taste of Melbourne 2011

Justin North performing a cooking demonstration.

A hint of advice, I’d suggest buying a small amount of crowns to begin with, and keep your cash handy, as the restaurants only accept crowns for their food, but a lot of the other exhibitors will accept either cash or crowns, with some only accepting cash. Why would they not accept the official currency of the event, you may wonder? Well I wondered this too, and was a bit frustrated at first as I had exchanged all of my cash for crowns (and you can’t reverse the transfer to get your cash back, either), but a small-scale exhibitor explained to me that as their produce wasn’t very costly, accepting crowns would cut into their profit margin as the event takes a cut of the crowns, but not cash – so they would rather accept cash so they get to keep all of the money they made. Seems fair enough, although it can be annoying if you are unprepared for this! I had a great time this year at Taste of Melbourne, and will most likely return next year. I highly suggest you get your hands on as many free events and samples as you can to make the entry cost worth while. I don’t think the standard rate of $25 is that bad though if you make it worth your while.

Royal Exhibition Building
9 Nicholson St
Carlton, VIC

20 comments to Taste of Melbourne, 2011

  • Very cute photos of you! You remind me of Marion from Masterchef! :)

    • Bink

      Hahaha! Thanks Lorraine :P Not the most flattering photos of me ever, but hey, there’s a reason why I’m the one with the camera for 99.9% of the time :P Perhaps I have now found my doppelgänger? Hehe

  • Haha you’re so cute – great pics with all the chefs. Good chef stalking! ;)

    • Bink

      Hahaha, thanks! When I was writing it up I was thinking ‘oooh, all of the bloggers reading this are going to think I’m about 14 years old with a silly crush on celebrities and roll their eyes at me’! But it was just so novel to me :P I felt like a little girl running up and asking for photos with them, hah!

  • Score! So many great photos with the different chefs! :) I was like that earlier on in the year at the Good Food & Wine show!!

    Given that you like Tobie so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if you brought home the broad bean and framed it!! hehe

    • Bink

      Ahahahaha, April! Well we did bring the broad bean home, but as it is perishable we decided not to frame it :P Perhaps we could preserve it? We’re actually thinking of planting the beans LOL, the plant can be named Tobie! :P Just kidding!

  • Wow looks like you had a great time! hehe love ping pong & redkorderlig!!
    i have to agree with Lorraine, you reminded me a bit of Marion as well!

    • Bink

      It was certainly a fun two sessions :) You’ve just got to make the most of the freebies and get into the spirit, I guess (free alcohol helps there, haha)! :P And how funny, maybe I can try to get into some swanky places pretending to be her ;) haha.

  • You’re too cute :) I love your top lol!! Looks like you had an awesome day even if you didnt get to photobomb the chefs ;)

  • Hahaha.. look at you! Proud as punch with all those chefs :) Yayy!!

  • How good were the drinks at Longrain- seriously!LOoks like you had a ball!

    • Bink

      I know, they were so good! The only negative about them was that they put way too much ice in with the drink – making it not really worth the price you paid considering the minimal quantity, but oh well, that’s the nature of these kinds of events I guess :P

  • Wow!!! I would have had to go twice too. So much delicious food, so many great people to spot and have your photo taken with, fantastic!

    Hehe, Georges face! Obviously the wind changed :)

    • Bink

      SO much food! And there was so much that I didn’t even get to try – simply couldn’t fit it in (damn stomach capacity;))!

      Hahahaha, yes, the wind clearly changed! :P

  • oh look at you, meeting all the big wigs :P

    I regret not getting a macaron skewer, but I was bursting at the seems!

  • Yo, I was a Taste virgin for this year’s event too! I like your coverage and you’re so lucky you got to meet/take pictures with so many of the chefs! I went on the Friday arvo and most of them weren’t around sigh. Looking at this, I can’t believe I didn’t get a single drink at all that day! TOOOOTALLY missed out. Gotta go again next year to try more cocktails this time! =D

    • Bink

      Thanks for the comment, Winston :D Haha I’m not afraid to ask for photos and stalk the chefs ;) Shame on you for not having a single drink! On the second day I was there I tried soooooo many wines (free tastings), and had more cocktails and cider, yum! Although to be honest I didn’t enjoy any of the wines I tasted… Very odd as I love my wine! Definitely go again next year :) I can’t wait for the Melbourne Food and Wine festival, too! It’s going to be massive as it’s their anniversary, whoo! Come on celebrity chefs! :P hahaha.

Leave a Reply