Sunday, 22 June 2008

Sisters Who Love Food

It's that time of year again, the time when my sister Adele and I head out to the Good Food and Wine Show. It's our Special Day and woe betide anything or anyone trying to get between us and our day out. Last year, we had a gripe with Donna Hay. This year, we took issue with a certain Scottish chef, but more on that later.

Last year, I headed off in the rain the day before the event and this year, it began to rain as Sean and I headed up the Federal Highway. Anyone would think June is a wet month in Canberra.

But we made it safely to Sydney on Friday night in plenty of time for me to give Willem his new mittens before bedtime. Once we established the the 'surprise' wasn't a toy, the smart boy figured out it was something 'knitted' - because that's what Aunty Bells does!

He loved them and quite surprisingly to me, turned them immediately into puppets who spoke and sang and danced! I didn't expect that! Apparently it was obvious to his parents what was going to happen.

The next day, Sydney turned on some fabulous sunshine. This was our view from the queue, which, we soon learned, was not the right queue. It snaked out into the grounds outside the Entertainment Centre and was in fact the queue to get in to see Gordon Ramsay!

So we headed off in search of the right queue. Three queues later, we got the right one. Would it hurt the organisers to put a sign up saying something like, oh I don't know, 'Good Food And Wine Show Entrance'?

Still we were smiling because we were there.

Our issue with Gordon Ramsay, who we didn't see in any of his performances, was that it seemed our beloved show is not so intimate anymore. When we first went, you could arrive a bit before ten, line up in a sensible and not in the least bit daunting queue, have the place more or less to yourself for a few hours and disappear after lunch when the crowds arrived. Now, it seems people are onto our scheme and many of them, we guessed, were there to see 'the guy who swears on TV and gets noticed in parliament for it.' Not for the food and the experience.

Now, I like Gordon Ramsay. Some friends recently talked me into watching him and I decided he was not the arrogant jerk I'd imagined but in fact a bit of a handsome rogue. But I'd want to go and see him cook at the show. I wouldn't want to go just because he says the F word 80 times in one episode. From things we overheard in the lines, it seemed that people were keen to see him just because he's a super famous chef. And as a result, the place was insane.

Anyway, rant over. The show was fun. We saw pretty things.

We ate and drank a lot of goodies.

That's Adele's very likeable buddy David who hung with us for a bit and was more interested in tasting wine with me than Adele was. After this, Adele vanished and David asked where she was. I guessed she was off eating chocolate. I was right.

We went to a performance by Jamie Oliver's man on the ground in Australia, Toby Puttock (who only mentioned Jamie twice; we were counting). He did stuff with squid ink. We got the sense the audience wasn't quite into that idea.

And finally, it was time to go. By around 1:30, it was impossible to move. You almost wish they could stagger entrance times because really, what's the point of just passing by stalls in a sea of people and not having the chance to actually talk to people about their produce? You don't get to taste anything by then, much less actually find out what it is. Sad, really. I imagine if we turned up late, we'd be horrifically underwhelmed by the experience.

Nonetheless, we had a marvellous time and I imagine we'll queue up to do it all again next year because we love it.

And because when I go there, I get to buy some olive oil that has come to be known by Sean and I as our 'honeymoon olive oil.' We honeymooned in 2004 in the Hunter Valley and came home with a bottle of Pukara Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We loved it and I have bought a bottle every year at the show since when I come across the stall for Pukara Estate. Lovely, lovely stuff.