Melbourne times, food & wine
In March one portion of the Bookery Cook cook took a trip to enjoy the cultural and culinary delights of Melbourne, and check out the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Unfortunately the budget didn’t cover any of the fancy dinners or cooking classes, but it did cover a few things:
Feast of Argentina Gina Catalina at La Mama Theatre, Carlton
This the adaptation of a one-woman play to include the audience being fed prior to going into the show (in leafy floral paved courtyard) and during the 5 intervals.
“La Mama’s new extended forecourt is transformed into a cantina, and as Argentina retells magical realist narratives of her life, the audience feasts on such delights as stuffed olives, jamon, seafood, chocolates and organic ice-cream. Throw in half a litre of sangria, white wine and tequila shots.” (SMH review)
Victoria market edibles
The Vic markets are always brimming with treats of the edible variety (as well as socks, leather goods and plenty of Fubu wares).If you are visiting Melbourne and planning to cook your gracious hosts a meal, if you are planning a picnic or simply want to eat bountiful amounts of marinated, pickled, ash-rolled, cured, stuffed, olive-oil laden, salty, chewy, gooey, creamy treats, Vic markets is worth a visit.
Some of the offerings:
The plan was to take the fare to the park, but due to our blatant lack of foresight our perishables were stored in art the gallery, filling the VGA cloakroom with acrid blue cheese wafts whilst we took our time browsing Ron Mueck sculptures and pondering life as a giant or a 2 ft high individual.
This lack of organisation did turn out for the best as we took to opportunity to eat our picnic while we took part in some afternoon activities of the Food and Wine Festival. In Federation Square there were daily chef demos followed by movie showings.
This particular day the film showing was ‘Black Gold‘, a documentary on the coffee trade and the gross ripping off by MNCs of farmers in 3rd-world countries (surprise surprise). Coffee is the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil, yet the growers live destitute and starving lives. The film is shocking and shockingly important, making you wonder how many aspects of our daily life are cheating millions of others from leading a normal life, when normal may simply be having enough money to eat and have a community school. Needless to say Starbucks and several other coffee moguls declined invitation for interview for the film. It was refreshing that something like this was being shown to the masses at a typically middle-upper class affair in a wealthy Western nation.
Preceding the documentary was an underwhelming chef demo for a dessert involving penne stuffed with sweeted mascarpone and topped with pineapple chunks, ground coffee beans that had been snap-frozen, dressed with willow water, rosemary leaves and heaps of other little, fiddly, slightly pretentious additions.
163 Lygon St, Brunswick
Next notable edible moment was a serendipitous train ride in the wrong direction, where we stumbled off at, we stumbled upon a cute bakery that also offered some cafe fare, where we enjoyed good coffee, leaf/pot chai tea, bomboloni (Italian cream-filled donuts) and toasted ciabattas filled with assortments like artichokes, spinach, grilled capsicum and gruyere, or bacon and eggs.
In case you think the Bomboloni looks familiar but you don’t remember it by that name, chances are it is.
* In Argentina, they’re called Berlinesas (Spanish for “Berliner”) or “Bolas de Fraile” (Monk’s Balls)
* Brazil, it’s called Sonho – Portuguese for “dream”
* Canada, Blak’s Bakey in Windsor, Ontario have been making Paczki since 1918. Nana’s Bakery in Windsor Ontario
has a low fat version called the Loczki
* Chile, it’s called berlín – Spanish for “berliner”
* German and Danish, they are called Berliner
* In Austria and Bavaria they are called Krapfen.
* Hungary, it is called fánk.
* Iran, they are called “Pi-rash-ki” and are very popular, especially among children
* Lithuanian cuisine, they’re called spurgos.
* Mexico, it’s called Bola de Berlín – Spanish for “Berlin ball”
* Netherlands, they are called Berliner bollen; similar to Oliebollen
* Poland they are pączki
* In Portuguese tradition, a similar confection called the malasada is made during Fat Tuesday. In Hawaii, where Portuguese immigrants worked the sugarcane and pineapple plantations, malasadas are a popular breakfast or dessert item that can be purchased at countless malasada bakeries
* Romania, they are called gogoşi and are a very popular snack, especially during the summer
* Russian cuisine, the word “pączki” transformed phonetically into ponchiki (Russian: пончики, plural form of пончик, ponchik) or pyshki (Russian: пышки, especially in St. Petersburg). Ponchiki are a very popular sweet doughnut, with many fast and simple recipes available in Russian cookbooks for making them at home as a breakfast or coffee pastry
* Slovenia, they are known as krofi
* Ukrainian cuisine, they are called пампушки, pampushky
“In 2010, Feasting Vignettes explored the concept of mindful eating: understanding where your food comes from, food sustainability and the challenges of growing produce in an urban environment through a series of edible installation scattered throughout the city at key locations including State Library, Docklands and the steps of Parliament House on Spring Street.”
(F&W Festival website)
This was the Vignette at the State Library. Quite impressive!
400 Lygon st, Carlton
The last breakfast out was at Trotters – 2pm and staving again (and a little hungover after a late night out at an Underground Cinema event), we stopped at the first place we came to, which was fortuitous (breakfast till 3pm).
We dined on: Big breakfast (eggs as you like them, bacon, hash brown, sausage and toast) ($16.80), and ricotta cakes with smoked salmon, poached eggs and wilted spinach ($14.50).
The last day was on Brunswick st, making last minute rash purchases while we could still write things off as ‘being on holiday’, and culminated in a late lunch at Birdman Eating. This delictable joint lies next to the well-known Northside Records, where we had enjoyed banter with the staff, bought a Rick James record with an insert featuring the man himself in some alarmingly tight pants).
Though renowned for their assortment of baked eggs served in cast iron skillets, available on the daily specials board (eg. kasoundi & labne or tomato sugo & pancetta), it was mid-afternoon and we had managed to have breakfast before midday, so were ready for something more lunch-like, and opted for a warm calamari, kifpler, chorizo and lemon salad ($18.50) and cheese kransky with cheesy polenta and poached egg ($18).
If only this had been our ride home.