Taste of Sydney is in full swing this weekend! Are you heading there right now? Have you purchased your entry ticket yet? Not sure how many Crowns (festival currency) you going to spend? Not sure what to expect? Is there toilets/ATM, and most importantly, celebrities? No fret, instead of writing a full report of what I have experienced at the Taste festival, I will do a quick simple Taste of Sydney 101 survival guide. I hope this will be helpful to those who are heading there right now or tomorrow.
So here's the top 10 things you must do at Taste festival:
10. Be early.
You are more likely able to find a car park inside the Centennial Park if you arrive early. If not, catch a bus or cab it are better options. Also, the crowd tends to build up slowly throughout the evening, so be there early while you still can enjoy the food without having to queue up. Not to mention able to sample more food at the stalls without a whole group of seagulls fighting over a chip.
9. Feel the Crowns, Be the Crowns!
The crowns are your next best friends. The crown is also the currency at the festival, you use it to buy food, drink and also food products at the stalls. You can get them at the counters outside the entrance before getting inside, but there is also numerous ticket stands inside selling the crowns. Also, you can always approach the ladies in pink t-shirt who handling out menus will also available for purchasing the crowns. Having said that, there are some stalls do accept cash, but not all. I would suggest to start with a small amount of crowns (say $20 - $30), try some samples, and if you would like to try more, then can always purchase more crowns later on.
8. The menu handout - your bible
We actually referred to the menu quite often throughout the evening to decide what food to try. There are about 15 restaurants to choose from and each provides options of 2 mains and 1 dessert. So it can get very confused especially for the indecisive ones like us. Use a yellow highlight marker (as Helen did) if necessary and highlights those you think you definitely would like to try, and it does save you heaps of time to decide and more time to sit down and enjoy the food.
7. Dress for success
It is an outdoor event with food and sunshine. So dress casual, with comfy shoes and let yourself frolicking freely in the the garden of foodie haven. There are lots of grounds to cover, lots of stalls to visit, lots of food to sample and of course lots of people! So you definitely wouldn't want someone bumped against you and have tomato sauce spill all over your favorite dress.
6. Sharing is caring
The best thing about going to the festival in groups is you able to try more food by sharing! There are 4 of us in the group and we all decide to have different food, then split in quarter and share. The food is served in sample size and it is rather costly for most people who would like to try more variations. We limit ourselves to around $20-$25 crowns each and we able to sample 4 mains, and 5 desserts. All in all, we might not be full be the end of the night, but we definitely have tried more food than paying full price and eat alone. So sharing is the key!
5. Go Fetch, I'll guard.
The seatings are rather limited at the festival, and be ready to share tables or eat standing up. So best to have friends mind a table and send off someone in the group to fetch the food back. We spent the whole evening, enjoying our food at the Sydney Morning Herald stand. We actually don't mind to stand at least we got the chance to wandering the stalls more often, sniffing and peeking at the food what other people are having.
4. Sample, sample, sample.
There are lots of stalls promoting their products and free food are on the table for you to try. I've tried a few amazing samples from some of the stalls and absolutely loved it. The food is free yes, but is not there to provide you a full meal. Sharing is caring, you try, if you like it, buy. If not, move along and be polite and say "Thank You." Here's a few stalls that I think is worth to check out:
Pure Wasabi - one of the highlights, fresh grated wasabi from Christchurch, New Zealand. $13/tub. It has been featured in Maggie Beer, The cook and the chef TV show.
Zokoko - Chocolate produced in Emu Heights with fresh cacao imported from Bolivia and their own "secret".
Mary's Munchies - based in Orange, with the most amazing cheesy biscuit and rum chocolate pudding!
iTea - a boutique tea house from Bondi also features some unique chocolate from Malibu, California with tea leaf as ingredient.
3. Extra culi-currum
There are extra culinary curriculums for you to take part at the festival including wine tasting classes, beer tasting classes, chef masterclasses etc. Again, refer t0your menu for timetable of the classes. This is also the good time for you to get close and personal with the chefs you admire and have secret crush for a long time.
2. Say, "Cheese!"...
...literally, and take lots of photos! Everyone is doing it. All the chefs from the restaurants will be hanging around at their stalls socialising or busy serving food to the patrons. If you want to know which chef is who, please refer to my earlier post at the media launch with faces to match. We were lucky enough to have chef George Francisco, the head chef at Jonah's to come over and say hi to us because he recognised ChocolateSuze and her wobbly booby pannacotta video on youtube. Even George himself is doing it! So don't be shy, approach them, say hi, have a chat, and take a happy snap together! :)
Last but not least, No.1 of the Top 10 things you must do at Festival...
1. The "must try" wobbly booby!
You've guessed it, it is the notorious insanely wobbly Vanilla Pannacotta by Jonah's. The outlook of the pannacotta definitely has caused a stir at the festival, everyone was looking at the wobbly bit while Suze is holding it, filming herself wobbling the pannacotta. Even a guy came over and grabbed Suze's plate and started jiggling it and laughed whole heartedly, "Oh you norty, norty girl, don't go there!!!"
Not just because it looks exceptionally like a boobie, but the pannacotta actually taste flippin' fantastic! It is velvety smooth and creamy, nothing like a jelly which I hate. It has an amazing great vanilla flavour every mouthful accompanied with the acidic pomegranate just out of this world!
It costs 8 crowns for the pannacotta, you will be kicking yourself if you are not going to try it.
Here I wrap it up with the jiggly boobie, and I hope you all have a fantastic time at the Taste of Sydney, and hopefully I will see you at Taste next year!