I love food and wine festivals. I love food and wine full stop (.) But even more so when all the nicest elements of both are organised into little booths with tooth picks and tasting glasses provided to sample and sip as I see fit.
This year the food and wine festival was held at the Perth Convention Centre (or Hayshed, as it is not particularly affectionately known). The setup was as per normal. Rows and rows of wine, olive oil, gourmet food, beer, magazines, people chopping things, and other random food based and food related products.
After talking to Ben beforehand and finding out that the Synesso Cyncra was going to be set up at the 5 Senses booth, that was our first point of call. The machine is sweet, a work of art in an industrial stainless steel finish, and a testament to engineers actually listening to what people want.
I was lucky enough to get to have a play on it, and despite over tamping, the shot came out pretty nice. The Synesso has paddles instead of switches, and when you push the paddle a little way across it starts preinfusion. This means that boiler water at line pressure is used to fill the basket. Once the puck is soaked with water and the first drip of coffee comes out, you push the paddle all the way across to full pressure, and watch perfectly balanced espresso flow out. For a novice like me to be able to pull shots like this, was unreal.
Dragging myself away from the coffee machine, we wanted to get some food and then start tackling the different wineries that had their wares on display. Do you know how hard it was to actually get something substantial to eat at a food and wine fair ? Apart from small pieces of bread, cheese, and the odd cracker, actual food was few and far between. Fortunately an Indian place was serving some tasty curries, so we grabbed some of that, got our tasting glasses filled at the nearest wine stall, and lined our stomachs with vital solids.
The next 3 or 4 hours were pretty solid sampling.
We worked our way from one end of the convention centre to the other trying wines from as many places as we could. Stand out would have to be 3 Drops for their Semillon Sauvignon, and also their olive oil (even though we got told off for double dipping), Salitage‘s Pinot Noir, Charles Melton Nine Popes (always a classic), Bowen’s Cabernet Sauvignon, West Cape Howe Shiraz and West Cape Howe Viognier, and the only other I can remember at this stage was the Capel Vale Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. The Capel Vale was really nice actually and we ended up ordering a mixed case of Viognier, Shiraz Viognier, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese… I’m a sucker for a foreign name.
Other highlights for the day were running into Phou, a chef who works at the convention centre, and moonlights at the Pacific International Hotel. He’s originally from Melbourne and has worked all over Australia, and had lots of good things to say about working in the industry, and whether or not its worth it (which it is, as long as you’re willing to put in a lot of work).
We also managed to talk oysters with Jerry Fraser (oyster king of Perth), who gave us a few good tips on where to best ones come from, and how to take them (natural of course, with a little fresh native lime juice).
I also picked up my own copy of Spice Magazine from their booth, and had a bit of a chat there.
Then it was back to the 5 Senses booth for a farewall play on the Synesso (and to inadvertently run into the Pseudo Chef herself), before trudging out of the convention centre and merrily heading back home.
All in all a great day filled with lots of tasty morsels and friendly chats with the ever loving food and wine community of Perth (and the greater West Australian region). It’s on for the next coupld of days, so i may just have to go back for more :) I’d encourage anyone else to do the same.