Slow Food: Oysters and Sparkling Wine

Slow Food Oysters & Wine Slow Food Oysters & Wine

If ever you needed an event to tell you how great an organisation Slow Food is, this was it. Slow Food Perth recently hosted a fantastic event featuring freshly schucked oysters courtesy of the oyster man himself Jerry Fraser, paired with two stunning local sparkling wines, The Sparkplug Riesling from Oranje Tractor and Cosham Method Champenoise Pinot Noir Brut.

There’s something about the combination of oysters and sparkling wine that just works. The fresh zing of the wines, and the soft effervescent bubbles are a great counter point to the lush creaminess and briney essence of the sea of the oysters.

Along with a bit of a chat about the wines, Jerry gave us a breakdown on why you should never order pre-schucked oysters, and how best to appreciate them. Cooking is definitely out… Kilpatrick sympathisers should stick to cheese on toast as far as Jerry is concerned, and to fully appreciate the flavour they should first be swirled around your palate and then pushed to the roof of your mouth, much like a good wine might be. The difference in flavour when you do it this way is remarkable. The creaminess coats your mouth each time and lingers long after, til the wine works it magic.

Oyster virgin Jon came along and was hooked after the first one. Deciding eventually that a squeeze of lemon juice was the perfect accompany for him, to which I’m inclined to agree. A zest edge to the oysters creamy salt. We ate and drank our fill for as long as we could keep it together, before going out to continue the festivities.

Now having acquired an oyster knife and with Jerry on speed dial, I know how I’ll be seeing the New Year in. For a bit of help as to how the man himself schucks, check out the pictorial below.

Oyster Schucking Pictorial

Oh, and join Slow Food. You don’t need to be an activist to enjoy great food and wine with like minded people. Thanks must also go to Rochelle Adonis for offering her beautiful new nougat studio in Northbridge for the event, and for letting Jon and I sample her wares ;)

My First Night in Paris

Le Kokolion

I need to borrow 30c from some Canadian backpacker girls when I arrived at the Gare du Nord because the metro ticket machines wouldn’t accept my credit card, and don’t take notes. The wad of euros I’d conscientiously converted at the bureau de change before I left sat limp and impotent in my wallet, with not a tabac in sight to get some change.

After catching the first metro in the wrong direction for 10 minutes I eventually realise my mistake and switch lines. Excuse moi and pardon will become my most frequently used pieces of French vocabulary for the next few days.

It’s Saturday night in Paris. I arrive at my hostel Le Montclair Montmartre at 10pm. I sit in the foyer of the hostel while two German guys berate the night attendant for help at having “misplaced” their car. Turns out they’d parked it illegally for the better part of 3 days while they were on a drunken Parisian bender. I listened enviously as the attendant switched between French, German, and English while trying to understand what the hell these guys are on about.

I’ve been charged for last night because I was supposed to be there then and didn’t call to say I wouldn’t be, and my booking has actually been canceled. Luckily they still have room and can un-cancel the rest of the booking. I even manage to get an upgrade to a single room, not really willing to endure the boarding school-esque communal dorm situation after the day I’ve had.

I finally get my key and check in. The room is tiny but perfect. It has possibly the worlds smallest double bed and an ensuite bathroom. It’s heaven to a weary traveler. I take a shower, leaning back on the patented hostel push button hot water system to keep the flow of water going just long enough to make me feel human again.

Finally relaxed, the hunger pangs that I’ve been ignoring all day in the face of unspeakably horrible train / ferry food have risen to the surface. After a brief consultation of Clotilde’s lovely book I find a couple of likely restaurants in the area and settle on L’Homme Tranquille. Stepping past a couple of guys smoking out the front I wander in an empty but open restaurant, and stand around for a few minutes waiting to see if someone is going to appear. Shortly thereafter the guy smoking outside comes back inside, and it turns out he’s the owner, Antoine, and that unfortunately it’s been a quiet night so they’ve closed a bit earlier. However if I want some dinner he’s happy to recommend his friend around the corner at Le Kokolion, who will be open til much later.

So I wander around the corner, admiring the sights and sounds and smells of Monmartre, the cobbled streets, the flickering neon lights, the array of people of all kinds both strange and enticing. Casually lounging in bars and cafes, making me wish I’d taken up smoking.

Le Kokolion looks like somewhere out of a dream I’d had once. A cliche of a French bistro trapped in a time gone past, but perfect in it’s simplicity. Painted in faded red with gold lettering, it felt like the right place for a first meal.

I entered and was greeted by the manager with a matter of fact “Bonjour Monsieur”. To which I stuttering replied “Bonjour. Une table pour un s’il vous plait”. Suddenly the reality of communicating in a foreign language became apparent and all my careful study went to crap as I realised I really had no clue what to do if the conversation didn’t follow the painfully basic routines I’d practiced.

Fortunately though my attempts were met with polite acceptance and a guiding arm led me through to a dimly lit enclave with candle lit tables and old movie posters on the wall. A menu was presented and then some space given so I could peruse in peace. My “menu French” finally having a moment to become useful I scanned for something I’d want to eat. Settling on the terrine du canard for entree, the onglet de boeuf for main, and a creme brulee for dessert.

The waiter returned and I dutifully gave him my order in as good a French accent as I could muster, pointing at the same time to make sure I didn’t leave any room for confusion. “Une carafe de vin rouge, s’il vous plait” was also met with understanding, and I soon had a small carafe of wine sitting in front of me like it was always meant to be there.

I pour a glass and sip casually, looking around in the dim light at tables filled with friends a lovers, talking close and laughing loud. Another table sports a single diner, carefully working his way through a bottle of wine, putting me at ease. My terrine arrives, a thick wedge of duck pate with other bits of liver and duck. It’s served with toast and a small salad. I take big slices of it and smear it over the toast, it’s rich and gamey and tastes like everything I’d imagined it should.

The beef came next. I’d ordered it ‘saignant’ and it was cooked to perfection. An onglet cut is basically a skirt or flank steak. A cheaper cut that can often be tough, but cooked rare this was beautifully tender. Served along with haricots verte and pommes frites it was the simple meal I wanted. The beans were presented in a neat little stack and crowned with a knob of butter that coated them in deliciousness.
The frites were actually thick pillows of potato deep fried to crunchy perfection. Giving both texture and flavour.

I looked up halfway through the course, realising I’d totally lost myself in it. The length of the day had faded away and the ordeal I’d had to go through to get here seemed so insignificant. The restaurant was now half full of people. I check my phone for the time, 12:00am. The table next to me had just arrived and ordered a bottle of wine and 3 courses. Unheard of in Perth at such an hour. I could get used to this very quickly I mused.

Finally the creme brulee arrived. The waiter pouring some alcohol (which may have been calvados) on top and setting it alight, and interesting take on the flame throwing technique of caramelsing the sugar on top. He looked at me wistfully as he placed it before me, still aflame, and said something that I can only assume meant “Wait til it goes out before you start eating or you’ll burn your face off”. I smiled knowingly at my translation of what he said and dutifully waited for the light blue flames to die down and the thin layer of caramelised sugar on top to fully form.

I then cracked through to the creamy goodness of the brulee. I melted a little as the first taste hit my tongue, smooth and rich and luscious, coating my mouth with caramel and taking my level of satisfaction to ludicrous levels that can only be attributed to a virgin Parisian dining experience.

Closed La Marmite

After a casual “l’addition s’il vous plait” I was presented with the bill. My attempts to convey just how much I appreciated the meal probably got lost in translation, so it was with a simple “Merci, Au revoir” that I left and wandered into the Paris night, sublimely satisfied at a great first meal.

I took a long way home, photographing every in sight. Walking up and over the hill around the Sacre Coeur and then back down the other side. Arriving back at my hostel at 2am, walking past a grocery store that was still open and selling wine, I knew this was somewhere I’d grow to love.

Menu For Hope


Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by well known food blogger Pim of Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired Pim to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

I’ve always been a bit blasé about getting involved in causes. I like the idea of helping, but I’m generally happy for someone else to do it. Of course, that’s entirely the wrong attitude to have. For anything to get changed and make a difference, it takes the efforts of lots of people. So this year I’ve decided to get involved and offer a prize, and am pleased to announce Fiori Coffee have kindly donated a great prize, consisting of a barista training course and a gourmet coffee hamper !

Fiori Coffee

The prize pack includes a 2.5 hour professional barista training course for 1 person and a hamper consisting of 6 x 250 gram bags of fresh roasted coffee, 1 bag of chai, 1 bag of hot chocolate and a stovetop espresso maker (moka pot). All up valued at $250.

If you’re a coffee fanatic and that sounds like something you’d like to win (and you live in Perth, Western Australia), then please follow the instructions below in order to purchase some raffle tickets, which put you in the running to win.

My good mate Ed from Tomatom is coordinating the Asia Pacific entries, so please head over to his site to view the rest of the prizes on offer. And if you like mine, then remember to quote reference number AP14 when you buy your tickets.

Donation Instructions:

  1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at
  2. Go to the donation site at and make a donation.
  3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
    For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02
  4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
  5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.