Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taste of Sydney Festival

Sydney delivered a gloriously warm and pleasant day yesterday to make sure the Taste of Sydney Festival went off without a hitch. Much needed after the rained out/cancelled opening night on Thursday.

The swivelling piggy promised a great night...

The deal is you pay for entry ($25 pre-purchased or $30 at the door), and this gets you entry and a complimentary copy of the Gourmet Traveller magazine. WHOOPEE. That's just free advertising for them anyway. Then you buy "crowns" which is the festival currency that you use to purchase food and drink with. I bought $30 worth of crowns (they come in lots of $10, $30 and $50). Already I'm $55 out of pocket; $4 of which went to buying an empty plastic wine glass. I wish I'd brought my own. Jipped.

I hadn't been to the Taste of Sydney Festival before. It looked really "white", clinical, synthetic. White tents encircling you everywhere with row after row of wine producer and the odd bakery or vegetable or condiment stall, with some food stalls shoved in between for good measure. I got the eerie sense that it was almost too well organised, like not enough chaos or pandemonium happening to make things interesting. Everything was so shiny and well groomed.

We tended to stick around the sustainability corner as it had the most colour and life in the place.

The colour it seems, came out as the night progressed. I found it in the detail of the food, the stains on my wine glass and the faces of the people that I spoke to. Of course knocking back some vino helped in making this colour stand out. It loosened up the stiffness of what was a really boring party which your friend dragged you along to, and you had arrived so early that you stood in the corner praying for more people to come so that you could blend in and then quietly and stealthily exit stage right or left or whatever got you the hell out of there, pronto.

The presence of A Tavola did make me happy though.

I got the pasta with ragu - delicious. I just wished that for $12 there was more of it. It was like a teenager not sure if they lost their virginity or not. Does putting in the tip of the penis count?

For a Sydney event, there was a friendly vibe which is mostly attributed to the few (country) producers willing to chat about what they're passionate about. Like this hottie that told us about his father's vineyard.

And our new mate Gavin that showed us different composting methods and his whizz-bang African beehive.

The rest seemed to have sales people at their stalls or were selling themselves, with good humour of course.

There were quite a few swanky bars and beat stations set up, but why the fuck didn't anyone dance? I guess they were too busy posing, or working, or both.

It seemed that everyone was so beaten down by their work week that they couldn't just let go and cut loose. Footloose. Instead they relapsed into their sedated Friday night limbo.

I feel slightly unsatisfied, discontent. Would I go again? Only if I snuck in a bottle of expensive red vino (for me) and acid trips or happy brownies for all the other fuckers in there.

Bring back the salad days, the messy days of the Norwood Food & Wine Festival spilling onto the streets of Adelaide. Now that was a food and wine festival. No entry fee, no fucking festival currency, no fencing, no gimmicks. Just awesome food, wine and music; with DJs cutting loose and people dancing the day away in the streets with a healthy dose of police intervention.

Lose the pretentiousness Sydney. It's boring.

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