Scouting for flavours – November food festivals
Back in November, I scooted around Melbourne to attend three events in one day. Two of these events had been on my radar for some time and resulted in a special trip to Melbourne to check them out. I have to admit that I didn’t really consider the associated geographical challenges when I decided that I wanted to go. But with careful planning, I managed to dash over to Coburg by lunchtime to attend the Makers and Shakers event at the Town Hall. Then I headed off to check out the East Malvern Food and Wine Festival at Central Park, Malvern in the afternoon. As a bonus, I still had time to wander through the Malvern Primary School Fete afterwards.
Below are only some of the vendors and their special products that I discovered at the above events.
My first discovery was Misty’s salted caramel sauces. These were extremely popular, given the crowds they drew, and rightly so. There were all sorts of flavour combinations to try with chilli salted caramel and mint salted caramel being my personal favourites. I also loved the list of companions for the sauces that were featured on a chalkboard to the right of the products on display. This list of companions included ice-cream, amongst many others, as well as the one that made me laugh out loud – a spoon! The latter was oh, so very true. All of the flavours were extremely moreish.
Lana’s Garden was another firm favourite of mine with all sorts of condiments made from rhubarb as the base ingredient. As rhubarb is a great favourite of mine, I was very interested to see if there were flavour combinations here, and products, that could make it easier to make rhubarb ice-cream. And I wasn’t disappointed with rhubarb and raspberry jam, rhubarb coulis and rhubarb vinegar all catching my eye. One that also definitely appealed to the tastebuds was the very unique rhubarb and chilli salsa – that is something that I will definitely be coming back for more of.
Unforgettable Products were another standout for their expertise in the very delicate dessert – meringue. Pavlova ice-cream varieties are high on my list of ice-cream flavours to experiment with, but I haven’t had that much success with the meringue creation process in the past. A taste-test of these meringues ensured that I collected a business card for future reference. The way that these were packaged and displayed was also very eye-catching and I have to admit that this was one stand that I made a beeline for.
The next port of call was the Tin Shed Group with their line of Preserved and Pickled jams and chutneys. There were the usual, popular, flavours of strawberry and raspberry available and these were equally delicious. The more exotic flavour combination of vanilla and apricot jam was what caught my eye. Next to it was mango and passionfruit jam. My personal favourite, however, was the Christmas jam. Yes, it tasted just like you would expect it to taste with that name. Their version of chilli jam was also very nice, although probably not so good as a companion to ice-cream.
One of the reasons why I had wanted to attend the Malvern Food and Wine Festival was in order to sample Timboon ice-cream. The length of the queue was a testament to their popularity. It was with disappointment that I decided not to join the queue. Maybe next time, I won’t wait until late afternoon when everyone else has the same idea.
As a result, however, I discovered Lemon in Lemon Sorbet at the Malvern Primary School Fete which was an unexpected treat. Unfortunately, I was too late for their signature lemon sorbet, as it had sold out, but seconds after I arrived there was a discovery of another flavour in reserve. So I happily walked away with two scoops in a cup – one of rockmelon and the other of raspberry and peach. Both were delicious and perfect for a warm, late Spring afternoon. I have to admit that my favourite was the peach and raspberry sorbet. As an alternative to receiving scoops in a cup, there was also the perfect option of receiving scoops in a hollowed-out lemon half.
Although it was a real expedition to get to all three events, it was a worthwhile experience. The upshot is that it revealed more products that will be useful for future ice-cream making endeavours.
East Malvern Food and Wine Festival, Ice-cream, Jam, Lana's Garden, Lemon in Lemon Sorbet, Maker's and Shaker's, Meringue, Misty's Salted Caramel Sauces, Sauces, Sorbet, The Tin Shed Group, Timboon ice-cream, Unforgettable Products