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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Farmers Market and Slow Food Festival

Well the Slow Food Festival was on yesterday and I'm sure there's plenty of blogging being done about it! This was being held at the Abbotsford Convent next to the Collingwood Children's Farm and entry to the Farmers Market was included. As we haven't had a chance to go to the market, Niki and I thought it was a must do. As you can see, it's all very relaxed with resting spots and a great variety of produce.Before we could start we had to fuel up. Being a busy day Farm Cafe was kept busy and although we didn't want to wait 20 minutes for coffees, we were going to wait for their breakfast bagel. The tomatoes were sweet and the combination of the bitter rocket and their relish was lovely. The staff were friendly and apologetic about delays... and about the moth in my bagel! I'd cut the bagel in half and nestled in some rocket were these tiny legs poking out - I got a juice to make up for it but I'm still not really buying that the moth must have flown in on the way from the kitchen to the table.
There were organic veggie stores, berries, jams, honey, beef, salmon and trout and other wonderful finds. Red Hill Cheese was there and their names caught my eye... I've never described cheese as "misty" and "buttery" but it sounded enticing! :-) I bought some Merricks Mist which was absolutely delicious and Niki bought some goat cheese. In the background of the photo are duck eggs from the next store and yes, to our delight they are tinged blue!
This store sold buffalo. I thought it was just cheese until I saw the sausages sizzling and the sign said "buffalo sausage". I was tempted to ask if they have buffalo wings, haha. I've never tasted buffalo and if we hadn't had breakfast I might have tried a sausage.
I also bought some delicious berry sauce called "lolly topping", I've got to figure out what to try it with (chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits, chocolate cake....) but I'll let you know how it goes. The same stand had yummy lemon butter and jams so I'll be back.

Slow Food Festival
So what is slow food? The opposite of fast food, ecoregions to preserve cultural cuisine, morally acceptable food - in a nutshell. Of course, a snail is the logo here. Very cute until it comes "ploughing" towards you unexpectedly!
These wandering musicians are great, I heard someone say that they're from Spicks and Specks.
Here's a compost recipe if you need one: raw = straw!. Straw, food scraps, cow manure, compost, garden scraps, wet sack.
And then there is food celebrity spotting! Here is Stephanie Alexander of the previously mentioned "orange food bible". She was there to let people know about her School Kitchen Garden Project. We were also on the lookout for Fergus Henderson of Nose to Tail Eating and Niki thought she'd spotted him. Did anyone attend his events?
And there was more eating! We shared a scrumptious Tasmanian tasting platter with:
  • "get shucked" pacfic ocean oyster with Thorpe farm wasabi mignonette
  • scallop ceviche with a saffron rouille
  • stripey trumpter soused with cider on seaweed
  • Bruny Island Cheese Co.'s O.D.O.
  • John Bignall's sheep's milk blue on rye with Julian Wolfhagen leatherwood honey
A good oyster is a good oyster! The trumpeter fillet and scallop were both in the ceviche style; the fish was lovely and we could really taste the cider but there's just something about the texture of uncooked scallop. Technically not "raw" but it just felt weird. Now the cheese was yummy. (Hmm, there has been a lot of cheese eating!) I tried to look up Bruny Island Cheese to see what this "ODO" is, their site is still being developed but ODO is One Day Old! The texture was amazingly smooth like creme brulee but quite solid almost like Philly cheese. We did need something to eat it with and I thought of dark rye as the cheese is quite salty. The sheep's milk blue was amazing against the leatherwood honey. The leatherwood tree is found mainly in Tasmania so you have to expect some honey as part of a Tassie platter! Niki has described leatherwood before so imagine 2 very strong tastes working for and against each other. I think some of this Julian Wolfhagen honey would be superb in honey snaps!
And of course there is always chocolate! Colliers Chocolate was at the festival with Swiss couveture products. In the back are the Cowboy chocolates for our friend who loves Cowboys - the drink... and the men too! - the pink striped chocolates are pickled ginger and wasabi! You could really taste the pickled ginger but I didn't get a hit of wasabi at all. The "chocolate man" did say that they were very cautious and only put in a tiny dab. Looking at the ingredients, they use horseradish powder so it may have been a milder horseradish. Niki did think that there was a bit of heat so it may just have been my palate, although we both are definitely fans. They're based in Sutton Grange which is near Bendigo so next time I'm in that region, I've got to go to this shop!
If you're reading this in Melbourne on Sunday morning, quickly get yourself out to Abbotsford Convent before the festival is over!

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  • At 9/10/2006 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can't drive so no travelling joy for me, but I've been drooling over your post as well as Cin's from 'A few of my favourite things'....

    *leaves to continue drooling*

  • At 9/10/2006 05:36:00 PM, Blogger lazy cow said…

    I had the totally opposite experience to you yesterday: I just HATED the Slow Food event! (I'd attended last year too and wasn't impressed, so I knew what I was in for this year). I took both kids on my own, and really think it was for foodie adults with cash and time to wander unencumbered. It was too crowded, and I didn't see half the divine food you mentioned :-( The kids and I escaped to the Farm Market and had a much better time. Glad you and Niki enjoyed it though :-)

  • At 9/10/2006 06:13:00 PM, Blogger Niki said…

    Hahaha - did you see the Bruny Island TOM cheese? 'He likes being rubbed'. Hahahaha!!!

  • At 9/10/2006 06:36:00 PM, Blogger Belinda said…


    Ellie - Oh no! The good thing is that the Farmers Market is on frequently so you should try and get out there. Or get someone to drive you!

    LC - I didn't enjoy the festival last year. It was raining, I was in a bad mood! I saw lots of kids there and I did wonder if it were difficult trying to sheppard children through the crowds. I agree that the farm would have kept your kids more entertained, and yes it's amazing how much money you can spend just buying stuff because it's new!

    Niki - I saw that. Hahaha! I think these cheese makers have a sense of humour. eg OÇN is handsome and complex.

  • At 9/11/2006 12:45:00 PM, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Fresh produce and fun...great combo :)

  • At 9/15/2006 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Shelly said…

    Looks like heaven! Yes DROOL is the word!

  • At 9/16/2006 08:31:00 AM, Blogger Belinda said…

    WYM - Even when it started drizzling we could move indoors for a coffee and chocolate. It was great!

    Indy - I thought of your farmers market experience when I saw the buffalo and venison. No elk though! :-)


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