The 2011 Perth Good Food & Wine Show

Regular readers of this blog will know that the organisers of the Perth Good Food & Wine Show were kind enough to provide me with tickets to attend, plus double passes that were won by two of my lucky readers. I arrived at 9:30am today (Saturday) and was surprised to find a long queue already forming outside, so I grabbed my complimentary copy of The West Australian (thanks for the handy bag, now where can I dispose of this paper?) and joined the line. The doors opened shortly after 10am and in we went.

After skilfully avoiding the merchandise stand (and hence the purchase of an ugly trolley full of oven gloves, bags, tea towels and other paraphernalia) I did a quick lap to get my bearings. The first thing that hit me was the sheer variety of exhibitors, and I knew that I was going to have an enjoyable and interesting day. I briefly wandered through the wine exhibits, although I wasn’t there to drink today – with so much variety, I think I’d need a second day to do it properly.

In serious need of some breakfast, the first thing I tried was a $7 sampler of four party pies from Boscastle Pastries, which included a beef burgundy pie, a thai chicken pie, a korma curry vegetable pie and…um…one other I can’t remember. They didn’t really excite me, and my favourite was the vegetable one if that tells you anything.

After deftly escaping from a Barilla pasta cooking demonstration, I was handed tickets to Anna Gare’s 11:45am cooking show in the Fisher & Paykel Celebrity Theatre, which is quite large with plenty of seating. The warm-up guy was annoying, but I guess that’s why he’s a warm-up guy. Anna’s show was brief but entertaining, featuring four recipes and many plugs for her new book (which could be pre-ordered outside). Her leek tarte-tatin looked particularly nice – well, it was more appetising than what was on the screen when I took the photo above.

So on with the tastings, and there was plenty of them. Cheesebuddy, the horribly named but  dangerously easy to eat puffy Brazilian cheese snacks.  The yummy chicken curry pastizzi from Kiss Kiss Food SuppliesChop Chop! Chicken, which I remember receiving samples of with a Coles online order, and quickly realising why they were free. The amazing rocky road from Voodooo – I bought some but it’s already been devoured by my kids. Nougat, nuts, chutneys, crackers, spice mixes, chocolate…

Ritter Sport is a German chocolate bar that comes with fillings such as nuts and biscuits. I was really impressed with the dark chocolate hazelnut variety, and bought a show bag containing ten different bars for $25. But only for the funky bag, I promise.

This turkey parmigiana slider from Mount Barker Turkey was absolutely delicious at $5, and just the right size to eat while standing up without making a mess. I wish I’d had a second one. Their turkey cranky sausages were extremely popular at $2, and they were struggling to keep up with the demand.

I bought some “dark chocolate bark” from Whistler’s, in “grande orange” and “burnt caramel crisp” flavours. These turned out to be shards of chocolate about 2mm thick, which was beautifully packaged and quite delicious but very expensive at $10 for 120g. I also bought three sauces from the lovely ladies at the Beerenberg Farm stand – a bargain at 3 for $10 – who were offering tastings of their wide range of jams, sauces and relishes.

I arrived at the book shop when Matt Moran was signing, although the queue was long and I had horrible visions of him being mean and pointing out that I’d already eaten enough to last a lifetime so I chickened out.

And I could go on. Of course on top of all the tastings there’s the cooking demonstrations and specialised masterclasses for wine, cheese, butchery… There’s certainly more than enough to keep you entertained – and satisfied – for a whole day.

One thing that I felt was lacking this year was places to buy cooking equipment – if I remember correctly, just about anything you could ever want was available last year with a MasterChef logo slapped on it. Come to think of it, I didn’t see a MasterChef logo anywhere. I was hoping to find a frying pan bargain at the show, and nearly bought one from Neoflam until I discovered that their 40% off deal at the show wasn’t quite as good as the 50% off deal available at retailers (as advertised on their website!) Shame on you Neoflam. The Gordon Ramsay endorsement poster was nearly enough to make me buy a Woll frying pan until I realised that it was so heavy I’d probably hurt myself cooking with it.

In a moment of weakness I bought one of these knife sharpeners for $20 from a man using garden shears to cut a tomato. Sigh. It does seem to work, thankfully. Let’s hope that the free “micro slicer” that came with it works too. No doubt it will work well on my knuckles.

So after some three and a half hours I was well and truly ready to leave – it became so busy that moving around was getting difficult, particularly in the wine areas. I was somehow sold a bag of caramelised macadamias from Morish Nuts on my way to the exit, and the guy there told me that things were going really well for them. He also told me that I picked a great time to leave as the crowds were getting very heavy – when I stepped outside there were many more people queuing to get in, so I expect the remainder of the afternoon was even more hectic.

All in all another great show and well worth attending. I think next year I’ll go on Friday to try and avoid the heavy crowds. Roll on 2012.

About the author

Martin

Martin was born in England but now lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has a passion for breakfast, coffee, hot curries & fast food, and is a cat & Dalek person.

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