February 25th saw me making the trek out to Hanging Rock for The Age Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock. After my first Harvest Picnic experience at Werribee Park last year, and never having been to Hanging Rock, it seemed the perfect chance to kill two birds with one stone: see the famous Hanging Rock, and get myself to the Picnic and, more importantly, pick up a few things that I'd seen at Werribee that I couldn't buy due to lack of funds at the time! So, after getting the Sunday off work I enjoyed a LOVELY sleep in, packed my market-trolley (you know the little fake-tartan bag on a wheeled frame), checked cash-store and off I went.
Arriving at about 11am on the crisp and cool morning seemed the perfect time -- no large queue to get in, but took almost no time to gather a group of 10 to take advantage of the group concession entry price. Making a mental note that I wanted to catch Tobie Puttock and Glenn Hood's cooking demonstration at 12.30, I started on my rounds of the stalls.
So much to taste. So many wonderful flavours. Pure orange juice from Mildura oranges. Delectable wines from around the region. Caramel-filled churros. Superb meat pies. My poor taste-buds had no idea what was happening, but they were loving it!
After watching Food Safari that week and seeing gozleme covered, I realised it had been months since I'd partaken of this particular delicacy. When I'd made my way around far enough to see the gozleme caravan I figured it was a prime opportunity to reacquaint myself. A general splashing of lemon juice on my serving and I was set to dig in. I tried several times to take a picture that would look as good as it tasted... but it surely ain't a pretty meal. By now it was time to head back to the cooking demonstration tent and nab myself a seat.
I caught the end of Sabrina Parrini's "Little Kitchen" demonstration. Wow, if I had kids, and money, I'd definitely be giving her a call. She was great, the food smelled fantastic, and it looked like the kids helping her were enjoying themselves. But once the kiddies had cleared from the tent the slightly more mature foodies quickly filled the available seats.
Tobie and Glenn took to the stage with a couple of the kids from Fifteen. I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the audience shocked by Tobie's new haircut -- no more lovely curls, it looked like he beat me to the shave! The team did two quick dishes - a carpaccio of tuna with cured lemon and chilli dressing and a black russian, yellow roma and cherry tomato salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil. It all looked fantastic. I was close enough to be able to smell the herbs they were using. And the hunk of tuna they had - WHOA! Anyway, it was informative, made to look incredibly easy, and fairly entertaining all at once, so can't complain.
Continuing where I left off I ended up almost fair and square outside The Chocolate Shop.
These slightly odd-and-naughty-looking goodies were worth every darn cent. They were absolutely disgustingly decadent, and I'd have them again in an instant. For a few dollars you could have either a skewer of strawberries or a skewer of marshmallows run through the chocolate fountain. Of course, since I couldn't decide between the two, I had one of each! As far as desserts go, they were horribly indulgent, and thoroughly enjoyable. Thankfully I had packed a container of wet-wipes in my trolley, and they certainly came in handy when it came to cleaning myself up afterwards. Certainly not something I'd enjoy eating often, but DAMN, for a treat I couldn't have chosen much better.
Not long after this I came to the end of the stalls, and discovered my feet were quite tired of carrying me around. After a quick detour to pick up some chilli, lime and pomegranate piquant from Wildings Pantry Essentials, some passionfruit and lemongrass Fruitsoda concentrate, and a bottle of Gapsted Victorian Alps dolcetto and syrah wine, I was ready to go. All told I was home, I think, by about 3pm. All in all, a great day, and home in time for a nana-nap in the afternoon.
Can't wait for the next Harvest Picnic on November 25 back at Werribee Park.