I am blessed with some really good friends – when Ms JQ won a pair of tickets to the Taste of Melbourne event, she promptly asked if I wanted to go with her.
And of course I replied, ‘YES!’
We were also blessed with good weather when we got there. Earlier in the day, it was raining and on Instagram, I saw many people still rocked up in ponchos! Whoa.
The tickets we got only gave us free admission so we still had to purchase some crowns. Basically, 1 crown is $1 and it is used to purchase food during the event. We thought we would start off with 20 crowns and see if we needed to top up later.
We decided to walk around the grounds first to scout out the stalls. As we walked, to our delight, we found that there were free samplings at some of the stalls!
Here are a couple of freebies we got…
We have never heard of Dish’d until that day and we found out that it is a delivery food company, and it caters gourmet-quality food.
From what we sampled, the food was really of high quality! The lamb was tender and we both really liked the profiterole – the chocolate sauce was rich and dark and the pastry was light.
I was pretty impressed with the generosity of the samplings offered by Dish’d. Looking at the above, you can see that it is a mini take of a full meal – entree, main and dessert. They had an ample amount waiting to be served as well and we might have gone back for a second round. Hehe.
After Dish’d, we proceeded to sample some salsa and corn chips, really fresh sashimi (mmm), thick pieces of steak (yummos!), chutneys, Dilmah tea, bread buttered with Lurpak butter, and some wonderful ham and prosciutto from Primo.
Yes, we were too busy sampling that I forgot to take pictures! Whoops.
But this kind of forced me to whip out my camera-phone…
It was kind of funny, because lots of people (including us) just stopped dead in their tracks right in front of the store, whipped out their phones and started snapping/typing furiously. The concentration was quite intense!
Haha the things we do for free food…
…But it was all worth it!! The macarons were well-made and we especially loved the salted caramel one – it had that slightly chewy texture and had the right balance of salt to cut through the caramel.
And because we loved the macarons so much, we got a tad sneaky… so we may have made 1 full round before coming back to the stall to present them another snap…
Haha but the stall people were really nice and generous with giving out the free macarons that I don’t think they would have minded!
Anyway, those macarons were delicious – the pistachio one had the intense nutty flavour and was slightly chewy too. The raspberry had that slightly sourish cream that brought out the refreshing flavour of the berry. Of course, when eating the 2 together, it was a great combination!
Okay okay, enough of the free loading, we DID spend some crowns all right? Here’s what we got!
Out of all the stalls, Gazi seemed to be serving up a pretty decent portion and we just couldn’t go past the idea of a soft shell crab in a souvlaki (ingenious – why didn’t anyone think of that before??)
Just like his souvlakis at Jimmy, the portion of meat was generous – I mean can’t you see the soft shell crab spilling out?? – and there was that signature addition of herbs (parsley and mint in this one) to give that clean and refreshing finish.
I wonder how much this is priced at Gazi which is a more upmarket restaurant – I was telling Ms JQ that if this was sold at Jimmy, I would make a beeline for this!
Having spent our 12 crowns (quite happily, I would say), we decided to spend our next few crowns on the #1 voted dish in the Taste of Melbourne event!
So what on earth is smoked yoghurt?! At first taste, we couldn’t detect it but after a few more bites, I could taste a slight saltiness coming through the sourish yoghurt. Having read other reviews, I realised that it was meant to taste like bacon!
I guess this is a pretty creative dish, with a good combination of the savoury and usual dessert flavours. This is taking frozen yoghurt to another level and we were again quite happy to spend our crowns on this interesting and delicious dish!
With all the free samples we had, we were actually quite full by this stage and didn’t even bother to top up our crowns. We even got our remaining crowns refunded. So in total, we only spent $9 each?? Whoop!
So besides eating our way round, we had a field day of spying celebrity chefs dotted throughout the grounds!
With so much going on, the 2.5hours we spent there just flew by!
A very nice and delicious experience indeed – tasting the best of Melbourne with the finest of spring weather, and with a good friend for company 😉
It can be quite a pricey affair to go for this if you have to spend on the admission ticket and crowns. But I guess this is 1 of the iconic events of Melbourne so if you’re in Melbourne during this time next year, you should give it a go!
And maybe leading up to it, look out for deals, offers or contests for this event! Who knows? You may just score something free like Ms JQ!