Flavours of Asia @ Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes [28 February 2015]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Melbourne Racing Club.
Melbourne Racing Club has proudly partnered with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival to bring a colourful Asian street food market to their popular Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day on Saturday February 28, 2015.
Coinciding with Chinese New Year celebrations, the Flavours of Asia Market Festival will be one of the first events on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival calendar. Offering a range of delicacies from across the continent, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment, the newly created market space will serve as the ultimate relaxation zone for racing enthusiasts and foodies alike.
With a tantalising menu featuring the best cuisine that Melbourne’s Asian food scene has to offer, curators for the day include Hammer & Tong, Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao, Overdosa, Lankan Tucker, Uncle, Gogi and Eat the Chicken.
Gastrology recently enjoyed a sneaky peek of what will be on offer from Hammer & Tong, Hoy Pinoy and Wonderbao.
We began with a range of grilled skewers by Hoy Pinoy. We enjoyed both the Inihaw Na Manok (BBQ Chicken) and the Inihaw Na Baboy (BBQ pork belly). On the whole, the skewers were sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome and boasted the perfect amount of outer charring, having benefited from just the right amount of time on the grill .

Wonderbao, a Melbourne street kitchen featuring authentic Chinese steamed buns and Taiwanese Gua Baos served beautifully made baos. Our favourite bao was the Pork belly Gua Bao. Featuring the tried and true flavour combination of cucumber, carrots and hoisin sauce, it contained a generous piece of good quality, tender pork belly. The wonderbao offerings really hit the mark!
Hammer & Tong's famous Soft shell crab burger was delicious. The soft shell crab burger's lightly toasted buttery brioche buns were the perfect canvas for the beautifully crispy and juicy soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. With a touch of fresh coriander and a myriad of spices, it was simply superb. 
Our preview dinner concluded on a sweet high with a stunning little ice cream gua bao by Wonderbao. The brioche-like golden fried baos were filled with luscious sesame seed ice cream and topped with crunchy nuts - YUM.
With Melbourne’s weather at its best in late February, the Flavours of Asia Market Festival will kick off the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in style – quality food in atmospheric alfresco areas and great views of premium sporting and musical entertainment.

What: Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day – Flavours of Asia Market Festival
When: Saturday 28 February 2015, 12pm – 6pm
Where: Caulfield Racecourse, Gate 22, Station Street, Caulfield
Cost: Adult $20

For more information about Flavours of Asia visit www.mrc.racing.com

Hammer & Tong Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Event: Southgate Fiesta - Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (plus wine tasting tips by wine curator, Lyn Gent)

Southgate will be kicking off the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival with a day of food, wine and music! Be part of a riverside food and wine celebration in the heart of Melbourne at the Southgate Fiesta.

From 12noon – 6pm, discover delicious tasting dishes at Southgate’s participating restaurants, inspired by the festival theme of water. Purchase a tasting plate for only $15, and receive a complimentary wine tasting voucher* to enter the boutique winery area on the promenade from 3pm – 8pm.

Up to twelve boutique Australian wineries will be showcased on the Southgate promenade, offering wine tasting from 3pm – 8pm**, as the sun sets over the magnificent city skyline.

There will be free wine education sessions throughout the afternoon on Southgate’s upper level, as well as musical entertainment on the promenade.

As evening settles in, head up to the Southgate Cinema from 8pm and enjoy free foodie screenings, providing a magnificent and festive backdrop to celebrate the best of Melbourne’s food and wine. Southgate Fiesta will be held on Saturday 1 March 2014 from 12pm – 8pm as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

*Wine tasting vouchers are limited to one voucher per person per tasting plate. Patrons must be 18 years of age or older to enter the wine tasting area.

**Last entry into wine-tasting is at 6.30pm.

Date: Saturday 1 March

Time: 12:00pm-8:00pm

Where: Southgate restaurant and shopping precinct

What: Tasting plates at Southgate restaurants, boutique winery tastings, wine education sessions. Music on the promenade and a foodie film screenings at Southgate Cinema from 8pm.

Cost: $15 tasting plates are inclusive of a wine tasting voucher to taste wines from some of Australia’s celebrated boutique wineries and meet the wine makers. Wine education sessions and the Southgate Cinema foodie films are both free.

Five Tips on how to taste wine and not alienate people
by Lyn Gent, Southgate Fiesta wine educator, trained sommelier and food technologist. 

  1. There is no need to hold your glass on an angle when being served wine. It won't make any difference to the amount of 'head' your wine 'won’t' get.
  2. Hold your glass like a normal person, by the stem. You can hold the base between your thumb and index finger, but it's easier to wear a badge that says, "I really want you to think I'm a wine expert."
  3. We all like to swirl and sniff before tasting. Drawing the aromatics up into our olfactory bulb. We only have one, and both nostrils lead to it, so put your whole nose into the glass, not one nostril at a time.
  4. A little bit of knowledge is a good thing or can make you sound pretentious. Be judicious with your " fluttering of Damson plum with a whimsical hint of smoked pomegranate essence."Don't judge people who love cheap wine, they're probably happier and richer than you.
Find more information on the Southgate Fiesta here!

To enjoy the amazing wine tours Perth has to offer visit  http://www.dvinetours.com.au/ just 25 minutes from the city centre.

Event: eat.drink.westside

eat.drink.westside is proudly presented by the Maribyrnong City Council and forms part of this year's Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - Australia's internationally acclaimed celebration of food and wine.
The eat.drink.westside program unveils a host of local events from 28 February to 16 March 2014 that reflect the inner west's rich cultural diversity and love of food.
To promote Eat.Drink.Westside, we were taken on a wonderful tour of Footscray. Our tour started at 1+1 Mandarin Dumpling, where we had a taster of one of the festival events, "Steamed Silk Road Delights". 
The lovely Amy of 1+1 guided us through how to make traditional Western Chinese lamb dumplings.
We loved the lamb dumplings (which we devoured for dinner). The dumplings were filled with a dense pocket of finely minced lamb, onion and spring onions. The medium-thickness skins had a lovely chewy texture which we enjoyed. It is no wonder, 1+1 Mandarin Dumpling is well regarded as one of Melbourne's best dumpling purveyors. 
1+1 Dumpling Noodles on Urbanspoon
Our tour concluded with a gorgeous Ethiopian feast at Dinknesh Lucy.
Our feast featured beautiful house-made injera bread and a host of Ethiopian delights. Each dish was full of flavour and absolutely delicious.
After the decadent feast, we participated in a traditional coffee ceremony. 
Dinknesh (Lucy) Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Get on board...

eat.drink.westside is part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and offers a festival program that is diverse, delicious, and a fantastic showcase of Footscray and its surrounds.

Get more information about eat.drink.westside and the festival program here and more about Footscray here!

Special thanks to Lauren Wambach from The Footscray Food Blog for being a brilliant chaperone.