The following day, last day of Taste and new tasting buddy in tow, we headed down to join the forming queue before the doors opened. This time I was on a mission to fit in as much as possible, so as soon as we were in my first port of call was to register for a session at the Taste of Beef and Lamb and sign up for a wine tasting experience (or two as it ended up).The other good thing about going on the Sunday is the extra hour!
Our first choice for food was the potato gnocchi from the Print Hall. I had been eyeing this off from photos I’d seen and it didn’t disappoint. Soft, pillowy, golden gnocchi goodness and a perfect combination with the pumpkin, brussels sprouts, chèvre and almonds. I was so tempted to order another one straight up but had to stop and remind myself of the day ahead. Next we had the pig head taco from Asado. On first reading this dish when the menu’s were released it didn’t jump out at me but after hearing how amazingly soft the pork was I had to give it a go and it was. Super soft pork (think pulled pork) with a spicy, creamy chipotle aioli, slaw and the most fabulous bit of crunchy, melt in you mouth crackling to top it off. This one was logistically a bit hard to share but worth it.
Next up was the new season king prawns with hot sauce, cucumber and fennel from Manuka. The prawns were well cooked, still juicy with a nice smoky, wood fired flavour. The pickle was a bit vinegary for me but the prawns were great just on their own. We then tried the pork belly from The Shorehouse. This was an interesting dish with bacon marmalade, grilled cos lettuce and parsnip cream. Good flavours, especially that salty, sweet bacon marmalade, but unfortunately the pork was a bit tough.
Needing a bit of a break from eating it was time to head into our first wine tasting, Riesling Revolution from Grape and Grain and Xabregas. This was a great educational experience on Riesling and really highlighted it’s versatility. Riesling unfortunately has a bit of a bad rep from the super sweet crouchen, however all four that we tried were quite different and not really that sweet at all. I loved the Palmetto Eden Valley Riesling (more of an easy drinking wine) and the others were great but probably more food wines so a bit harder to appreciate in that setting.
Next it was time to head into the Taste of Beef and Lamb for a cooking demonstration of slow cooked lamb ribs with smoked eggplant, vinegar and a tomato and herb dressing. These are always a bit of fun and even better when you get a sample of the finished product and glass of Devils Lair Cabernet Sauvignon to wash it down with. There was also a bit of a take home pack with some yummy recipes to try at home.
After a nice little break from eating (well, sort of) we were ready to get back into it and next on our list was the free range pork belly from Silks. This was probably the most tender bit of pork I’ve ever eaten. I could have done without the mantou bun it came with, the pork was definitely the star on that plate. All of the Crown restaurants were also giving out $30 dining vouchers with every purchase which I think is a great way to get people back into the restaurant for the full experience, can’t wait to use mine!
Not much time left before we needed to be at another wine tasting (I know, life’s tough) we happened to walk past the Cocktail Gastronomy and thought we may as well try a liquid nitrogen espresso martini. I’ve had one of these before at another festival and the theatre is definitely the best part. Such a fun take on an espresso martini but not much to the actual drink itself.
Back to wine tasting and this time it was creating our own Margaret River red blend with help from the lovely Nigel from Evoi Wines. First we needed to try the three wines, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Once we worked out what we liked we used a beaker and up to 100ml worked out our ideal blend. This was a lot of fun, our wine tasted pretty good (will still be leaving winemaking to the professionals though) and we also got to try The Satyr from Evoi which is their own blend from the varietals.
Wine tasting done we decided it was time to try some dessert and my first choice was the passionfruit brûlée with vanilla shortbread from Bistro Guillaume. Although this wasn’t a traditional brûlée in the sense of the hard sugary top (which we all love to crack) it was absolutely delicious and one of my favourites. I loved the tartness from the passionfruit, the delicious, creamy custard and the vanilla shortbread was perfectly buttery.
Next was the lime parfait from Asado with grilled chilli pineapple, mint and popping candy. I really enjoyed the zesty freshness of this dessert and that playful popping candy but the chilli was a little overpowering for me.
Last and certainly not least, another favourite, the milk and honey from Bib and Tucker. Another beautifully looking dish and just as yummy. The ancient honey cake was sweet and moist, there was a lovely creaminess from the burnt honey cremeux and milk crumbs and the juicy, slightly tart quince brought it all together in harmony.
So yes, after all that eating and drinking (there was also a few other tastings of cider, wine, coffee, cheese, jerky, peanut butter and the lurpak butter) we were full and needed a nap. We shared all the dishes and most of them were a small tasting size so by sharing it did mean it was possible to get through quite a few of them. Cost did increase over the day but there were also heaps of free tastings to be had and lots to experience.
Taste of Perth was by far one of the best food and wine festivals I’ve experienced and I’m so glad I went back for a second visit to get the most out of it. If you love food and wine as much as I do this is definitely worth every penny. So well organised and the crowds weren’t too big, lines often seemed long but went really fast. Hats off to all the restaurants involved for pumping out consistently amazing dishes that were tasty and beautifully presented. If you haven’t been yet put it on your list, I will definitely be back!