We are really spoiled with the food festivals we have here on the Sunshine Coast. First I told you about the Noosa Food and Wine Festival and that’s probably the king of them all with world famous chefs and food celebritites. Recently we went to the Eumundi Food Fest and this past weekend there was the Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival in Maleny in the hinterland about 35 minutes from where I live.
There was lots of hype on Facebook, Twitter and in the news but I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Well… it was FANTASTIC!
John is still getting EasyRecipe Plus finished so I carefully worded my invitation. “John, I’m going to the Real Food Festival up in Maleny this weekend, do you want to go? It’s only $20 for both days.”
“I really should work,” he said.
“That’s fine, I’ll eat enough for both of us.”
“Think it will be worth eating?” he asked.
“Dunno but there are several presentations that I want to see and I’m happy to go by myself.”
A few minutes later he said, “I’ll come. We never get out.”
And so we went. I’ve never seen so many people at a food festival. There were things to do from little kids to oldies. Noosa was extravagant with big names but the Real Food Festival was about the food. Imagine walking past a stall that sold sauteed mushrooms and you could have them spiced up any way you wanted or even served with sour cream. They were delicious. John ordered some and I tasted them. I took a photo but frankly, nothing can make sauteed mushrooms look good so we’ll keep that photo to ourselves.
The first presentation I wanted to see was the Micro Gardener and we were a few minutes late. Someone (that isn’t me) thought Maleny was a lot closer than it is. We walked into the main building and I asked a volunteer where the micro gardening was and she pointed to the far side of the festival and off we trotted. That was teaching children how to pot plants so we walked all the way back and someone else told us it was in an outdoor area so we went there. The wind had knocked the cover over and they took it inside.
We got inside and it was something else on the stage so I missed that one.
Fortunately we were able to catch Cameron Matthews with his modern European cooking presentation. He’s the head chef at the Long Apron restaurant at Spicers Clovelly Estate. The restaurant won 2 prestigious hats in the Good Food Guide and a star in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Guide. What a clever fellow he is and his food is beautiful.
He roasted some root vegetables in hay and then infused some milk in roasted hay and used that to make the mashed potatoes. He finished up by making a salad of fennel and fig and garnished with coriander stems.
He showed us how to trim a cut of meat and then took a steak from the sous vide and finished it off in a pan with butter and herbs and served it on a piece of wood that he burnt, blew out the flames and plated the meal on. He garnished it with a spring onion dipped in a squid ink batter and deep fried.
The top photo is Cameron’s fig and fennel salad and it looked SO good.
We had a quick bite to eat, wandered around a bit and John says, “There’s Genevieve and Paul.”
“I don’t see them.”
Okay, are you saying, “How could you miss that?” Yeah, you’d be right. We met Paul and Genevieve through Twitter when they were just beginning their search to make fairy floss (cotton candy) in flavours like jelly bellys. It’s been fun to see one success after another. I’m going to have a giveaway of their floss one day soon. Interested?
We got back to the auditorium just in time to see Chris Klaas give a presentationn on food styling and photography. He’s a food photographer on the Sunshine Coast and I have crossed my fingers hoping he will give a food photography workshop up here soon. He made a tian with blood oranges, spinach, cole slaw and crab and plated it with a blood orange sauce. I apologise for the crappy photo – and of a food photography presentation too – but I was so interested in what he was saying that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. My apologies for not getting a shot of the finished product, it was behind the camera and tripod and I couldn’t get the shot from where I was sitting.
Next came more eating and viewing all sorts of food related exhibits. There were chickens and their equipment, garden bed gadgets, a make your own pizza cob oven, school garden cook-off, growing and eating native bushfood, Thermomix demonstration and how to make superb coffee at home as just a few things to do. Kids had a jumping castle, gardening shows, camel rides and lots of places to run around.
I have no idea who these kids were but their music was a showstopper. As you can see, it might be the first week of Spring but it’s quite nice outside. We took our booty of chocolate covered coffee beans, Gino Russo’s Sicilian Tomato Sauce, fairy floss and mango chutney to rest up for Sunday’s visit. John decided he had to work so I went on Sunday by myself. I’ll share that with you soon.