I scored some free tickets to The Taste Of Melbourne festival (Thanks Felix) and thought it was going to be some sort of gastronomical adventure. Turns out it was more of a booze fuelled wander through a historical building. This event was described as a who’s who of food in Melbourne. Sadly I didn’t get fat, I got a little pissed instead. There were more stands pushing wine than food. Plus all theses wankers from Masterchef or wankers with Masterchef written somewhere on their stand. Masterchef is not a real cooking show, it’s a joke full of 5 minute celebrities and pretentious pricks. End rant.
The positive of the entire exhibition was to see that cider from some local producers had a presence. Three real ciders and one fake.
Firstly, the fake, Rekorderlig had a large area setup at the top of the stairs with fridges crammed with their RTD branded as a cider. I didn’t even stop to taste as I had consumed enough sugar from all the chocolate stands by this point. I will say Rekorderlig ciders are fake until they prove that they use at least 80% real apples in their product. I am curious if this beverage attracts the alcopop tax which the other RTD’s do. This may upset a lot of hipsters if it suddenly went from $12 a bottle to $15 at Kent St. Check this article on uneducated thinking this is a real cider and a real (cheaper) RTD alternative.
Which brings me to some other cider news. On Thursday a special meeting took place with the formation of the Australian Cider Association. From what the guys at Rebello Wines have told me, this association is going to start to police the cider purity laws which exist in Australia. These laws are not enforced right now much to the detriment of the local cider market. For a producer to claim there product is a cider it must contain at least 80% apples. Will be interesting to see some of the mass produced ciders such as Strongbow or Five Seeds being labeled as a Cider flavoured beverage like maple flavoured syrup. But I digress and rant.
Next up on the cider list was the fine drop Napoleon, they had a small stall with their wines on show as well. They had both of their delightful ciders on tap. I had a quick chat with a couple of the guys there and was informed that their bottle conditioned cloudy cider had just recently won at the Australian cider awards. Only problem is that it is produced in small batched and has already sold out. I’ll be looking forward to their next batch which I believe will be available in 500ml bottles from a few bottle shops around Melbourne and at Young and Jackson’s rooftop cider bar.
I was a little excited later when I spotted the stand for Cheeky Rascal, they had everything out for tasting including some of their liqueurs. I got Big Kev excited when I spotted a new flavour in the form of strawberry and pear. This is a sweet drop with a little bit of the strawberry acid coming through to balance it. A review for this will be up in the coming week. There was also a mention of some more flavoured ciders to come with the new season fruits and berries. If you have tried any of their ciders I highly recommend them. Put the strawberry and apple cider up against any cider with berries in it and you will be amazed at how real the strawberry flavour is. This is because they actually use real strawberries (weird I know) which is evident just from the smell you get when you open a bottle. These guys are all about using real fruit and doing things properly and I am looking forward to trying next seasons ciders when they are available. You can sometimes find them at the Abbotsford Convent Farmers and Slow food markets. I’ve been told this depends on their strawberry harvest because they sell the cider at the some stall.
Finally I stumbled upon a random cider from Giverny Estate. Kiwi fruit cider. My interaction with the stall holders was minimal. All I got was a weird look when I asked how they made it. I was given a sample and found it to be a little nutty and quite tart. So I asked about the yeast they had used and if it was bottle conditioned. Another weird look like I was a moron. The lady then proceeded to explain to me that it was not brewed like champagne and had no added sugar. Not really answering any questions or making love this weird and slightly furry cider.
Overall I was not impressed with the exhibition. I found it to be more about people trying to feel better about Masterchef existing and pretending it taught us what good food should taste like. There were so many wine wankers there it was hard not to push their plastic pretentious wine glasses into their faces as they stood around quaffing and trying to look sophisticated. If you were a vegetarian you might as well have stayed out side and foraged in Carlton Gardens for food. I saw one vegetarian dish that was not ice-cream, chocolate or a macaron.
One last note. I am a big green giant. There was so much waste at this event. Props to Longrain for serving me a drink in a Biopak cup and the I heart Mozzarella cheese plate was on palm leaf plates. It would be awesome if next year Taste implemented environmentally responsible policies and got with the program.