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It’s Showtime! – Good Food & Wine Show 2009

Free samples of Campari mixers at the Campari stand (R55)

Break out the Campari because the Good Food & Wine Show is on once more!

Ok, so I didn’t get any photos of champagne. Give me a break. It’s mostly sparkling wines anyhow…

For food enthusiasts such as yours truly, you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a day surrounded by food, wine, food, food-related celebrities, food and other like-minded food enthusiasts.

Oh, and not to mention, food.

I’m not just talking about any old food either. I’m talking good food, free food, fine dining and casual foods, healthy food, convenience food, junk food, whole foods, award-winning food, food for the soul and perhaps even a little food for thought.

For those of you who have yet to make plans and/or secure a ticket, I suggest that you act quick as the final day of the show is Sunday 5th July.

For those of you who’d like a bit of a tip or are looking for a heads up as to what to expect, please read on. Especially those of you who are looking to save as little money. I mean you paid the admission fee just to enter the building, you may as well get the most out of it!

First Things First

As you enter the exhibition centre, you should see an information kiosk. Make sure to visit this place pick up the Show planner and map handout. It not only contains a basic layout of the exhibition centre (and I mean real basic), it has other useful information like show session times and an exhibitor stand reference list, among other things. The stand reference is quite handy to find a stall as everything is ordered in alphanumeric order e.g. stand A1 is location on the other side of the exhibition hall to Z1.

Now, for those of you who had turned up rather light with the baggage (or lack thereof), or you’ve reached the limit of what you can carry in your bag, purse/wallet, pockets, hands, around your neck, under the arm pits and between you teeth, getting access to a bag at the show may be somewhat useful. However, most bags of any real carrying capacity will require the outlay of some dollars.


Lifestyle Food Channel stand (S32)

I suggest that one of the very first things you do is to secure a free bag (pictured above) from the Lifestyle Food Channel stand. All you need to do is spend a minute filling in a survey, and the bag plus a few goodies will be yours for the taking.

A cooking presentation by Lyndey Milan at the Good Food theatre (I2)

Another thing to do that would be useful in the beginning is to check out times for shows. At the BBC Good Food theatre, there is a black board announcing the start time of various shows. Otherwise you can obtain this info in the Show planner and map handout.

The shows here are admission free and are occasionally presented by celebrity chefs or other food personality, including Lyndey Milan herself (pictured above).

chocolatesuze (wo)manning The Biscuit Tree stand (F8)

While you’re in the area, make sure to drop in and say hi to Susan aka the unofficial poster child for Sydney food bloggers. She’ll be there manning the stand for the Biscuit Tree and if she’s not, ask the nice lady behind the counter and she’ll be found soon enough.

The Biscuit Tree sells a delicious variety of wonderfully moreish biscotti and shortbreads.

Make sure to bring along an energy drink to give to her when you visit. The preference is for Mother but if you have a Pink, even better. Though it’s not mandatory to bring along an energy drink, if you do you’ll make her day*.

*”Make her day” status is subject to conditions and approval. See in store for more details.


If you attempt to go to the show on a shoestring budget, one thing that will be clear to you is the lack of available non-alcoholic drinks to sample. Now, this isn’t a problem if you like wine but it is if you’ve driven in or you don’t drink alcohol for other reasons. What to do…?

Well, for those of you that are well organised, you can bring in your own bottle of water or other beverage of choice in with you. However, if your supplies run dry or you’ve lacked the foresight to bring anything, there are two stalls that you may find yourself frequenting quite a bit during the day.

Mt. Franklin (S31) & Neverfail (R53) stands.

The Mt Franklin stand is pimping its new line of “lightly sparkling” mineral water. Normally it’s served up to you in a disposable cup. However, if you’re a charming sort of person and ask nicely or happen to be in the area when a person puts on their charm (like I did), you may find yourself in possession of a 450ml bottle of it. I hate mineral water but I drank it down all the same.

You can also get your hands onto cups of Neverfail spring water at their stand.

Other beverages that you can sample are various coffees, teas such as chai, soft drinks & energy drinks. However, these are usually not in quantities that would do much to satisfy thirst.

Plum wine (umeshu).

If the consumption of alcohol isn’t a problem for you, one place I would suggest you sample the plum wine (umeshu in Japanese). The only problem is that I didn’t take down the stall number or the name of the stall.

The plum wine is served on ice and tastes mild, sweet with very little alcoholic kick to it.

Otherwise, there are plenty of stands to sample wine and beer (James Squire), though I believe with most if not all the wine places, you need to purchase a wine glass at designated points throughout the expo before you can get sloshed up with the samples.

Riedel Decanter Bar.

Though there are various stands to sample wine from, there are also more formal areas where wine can be savoured. Reidel have a massive area which incorporates this bar as well as a wine theatre. Wine appreciation sessions are held in this area, which is moderated by a panel of experts to lead you through the wine appreciation session.

When it comes to paid drinks, there are various vendors around the expo that will sell drinks, including the exhibition hall’s “house” cafe, for lack of a better term. Drinks aren’t cheap though, with bottles of water at $3.30 and soft drinks at $3.60.


When it comes to food, there is a vast array of places to sample food. So much in fact that you could find yourself not having to need to buy any food at all to get you through the day.
Market Pride stand (F30).

If you’re into seafood, I definitely recommend you try as much as you can from this place. Though the name Market Pride may not be all that cool or catchy, their produce is really good. The products that were at the stand seem to be for the ready made meal market. Pictured are samples of a sublime seafood chowder (top left) and an Atlantic salmon fish cake (top right) which was “meaty” (for lack of a better word) without any fishy taste to it, as good seafood should generally be.

I heard that the sampling selection may change day to day but this one is worth the visit in my opinion.

Smallgoods samples from The Poacher’s Way (D4) & Barossa Fine Foods (L18).

For the meat lovers out there, there are various places that offer up meats such as the smallgoods pictured above. The vendors are quite happy for people to work through their whole sampling range so there can be quite a bit of meat to be had.

Tender Value Meats Hornsby (R30).

It’s not just cold meats but also sausages fresh off the hotplate, courtesy of Tender Value Meats Hornsby. The sausage pictured in the lower left is a chicken, honey and macadamia sausage. They serve other sausages in their range at various times so make sure to check back in from tie to time.

Four cheese pizza (top) and pepperoni pizza with mint and parsley.

You can sample some pizza, which is made fresh on site. In this case it’s a four cheese pizza made from smoked cheddar, gorgonzola, mozzarella & finished with a bocconcini, as well as a pepperoni pizza which is finished with mint and parsley, which cuts through the fat and the spiciness of the pepperoni.

Kris Bailey working his magic at the National Foods stand (either K30 or N28)

However, this isn’t just any old pizza. The pizzas are being made by award winning pizza maker Kris Bailey, head chef of The Pantry (located in Melbourne). He has won various national titles and had come 4th in the world in a competition held in Vegas.

However for me the pizza just tasted like your run o’ the mill pizza that you can find in most places in around Sydney. Maybe it had to do with the ingredients or equipment that he had to work with, as he was there not only to promote the Diary Farmer’s Best of the Best Pizza Challenge but I presume to also sell the various dairy goods sold at the National Foods stand.

On a side note, according to the man himself, Kris Bailey is the one training up Julia of Masterchef fame on behalf of Peter Evans.

The other National Foods stand aka cheese matters (the other of K30 or N28)

For vegetarians, there are a number of sampling options. Not only does it include the four cheese pizza mentioned previously but the grand cheese matters cheese stand. This is where you can get your cheesy fix as there are actually four separate stands in one! Each mini-stand serves up various cheeses on crackers (Tasmanian Heritage blue brie and Mersey Valley original cheddar in the case of the ones pictured).

This is another one to come back for, as they rotate the sampling cheeses around.

Latin Deli Stand (G21)

Ever try a heart of palm before (pictured lower left)? I hadn’t until this show. It tastes akin to artichokes and, so I’ve been told, can be used for the same applications.

If you do happen to come along to the Latin Deli stand, you’ll find a team that is passionate in promoting various South American goods, from the afore mentioned heart of palm, to black beans and Pan. Pan is a pre-cooked white corn meal which can be used to make such things as empanadas, tamales and arepas, which is a flat bread that you may have seen being made on an episode of SBS’ Food Safari. If you happened to miss that episode, they kindly have it playing on an LCD TV located within their stand.

If you’re interested in other South American goods, they have a store in Balmain, as well as online ordering on their website.

If you do decide to drop by the stand, say hello to Ben Ayala for me. He’s the one pictured above talking passionately about his wares to a potential customer.

Other foods that you can sample are some form of salmon preparation at the Tassal Quick & Healthy Tasmanian stand (S39). Mention their competitor Huon favourably and they will “love” you for it (note sarcasm). Among the other stand outs for me are Casa De Sabor (L39) with their Portuguese-style chocolate mousses, a warm shot of Bondi Chai Latte (N40), the pedestrian but generously plentiful Hiller’s chocolates (F24), Real Turkish Delight (P52) & Health Attack’s healthy portions of nutty treats to keep an attack of the munchies at bay (N34).

Satay at the Eastern Cross Trading Co stand (R38)

Now, that was just some of the free food that was on offer. If you’re looking to shell out a few dollars, other more hearty meal options are available to you. Take for instance the satay pictured above ($1.50 a pop).

“I would like the ones on that shelf please. No, the whole shelf”.

If you fancy a warm pie or pastry, Mick’s Bakehouse (P30) is the place to be at. They offer a $5 tasting plate (pictured below), which consists of a plain beef pie, butter chicken curry pie, massaman lamb curry pie and a spinach and cheese roll. Oddly enough, my favourite was the “plain” beef one.

Pies from Mick’s Bakehouse (P30) & Duck sampler from Luv A Duck (Q55).

Luv A Duck (Q55) also offer a tasting plate for the same price of $5. It includes a duck shank (fancy name for a duck leg/drum stick), pieces of peking flavoured duck and roasted potatoes cooked in duck’s fat. For meat lovers, this is pretty satisfying, especially considering that all the foods on the tasting plate are available in ready made packs from the stand.

If you’re looking for something more substancial when it comes to a meal, there is no better place that the Lindeman’s Early Harvest Restaurant. This is where you can savour some of the dishes of the celebrity chefs attending the food conference such as Gordon Ramsay and Matt Moran.

Alistair McLeod of Ready, Steady Cook fame, as well as Executive Chef of Brett’s Wharf has on offer a dessert of Chocolate Creme Brulee served with whisky strawberries and biscotti. Though the brulee crust was near non-existent the dessert was real nice and worth the $8 price tag.

Gordon Ramsay’s dessert offering of poached pear in mulled wine served with creame fraiche, if I remember correctly. The mulled wine was quite sweet and flavourful with a spiced note to it. Too sweet on its own but paired very well with the cream. The pair was firm with the flavour of the mulled wine penetrating through to core. The almond flakes added a nice textural contrast.

Though this dessert was quite good, I was expecting a little something more from Gordon Ramsay. Maybe it’s my overinflated expectations. Anyway, having said all that, it was well worth the $8.

There are also entrees on offer for $16 and mains from $24, including a glass of wine. The dessert do not come with a complementary glass of wine.

You can find other food items for sale, such as the chocolate smiley pops from Adora Handmade Chocolates stand (S57).

Ferris wheel cake, macarons & cute gingerbread bunnies @ the Cookie Couture stand (F6)

The Cookie Couture stand contains a eyecatching range of gingerbread cookies on sale from $1 to around $3-$4, depending on the size. The cookies are of the soft cakey variety, which are quite nice with a pleasant ginger spice kick. There is also a cake on display but this seemed more for the promotion of custome cakes that can be ordered through the company via their website.

Various flavours of licorice from the Sweet & Sour stand (H51)
Things To See & Do

So there are the drinks (check) as well as the food (check). However, if you’re looking for a little something between meals, there are a few things that you can see and do.

Firstly, there is the LG Celebrity Theatre. If you paid for admission into the Good Food & Wine Show, you should have received a pass into one of the celebrity chef shows. In the case of Gordon Ramsay, you had to pay an extra $20 to see him do his thing, generally poking fun at other peoples expense (or in this case the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd) or joke about past folleys with his incident with a certain Australian female journalist or his “over excited” family dog.

These sessions are rather entertaining, funny as well as informative, at least when it comes to the preparation of the recipes cooked on stage.

There’s a video of Alistair McLeod standing in as the warm up act, getting a number of participants in the audience on stage. I found it rather funny but it’ll have to wait for another time.

Edit: The video of Alistair McLeod with his warm up act has been embedded below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Contestant No. 3 was so ripped off!

You may also have the opportunity to run into some celebrity chefs such as Gary Mehigan and Justine Schofield of Masterchef fame, have them sign an autograph or take a quick photo.

Note chocolatesuze in the lower left photo. Unfortunately, this was the best photo I had of the pair. Perhaps Helen from GrabYourFork might have a better photo on her blog. The two of us were there snapping away madly like amateur papparazzi.

Aside from the celebrities, there are various vendor stalls to check out. Definitely check out the SunRice stand (S47) as you can get a free 750g bag of rice with wild rice and mushrooms. All you need to do is fill in a brief contact form and the rice is yours.

I tried it out at lunch today. It was reasonably good and quite aromatic. Not bad for something that was given out for free.

The Breville stand shows off a number of their appliances, some of which were actually used to prepare various dishes. Unfortunately I wasn’t around at the times when food was being served but if you’re looking for yet another source for free food, here is yet another one to add to the list.

There are also various competitions that you can enter. In this case, there is a competition to win either a Ford Monaro or the Ford Fiesta. There are loads of other prizes to win such as kichtenwares, cases of wines and so forth. Check out each stall to see what competitions they have on offer.

If you have a chance to read this before you go to the show, I hope you get something useful from it. Have fun at the show and I’d love to hear comments or, for those of you with blogs, read you blog posts about the event!

Edit: Almost forgot! A huge, huge thanks to chocolatesuze for providing me with a ticket to the show as well as a session with Gordon Ramsay in the LG Celebrity theatre. Much Kudos!

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Forager July 4, 2009, 2:21 pm

    Excellent timely post! Off to the show tomorrow so this will ensure I bring a large bag along with me and hit up all the recommended stalls. Muah ha ha!

  • Simon Food Favourites July 4, 2009, 2:40 pm

    great to hear there's so much free sample food and those $5 samplers sound like good value too. I've eaten so much already this weekend at social events that I don't think I can tempt myself to check it out this year.

  • Trisha July 4, 2009, 3:10 pm

    Oh this is totally fantastic! Will be going to the show tomorrow on a budget so this is really helpful! Thanks thanks thanks!

  • lili - pikelet & pie July 4, 2009, 11:11 pm

    Wow, what a great rundown! I went yesterday and missed out on some of those freebies, but had a great time regardless – probably due to the number of spirit samples early on.
    I ate so much free cheese and chocolate!

  • panda July 5, 2009, 12:08 am

    sounds like you had a good day at the show! agree with you that there's not much to sample for the non-alcoholics – and actually towards the end of the day, i was getting annoyed at all the drunks that were walking around the show and making a whole lot of noise!

    argh…i missed out on the duck tasting plate from luv-a-duck…didn't realise they had one. looks so good!

    and yep, agree, chocolatesuze is the 'unofficial' poster child for foodbloggers!

  • billy@atablefortwo July 5, 2009, 2:21 am

    B-grade?! Helen is always A-grade mate. You totally got it wrong!

    Very long and informative post. I was too tired to go and wasted two tickets. oh well…

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 5, 2009, 4:19 am

    Great coverage Simon! How many hours did it take to do the story? Miune took only about 4-5 in between things lol

  • Bertie July 5, 2009, 6:39 am

    Are you sure you don't parttime as the marketing person fot this festival? Sounds too good to be true

  • Simon July 5, 2009, 8:26 am

    Hi Forager! No doubt you'll have fun. Hope the big bag works out for you! :)

    No doubt I'll hear about what you thought of the recommended stalls.

    Hi Simon Food Favourites! Sounds like a flood of food blog posts to come?

    Hi Trisha! You're welcome. Hope you were able to get something useful out of this.

    Hi Lili! Would love to see what you experience was & subsequently what freebies I missed out on!

    There was SO much cheese and chocolate to go around! More than last year from what I was told.

    Hi panda! Did you go to an evening session? When I left at closing time for the day one, didn't really noticed any. Then again, I generally kept away from the wine areas once I'd had a quick walkthrough in the morning.

    For $5, the duck tasting plate wasn't bad value. Don't expect propper peking duck (notice I said "peking flavoured duck") but it was good all the same.

    Hi billy! Hey, chillax man. I wasn't saying that Helen is a B-grade photographer. Not in the slightest! Was trying to communicate that we were acting like amateur papparazzi. I've since rewritten that section to better reflect what I was trying to communicate.

    Sorry to hear that you couldn't make the show but considering you're schedule, I would have been more surprised if you'd went!

    Hi Lorraine! Thanks! For me, on & off I reckon that it would have been something like 12-14 hours of solid work.

    4-5 hours? In between stuff no less?? I have a lot of respect for what you pulled off in the time that you did.

    Gotta work on my workflow…

    Hi Bertie! Thanks for leaving a comment :)

    Not too sure if I should take your comment as an insult or a compliment. hehe :)

    No, I'm in no way affiliated with the organisers/marketers/PR/etc. of this event. Otherwise, I would have made some reference to it. I'm all for full disclosure when it's applicable.

    If you notice in the last paragraph, I was there due to the courtesy of the most generous chocolatesuze, a fellow food blogger.

    Oh, and if you're wondering, I was under no obligation to spruik her stall either. I just love their biscotti & shortbreads. :)

  • Stephcookie July 5, 2009, 9:27 am

    Awesome post Simon! :) Your hints were very handy indeed for my visit to the show. Thanks!

  • Helen (AugustusGloop) July 5, 2009, 9:28 am

    Argh I'm still working on my post. Soooo many photos.

    I took the pic of Suze and Gary on her camera so you'll have to wait on her blog post. And lol @ papparazzi debate with Billy!

  • chocolatesuze July 5, 2009, 10:25 am

    wahhh awesome post dude! wow you managed to get some awesome free stuff! heh next time come on the sunday and stay till around closing time and people just hand out free stuff! anywhos good to see ya dude!

  • YaYa July 5, 2009, 11:11 am

    Very thorough job! I wished I'd read your post before I went but I was there on Friday morning. I decided to tackle the show systematically and went from one end to the other up and down the aisle to make sure I didn't miss out on anything, and I STILL missed out on the pizza, haha! But that may have been because I started at the wine end…

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 5, 2009, 12:50 pm

    Oh wow 12-14 hours? Hats off to you and you can really see by all the detail you went into. I thought that mine was taking ages and I was losing patience with it lol

  • Simon July 5, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Hi Stephcookie! I'm glad to hear it. Can't wait to read about your experiences at the show!

    Hi Helen! I know the feeling! So many photos/ideas abandoned to make the post as it was! Can't wait to see your mega post!

    Hi chocolatesuze! If I'd only known & didn't have to go to work, I so would have come! Sadness over missed opportunities. Oh well, next year…

    Hi YaYa! I wish I had posted by then! (not that I could have). Barely completed it with enough time to be of any use/relevance.

    I did the same thing you did and still missed out on stuff as well. There was a yard long chocolate bar!! How could I possibly miss that!

    Hi Lorraine! Thanks :)

    Believe me, I know the feeling! I was so ready to give in and throw in the towel at one stage.

  • Zina @ tastedbytwo July 6, 2009, 6:06 am

    Great coverage on the show, Simon. I haven't even thought about my post yet, there are way too many photos to sort through… I thought it was a great show this year but still felt ripped off paying extra for Gordon Ramsay's show when Gary & George were way more entertaining. Ramsay also made a guest appearance at the BBC Good Food theatre on Saturday, during his wife's segment.

  • Ellie July 6, 2009, 6:10 am

    Excellent post. Good coverage for those (ME ME ME) who couldn't attend. At least now I can drool on the pics.

  • Belle@Ooh, Look July 6, 2009, 6:41 am

    It’s a great event, isn’t it? And you got so many fab photos, not to mention food samples. The new mocha Kahlua was very yummy. And I thought you were going to say that chocolatesuze was the poster girl for the Show!

  • FFichiban July 6, 2009, 1:35 pm

    Great cover man! I am lagging behinds…

  • Ed July 6, 2009, 11:08 pm

    What an epic! Amazing to see Justine from Masterchef there. I think she has to be the winner doesn't she? Why else only her and not Chris or somebody else?

  • Simon July 7, 2009, 11:01 am

    Hi Zina! Sorry to hear about the disappointment with GR, as well as his free appearance which prolly would have been enough as is.

    Can't wait to read about your experience, especially considering I hadn't caught any shows other than GR's.

    Hi Ellie! Shame you couldn't make it yourself but glad you were able to drool vicariously through my post :)

    Hi Belle! LOL! I would not be surprised if Suze was the poster child of the show, considering how many "stalkers" she attracted :)

    I'll have to organise a designated driver so that more drinking could be had.

    Hi FFichiban! I know the feeling. There's much laggage in other areas for me e.g. tupperware.

    Hi Ed! Whether or not she's the winner (likely that may be), if you were George and Gary, who would you choose to be around all day for 3 days straight? For me, it's a no brainer :)

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