It doesn’t have giant roller coasters or livestock on display but it’s not a stretch to describe the Good Food & Wine Show as a gastronomic version of our Royal Shows. This annual food and wine lovers’ event has its share of entertainment, demonstrations, and a seemingly endless range of things to look at. You can forget about finding a Dagwood Dog at the Good Food & Wine Show though; the emphasis is most definitely on the good and more so than ever before.
This year, I had the pleasure of attending GFWS as FIJI Water‘s official blogger to cover the Perth leg of this nationwide event. I wasn’t able to attend last year but the previous year’s show certainly indicated increasing popularity so I was keen to discover how the show had since evolved. Perth’s GFWS is only in its sixth year but given Western Australia’s fervour for cooking shows and celebrity chefs is no less than over in the eastern States, it was little surprise that the Perth Convention Centres was teeming with people, even on a Friday.
The first thing that hit me on arrival was the sheer scale of GFWS this year. I didn’t remember the show being as gargantuan two years ago and I sure didn’t need a map then! I now understood why there was a need for the GFWS App. However, once I took a deep breath I worked out that everything was laid out in an orderly manner so I tucked my little map away and got on with the business of gourmet discovery.
At previous shows I rarely had a good chunk of time to sit in on demonstrations and participate in sub-events so with my entire Friday dedicated to the GFWS this year, I decided to have a more interactive experience. Courtesy of FIJI Water, I got the lowdown on cheese making through Lyndey Milan‘s Cheese Master Class, and I also donned an apron to cook up a feast in Fisher & Paykel’s YUM Kitchen (presented by Matters of Taste Cooking School). Fun!
As in previous years, a great lineup of popular chefs (Luke Nguyen, Maggie Beer, Pete Evans, Anna Gare, Tobie Puttock and the ever ebullient Miguel Maestre) flexed their rock star status by easily packing out the Celebrity Theatre. However, I was aiming for a more up-close-and-personal fix of my favourite, Maggie Beer, so I put myself into her LifeStyle FOOD Chef’s Table session. This one hour experience was a more intimate way to get to know your favourite celeb-chef and at the same time feast on their delicious food. A very welcome replacement to the horribly impersonal, pay-per-course setup that existed previously.
While my focus was on doing rather than buying, I did manage to spend a good deal of time perusing the many exhibitors’ stalls. After all, what’s a foodie event without enjoying samples and chatting to fellow food lovers? GFWS is a great way to find out what local business are doing as well as keep abreast of interstate goodies. I was pleased to find no boring bits at the show with all exhibitors enthusiastically showcasing their products and liberally handing out samples.
GFWS is over for another year in Perth but hopefully you can catch it in Brisbane (November 8-10) or give some thought to attending next year. The show was literally too big for me to cover in one blog post so I’ll conclude with a few personal highlights below. In a nutshell, the Good Food & Wine Show is a lot of fun and quite an education in various aspects of food (and of course wine!). So many couples and mother/daughter pairings used the event to hang out which I thought was lovely. I’d certainly prefer a pass to GFWS than soap on rope (if you can actually still buy them…). Hint, hint hubby! ;)
- Cheese Alley – another wonderful addition to the show and aptly placed next to the wine. Very popular with the punters! Truffled. Buffalo. Mozzarella. That’s all I can say…
- The Cheese Master Class – I had always been curious and now I’m glad I attended. I got to see some ricotta made right before my eyes and learnt about a cool cheese making school in Perth.
- Meeting Maggie Beer – What can I say? She’s a wonderfully charming lady and I could listen to her all day. She kindly signed my book and posed in a photo with me. So happy :)
- Rekorderlig’s Pear & Passionfruit cider – I didn’t focus on wine so much at this year’s show but couldn’t resist sampling Rekorderlig’s latest flavour.
- Quality food – Duh, you say? What I mean is that there’s a lot of good quality food (like Red Hot Spatula‘s pulled pork sliders) you can buy to snack on or eat as lunch. Highly popular were Jumplings (Japanese gyoza dumplings) and Maison Saint-Honoré’s macarons (I’ll say it here, the best macarons in Perth!).
- Busy Mums Helpers – I loooooved Turban Chopsticks‘ easy but tasty meal solutions. I can’t wait to make their Tomato Dahl. Local business going great guns!
- The Smoke Shack – If I had a spare $399 with me that day, I would have come home with a mini smoking oven… Don’t be surprised if I announce a new arrival at Christmas time! Hot smoked salmon fillet and smoked Camembert? Every day, please!