Crave Sydney

Night Noodle Markets, Crave Sydney International Food Festival

It’s an ingenious name.  And not just for a food festival.  Everything about Sydney makes me crave this amazing city.  Beautiful harbours.  Incredible beaches.  And yes, of course the food!

As if there weren’t already enough food festivals in Sydney (could there be such a thing as too many food festivals?!), the entire month of October is dedicated to celebrating food around this bustling metropolis.  The Crave Sydney International Food Festival encompasses more events than one person could possibly partake in, but I gave it my best effort. 😉  On top of that, I also attended several *additional* festivals throughout October that were not officially part of the Crave Sydney calendar.  Were you expecting anything less from me? 😉

Below I take you through my experiences, in chronological order:

DARLING HARBOUR FIESTA – Saturday, October 1st & Monday, October 3rd (I enjoyed it so much, I went back a second time!)

My favorite part of Darling Harbour

Walking around the Darling Harbour Fiesta I felt as if I had come full circle: it was hard to believe that just one year before, I had been attending the very same festival while visiting Heather.  Little did I know then that I’d be back in town for the 2011 festivities! 😀

Latin dancing

Latin music & dancing are hallmarks of this event, along with food from countries such as Brazil, Mexico & Argentina.  I couldn’t resist getting some churros (Spanish-style doughnuts) for dessert – yum!

These churros were actually from a cafe called Chocolateria San Churro - so good!

Although they can be eaten plain, they really are best when served with either chocolate or dulce de leche (caramel) dipping sauce – or both! 😉

The crowds at Darling Harbour Fiesta

Darling Harbour Fiesta Parade

MasterChef LIVE! – Saturday, October 8th @ Hordern Pavilion & Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park

After closely following season 3 of MasterChef Australia throughout the past several months, I was excited for the opportunity to see some of the top contestants in action.

George Calombaris with Contestants Dani & Alana

I planned out my schedule in advance so I wouldn’t miss anything & my day was definitely jam-packed!  Here was my itinerary:

– 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Mystery Box with Adriano Zumbo & MasterChef Winner Kate, hosted by George Calombaris.  The title made me think Zumbo & Kate would compete in a challenge together, but it was actually George & Kate that battled it out (George won according to the taste-taster they selected from the audience to judge their dishes).  Zumbo was there too, but was given his own stage time to show us how to make the “Chocolate Breakfast” from his new cookbook. 🙂

– 11:50 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. “How to” Session with Adriano Zumbo.  The program didn’t specify what we’d be learning, but Zumbo ended up giving a brief demonstration on how to temper chocolate.

Adriano Zumbo shows us how to temper chocolate

– 1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Contestant Theatre – Pumpkin, goat cheese & spinach risotto with Contestants Dani & Alana (pictured at the beginning of this section).

– 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Wine & Cheese Pairing.  We sampled 5 different wines & cheeses & yes, I left with a slight buzz – you all know I can’t hold my liquor! 😉

Wine & Cheese Tasting

In addition to all the demonstrations, there were heaps of exhibitors selling various food items & giving away free samples.  Overall I’d say the event was a huge success – in fact, I don’t think the organizers had anticipated just how much of a success it would be given the limited seating I encountered for the demos.  I queued up for an hour to get a seat at the mystery box theatre & the celebrity chef & contestant theatre areas were also way too small for the masses that crowded around to view them.  Maybe next year they’ll use an even bigger venue!

CRAVE SYDNEY: SUGAR HIT – Tuesday, October 11th @ Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Apple Crumble with Macadamia Sponge & Caramel Ice Cream

By far, this has got to be the best idea for an event EVER.  So what exactly is a “Sugar Hit?”  Well, just as the name suggests, it’s an excuse to indulge in something sweet (like we needed a reason?! ;))  During the month of October, various restaurants around Sydney offered wine & dessert specials starting at 9:00 p.m.  My flatmate Mia, her friend Sabrina & I chose Tomislav for both the setting (many of the other “Sugar Hits” were located in hotels) & the incredible menu.  Just look at these desserts!

Vanilla Cheesecake with Grilled Strawberries & Mulberry Sorbet

The apple crumble pictured at the beginning of this section was probably the most unique of the three desserts we ordered.  Our waiter hinted that there would be a surprise inside & sure enough when I took my first bite I felt a tingling sensation on my tongue . . . it was none other than Pop-Rocks!!  Not something I want in my apple crumble as a general rule, but the element of surprise definitely put a smile on my face & had me feeling like a little kid again. 😀

Milk Chocolate Cream Cake with Toasted Hazelnuts & Smoked Banana Ice Cream

It was a toss-up between the vanilla cheesecake & the milk chocolate cream cake as to which we liked best.  All of the desserts looked so pretty on the plate & the textures & flavors were amazing – definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill desserts!

CRAVE SYDNEY: NIGHT NOODLE MARKETSFriday, October 14th @ Hyde Park

Several people recommended that I stop by the Night Noodle Markets during its two-week-long run in mid-October & had there not been so many other foodie events occurring around the same time, I might have gone back for more!

Lanterns at the Night Noodle Markets

It’s always great to have a free, outdoor event where you can just walk around at your leisure & enjoy the fresh air, sit & people watch for a while & enjoy a nice meal.  The Night Noodle Markets featured heaps of vendors selling every variety of Asian-inspired food, but of course I opted for the cashew chicken & rice.  If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about me after a year abroad, it’s my lack of adventure with food.  Vegemite?  I’ll give it a go.  Rocket?  No dramas.  Duck?  No thanks, mate! 😉


Crowds at the Night Noodle Markets

NORTON STREET ITALIAN FESTA – Sunday, October 30th in Leichhardt

The day before Halloween, the main street in my neighborhood of Leichhardt was closed to traffic for the annual Italian Festa.  While I ultimately enjoyed the festival (although I do think Buffalo does it better!), I have to say that advertisements for this event were a bit – well, confusing!  My flatmates & I received a postcard in the mail which listed the dates as Friday, October 29 – Sunday, October 31.  Great! . . . Except that those must have been last year’s dates, because when I rocked up to Norton Street on Friday, October 28th (obviously the day of the week stuck in my head & not the date), there wasn’t a vendor to be found. 😦  OK, understandable mistake on the part of the organizers as well as myself, right?  So then I looked at the banners along Norton Street which listed the dates as October 29-31, which would make the days Saturday – Monday.  Or so I thought until I walked down Norton for a second time on Saturday, October 29th only to find that once again – no pizza, no gelato . . . what the heck is going on?!

I still haven’t figured out the full story, but what I gathered from some of the locals is that apparently there are some minor events that take place on the days surrounding the main festival date, which was, alas, Sunday, October 30th . . . finally!!  It was only on Sunday that the street was closed & the vendors set up shop for the day.  When that day finally came, I enjoyed a yummy tomato, basil & mozzarella panini & some refreshing lemon granita (similar to lemon ice).  Mmmm. 🙂

Norton Street Italian Festa

Also part of Crave Sydney was the Macaron Madness! course I completed through The Essential Ingredient on October 30th & wrote about in my last blog post.

Learning to Make Macarons!

And of course October isn’t the only time you can find great festivals around Sydney.  Already this month I’ve attended the Rocks Markets by Moonlight, the Newtown Festival & Sculpture By the Sea, with plans to stop by the Glebe Street Fair this weekend!!  Sculpture By the Sea was amazing – I plan to upload those pics to my flickr account hopefully by the end of the week, so check back soon for some beautiful artwork! 🙂

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Camille
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 00:22:18

    This post should be titled, “Niki Eats Her Way Through Sydney!” I knew you were going to grow in so many ways from this experience, but I forgot about your waistline!

    OMG – everything looks spectacular, how could one resist? Hoping some great recipes come home with you. You must have had a blast at all these events.

    Love you heaps – MOM


    • nicoleinoz
      Nov 15, 2011 @ 22:52:13

      Sydney definitely has some great festivals, but I have to say that Buffalo does too. 🙂 Hmmm – recipes – can’t wait to make macarons for everyone & I’ll have to figure out some savory pumpkin dishes too. 🙂


  2. Aunt Penny
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 02:16:22

    The festivals look fun-tastic!!! And the food choices look so yummy. Sydney does indeed look like a very special place to visit. Much love…


  3. Heather
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 07:12:21

    I am so silly jealous (but happy for you, of course) for the Masterchef Live and Sugar Hit — WOW!!! Thank you for sharing ❤


  4. Auntie Marilyn
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 02:42:48

    You can tell you are getting older when you really get excited about eating – LOL! Sounds like a blast – you always make me hungry when I read your posts. Now when you come home we will have to make some special desserts when you come over otherwise we will be blah! Take care – see you sooner than later – love you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Map of Australia

WA = Western Australia; NT = Northern Territory; SA = South Australia; QLD = Queensland; NSW = New South Wales; ACT = Australian Capital Territory; VIC = Victoria; TAS = Tasmania


November 2011
« Oct   Dec »
%d bloggers like this: