On Saturday, Bonnie, Miss R and I visited the Melbourne Taste Festival, held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. The girls had given me my ticket plus $30 worth of spending vouchers (or crowns) for my birthday and I had been looking forward to it ever since!

This year, the festival ran from Thursday 15th September to Sunday 18th September, with two sessions running from either 12.00PM – 4.00PM or 5.30PM – 9.30PM each day. The festival was made up of a selection of stalls, hosted by a variety of food purveyors selling anything from olive oil and wine, to knives and kitchenware. Some of Melbourne’s Best restaurants were also in attendance, and this year included:

Esposito & St Peter’s
The European
The Kitchen Cat
Libertine & Le Traiteur
Mahjong Black
Mezzo & Mister Bianco
The Millswyn
St Katherine’s

Click HERE to check out the plates they had on offer.

We arrived eager to try a bit of everything. First up: ice cream by Gundowring Fine Foods. Weird first choice huh? But we were lured in by the cute mini ice cream cones and the $1 price tag. Below is my raspberry cone, but I also tried the orange and cardamon which was my favourite.

After a little more meandering, the next thing I tried was a red velvet cupcake by 180° Cupcakes for $6 (shown here second from left on the bottom shelf). Very moist and delicious. Miss R tried the lemon mirangue which looked intriguing (shown here top left)..

While Miss R and I had our cupcakes, Bonnie tried Sarti’s ‘Pistachio panna cotta’ with caramel salted popcorn ($10). It was beautifully presented.

Then it was on to some real food. The grilled pork and fennel slider with mustard mayo ($12) from Stokehouse was amazing – juicy and tender. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again…

The Botanical’s wagyu beef burger for $12, I thought, was quite orginary (and I found a piece of plastic wrap in it..). It was pretty tasteless and slightly underdone – I think they must have been in a rush to get them out.

Yes I was enjoying my burgers that day.. Might have had something to do with the cocktails the girls and I learnt to make thanks to Sensology. For $20 ($10 per class) we learnt how to make a proper Daiquiri (no slushy machines please) and a Pina Colada. And at the end we got to drink what we’d made!

To finish, I had to visit Luxbite and try one of their passionfruit tarts (my favourite) for $6 (I think?). Just amazing – the pastry was just the right thickness and the flavour was the perfect balance of sweet/tart. I must visit their store in South Yarra!!

While initially I thought that the 4 hour session would be too long, we actually stayed for most of it. I loved being able to try a bunch of different things and had an amazing time. If you didn’t make it this year, you really must visit it when it comes back next year.

Oh and P.S, Bonnie just missed out guessing the number of cookies in Charlie’s Cookie Jar. She guessed 663 and there was 660. The girl who won it guessed 662. So close Bon.. So close. (Photo from Charlie’s Cookies).