Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.
Bikkies With Heart
One of the nicer stories I heard come out of the Queensland floods was from a little company I’ve covered in the past called Mamma Marilena. They manufacture a boutique range of biscuits and nut-breads that have expanded since I discovered them at a trade show just over a year ago. Whilst their own Queensland factory survived the deluge quite well, one of their main suppliers - Trumps Nuts in Rocklea - was totally submerged. Instead of scrambling to find a new supplier, Tony Sangster and the team at Mamma Marilena simply told the customers who buy their made-to-order products that they’d take a little longer this month. Tony’s kind rationale was: “The worst thing that could happen is that people desert them at this time.”
The nut-breads that first captured my cheese-focused interest now come in an even more popular range of fruit and nut flavours, like Macadamia and Mango or Pistachio and Cranberry. Dinner party devotees may also enjoy their handmade Meringue Shells, which leave the supermarket versions for dead! You’ll find them at the Bondi Road Fruitologist or in Rozelle at The Essential Ingredient.
Easy On The Jaw
In case you missed my big conversion to muesli eating, I’m going to give you another nudge in the direction of Muesli4Me who will home-deliver your own personal blend. After chewing my way through three different selections, the worst thing I could say about their mueslis was that the whole almonds were a bit work chewing. So you can imagine my delight when I heard they’re now serving them slivered. They’ve got more than eighty ingredients you can throw in your mix, and if your personal favourite is missing, try them! I can certainly vouch that they respond well to feedback.
Social media is now a big part of my life. These days I’m more likely to watch the news unfold real-time on Twitter than wait for a bulletin. Cadbury’s latest campaign urges us all to make the time for real-life catch-ups. Rebecca Huntley (The World According to Y) explains: "It's important to stress that Facebook and iPhones are not the enemy here but we need to remind ourselves of the importance of real-time, face to face time with our loved ones.” Try dangling a block of chocolate in front of your online mates and see if they suddenly materialise. It’ll cut down on calories if you share. Up until the 27th March you can also buy specially marked blocks that give you the chance to send your mate a block of chocolate for free. It’s hard to beat a chocolate bar letter.
Eau De Vie jumped (after just one visit) to the top of my favourite bars in Sydney list. If you need more urging, why not head down there for one of the Johnnie Walker Tasting Sessions. There you (and your learned drinking companions) will be guided through the intriguing world of whisky. Like all good bar experiences, it starts with a cocktail. From there you’ll circle the globe tasting your way through Irish, Canadian and American Whiskies, armed with your own Sensory Kit. Tell the wife it’ll help you be a better bartender at home.
Better yet – send the wife to a Mad Men and Martinis soiree at The Victoria Room. She’s sure to come back cooing about their new bespoke Martini Trolley. With cocktail classics like Manhattans and Gimlets on offer, and Coco Repose on hand doing a pop-up boutique and styling advice, it may work out to be a win-win situation! The first one is on Thursday March 24th, 2011 – if she dresses in vintage she might even win a prize.
Of course you shouldn’t confine your spirits just to drinking! Some of them are great for eating too. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, head to the Chambord website for some ideas on how to turn their black raspberry liqueur into dishes like Foie Gras With Black Raspberry Compote. It comes in a rather snazzy bottle too…
Pork & Vine
I’ll be going for the succulent roast pork and empanadas from the cutting-edge cool lads of Porteño and Bodega. But since this is the ‘Potions’ section of my column, I’d better also mention the top NSW wines also on offer at the Sydney Cellar Door. The event takes place at Hyde Park on the 26th-27th February, and kicks off the month-long NSW Wine Festival. Even if you can’t get there this weekend, check out the website for a range of wine dinners at some of my favourite Sydney restaurants on throughout March.