A Taste of Slow - Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne


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Melburnians love their food and hundreds of them flocked to the old Abbotsford Convent during the weekend of September 9-10 for the final days of A Taste of Slow – Australia 2006.

During the preceding week there were a number of regional and city activities organised by the local convivia of the Slow Food movement.

We attended the convent activities on the Sunday and took a leisurely amble round the grounds. Local producers were out selling their cheeses, wines, olive oils, preserves, meat, fruits, vegetables. There was a good representation from interstate Slow Food organisations, all showcasing their local produce.

And there was plenty to eat along the way. We started with a slice of ciabatta with a drizzle of lemon and oil, topped with crunchy lettuce and slices of beef. A little later it was time for a cup of coffee. Then we got some tasting plates from the Tasmania Slow Food tent - freshly shucked oysters, scallops, pickled cherries, salmon, bread and cheeses.

All around us were grazing and sipping, chatting with food producers, visiting the various displays and the Collingwood Children’s Farm, lunching at the canteen, attending the tea tasting workshops, checking out the honey.

We stopped by the hall where the cooking demonstrations were held and caught the session conducted by Fergus Henderson (St John) and Ian Curley (The Point). I was able to get the recipe for the suckling pig dish I had eaten at Taste of Slow dinner at The Point two nights before.  

Then we watched Graham Green from the Green Herring restaurant in ACT cook up some beef cheeks. They looked and smelled delicious so I brought home Green’s beef cheek recipe to try out as well.

Several national chefs produced menus at the Slow Food Canteen. The Spouse couldn't go past Matt McConnell's offering. The Bar Lourinha chef from Melbourne produced bull boar sausages with a creamy skordalia mash and parsley salad. I had a sampling and the mash alone was absolutely wonderful with a nice lemony undertone. A glass of wine and we were at harmony with the world.

Taste of Slow is certainly a highlight of Victoria's festival calendar and this was a very pleasant way of spending a Sunday.

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