Saturday, February 25, 2012

NSW wines on our doorstep at Sydney Cellar Door

Sydney Cellar Door in Hyde Park South, Sydney
It was a glorious day that welcomed the Sydney Cellar Door event to this weekend in Hyde Park. It's the marquee annual event that kicks off the NSW Wine Festival that runs from today through to the end of March.

Wine stalls for Sydney Cellar Door
The two-day Sydney Cellar Door event features more than 90 NSW wineries from the state's 14 wine regions, including a large contingent of Hunter Valley wineries.

It's free to attend the event - and you can still make tomorrow's session - with wine tastings working on a token system. A single token worth $4 will get you about 60mls to taste at the wine stalls.

Free entertainment - Aston
Even though the day's all about wine, it can still be a family event with plenty a pram and excitable child spotted during the day. There's also free entertainment - some of it amazing like the 'Aston' group which covered pop songs with classical instruments - think Gaga's 'Bad Romance' and Beyoncé's 'Halo'.

Pizzas at Mad Pizza e Bar
And what's wine without food to accompany it? There are also 20 food stalls giving you the opportunity to do some wine matching on epic proportions: 90 wineries each with, say, eight varieties of wine - that's a challenge.

I've never seen Mad Pizza e Bar in festival mode before, but their super thin-based pizzas looked fantastic coming out of their row of portable ovens.

Gourmet wraps at the Wine Odyssey stall
It made complete sense to see a stall by Wine Odyssey in The Rocks, selling two varieties of wraps - meatball or chicken tikka. Wrapped up in foil, this was a clever, easy-to-eat-with-one-hand lunch. The meatball wrap didn't have the best meatballs ever, but the tomato sauce they were cooking in hit the spot.

Roast pork belly roll with BBQ leek, aioli and jalapeño chimmichuri from Porteño
I was most excited about the food offerings from Porteño, probably more than the wine although in my defense, it was indeed a NSW wine that I hit a little too hard the night before. The stall was fronted by the glamourous Sarah Doyle and with everyone's favourite rockabilly chefs dishing up tucker.

Quite substantial was the very popular pork belly roll, which starred a long strip of fatty, crunchy-skinned pork belly. The toasted bread roll also hosted a strong aioli, grilled and sliced leek as an interesting alternative to grilled onions, and a chimmichuri sauce with a bit of kick.

Smoked and fried free range chicken wings with house made hot sauce from Porteño
The equally popular box of piping hot chicken wings smelt enticingly smokey, split into the drummette and mid-wing plus tip sections. With a pale coating of batter, a liberal amount of red hot sauce and a scattering of thinly sliced shallots, this was definitely some finger-licking good chicken.

The actual flesh and skin had taken on a very noticeable smokiness although the downside was some chewy chicken skin. The almost-too-spicy hot sauce was worth every lick and scrape off the bottom and sides of the box.

Tony Bilson at Home by Moobi Valley stall
One of the busiest stalls all day was that of Tony Bilson's - his foray into market stalls launching this very weekend, I think. He was on site too, cooking and chatting to customers as they walked away with Black Angus beef burgers and lamb shanks even. It will be interesting to see his full at-home range of meals at the markets one day.

Gelato and brioche buns
After the pork belly roll it was too much to consider a gelato-filled brioche bun, but the classic flavours proved popular with the well warmed crowd. Both the lemon and mango sorbets were the perfect antidotes to 15 minutes or so in the searing sun.

Cake pops by Sweetness The Patisserie
It was great to see Sweetness The Patisserie there with almost their full range on offer, of course including their signature Sweet Mallows. Their brownie slices were selling like hotcakes while the bouquet of brownie-centred cake pops was irresistably cute.

Sydney Cellar Door, 25-26 February 2012, Hyde Park South
Sydney Cellar Door makes for a great event for wine lovers and learners alike. And if this weather keeps up, it's an unmissable opportunity to see and taste some of NSW's best wines in one leafy, sunny venue. See more photos from the day on my Facebook page.


Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Mmmm! Can I have one of those pork belly rolls for breakfast please?? =D So hungry now...

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Bummer, I missed it :(

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Damn, I really wanted to go but had stuff on both days :( The pork belly roll and the chicken looks so good >< they should put it on their menu! Do you know if they have it on their Gardel's bar menu?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

As an avowed chicken wing lover I'd go straight for those-especially if they're done by Porteno! :)

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

The chicken wings do look geeewd! AS does the pork belly :)

Tina said...

Hi Angie - Oooh, probably just a little too heavy for brekky; perhaps morning tea ;)

Hi gaby - There's always next year ;) and plenty of festivals in between.

Hi Vivian - No idea actually. Not even sure if one was a Porteno contribution and the other Bodega or not.

Hi Lorraine - Yep, wings all the way.

Hi Adrian - Those guys have a bit of the magic touch :)

sugarpuffi said...

i had 11 glasses of wine on saturday at cellar door! want to have more but ran out money >_<

Dress and Dish: Lana said...

Mad Pizza e Bar looks so good!! Yum.


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