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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fine Food Australia, 2005

Judging at the Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition.

We headed over to the Fine Food Australia expo last week after receiving invitation tickets in the mail. Restricted to trade-only, this huge tradeshow made up of more than 800 exhibitors was the first ever to take up all six halls at the Sydney Exhibition Centre.

Hosted alongside the Fine Food Australia expo was Hotel Australia as well as Fine Wine and Spirits. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

Hotel Australia included all manner of commercial cooking equipment as well as cutlery polishing machines, industrial dishwashers, menus, crockery and bedlinen.

Fine Food Australia (our favourite) was divided into Bakery World, Meat and Seafood World, Convenience World, Natural Products, Dairy World, Drinks World and *sigh* Confectionary World.

Automatic nigiri-making sushi machine

I was rather taken with the sushi machines on display. There were automatic rice washers, as well as machines which made perfect nigiri bundles. Another machine placed the right amount of sushi onto nori sheets, an operator would place the filling on, then the machine would roll it up into a perfect maki sushi. A sushi cutter could be used to make precise equal portions, and hand rolls could also be automated.

Winner of the savoury buffet centrepiece - margarine sculpture
J Lunandi from Crowne Plaza, Norwest "Heavenly Realms"

Judging was a big part of the show. In addition to elaborate margarine sculptures, there were bread and pastry-making competitions, and team cook-offs as well.

I was particularly fascinated by the Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition. Aussies have a particular patriotic love affair with sinking their teeth into a good flaky but hearty meat pie.

Over 1,500 entrants meat pies were submitted for judging. After five days of deliberation, the Village Hot Bake/Early Rise Baking Company from Dubbo was declared the overall winner.

You can check all the final results here.

There was plenty to look at, and sample as well. We could've spent a lot longer in Fine Wine & Spirits that's for sure! There were Russian beers, cream vodkas, Australian red wine chocolate (choose from shiraz, cabernet or merlot--apparently the first time real red wine has ever been incorporated into chocolate), biodynamic wines and plenty of plonk from Australia, New Zealand and France.

Replica food display

I lost count of the number of meat pie, apple pie, muffin, prosciutto, pork, biscuit, steak and chocolate samples that somehow made their way into my stomach. And yes they were consumed in that order as well.

And the ice cream and gelato stands! From memory, I sampled lime, passionfruit, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, gingerbread, vanilla macadamia, pistachio, pinenut, and dark chocolate chilli. The pinenut and chilli chocolate ones were definitely the winners.

The chocolate icing and curls on the cake below were real. Unfortunately the cake itself was styrofoam.

Much to see. Much to digest.

Can't wait for the next one.

Fine Food heads on to Perth, October 9-11, 2005, and Brisbane, March 26-28, 2006.
All visitors should be working in hospitality, retail or foodservice.

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4 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 9/18/2005 11:06:00 pm


  • At 9/19/2005 2:38 am, Blogger Nic said…

    Mmm... meat pies...
    I'll take mine with chili sauce!

  • At 9/19/2005 8:54 am, Blogger deborah said…

    Wow - what an event! I always find it interesting that we try to hang onto the meat pie as our national food - when really there are some amazing things coming out of Australian kitchens, and not just the influences of different cultures, but wonderful breads, and natural foods.

  • At 9/19/2005 1:43 pm, Blogger FooDcrazEE said…

    wow! huge pies. wish i'm there too.

  • At 9/19/2005 6:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [rant] aaaaaaaaaaaaarrgh!!! oh the inhumanity of it all. it is on the exact weekend that i'll be away. *sob*. [/rant]

    great coverage of the event. sounds like you had a fantastic time :)


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