Earlier this month, I hopped on a flight from Adelaide to Sydney, to attend, speak at, and document the Rootstock Sydney 2015. Rootstock is a collaborative not-for-profit event that celebrates sustainable food and wine, as well as highlighting the very best in progressive Australian coffee. For its third year, Rootstock festival took over a large portion of the beautiful Carriageworks venue in Sydney, filling it with a pavilion of phenomenal winemakers from Australia and beyond, a marketplace with great food, drink, and cultural minds, and a coffee pavilion housing a spectacular array of some of the best coffee roasters Australia has to offer. More in-depth coverage of the event will appear on Sprudge in the coming weeks, but to give you a little taste of the goings-on, I present to you a snapshot of 10 delicious things I consumed with my eyes, ears, mouth, and nose over the weekend.
1. Flat White from Market Lane Coffee
In this article, as in life, coffee is always the first stop. With this in mind, the first highlight had to be a creamy, delicious flat white courtesy of Market Lane Coffee. Made with their current Seasonal Espresso (and lots of love), there’s no better way to start out a big day of delicious things than with a damn good cup of coffee.
2. Tom Shobbrook’s Chenin Blanc
Over the weekend, the temperature in Sydney was by no means cold—in fact, it would have been a perfect time to duck off to the beach. In lieu of that, I settled for a taste of Tom Shobbrook’s yet-to-be-released Chenin Blanc, aptly titled “Beach”. This is a light, nicely textured number—the sort of wine you’d happily take with you to a sunny day by the water, or a shady day in the park, or to drink at dinner with friends, or home alone…anywhere, really.
3. Rainbow Trout Tartar by Clever Polly’s and Goulburn Trout
In a delicate rice paper crisp sits a bundle of rainbow trout, coated in a pretty spectacular ponzu dressing and topped with sesame, spring onion, and all sorts of delicious things. It’s enough to make a girl jump on the next flight to Melbourne for food and drinks at Clever Polly’s permanent home.
4. A scintillating vision from the Artificer Coffee boys
Not every delicious thing has to be something to eat or drink—sometimes we all just need a feast for the eyes.
5. Capers from Gabrio Bini’s Azienda Agricola Serragghia estate on Pantelleria
To see the famous (and rightly infamous) natural winemaker Gabrio Bini pouring wines at Rootstock was something pretty special. But to be able to try capers produced at Bini’s Serragghia estate on Pantelleria, a tiny island 100 kilometers southwest of Sicily? Well, that’s something else. Picked in Serragghia and paired with fleur de sel, these capers are a unique marriage of salt and fruit—made all the more powerful with a glass of Bini’s Serragghia Bianco Zibbibo.
6. A slice of prosciutto from Brock Alford at Good Intentions Wine
While not technically part of the Rootstock program, who can say no to some hand-sliced, homemade prosciutto all the way from Mount Gambier? All sorts of layers of salty and meaty, it made beautiful bedfellows with all the delicious things on pour in the wine pavilion.
7. Naturally fermented Sour Cherry Ale from Two Metre Tall
When I heard that sour beer extraordinaires, Two Metre Tall, were going to have a little bar at Rootstock, I couldn’t wait to get there. What would I try? Their Cleansing Ale, a bright spritzy summer beverage; A Farmer’s Resilience & The Seven-Year Itch, their original cleansing ale aged for seven years; or their “Derwent Aromatic Spelt Ale”, made using farm-grown hops and locally grown spelt?
Well, I tried them all. Then, on Sunday, they tapped a keg of their Sour Cherry Ale—made using two-year-old soured ale which they added 25% whole morello cherries to—and I drank that too. Ridiculously good stuff.
8. “Lisa” Burger from Mary’s Newtown and Krinklewood Beef
In Sydney’s inner city suburb of Newtown, Mary’s is an institution. It’s a place where you’re never really sure what time it is—the one thing you can be sure of though is great burgers, fried chicken, a bunch of delicious drinks, and a good time. Teaming up with Krinklewood biodynamic beef, they created a tasty little beef burger called “Lisa” for the Rootstock crowd.
9. A splash of recently bottled Rose from Gentle Folk Wine
The days at Roostock were long and hot, spent jumping from tasting table to tasting table, then out to the smoky market to delve into food, coffee, beer, and culture—so what do you do as a break? Well, you drink more wine. This little number was a spritzy Rose from Gareth Belton at Gentle Folk Wine. He makes excellent wine in Basket Range just 25 minutes outside of Adelaide, and this one was no exception. A mix of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Gris, this Rose was not messing about.
10. A waft of delicious scents from the cow cooking outside
Upon walking outside Carriageworks on Sunday, an interesting looking contraption had sprung up overnight: a whole cow cooking over big tubs of fire, intermittently being flipped by a forklift. Apparently, the cow itself was raised solely for the event, being put on the grill at 11 p.m. the evening before, in anticipation for the closing party at approximately 9 p.m. on Sunday night. Such meaty scents, such a sight, what a barbeque.
These are exactly the sort of events that coffee should be at, and Rootstock gave coffee its due by dedicating a whole pavilion. We’ll have an in-depth look at that coffee service and lectures coming up next, right here on Sprudge.com.
Eileen P. Kenny (@eileenpk) is a Sprudge.com staff writer and the publisher of Birds of Unusual Vitality, the coffee interview magazine. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.