Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Recipe contest...
In honor of the 21st annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, the Visit Victoria tourism council sponsored a recipe contest with a free trip to the festival. Free trip to Australia? Who wouldn't want a free trip to Australia. While my lasagna with an 8-hour ragu didn't take home a prize, I had a terrific time learning a little more about the festival and tasting the three finalists. A Spicy Tomato Soup with Harissa and Farro by Will Budiaman from The Daily Meal, a Finger Lime Skate Fish w/ Yams & Nuts by our pal Nicole Taylor (aka the Foodculturist) and a Black Perigord Truffle Flan from Bren Herrera at Flanboyanteats.
Each dish was amazing in it's own right. The Spicy Tomato Soup had a nice bite and was totally a satisfying winter dish I could see myself making at home.
The Finger Lime Skate Fish dish truly embraced the theme of the contest: "Earth" by showcasing some very Aussie ingredients--finger limes and yams that are prized in indigenous cuisine, along with skate and macadamia nuts. Since I'm allergic to nuts I couldn't properly partake in their dish, but it looked INCREDIBLE and I can tell you that a hush fell over the crowd as soon as they had a chance to put their forks to work.
Lastly there was a decadent and slightly savory black truffle custard which made for an unexpected but entirely delicious meal capper.
How could Australian celebrity judge, Chef Guy Grossi pick from among these three terrific dishes? Well, thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, he didn't really have to! They decided to give all THREE finalists a trip to Australia. Hooray and a huge congrats to the winners! Looking forward to seeing their coverage of the festival!