There’s Nothing Like Australia

Braving the bitter temperature for a taste of Australia I got ready and left my apartment last Thursday evening.  The event was scheduled to start at 5:30pm and at 6pm I emerged from the subway to take the streetcar to 2nd Floor Events at 461 King St. W.  On that particular night Toronto had a sparkle I had not seen in a while.

Entrance to 2nd Floor venue in Toronto, Canada

As I approached the gated entrance of the venue I immediately felt excitement as I entered into the open concept space with a contemporary design, large bright windows, hardwood floors and 12 foot ceilings.  I immediately wanted to explore the instinct that was pulling me toward the elegant tasting stations and alluring wine bar.  Still shivering from the penetrating winter cold I had no second thoughts about making the wine bar my first pit stop.

Bottles of Australian wine displayed on top of the bar

Now that I was warming up I walked around to get a feel of the atmosphere and noticed that every chef was well-poised, concentrating on the task at hand, with their heads bent, hands in motion; yet I knew instantly who Chef John Placko was, the evening’s celebrity chef.  His focus was absolute on a level above the others, despite many photographers and media gurus zeroed in on him.

 With a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon by Stone Dwellers in hand, I began to socialize, looking forward at what each tasting station had to offer and not one disappointed – although I did not try each one of them.

White Strip Lamb served with minted cucumbers and beetroot with Murray River salt flakes.

From marvelous Melbourne, Victoria – Forestberry seasoned White Strip Lamb served with minted cucumbers and beetroot with Murray River salt flakes.  Paired with Are You Game Shiraz 2010.

Buderim ginger and lime spiked barramundi with sweet chili, wilted greens with Australian olive oil.

Stellar seafood, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland – Buderim ginger and lime spiked barramundi with sweet chili, wilted greens with Australian olive oil.  Paired with Sticks Chardonnay 2010.

 After exchanging pleasantries with one of my colleagues and making a few new friends, it was already time to try another dish and I delved into another culinary adventure in South Australia.

Mini kangaroo and peperberry sliders

Kangaroo Island Canapes, South Australia – Mini kangaroo and peperberry sliders with native quandong peach relish.  Paired with Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.

 To top the night off I took a tour off the beaten path and ran into this:

A bowl of liquid nitrogen made wattle seed ice cream

Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania Outback – Liquid nitrogen made wattle seed ice cream, Anzac cookie crumbs and Australian honey foam.  Paired with Evans & Tate Chardonnay 2012.

 Not one person left this event without rosy cheeks and a smile on their face.  It was clear that not even the extreme cold temperatures of that twinkling Toronto night were going to put a dent on the warmth and happy thoughts of one of the most noteworthy and wonderful continents of our planet.  That night Dine Australia transported me and many others to Oz; a land rich in gastronomical culture.  Thank you Australia Tourism, and Wine Australia for the unique menu and wine pairings.  It was a feast for my senses.

5 Responses to There’s Nothing Like Australia

  1. That looks smashing! I’ve never had an Australian meal and always wondered how kangaroo meat tastes like. Sounds like you had an awesome evening!

    Aggy February 1, 2014 at 10:48 AM Reply
  2. Rosy cheeks and smiling faces? I’d call that success! Now I’m starting to think I want my second dinner of the day…

    holidayaddict February 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM Reply
  3. First stop, wine bar — of course! Everything looks great, but I’ve got some reservations about trying kangaroo. Love the name of the Shiraz — Are You Game!

    Cathy Sweeney February 4, 2014 at 11:37 PM Reply
  4. I’d brave the cold too for that wine and a chance to learn something about a faraway country! On that note, maybe I’ll finally go to Australia one of these days…

    Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround) February 7, 2014 at 2:35 PM Reply

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