A little on my lately: Pop-up Halloween Degustation and Eat Drink Blog 2012

November 8, 2012

Road trip porn (en route to Barossa Valley S.A.)

Time to clear out the cobwebs and sweep away the dust bunnies up in here because I’m back! The last 3 weeks or so have been a little on the manic side. And by that I mean I’m having fun doing so much stuff at once but damn I need a day off to do nothing but stare at walls. I’m still just settling back into normal routine so if I’m blabbing weird shit on here it’s just that I’m still a bit wired.

So go ahead and stare at that beautiful serenity above for a minute then buckle down because I’m gonna throw a whole heap of photos and words at ya!

Pop-up Halloween Degustation Dinner Party

About two weeks ago, I joined two food blogging pals to throw a halloween bash of crazy sugary proportions with four courses of desserts and petit fours before finishing off with two savouries for that much needed injection of salt. In fact, we damn nearly killed everyone with the overload of desserts! The sight of 60 or so people clutching their stomachs and plodding home in a hazy sugar coma made me feel all warm and fuzzy ;)

Photos from Billy Law from A Table For Two

The cocktails were truly wicked and my favourite was the one above. Call me a drama queen but I love theatrics with my booze so much love to the uber-talented Brett for his amazing concoctions. Any one that can gleefully impale a mob of innocent jelly babies will always have a special place in my heart.

Costumes were a must and it was just brilliant to see most of our guests dressed up and laced in blood. Sadly I didn’t have time to find a halloween costume that didn’t make me look like a slutty pirate or a Disney princess stripper so I grabbed a cape, slapped on the heavy eye make up and a gory and bloody gash on my arm. I call this look Sunday morning after a night at The Mean Fiddler. Meanwhile The Captain went as er, a captain.

Speaking of which, a special shout out to the +1’s for giving up their Friday night to act as waiters, servers, bus boys and dishwashers; without them we would be sunk. The poor things were elbow deep in food scraps, grease and detergent for most of the night but they worked their arse off without complaints. Bless them.

It was five weeks of planning, shopping and recipe testing and in the end, I spent the next two days prone on the couch demanding foot rubs. This is why I don’t work in hospitality full time; I’m way too much of a sissy. As usual the sweat was worth it in the end and we’d love to do it again so watch this space.

This is so gonna be our wedding photo!

Eat Drink Blog Australian Food Bloggers Conference 2012

So I admit, I may have opted to head to EDB 2012 in Adelaide not so much for the conference solely but because I really wanted a break away from Sydney and see Adelaide for the first time. But I had such a brilliant weekend all round and the conference was so well put together that I would drop everything now and do it again in a heartbeat. I relished in the peace and quiet and was smitten with the friendly and laid-back locals.

The first day we hit the Adelaide Central Markets famished. Lunch was a sort of casual picnic affair as the six of us grabbed all manner of delectable bits and pieces and then came together to sample our wares.

I immediately zoomed in on my favourite Shadows of Blue from Gippsland, Victoria. I’m no blue cheese fan but I adore this one – ultra creamy and salty without the taste and odour of stinky feet – perfect with crispy lavosh crackers. The star of the day though was the Lachsschinken, a German cured meat with a taste and texture not unlike smoked salmon and as Helen laments, it’s not something we’re likely to find in Sydney. Darn. We were also in raptures over the piroshki, a Russian deep fried yeasted dough. Some were sticky and glazed with honey while others were wrapped around various savoury fillings. Oh how we were swooning.

Left: Adelaide Central Markets
Right: desserts at Eggless Dessert Café

I know we also have fresh food markets here in Sydney but they all lack the kind of charm that Adelaide Central Markets had. There was none of that hectic push-and-shove atmosphere and it’s the kind of place where you can stop to have a chat with the providores. Heck if I had a central market around where I lived, I’ll never need to step into evil Woolies and Coles again.

Some of the lookers on show

Free range chicken

A chocolate fountain at the markets? Yes please!

On Helen’s recommendation we hit up Pearl’s Diner, an adorable little joint in the middle of suburbia. Burgers and pulled pork buns are the go here however I only had my eye on the buttermilk fried chicken and chocolate milkshake. The only sweet offering here were the waffles which unfortunately didn’t live up to the rest of the meal.

Undeterred we immediately cabbed it over to Eggless Dessert Café for a proper fix of sugar. The doughnuts here were a dream; crispy sugar-crusted exteriors and fluffy innards, each filled with the likes of raspberry and rhubarb jam and my favourite chestnut purée. I was also thrilled with my tea tarik which is better than any that I had in Sydney with a strong tea flavour and not sickeningly sweetened with condensed milk.

The next day, I only had one thing on my mind; wine. While some trekked to McLaren Vale, we were on the way to Barossa Valley. Cue photos of scenery porn.

We were lucky to be heading out to Taste Eden Valley for a wine and cheese tasting amongst beautiful surroundings. I’m getting all starry-eyed just reminiscing about it. I absolutely adored the Radford Fortified Riesling (add to cart asap) and the Barossa Valley Cheese Company offerings of triple cream (with an amazing homemade quince paste) and goats cheese. Yes I really did eat goats cheese and I didn’t die; in fact I quite liked it. Also brilliant was the lunch which included locally foraged stinging nettle pasta and the lamb. Oh my god, that lamb.

Our perfect afternoon was capped off with a visit to the beautiful Hentley Farm for more wines and canapés in a house built around the time that Adelaide was founded in 1836 (gotta love a quick history lesson with your riesling). I wish I got more photos but by this stage, I was in a bit of a wine and sun induced haze complete with a slightly sunburnt left arm and all I wanted to do was to sip and sit. I did however, managed to take a photo of a skull. Awesome.

Ok so I also failed in taking any photos of the conference dinner at the Hilton and of the well, actual conference but I was too busy eating, meeting new faces and chatting with old friends. All in all, it was a fabulous weekend with so many lovely like-minded bloggers and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

A thousand thank yous to the organisers of Eat Drink Blog 2012 and the sponsors for showing us an amazing time and for showcasing Adelaide in all its glory. I never expected to be so charmed by this city and I’m now keeping my eye out on all those pesky flight websites because once a flight sale to Adelaide hits, I’m gonna be all over it.

Note: All activities and tours relating to EDB 2012 were fully sponsored. Flights, accommodation and all other meals etc were personally paid for.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica (@gastromony) November 21, 2012 at 23:37

I’m so glad you recalled the Barossa trip so well :) I lost my faculties once I had that amazing lamb :| So many details I forgot so thanks :)


Miss Piggy November 16, 2012 at 09:52

EDB2012 was a wonderful weekend and you’re right, Adelaide is rad – that’s why we call it rAdelaide! I love that it’s so much more relaxed than Sydney…and those markets, incredible.


Christina @ The Hungry Australian November 16, 2012 at 07:32

Great post, Karen. I’m glad our little ol’ town impressed ;)

Congrats on your dessert pop up – it looks like an incredible experience!


Christine November 13, 2012 at 10:19

That Halloween dinner looked fantastic. I was drooooling over Billy’s pics! Love that shot of you and the Captain – you guys are too cute hehe:)


Bryan November 12, 2012 at 18:00

Gorgeous, atmospheric account of the EDB event you attended, Karen!

Love the layout of your blog too… and how you can publish such delightfully huge photos. :)


Vivian - vxdollface November 12, 2012 at 15:00

Great post! Wish I could have been there had it not been my gran’s birthday.. and shame I couldn’t join in on the Halloween dinner but you guys looked like you dished up an amazing spread :)


Amanda November 9, 2012 at 18:16

It sure was a big food weekend, wasn’t it. Glad you enjoyed it.


Chilli and Mint November 9, 2012 at 06:57

Wow you have been busy. All sounds like a lot of fun and great experiences to boot! Loved the photos and that halloween cocktail looks fabulous. Torie


Sara (Belly Rumbles) November 9, 2012 at 00:29

Wonderful weekend. I must admit, my photo taking enthusiasm petered off towards the end of it, in other words, conf dinner and day of conf :(


Amanda@ChewTown November 8, 2012 at 21:32

I failed to take photos of the dinner or conference too! Great post. I am so sorry to have missed your amazing halloween dessert degustation – the way everyone who went described it, it sounded amazing. It was great to have met you at the conference and hopefully we’ll catch up again in Sydney.


tania@mykitchenstories.com.au November 8, 2012 at 18:54

Lovely view of the EDB2012. It was such fun. Sadly I didnt get to meet you and only realised after looking at the program.
BTW For a similar meat to Lachsschinken, try Narel smallgoods ….Botony Road and the corner of Daffney St Botony ( They have good doughnuts too. Ring ahead they have odd hours)


Citrus and Candy November 8, 2012 at 20:00

Oh no you were at the conference too?! Darn I really should’ve checked the delegate list properly too. Sad I didn’t get to meet you too. Thanks for the tip, I’ll def check out Narel smallgoods asap :)


Tina November 8, 2012 at 17:29

Lovely post, and lovely pictures! I’ve read about the Halloween Dessert Degustation from so many blogs, you’re so talented!! And I look forward to making the salted caramel choc truffles following your recipe :)


Stephanie November 8, 2012 at 14:27

That dinner sounds amazing, love the cocktail shot!! Really enjoyed this post.. looking forward to more :)


Tina @ bitemeshowme November 8, 2012 at 10:46

Congratulations on a superb job on your halloween degustation dinner. Seems you guys were a smash hit! And wow, you’ve taken me by suprise from your photos of Adelaide. What a gorgeous city. Even using instragram you’ve made the city look fantastic! and Welcome back.. you’ve been missed :)


thecitygourmand November 8, 2012 at 10:37

Yay for the pop-up degustation! Good times. Love being filled in on your foodie adventures haha


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