I’m back! I disappeared without a trace 2-3 months ago. I even let my blog stranded. A lot of people might have wondered at the missing domain page.
Today, in my defence, I’m going to fill your empty glass with what I’ve gone through for all that time.
I finally worked up the courage to buy a flight ticket to Australia after 4 years on the road; it was about time I pick up the broken pieces of my past. Well, more honestly? I was getting more and more agitated about the wines I’d tucked away when I left Australia 4 years ago.
It’s a long and expensive journey and you have to have a good excuse to go, except those who have a family over there. But missing this gorgeous beach was a good enough reason for me. Australia, for sure, has the most beautiful beaches in the world and I haven’t found any equivalents yet through all my travels. In all discussions about beautiful beaches, my vote always goes to Australia.
First, I got badly sunburned from sitting on the beach unprotected for less than 30mins. My skin probably lost tolerance to the hideous Aussie sun!
It was so lovely, though, to finally see and swim in the Pacific instead of the Mediterranean. The long stretch of white washed beach…. Tu m’as tellement manqué!
Next, I was welcomed with this lovely Christmas feast thrown by my French gourmet friend, who’s been in food and catering business for over 30 years. All sorts of delicious treats I’d missed were spread out on the table.
The Christmas cake was delicious with Pommery Champagne and then came a selection of wines by Antinori Winery, a prestigious producer in Tuscany and leader of Super Tuscan. The wines were provided by another French chef and I was so lucky to have tasted them.
Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserver 2009 was a fine example of Chianti wine and Guado al Tasso 2007 had more dark concentrated fruit with lots of spice aromas with the addition of Cabernet Franc. The star was Tignanello 2010 and its mouthful of gorgeous dark fruit and complex flavours of spices and herbs…… the best example of Super Tuscan.
Food and wine was undoubtedly sumptuous, but it was enhanced by the company of a lovely Aussie woman and her talented Italian Aussie musician husband, Galliano.
After the lovely few days came the moment I’d dreaded for all those years. Unpacking my kitchenware, which I’d treasured and stored away, I felt hot tears welling up, and I had to let my tears run down when I opened the box that contained the books, cookbooks, and DVDs that had infatuated me with the passion for food and cooking. Among them was two cans of foie gras I’d brought from France on my first innocent trip to Europe in 2007. Oh, why am I suddenly feeling old?
Such a revelation of how my obsession with cheese and wine put me on this never-ending journey of discovering flavours and secrets behind wine all those years ago.
Pushing aside the sadness, I opened the wine boxes containing my 12 picks from The Wine Society, which I’d been a loyal member of. I tried to get through as many bottles as I could during my stay, but I couldn’t finish them all and had to give some away to the check-in lady, who helped me out at the Sydney airport, due to my over-weighed luggage. I hope she appreciated my special gift.
I stopped neither the cooking nor the eating. Especially, the LAMB meat, watercress and fresh Pacific seafood! Oysters, Pacific salmon, snapper, flathead, Moreton Bay bugs, and what not. There’s also watercress, a wide variety of exotic fruit and vegetables such as mango, papaya, bak choy, etc.
Two things that struck me as reality on this trip:
1. Aussie lamb rocks!! 🙂
2. Aussie cheese and bread is expensive 😦
I couldn’t believe I was eating all that expensive cheeses at that time, either blinded by my obsession or unaware of the cheese price in France. Or I was simply more lavish and extravagant back then. Whatever!
Luckily, I had some French Comte in my survival pack. I put Aussie cheddar and French Comte to a competition. Guess who won?
Aussie cheddar took away the honour, believe or not. Why? I guess it was due to the wine I was drinking. The powerful Grant Burge Barrossa Hillcot Merlot made Comte rather shy. Oh, well…
I was impressed by the 4 year-old St Hallett Greenock Shiraz 2009. Yep, it was probably the best out of all I’d opened and tried. Some of the wines had gone beyond the undrinkable stage, sadly.
My Christmas gift was “a bulb of roasted garlic with manuka honey”. Yep! What a nice gift for a foodie, huh?
Not much had changed since I left, but the biggest change was the opening of the giant food store, Cosco. Oui, c’est triste!
People are encouraged or tempted to bulk up food, more than what they need, because you get more with the same price? I don’t get the logic. I also don’t understand why tinned tomatoes have to have this long list of ingredients, especially SUGAR! And then add Organic garlic? Hello, excuse me? I missed Turkish fresh tomato paste, which is still hand-prepared by old ladies, boiled down for hours and days and dried under the sun.
The first few weeks were spent recovering from the sunburn and my last week was spent exploring and indulging in Sydney sights that I’d missed and that I wouldn’t be able to see again for a long long time. Eating croissants from Bourke Street Bakery was on the top of the list. I also got to try this unusual looking croissant and spelt sourdough bread from a new artisan bakery,, recommended by my gourmet friend.
Revisiting my favourite places, I had mixed feelings, good and bad, but mostly good. It’s always difficult to say good-bye, no matter how many times you’ve done it. I’ll remember the eucalyptus smell that stung my nostrils upon arrival, the beautiful beaches, green spaces and the easy-going people, who welcome you no matter how far you are and how long you’ve been away.
Au revoir, Sydney.
Please stay tuned in for the part 2 of “Let me fill your glass with my past stories”.
I am where I am because of my past…
I am who I am because of the food I’ve eaten…
I am how I will be because of the wine I’ll be drinking…
And life, like wine and cheese, is a continuous tense.
Everything life is meant to be is found in a glass.