Saturday started with a walk to the train station to meet Sam and Amanda for the trip to the annual Taste of Slow festival at Abbotsford Convent. We met up with Mena at Flinders Street, then managed to get on the wrong train: an express train to the slow food festival. We sat helpless as the train rushed past our destination station, before getting off some time later and flagging down a local bus heading back in the opposite direction. However, with our Slow attitudes firmly in place we did not worry.
The queue to get in was already lengthy. Sam (not a patient man) was anxious to get going, his Slow attitude already beginning to slip. The sun same and went and the weather looked changeable. In time we paid our money and got our plastic bracelets, and we were in.
The original intention was to do a leisurely circuit of the grounds, then get a coffee and make a plan. This was destroyed within moments of entering.
“Ooh, the beer tent.”
“Ooh, Mount Langi Ghiran winery.”
“What’s that over there?”
“Where is that amazing smell coming from?”
Within 15 minutes two people had glasses of wine and a platter of cheese in their hands, I had bought some Australian spices from Spice Bazaar for my Blog by Mail care package, and we were all looking longingly at the Angus Beef kebabs and mashed potatoes on the Tasmania stand.
Mena discovered a man from Northern Ireland selling steamed mussels and ordered some. She came back to our outdoor table with a dreamy smile, remembering his lovely accent. I went over to enquire, and ordered some too. I thought he was Canadian, perhaps from Nova Scotia. “It’s all the same”, remarked Mena. Then I asked him. He was Danish, and had spent a lot of time in California. How wrong could we have been? The mussels took forever, and were eaten in less than a minute, but they were divine washed down with a glass of All Saints shiraz.
Sam and Amanda opened the cheese pack and an impromptu picnic ensued. Amanda had managed to nip back to the Mount Langi Ghiran winery tent and was drinking my favourite wine.
We managed to drag ourselves away to check out more stands, but Mena and I came back minutes later with prawn and barramundi fishcakes from the Queensland Slow Food tent. We tried the delicious Hope Bakery breads and promised to come back later and buy some (they sold out within three hours).
Around in the kitchen garden children played amongst the lettuce plants and more stalls nestled under the cloisters.
People sat and ate on hay bales. We bumped into my workmate Bernard and his wife. As the rain finally fell, we tasted the most divine chilli chutney from Susan Neville. I couldn’t resist a jar.
Next to her, more Tasmanian produce: soft cheese with capsicum, thyme and black pepper had to be purchased.
If only we’d bought that bread