Has one really ever experienced a destination, a city or a town without slowing down for long enough to absorb the flavors and aromas of a regular day? To sit for long enough in that cafe, observing the flow of a new city. To watch morning commuters, while sipping on a flat white. It offers a window into a day in a life. Perhaps you'd close your eyes and listen to the sounds, maybe even imagine yourself living an altogether alternate life here - where you are that girl or guy, grinning ear to ear - on a totally different journey to you.
That's how our day tour with Ultimately Sydney began. The Taste of Sydney tour is one of the more popular small tours that this fantastically passionate friend of mine runs, and we were brought on a staff day out with the office team.
Why a food tour? Well, when done right, the food will tell the story of a city for you. Being introduced to restaurant owners and managers in a highly competitive local market, teaches you things you don't learn by looking at menus, and you sure as s#it don't learn it from a yelp review. We walked towards the newly developed Barangaroo region of the city. Where each property is hand selected and owners are 'invited' to open in the area. Out first stop was a Turkish restaurant and even as I write these words, the flavors dance across my tongue. I'll let the pictures do the talking for most of this!
Only part of a cities story comes from the downtown region. The true joy behind the complex flavors found in Sydney are around the suburbs, we explore Rozzelle and supercool place called Tramsheds (this was an actual Tramshed Depot going back to 1906). A group of small stores, markets and restaurants all under the one glass roof. We decided to dine in a restored tram and tried a selection of local cured meats and a few craft beers.
Now what's a good food tour without a few drinks to wash it all down...? A Gin tasting at the Archie Rose Distillery and a wine tasting later that day in the Kensington St region at Handpicked Wines gave us plenty to rave about. Tasting four distinctive gins and then enjoying wines from all over Australia really offers up the flavors of the land. The resurgence of Gin is now international and I, for one, couldn't be happier about it.
The flavors get more complex as the day goes on and our second last stop of the day was to The Cannery and Three Blue Ducks, a restaurant they originally started in Byron Bay and has earned an amazing reputation in the farm to table world. I honestly don't think I've had tastier food. Ever. This place was rocking for lunch and in the same building there is a store that sells all Australian products, crafts, books and furniture. Love Love Love.