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Toast Festival (Australia)

July 12, 2009

On Sunday 28 June, I attended the Australian third of the Toast Festival, which showcases various cultural aspects of the country, including food, music, dance, and sport. It was held in Clapham Common, and I arrived shortly after the opening time of 11am. I missed the Welcome Ceremony, unfortunately, but just in time to grab a bite to eat before the food was gone.

Upon arrival, it seemed rather quiet for a festival that had an entry price of £25 – luckily, I came armed with two free tickets thanks to various London food bloggers that spread the word about the ticket draw. It was a shame no one could come with me, as I felt a little self-conscious wandering around on my own wielding a bulky DSLR. At least it provided an outlet for distraction for those quieter times in between events.

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IMG_4419There were several food stalls, most of them selling exotic meat burgers and barbecued meats.

IMG_4371I bought a kangaroo burger for £5. It tasted like beef. The bun was cold and chewy. The cheese wasn’t melted and may have overpowered any delicate taste differences between roo meat and beef.

IMG_4409Some plates of food (particularly from this stall) had been sitting untouched the whole day.

IMG_4410These oysters from the aforementioned stall (Suze of Mayfair) weren’t very pleasant to eat. They had all the taste of an oyster, but they didn’t appear to be freshly shucked, and lacked any sort of briny water to accompany the slurping of the meat. The texture was rubbery and slightly gummy, like they’d started to dry out (due to the unusually hot weather that day, most probably).

IMG_4413A blueberry, banana, and natural yoghurt smoothie from Moosh helped to wipe my palate clean of the unworthy oysters.

IMG_4414John Torode, grilling meat. I really wanted to get a taste of this, but the queues were off-putting and I didn’t fancy sitting on the grass to eat.

IMG_4415I gave the oysters another chance, albeit from a different stall (Richard Haward’s oysters). These were much, much better in comparison to Suze’s oysters; they were freshly shucked, and had a lovely, creamy texture that sort of spilled onto your tongue once your teeth sank into it.

IMG_4416And they were full of briny liquid, a feature lacking in Suze’s oysters.

Looking back, I think if I were to go to another food festival, I’d bring a friend. You can sample so much more, and it’s also a lot less awkward just walking around the grounds with another person to chat with. Most of the stalls were hit and miss; I’m just regretting not trying all of them. I left shortly after the Aboriginal music and dances, so I can’t say whether it was worth the £25. Perhaps I just made a bad judgment call in selecting which stalls I bought food from.

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