10am is when the doors open, and a lot of the crowd seem to be mad keen on getting in. Many/most were piling into the hot chocolate stand for a sludgy dose of something hot and sweet. Swissway was the company behind the throng - apparently the only outlet within the compound providing such. Not a lot of serious buyers though. Most were there just for the tasting. In fact, most of the horde were there for the same reasons.
The bigger companies were there pushing their product: Sunrice, Kantong, Ayam and so on. That's not to say that the smaller companies weren't represented. Fardoulis Chocolates, for example, were there with brightly coloured boxes of sweet goodies for the eyes to savour.
Not much to see in the way of wines despite the wine companies being the overwhelming majority of the whole arena. There was obviously some memo penned and distributed to all the goons behind the wine stands to ignore those not succumbing the ravages of excess wine consumption - anyone free from Roscoe or under the age of 35 were to be given a pamphlet, a cold shoulder and sent on their way.
This resulted in refuge being sought in the beer outlets nearby. Some beer of the month club was serving up "Chopper's" beer. It remains unclear as to whether or not Chopper Read actually has his hands involved in the process, or has just put a tick next to "beer" on the list of things queuing up to sell by putting his face on it. That being said, it's not a bad malty brew. A little thicker and stronger than the VB re-release, and the bottle can double as a handy weapon once emptied. The point of the Australian Beer Club is to send you a case every 3 months - Australian beer made in random Australian micro breweries. For $65 Australian dollars plus delivery you can cram it. None of the five beers tasted were worth shelling out that much.
The best beers of the show world was the locally made (if Fremantle is local) Little Creatures Pilsner, which was followed very closely be the Mauritian Phoenix and the Italian Trumer Pils. That's not to say that the Outback "Black Opal" and the Matilda Bay "Bohemian Pilsner" weren't great. They were. Just not as great as those three.
The Stella stand was dishing out some cherry flavoured nonsense that seemed like a dessert beer - more a novelty than anything else. Löwenbräu had a monster bowl of pretzels which attracted a monster amount of sticky little hands with sticky little germs - more than a little off-putting, no matter how tasty their beers are.
The Jago Vodka was the easiest thing to drink all morning. This was no ordinary vodka - some clever monkey has combined it with vanilla and Scottish cream to make it tasty. The same with the Blackwood Premium Gin. Tasty and strong, yet smooth. The kind of gin you can sip and admire rather than take in a shot for and fight it all the way down.
There's a lot to be said for going from zero to tanked in the course of an hour on an empty stomach prior to noon. One minute you're swilling back award winning pilsner and saying arrogant conceited things about "mouthfeel" and wotnot. And then the next minute you're cursing out some woman for pushing her pram into your foot, and then cursing God for not putting more cheese stands around.
For a "food" show, I don't see why Foxtel belonged there. Nor can one fathom the thought behind the odd plastic sandals on sale. They were neither food NOR wine. They sure weren't "good" in any case.
Reviewed on Saturday, 24 June 2006