Paddock to Plate

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It’s Good Food Month and Sydney has gone into culinary overdrive. Mark Best and Annette Lacey joined us from Pei Modern with a few preview dishes from their ‘Paddock to Plate’ dinners launching in late October. We also welcomed back Maree Sheehan from The Sydney Connection, who is set to join the William’s Street Festival program for the first time. We ate dessert first this week with sweet treats courtesy of Maree Sheehan. Maree hosted the Progressive Diners Walk through Paddington’s Williams Street eateries as part of the Williams Street Festival. Guests hopped from 10 Williams Street to The London and then back to the Paddington Inn. The final stop was the Paddington Alimentari for a glass of Limoncello and Italian sweets. We tried the ricotta cake and a crème brulee tart from the Paddington Alimentari. The ricotta filling is incredibly creamy and the base elegantly crumbly. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this Paddington institution, everything in their cabinet is impeccable and their coffee spot on. Mark Best is behind the two ‘Pei’ restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne. While each restaurant caters to quite different crowds, both restaurants adopt the paddock-to-plate ethos and deliver similar creative food. Mark and Annette provided food and wine that will be served as part of the Pei Modern’s Paddock to Plate dinners. The first of five dinners will be held on October the 28th and will see Mark Best plate up a five course meal with the best seasonal produce from across the region. Mark plated us a sort of terrine made from ham hock jelly and slow-cooked confit carrots. The jelly is served with sea vegetables and ocean trout roe washed in sake. This elegant, acidic little starter is a great example of the Modern Pei philosophy that uses only the finest produce and ALL of it— nothing goes to waste. The cool climate Pinot Noir Rose is delicate and light and a good match for the ham hock jelly. Mark took the nose-to-tail philosophy to the next level with his dessert made from pigs blood and chocolate. This cake is inspired by a traditional festive Tuscan dessert. Blood is used instead of eggs and is whipped vigorously to create a rich, savoury chocolate sponge. The Central Otago Pinot Noir is very delicate for an Otago Pinot, making it great alongside the complex flavours in the dessert.   –

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