Australia situates itself just past New Zealand and across from Mexico.
The Australia Marketplace returns all three food items in 2016.
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies – $7.25
The $7.25 Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies tends to be a bit fatty and the “potato crunchies” are fancy potato chip flakes. While there is not much flavor from the mint, the crunchies soak up the flavor from the lamb and they do an excellent job of grilling each chop. It’s a better value as a snack credit than out of pocket. This is one of the more expensive dishes available at the Festival and one of the least consistent as you don’t know how fatty your chop is going to be until they serve it to you. The price has also risen steadily over the last few years.
Lamington: Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut – $3
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that it’s served on a plate instead of the usual small carton or what, but this “felt” like a pretty sad portion of cake, though it wasn’t as dry as in past years and the natural coconut flavor complemented the chocolate frosting well. This ends up being two or three bites that will cost you $1 each, but it is pretty tasty this year.
Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas – $5
The shrimp get smaller every year and it was a little more fun when they arrived on a skewer, but Australia’s Bush Berry Shrimp are a relatively “safe” offering with some spiciness from the onions and peppers contrasting nicely against the pineapple. I actually prefer the pea pods to the shrimp because they have a nice earthy flavor and a nice, crisp bite to them. Overall, it might be worth picking up if you’re in line for something else, but I’m not sure I would go out of my way.
Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale – $4
Store price: ? cents/ounce.
Festival price: 67 cents/ounce.
Value: Average depending on whether it’s hard to find in your area
Coopers Brewery Limited is Australia’s largest and only wholly-owned brewery, dating all the way back to 1862 when some guy brewed beer in his house. They are also the world’s largest producer of home brewing equipment. Anyway, this 7.5% English strong ale is one of the best beers available at the Festival with a high ABV and a fruity, smooth, taste with a little bit of earthy bitterness at the finish with virtually no presence of alcohol. It should be rare on draft and is highly recommended.
Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling – $4.50
Store price: 59.1 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.50/ounce.
Value: Average depending on whether it’s hard to find in your area.
The Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling. According to Wine Enthusiast, “This medium-weight, slightly austere Riesling boasts aromas of struck flint and lime, with flavors of citrus and underripe stone fruit. Drink it now with raw oysters.” You took the words right out of my mouth. It pairs nicely with the shrimp and comes recommended, even if you have to bring in your own oysters in your pockets.
Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay – $4.50
Store price: 51.2 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.50/ounce.
Value: Below average.
Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay is a juicy white wine, almost like a sauvignon blanc without the grassy-ness. I’d pick up the riesling first both on taste and value, but this should be relatively rare in stores.