Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Rocks Aroma Festival 2010: George Street

Little did I know that the festivities extended onto George Street. Honestly, I thought it was the Sunday flea market goings-on up there. But whoa, when I walked up the steps onto George, I was greeted by another long row of white Aroma Fest tents and another sea of people!

That was when I went, "Bugger! How is my camera going to be able to take all this in before dying?!" And so, the photos in this post are a mixture of what was taken by a friend who saved the day and what I was able to record, before the batteries called it a day:

Oz Tukka

They offer authentic Australian spices and oils, including their medal-winning macadamia nut oil.

The Cupcake Bakery

Browse their online menu, place and order for simple cupcakes or customise your own!

Astrids Bush Tucker

Another uniquely Australian fanfare producer.

Hari Har Chai

Looks like Byron Bay produces quite a variety of things. Hari Har Chai blends their tea there, too, in the traditions of ayurveda. They have six blends of chai.

Clayridge Honey

This was a real kid-puller...

... and I like that combo of guarana+ginseng+honey. Would keep me super hyper, I think! They are a family-owned and run bee-keeping business in Basin View (Jervis Bay, NSW). Harvesting straight from the bee hives, all their honey is 100% pure, raw and completely natural.

Fudge Fabulous Fudge

Gluten and preservative-free, it makes the perfect gift for coeliac friends and family. They have a mouth-watering variety of 17 fabulous fudge flavours available by the bar, in packs of 3 or a value 7 pack. They also now have new sugar-free and dairy-free ranges, and is available for orders online.

Adora Handmade Chocolates

Based in Earlwood and with a second retail store located within the Wentworth Connection in the CBD, they have won numerous Gold and Silver awards and contracts, such as supplying the Sydney Opera House.

Vella Nero

A roastery, coffee bean boutique and caffe bar located along the busy Clarence Street in the heart of the CBD, they also serve a variety of salads, gourmet sandwiches and savouries in addition to their aromatic coffee.

Kenteco - The World of Tea

Gosh, just click on the link to their website. The selection of tea is just... exhaustive!

Karmee Coffee

Haha, their coffee is as smooth as James Bond, velvet, a dollop of double cream, a sax solo!

Harbour Rocks Hotel

Fancy spending a night in the midst of history a stone's throw away from everything Sydney has to offer? Why not consider Harbour Rocks Hotel?

Bondi Chai Latte

When human beings see the word 'FREE', they will immediately be interested. But at this stall, with or without that word, there would still be a hoard of a crowd. Hey, it is after all Australia's own Gold Medal-winning chai latte! Jenny and Angeline braved the crowd for their own free sample.

Cocktail King

Judging from the stall and their website, do pay them a visit if you are thinking of a party.

Beaming with Health

I liked the colourful array of labels on the funky tin canisters of the herbal tisanes. The tisanes were created by a naturopath who has over 20 years experience in the realm of natural medicine from herbs that are locally grown and organic, where possible. There are articles and fact sheets provided on their website, as well.

Tea Drop

Founded by a Sri Lankan who has a distinct understanding and passion for tea.

✒ Big Lou's Donuts

Pretty self-explanatory.

✒ Traditional Pavlova

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Colloquially referred to as "pav", it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner.

Tall Poppy Gourmet

From humble beginnings in Cowra, they now serve a range of condiments, dressings and sauces that are of premium product range, made with only the finest and freshest local ingredients. The name of the range stems from its first product, the Poppy Seed Salad Dressing.

Kick Ice Cocktails

It is all about convenience - simple add water and alcohol, shake and freeze!

Neo Organic Tea + Skin Solutions

They are not only about tea, they are about skin and body solutions.

Naked Berry
This has got to be the cutest stall in the whole of the festival! I mean, just look at these!

Cute, hor? You can custom-design your berry bouquets with them and they deliver Sydney-wide.

Disaster Bay Chillies

They even have an award-winning product called 'Hot Chilli Wine'. Nope, not going to imagine what that would taste like...

My Little Cupcake

They operate a cute, pink cupcake shop in Neutral Bay. They also take online orders and organise cupcake parties.

Bite Size Treats

Their biscuits are award winners and they go great as coffee accompaniments.

Crave Coffee

Their roastery and espresso bar is located in Alexandria. Hm, housemate was telling me about the cafe strip there. Should head there one weekend to have a look for myself.

Toby's Estate

I have to shamefully admit that although I used to pass their shop every weekend, I still have not stepped into their shop despite my continuous self-reminders! Aiya!!!

Genovese Coffee

They pride ourselves in being a third generation family owned company and are passionate about the traditions that have been handed down to them. Their product is roasted and blended using artisan techniques and state of the art equipment, and as such the Genovese Espresso Coffee experience, as they claim, is second to none.

Numero Uno Coffee

They support the Rainforest Alliance coffee and are a combo of three things; coffee, people and passion.

Milazzo Coffee

Sicily's favourite coffee, Milazzo Coffee is blended and roasted in the traditional Southern Italian style from carefully selected Arabica beans. Located in Castle Hill, they won a bronze medal each for espresso coffee and milk-based coffee at the 2009 Australian Golden Bean Roasting Competition.

I also tagged along with Angeline and Jenny into the MCA for the Domestic Expo. I was totally confused looking at the different kind of tools and machines on offer just to make coffee. I suppose, every 'thing' in our mundane day-to-day lives could become a sophisticated work of art if we let it be.

Aroma Fest again, next year? Yes, and this time armed with a camera with fully-charged batteries!

P/S: Thank you, Alex, for helping me take the rest of the photos! I'll treat you to a sinful tub of Sara Lee Moccona Cappuccino Indulgence ice-cream, k?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Rocks Aroma Festival 2010: Circular Quay West, The Orient and The Oasis

My walk down Circular Quay West started with my fascination with something that looked like this:

They are called Spiral Spuds and they literally are, spuds in spirals.

More of the stalls along Circular Quay West:

Real Chai

I so love those boxes the chai is packed in! RealChai is an indepedant Australian company, formed in 2008, specialising in unique boutique spiced tea blends and is based in Canberra.

I Love My Chocolates

Located in Cherrybrook, they also have chocolate fountains for hire.

Dutch Poffertjes

At first glance, I thought they were takoyakis. The other thought I had was that they were kaya balls. But no, these were poffertjes, which are similar to a mini pancake and served with melted butter and icing sugar.


Located along Parramatta Road in Homebush, they serve authentic Italian biscuits. Looks like another good makan place near my house!

Voodooo Hot Chocolate & Rocky Road

The names says it all! They will put you under a Voodooo spell!

There was also a stall there promoting Leura:

Do visit my Blue Mountains post for a personal report... hehe...

Sacred Grounds Organic

We sell this brand of coffee at PappaRoti!

And I met another friend!

This is Lily, my coursemate from way back. I think the last time we spoke was in third year? That was back in 2006, I think! She is now doing her Masters back in MQ and teaching in a primary school at the same time.


If you tell me you have never heard of Fairtrade, I will seriously smack you...

Marlin Fine Foods

They have an extensive and diverse product range that includes banana breads, cakes, slices, gluten free products and packaged retail items. They distribute throughout Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Newcastle, Wollongong, the Southern Highlands and down to Nowra. To all my budding business friends, if you are looking for a business opportunity, they are in discussion with a number of people around Australia and the world regarding national distribution and export opportunities.

Aussie Health Snax

They are an Australian owned and operated business that produce a unique range of hand-made healthy snack bars, treats and natural muesli. Their traditional family recipes were developed in the pristine environment of Kuranda, (Far North Queensland). They offer convenient and tasty snacks that are all gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, as well as trans-fat free and cholesterol free. Many of their products are low GI and are a great option for diabetic snacks, as they are made without any added sugars or artificial sweeteners. They also carry endorsements by the Ceoliac Society of Australia and Kosher Australia.

Simply Stirred

Their range of stir fry pastes, dressings, condiments and marinades has won a total of 8 medals in food shows across Australia in 2008.

Alpine Berry Farm

Since 2004, they have won 8 Gold, 13 Silver and 5 Bronze Medals in food shows. Their products range from jams, preserves, sauces to vinegar.

New Zealand Snack Food

They offer a wide range of Kiwi products that you are able to buy online with one short click of the mouse. You are able to purchase chocolate bars, lollies, chips and other stuff. They have a shop in Banksia, and are open everyday of the week. They are at the Flemington Markets on most Sundays.

Cafe Republic of Australia

Dust up on your coffee, tea and chocolate knowledge while getting a hot dose of the personal stories from 30-odd Aussie cafe personalities. Grab a copy for the sights, stories and flavours of Australian cafe culture.

✒ Your Nuts

Kacang, anyone?

Right down the Campbells Cove Precinct was The Orient, which as its name suggested, would have stalls offering 'oriental' produce:

Aslan Coffee

When I read their signboard, I thought, "Hm, must either be Indonesian or Malaysian..." But I guessed it would more likely be our Indonesian neighbours have a better reputation with coffee beans.

Valley Green Tea

They offer all six main categories of teas: green, white, yellow, Oolong, black and Pu-erh (compressed tea). And they were offering sample tea for $1!

At the time I was at The Orient, Bobby Singh and Friends were playing on stage.

I was so excited to see a sitar being played! Continuing our oriental journey...

Rainbow Chai

They have nine unique beverages and you even get free samples when you order online!

Keep Cup

As we are big on saving the environment now, the Keep Cup is one of the many ways you are able to play a small part in that initiative. Reusable and cutely colourful! Oh, and read the instructions on the piece of paper below. Never knew such innovation existed:

Artisse Organic

Their products are non-irradiated, does not contain artificial additives, genetically engineered ingredients and does not have added MSG.


Tea-Cha Australia is a company dedicated to innovation in the way tea is experienced and enjoyed. They have developed their own unique 'Tea-Cha filtering process', which they explain more on their website.

As I walked along Hickson Road towards The Oasis, I noticed a long queue...

... for this...

... befitting the atmosphere over at The Oasis. It was as though I was transported to exotic lands of Turkish coffee, apple tea, gozleme, belly dancing, whirling dervishes and cheerful singing. Some of the food up for grab:

✒ The Baklava Stall

For those of you who do not know what a baklava is, it is a rich, sweet pastry made from many layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

✒ Handmade Biscuits + Pastries

This stall had an assortment of wheat, yeast, dairy, gluten and sugar-free Nazuk, or Armenian biscuit and pastries.

Le Spice

Their spices are hand roasted, hand grinded and hand blended in small batches for freshness. Check out their website for some online spice shopping.

The Really Stuffed Olive Co.

Based on the Central Coast, their Sweet Pomegrante Balsamic took a Bronze Medal at the Sydney Show.


They provide 100+ varieties of tea to choose from, including black, white, green, rooibos, blooming, fruit and herbal tisanes. Based in Kingsgrove, they proudly support the Cancer Council of NSW.

There were SO MANY people huddled over at the stalls that sold the Turkish coffee, baklava and apple tea.

There were ladies adorning traditional Turkish costumes swaying to the lively music coming from the performance stage. Two thumbs up for ambience!

I also found this interesting:

I guess every culture would have their own versions of fortune-telling. Oh, and fancy a shoe shine, Sir?