This post is a bit late due to life getting in the way of writing!
On Saturday 21 October, Michael and I found ourselves sans baby thanks to the Grandparents and headed off to the Little National Hotel in Barton for an afternoon food date!
The Forage is a street food showcase for local businesses in Canberra and the surrounding area to show off their delicious wares. Although the Forage happens about three times a year, this was the first time I’d been.
It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for being outside. The Forage had a cool, rustic feel, the food stalls were set up in a circular shape with a stage on one side. In the middle, there were some hay bales and upturned milk crates to sit on and watch the musicians.
As we wandered round, there was a woman singing acoustic covers of pop songs, her name was Mickey Sulit and she had a cracking voice. It set the mood beautifully – a warm, lazy afternoon eating yummy nibbles and listening to relaxing tunes.
We arrived around 2.30pm, it was already quite busy and a few of the food stalls had long queues. We strolled round and had a look at what was on offer. A lot of the stalls had a gluten free option which was great to see however, as with any food place, I always pointed out I was coeliac and asked about cross contamination.
Our first stop was Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates. We tried a little of their lemon myrtle and macadamia milk chocolate which was delicious, before we headed toward the Cannoli Brothers stall.
These guys were great! Not only did they have handmade gluten free cannoli, prepared to avoid cross contamination but they also had some exceptional cannoli-based puns! We got two cannoli to share for $11 – a sugar plum and pistachio ricotta crema and a blueberry splice cheesecake crema. Both were crunchy and sweet, the blueberry being our favourite!
Next, we headed over to the Canberra Distillery stall. They had samples of their gin and vodka available and I tried some of the blood orange gin and the exceptional musk vodka. The vodka is definitely on my wish list for Christmas! It looked amazing – it’s lilac and iridescent with sparkles in it, and it was delicious, a little bit sweet! I also had a great conversation with the guy at the stall about gluten in alcohol. He told me he’d just returned from a distillery conference where they’d discussed the proteins in alcohol.
The next stop was at the Bombolini stall. I’d heard from a friend that Bombolini sold gluten free titbits that were amazing at the EPIC farmers’ market on a Saturday so when I saw them at the Forage, I was keen to try them. When I asked about cross contamination, they confirmed their gluten free items were all cooked and stored separately from the other donuts. I had an oven baked cinnamon ring and Michael had a passionfruit donut for $9 total. Both were really good! The cinnamon ring had a soft, yummy texture and the cinnamon flavour was just right. I’ll definitely be heading to the EPIC farmers market for more!
Heading round Forage in the sun became thirsty work, so when we came across the Pallet and Vine stall, a refreshing mimosa and a sit down sounded perfect. We grabbed two of their Lavender Lemonade mimosas for $17 and found a patch of shade to enjoy them. The drinks were not really like mimosas but they were very refreshing and extremely easy to drink, you could sit and sink back 10 without realising until you stood-up and fell on your face! Plus, they looked very pretty decorated with a little sprig of lavender floating on top!
Our next sample was from the Hand Popped Popcorn stall – I tried a little of their Salty Sweety which they were selling in small and large bags for $5 and $10 respectively. The popcorn was as described – salty and sweet! It was popped in non-genetically modified vegetable oil and had a pinch of salt and sugar in it. Very light and tasty.
Our last stop before we headed home was for Crème Brulee at the Get Crackin’ stall. Two guys at the back of the tent were dual-wielding brulee torches to get the perfect caramelized sugar top. I got a vanilla bean coffee brulee for $8. The coffee flavour wasn’t particularly noticeable but the custard was still delicious, plus the caramel was thick and slightly burnt, which contrasted with the sweetness of the custard nicely.
The Forage was a great afternoon eating delicious treats! It would’ve been nice to see a few more savoury coeliac-safe options but this isn’t a massive problem – I like to think of the Forage as a pop-up market for desserts! It was a fun, foodie experience and I recommend people give it a try the next time it’s running!
The Little National Hotel
21 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600