We plotted out our 23-month travel itinerary and had a rough idea of what we might do at each destination. That’s as far as we got. Upon arrival, we sometimes discovered colorful local festivals and events. How lucky we’ve been! We were in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the Loy Krathong Festival and in Nelson, New Zealand for “Opera in the Park”. We arrived in Sydney, Australia at the start of its splendid Biennale.
We had every reason to think our visit to small Port Douglas would be quiet and uneventful until we saw posters announcing an all-day Carnivale Food Festival at the waterfront.
We followed the crowd to the large tent where chefs gave cooking demonstrations throughout the day.
We jotted down a few tips. Who knew pesto is best when made with a mortar and pestle? The chef used only small leaves of basil; both walnuts and pine nuts; and a little cooking water from the gnocchi to get the right consistency. We were skeptical, but one (delicious!) taste at the end proved that this was the best pesto we’ve ever had.
We wandered through food stalls, tasting sea salts, ginger tea, bold red wine, Australian chocolate. We splurged on oysters served with lime and Bombay Sapphire gin sauce; and spring rolls, some filled with barramundi and some with prawn.
People picnicked in the park by the wharf and listened to the soulful sound of the duo Fingerprint. We later spoke to the singer, Juanita, who said her inspirations were Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
We couldn’t have asked for more than a sunny, warm Australian afternoon spent on the waterfront as we watched great chefs cook, ate tasty food, and listened to wonderful music.