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A Christmas Foodie Tour in Brisbane, Australia

Rain bucketed down Wednesday morning as my friend Barbara (from Winos and Foodies) and I sipped coffee and nibbled delicious pain au chocolat from the wonderful French patisserie Chouquette in Brisbane.

Both of us are early risers, so we had a few hours to kill before our big day out at Natasha’s Annual Christmas Degustation Trek with Taste Trekkers and Natasha Mirosch. We were so excited, eager to join other food-loving adventurers for a tour of Russian, Greek, and Italian shops in Brisbane.

Bryan, Barbara’s husband, weathered the downpour to drop us off, and we dashed from puddle to puddle until arriving safely in the dry and cheerful home of Taste Trekker owner Sally Lynch.

Sally is even more jolly and hilarious than her website conveys, and we felt utterly welcomed. She chatted a mile a minute as she whipped up one delicious dish after another for our post-shopping lunch. The downpour kept us from enjoying her beautiful riverside backyard, but we contented ourselves with the view from her covered porch.

Soon everyone arrived and after pasting nametags on our bosoms we boarded our bus and headed to our first stop, the Greek shop Samios.

Established in 1934, Samios is a charming hodgepodge of traditional Greek offerings like Baklava and feta cheese mingled with unusual ingredients from around Europe. The owner regaled us with jokes and stories as we were servedΒ  thick Greek coffee and platter after platter of dolmades and various Greek cheeses. While I listened, an older gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and wondered what was happening. We got to chatting and I found out that he was from Slovakia and had relatives in Canada in the same town as my relatives. Things like that make me smile.

Then it was time to shop and I perused the shelves happily, filling my basket with a parcel of sumac, some liquid smoke, a jar of grape molasses, and a tender wedge of baklava.

Our next stop was Pennisi Cuisine, a warehouse-style shop which specializes in Italian foods but also carries delectables from all over the world. I was thrilled to pieces to find ingredients for Mexican food – something I’ve been craving since I left the US in July – a bag of my favorite Canadian cookies Dare Maple Leaf, and a couple bags of spices for a mere $2 a bag.

Our final destination was the Ruski Way Deli, small, relatively new shop full of Eastern European delicacies like Napoleon cakes, Russian chocolates, and anti-oxidant super food berries from Siberia. The owners went all out creating a special Russian tea for us on a table laden with all sorts of lovely things: bread rounds topped with plump Russian caviar, eggplant puree, and thinly sliced sausage, and an array of cakes. I lived in Russia for a few months many years ago and have loved the food ever since. I was so excited to find homemade sauerkraut and pelmeni, especially when the owner told me how to turn the sauerkraut into a delicious Russian salad.

Bags laden we boarded our bus one last time, talking animatedly about our purchases and what we were going to do with them once we got home.

We arrived back at Sally’s in time for a tea tasting with the oh-so-knowledgeable May King of MayKing Tea. She shared an iced version made from an herbal mixture that tasted like real tea. Suitably refreshed we wandered into Sally’s basement that she had turned into a Greek Taverna when the weather rendered outside dining impossible.

There we were given a Clovely Estate wine tasting by the lovely Renee who taught us about different grapes and Australian wines. A bit later we were given a beer tasting by the inspiring Matt Kirkegaard who introduced us to a Belgian bblond ale La Chouffee. I can’t wait to serve it with the smoked salmon and chive tart he recommended.

At long last we sat down at long tables in Sally’s Greek Taverna and tucked into her incredible lunch.

Taste Trekkers feast

Here is only part of her scrumptious menu:

Pork Belly Apple Fennel Salad
Smoked Trout Soba Noodle Salad
Banana Flower Salad with Shredded Chicken
Roasted Veg with Creamy Feta and Roquette Dressing
Black Rice with Mango and Coconut Milk with Palm Sugar

We visited animatedly about food and travels and the latest must-have kitchen gadgets, chit-chatted about our jobs and families and homes. Long after the event was over we lingered, until someone glanced at the clock and suddenly there was a flurry of bag-grabbing and leftover-packing and contact info exchanging before, one by one, we disappeared into the rain.

It was a fantastic day, a wonderful experience learning about so many different foods and cultures and getting to meet such lovely people.

If you’re ever in Brisbane, be sure to check out Taste Trekkers for a delectable and inspiring day out.

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Exploring the Brisbane Riverfront » Rambling Tart - […] of another sort: visiting the foodie shops of Brisbane. You can read all about some of my favorites here. I love Brisbane food shops! There are so many cultures and cuisines represented and the prices are […]

Krista - It was a MASSIVE amount of eating, Andrea, and fabulous. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh, thank you, Abby! That means a great deal to me. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, Shruti! πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad you came, Julia! πŸ™‚ I love your posts on Google+ πŸ™‚

Andrea and John - Wow – this looks like a fabulous amount of eating – I love checking out new goodies in a setting like this! Love your photos!

Abby - I’m obsessed with this post! That one photo is so lush and green — and the food pics are amazing. And I love the layout… So gorgeous!

A Spoonful of Yumm - lovely images…great post krista !

A Spoonful of Yumm - lovely images…great post krista !

Turkey's For Life - I’ve just co9me to this post from Google+ and I just knew all the photos would look so tempting! It’s only breakfast time here but I could quite happily feast on all of that right now! πŸ™‚

Krista - That’s exactly why I loved it, Kate. You actually had time to get to know a few people on the trip, and really enjoy the time together.

Krista - That’s a very apt description, Katy! πŸ™‚ I loved having so many culinary experiences in one day. πŸ™‚

Krista - You bet, Margo! πŸ™‚ I’d feed you right up if you were here. πŸ™‚

Krista - It was wonderful, dear Susan. And so healthy too! πŸ™‚

Krista - Yes, yes!! We will absolutely do this day when you come to visit me, Breanne. πŸ™‚

Krista - I miss it too, Amy!! I wonder where we could get some. Surely there must be a place to order it online? I will ask the Russian lady next time I go to the deli. πŸ™‚

Krista - It was so very fun, dear Rain! If you make it to Brisbane one of these days, we shall go on one together. πŸ™‚

Krista - I agree, dear Val. πŸ™‚ It reminded me of something you would love – probably because of your annual trips to Seattle. πŸ™‚

Kate - Sounds like a brilliant experience, Krista! I love food tours, and it sounds like this one was small-scale and personal – perfect πŸ™‚

Katy Stewart - What a great tour! Like a culinary RTW trip in one day πŸ™‚

Margo - woah, this looks amazing!! Thanks for taking us along for the ride… but why am I still hungry? πŸ™‚

Anonymous - oh my! yum!

Jared and Breanne Mosher - Oh my heavens! What a scrumptious day, it looks like it appealed to every sense and then some. That sounds absolutely wonderful! I’m so glad you found some Mexican food and oh fun to meet someone from Canada! Mmm, love to do this day sometime! =)

Amy B - Oh, IΒ so miss that tea we had in Russia – I found some in Sitka AK when I was on a cruise and snatched it up and drank it all in a months time! Wish I could find it again somewhere closer πŸ™‚

rain - oh how delightful! i’m only a wee bit jealous!!!

bellini - What a wonderful day you all had Krista. Day like these are definitely what dreams are made of.

Krista - It was really great to meet you too, Rhubarb! πŸ™‚

Krista - Wonderful to meet you too, Alison! It was so much fun. πŸ™‚

Krista - It was my first time to Brisbane and such a great experience, Jenny. πŸ™‚ LOVED that Eastern European shop. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh, I wish you could’ve been there too, Kerry! Hopefully next time. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, Barbara! I loved having this adventure with you. πŸ™‚

Alison Read - it was a fantastic day! It was also great to meet you!

Rhubarb Whine - It was a wonderful day and it was so lovely to meet you x

jenny@atasteoftravel - What a great day you must have had Krista and a perfect introduction to the food shops of Brisbane. The eastern european shop sounds interesting.

Eat,drink + be Kerry - So sorry I missed this day. Sounds like you all had a fabulous time.

Barbara - Great post Krista. If I hadn’t been there I’d have wanted to be there. I’m glad you enjoyed the day. We look forward to seeing you in Brisbane again soon.

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