It’s soon coming up to my favourite time of year: Spring racing carnival. The day becomes warmer and Melbourne puts on it’s most spectacular show with all the frocks, food, drink and of course horse racing you could ever want.
Of course there are many different ways to enjoy the carnival. Workplaces around Australia stop for BBQs and lunches and one of my favourite things to do is organise a party with friends in the Flemington’s Members car park. But the most exclusive invitation of the carnival is the Emirates marquee.
Every year the marquee is themed to reflect a different destination that the airline flies to. This year the theme is Germany and I was invited to a preview tasting of the menu which will be served to the guests in the marquee.
Let’s just say they won’t go home hungry. There are 3,000 canapés served on Cup day alone including these delicate little potato pancakes topped with tangy beetroot cured kingfish and a dollop of caviar to add to the luxury.
Head chef Tony Cimmino spends three months researching and planning the menu each year. A lot of time is spent testing recipes which are authentic to the country which is the inspiration while making food which is appropriate to be served at the Spring racing carnival. So there’s a take on a sauerbraten, a traditional German dish, where the slow roasted beef is served with braised red cabbage and mash but marinated in apple rather than alcohol.
Not so traditional but perhaps my favourite dish was Ocean trout which was poached and topped with crayfish and a buttermilk dressing. The trout was succulent but still light.
In the Emirates marquee dessert is served around 3pm in the afternoon and this year there will be a black forest style parfait rather than cake. But the food isn’t over then, there’s a whole host of savoury canapés still to come known as “the soak” to try to minimise the affect of the free flowing Mumm champagne (6,000 flutes each carnival) and German wines. If only the walls of the marquee could speak.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Emirates for the menu tasting. The Emirates Marquee is in the Birdcage at the Melbourne Cup Carnival from Saturday 1 November to Saturday 8 November.