For serious horse racing fans Super Saturday at Flemington next weekend is one of the biggest days of the year. But now it’s also a day to mark on the calendar for the food and wine obsessed. I was invited to attend the launch of Flemington’s Grazing Trail & Cellar Door yesterday, which is part of this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
The launch was held at Flemington’s stables, a great opportunity to get a peek at an area of the racecourse which is off bounds usually. Mauro Callegari, chef at the newly opened Independent in Gembrook was behind the (temporary) stoves and he served up an Argentinian influenced menu.
Lunch was sharing plates of tender chicken, crumbed and fried until it was crispy. It was served with sweet corn, capsicum, wedges of palm heart and a liberal sprinkling of chillis for heat.
There were hunks of beef short rib so huge they were almost prehistoric in proportions. The short rib was served with spatulas rather than knives as the slow cooked beef just fell off the bone. Naturally there was chimichurri on the side.
Corn and beef ragout is an unlikely partner for a sweet meringue but that’s what Callegari used to top his ragout. The kooky combination was actually quite tasty although I’m not sure the meringue added much.
Callegari is keen to show that Argentinian food isn’t just about meat and the sharing sides he served up certainly proved that. There was a light and zesty freekeh salad and the starring dish of roasted carrots drenched in smoked syrup which gave them a honeyed taste. The carrots were topped with sprinkles of coriander, chilli and chopped peanuts for crunch. Who needs meat when vegetables are this delicious and moreish?
The sweet end of the meal kept up the same high standards with dessert of slow roasted peach all sticky with caramel topped with meringue. The fruit was served on a bed of chocolate with the bitterness of the chocolate providing a great contrast.
Callegari will be on stage cooking at the Flemington Grazing Trail & Cellar Door at Super Saturday and this preview lunch showed he’s certainly one to watch. I’m just thrilled that three of my favourite things: racing, food and wine are coming together in one big day.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Victorian Racing Club.
Details: Flemington Grazing Trail & Cellar Door, Flemington Racecourse, Flemington. The event is part of Super Saturday on Saturday 14 March 2015.
Damage: Entry is free with a Super Saturday raceday ticket which is $25.