What is a trip to the Ekka without a sampling of all the delectable eats on offer?
From the traditional to the gourmet, the Ekka has everyone covered no matter how they like to indulge their inner foodie.
A walk around the RNA Showgrounds on day one of the 2016 show certainly found plenty of happy punters digging in to treats of all kinds, and I just couldn’t keep myself from snapping plenty of shots of all of the mouth-watering delights on show!
I kicked off my own Ekka foodie tour at the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion, and it sure did provide plenty of sights for my camera lens as I took in the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show Cooking Stage, hosted by local celebrity chef Dominque Rizzo.
While snapping plenty of shots of yummy morsels, I also learnt a thing or two, with Rizzo handing out plenty of advice to visiting budding amateur chefs throughout the day.
I was also sure to come back in the evening, for a more up close and personal experience with Rizzo. For the first time ever, this year’s Ekka allows visitors to purchase tickets to an exciting new dining experience at the Cooking Stage. Aptly named ‘Dinner with Dom’, guests will enjoy a sit-down dinner prepared in front of them by Rizzo, for just $30.00. The event is available for four more nights of the Ekka – Wednesday 10 August, Friday 12 August, and Saturdays 6 and 13 August, from 5.30pm to 6.45pm.
Also catching my eye in the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion was an absolute smorgasbord of goodies to fill your pantry – from gorgeous treats, smoked smallgoods, classic condiments, chocolate and fudge cupcakes, and cheeses and pates, there was and is something to tempt every taste bud here.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is also the Woolworths Kitchen, where you can try the latest products and recipes, and reserve a seat at one of the five Woolworths Kitchen Theatre Interactive Sessions to learn about preparing seasonal produce, and watch as one of the latest Fresh Magazine’s recipes are cooked, ready for you to taste! With Woolworths chefs cooking up a storm for 30 minutes on the hour from 11.00am to 3.00pm each day, and kids able to get creative with the hummus bar from 9.00am to 10.30am and 4.00pm to 7.30pm daily, there is almost too much to see in this corner of the Ekka showgrounds!
There were yet still more venues at the show to check out – and the hours (and the holes on my ever-loosening belt) were quickly disappearing!
Next up on the list was the Gourmet Plaza, offering patrons restaurant quality cuisine with fresh air and fine food. I was sure to take advantage of the chance to sit and enjoy the passing sights, before checking out the Gourmet Harvest Grill – serving up some of the country’s best beef on an award-winning menu, it is shaping up to be a foodie hit that is packed full of value.
From there, it was on to check out the various restaurants and bars across the precinct, and with so much to see, it was a good thing there was plenty of nourishment on hand to keep my shutter-finger snapping away.
The XXXX Cattleman’s Bar certainly delivered on the country meets city feel, while maintaining the ‘straight-up, fair-dinkum’ Aussie bar persona – just how I like it!
After a quick cold one to replenish my energy, it was time to hit the Royal Queensland Steakhouse presented by JBS Australia.
A gourmet delight, the Steakhouse boasts a delicious menu of medal-winning meats, cheeses and local products combined with the finest and freshest ingredients. Shucked oysters, gold medal winning steak and a fantastic selection of sides and desserts are sure to put a smile on your face for lunch or dinner every day of the show.
If the quintessential great Aussie feel-good pub is more of your style, then the XXXX Stockmen’s Bar and Grill is already delivering. Hell bent on delivering the authentic Aussie bush pub experience, there is plenty of your favourites to indulge in as part of your visit to the Ekka.
For the fans of the woodchop, the Woodchop Bar is the place to go to have a yarn or two with the competitors after they finish their hard slog sawing logs. Whether you are a competitor or a visitor, during my visit there it seemed that everyone felt welcome, and I was certainly able to capture plenty of patrons enjoying the good friendly atmosphere.
Of course, a day at the Ekka wouldn’t be complete without some ‘icons’, so after my Dining with Dom experience it was time to hunt down some of the classics.
Snacks like fairy floss, Dagwood dogs, strawberries in chocolate fudge, and the Country Women’s Association jam and cream scones are always Ekka favourites, and you can’t forget the lauded Strawberry Sundae. With around 145,000 of these set to be devoured by the end of the 2016 show and profits going to the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, there is no arguing the fact that these cool delights are an Ekka must-have, and were the perfect way for me to finish off my massive culinary tour of the 2016 Ekka.
For those who want to try and emulate my success in eating as much as possible in your visit to the Ekka, don’t forget that Sunday the 14th of August is ‘Super Food Sunday’. That means you can fill up the family with two for one food deals at participating outlets on the final day of Ekka fun, from 10.00am to 5.00pm.