I live in a city where I can have Greek one day and Ethiopian the next. But after living in Montreal for a few years, I’m getting a little tired of the Greek-French-Thai-Mexican-Ethiopian rotation. So, when my friend L, who is an expat from Australia, invited me to her Australia day party last night, I was intrigued.
I must admit that before yesterday, I hadn’t given much thought to Australian cuisine. When I used to think about Australian culture, food wasn’t top of mind the way it is when I dream about going to Northern Italy and eating an entire thin-cruster to myself in the courtyard of a local pizzeria. But last night was all about the food. And it was good.
To start, we sipped on passion fruit (native to Australia) cocktails and nibbled on (big in Australia) sausage rolls. Then came piping-hot meat pies (very Australian), in curry and butter chicken flavours (not at all Australian). Next we had kangaroo. Yes, kangaroo. It was grilled on the barbeque and tasted like gamey, but mild, beef.
For dessert there was light-as-air pavlova (as in the light-as-air Australian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova), piled with handfuls of passion fruit, kiwi, blueberries and whipped cream. Chocolate-dipped, coconut-dusted Lamington sponge cakes, made by yours truly, with a little help from Betty Crocker and David Leibowitz. And Violet Crumble, a homemade, gourmet version of a Crunchie Bar.
The party reminded me that there is a world to explore beyond the culinary borders of Greece-France-Thailand-Mexico-Ethiopia. And it prompted me to try Tourtiere Australienne, an Australian cafe on Parc Avenue that I’ve been meaning to go to for years. My tastebuds are happy again.
What’s your answer to a culinary rut?