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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aroma Festival 2009

The Aroma Festival 2009 on 19 July 2009 is one my favorite festivals in Sydney solely because it is for coffee, tea and spice lovers.

I've missed this event for the past two years and this year, I just had to witness the unfolding of this festival even for only just a quick visit.

The festival was held at the Rocks in Circular Quay where you can also conveniently find two of Australia's famous landmarks: The Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. On a winter's day, we were lucky to have a glorious sunny weather on Sunday, made hanging out in the city a more hassle-free experience.

As soon as we arrived at The Rocks at 9:30am, we were greeted with numerous stalls that opened early. According to the website, the festival is only from 10am-5pm. But since the Husband and I had another engagement to attend to by lunchtime, we decided to leave home early and just have breakfast at The Rocks.

All the stalls were classified in four regions: The Continent, The Latin Quarter, The Oasis and The Orient.

The Rocks prepaped a map (see my photo on the upper left, that's me holding a map on my left hand) so one can easily find their favorite stall/s.

The place was abuzzed with lots of people already by 10am. Each stall had several onlookers and people are lining up a queue to order what-have-yous from their stall of preference.

As for me, my first stop was at a stall that offers Barista Classes. Some of you may not know it, but one of my dreams is to learn more about coffee. Since last year, I've been wanting to enrol in a Coffee School and learn how to make coffee the "Barista way". Like any other dreams, I'm still waiting for the right moment to pursue this and of course, buy my dream coffee machine. For now, I'm happy learning thru websites and making inquiries with a couple of coffee schools.

Most of the coffee schools at the festival offered good discounts on their classes, books and DVDs. So if you're interested to enrol in one of their classes and buy their books/DVD, be ready to pay right there and then in order to avail of the discounts.

Before we left the festival, I decided to buy CoffeeSchool's Coffee Art Book and DVD for only AUD$20.00. I've already read thru the book and it's user-friendly and the instructions are easy to follow. I've yet to watch the DVD. I plan to see it this coming weekend.

After a few minutes of wandering around, following our senses--smelling aromas here and there, we finally decided that we should have breakfast.

And this was breakfast!

Yummy little pancakes with chocolate syrup and strawberries and cream we bought from the Dutch Poffertjes stall.

All the yummy little pancakes were fresh from the pan. Nothing spectacular with the chocolate syrup (just the normal ones we can get from the supermarket) but the fresh strawberries and cream on top made a big difference to the whole ensemble. Since the little pancakes were bite-sized, it was easy to eat them while we wandered around.

Now that we've got breakfast on our hands (literally!), the quest for coffee began. We found ourselves at the Grinders Coffee Square and availed of Grinders Coffee's AUD$2.00 coffee.

I ordered my favorite Long Black coffee (a.k.a. as Cafe Americano) while the Husband indulged himself with a Latte. Loved the smell and taste of their coffee. I learned that Grinders Coffee started being popular in Melbourne (the coffee capital of Australia) and is now gaining the thumbs up all over Australia.

With every coffee purchase, you get to try their bite-sized biscuits. The Husband and I came back twice for their biscuits. Went deliciously well with their coffee.

With breakfast done and coffee in our hand, we decided to walk back to the train station as we needed to be on our way to our next agenda. However, another coffee stall caught my eye.

I made a quick dash to Mokador's stall and ordered a cup of Capuccino. It was one of the richest coffee I've tasted. I love it.

And yes, that's how I ended our short but sweet rendezvous at The Aroma Festival 2009: with a cup of coffee in each hand! :) I'm such a coffee fiend, I know...and I love it. I'm passionate about my coffee and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Hot tips:

1. Be early. The Aroma Festival in Sydney only happens once a year from 10am-5pm. We were there at 9:30am and there were lots of people already. When we left at around 11am, it was hard to explore the place, less room for walking...and the queue in every stall is doubling up by the minute.

2. Check The Rocks website to know what's instore for you when you get there. The website also had a list of participating stalls and their respective promos/discounts for the day.

3. Take public transport if it will seem more convenient for you. There are road closures during festivals in the city and parking may be a problem as well.

4. Be ready for the possible big crowd--and all other concerns related to it. My only wish last Sunday was that hopefully next time, they'd make this a 3-day event, or even a 2-day event. Since it was only a 1-day festival, of course, everyone will come flocking in just to witness the event. It was hard to appreciate every stall and its products when all you can see are people swarming around it.

5. Enjoy the great discounts. Coffee is only AUD$2.00/cup. Lots of discounts from every stall for their products like coffee, coffee machines, tea, etc.

All photos (except for the 11th and 12th photo) in this article are taken by Chris Sanchez.