It’s dangerous signing up to mailing lists, especially since they always come through while you’re at work. It’s quite funny really, you’re at work, making the money that you’re pondering frittering away on things you don’t need, for less than you would usually have paid for them, except that if you hadn’t signed up to the newsletter you probably wouldn’t have bought them anyway. Well, in this case the headline was “Cheese, Bubbles and Beer Soirée”. Need I really say more?
As a birthday present for my father (who has become increasingly harder to buy for with age) I decided this “beer, champagne and cheese tasting with art” would be a great idea. An offer from Agenda (unfortunately they’re not paying me for said review) it was touted as an evening to enjoy at a surprise location which would be revealed closer to the evening. I wasn’t expecting it to be at the pop-up Soho Galleries in Rosebery, although the space in which it was held was great (and apparently for sale, should you be in the market). As it turns out the evening was put on by the property group responsible for the premises, and it was they who arranged Claudia McIntosh from McIntosh & Bowman Cheese Mongers (official cheese partners to Masterchef Australia), as well as the Gibbs brothers from boutique beer label Gibbs Brothers Brewing. To top of all off there was Chandon flowing, and artworks care of Nigel Messenger from Soho Galleries in Cathedral St, Sydney.
To be honest this is the kind of event I’m used to being invited to for industry or media. Working in advertising there’s a lot of booze and finger food that is consumed and it’s usually for free. Having said that. I’m always open to new experiences and it was fun having the suspense of not knowing where we were going or really what to expect. Claudia explained a little about the cheese (which, at $90-$190 a kilo it makes sense why we were paying for the privilege) which ranged from air-freighted Taleggio with a washed rind, a couple of Australian goats varieties and a Testun al Barolo from the Piedemont region in Italy, which gets its flavour from spending a minimum of four months in small oak barrels under the residues of the Nebbiolo grapes, used to make Barolo wine. The cheeses were served with various accompaniments including Infinity Sourdough and fresh brioche, as well as Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Prune and Honey Walnut Log (or, as you foodies may know it as “pastilla”) by Jan Nash.
The Gibbs brothers also showcased and offered sampling of their beers, including a Pale Ale (apparently good with cheddar), a German-style Kölsch, a non-hoppy Pilsner and an Alcoholic Ginger Beer (with which they recommended a Gouda), which was, enjoyably, delightful.
The gallery works ranged from mixed media, large scale paintings to sculpture and, my favourite, some great works by Western Australian painter Miertje Skidmore, whose style resembles the patterns seen in nature including gemstones, fossils and timber. Due to deadlines and my father having overdosed on cheese we don’t stay for long, but all in all it has been a bit of fun attending something a little more highbrow than your average Surry Hills gallery opening or advertising function. Now, if only I could get the funds together for one of those paintings…