At Rootstock this year there’ll be a bed of hot charcoals in the outdoor section of Carriageworks. Hanging above it will be a tree-like installation of hooks holding slowly roasting poultry and vegetables.
Rootstock Sydney is the natural food and wine festival that last year delivered a whole roasted cow, an Indigenous-food stand and a marketplace that included some of Australia’s most interesting chefs and producers. “This is going to be different, though,” says co-organiser Giorgio de Maria. “It's not like last year.” The indoor marketplace, for one, will be gone but entrance into the festival will again be free.
Running over two days and nights in November, the day-time fare will instead be dominated by the tree charcoal station and two portable wood-fired ovens that will churn out pizzas by Pizza al Taglio’s Enrico Sgarbossa. “We're making pizza using all high quality, organic Australian flours that are milled in a specific way to give a long fermentation,” says De Maria. “It'll be super simple. There'll be something vegetarian and something with lard and kunzia (a native myrtle-like herb).” On Saturday this will all run alongside the regular Carriageworks Farmers Markets.
The daytime offering will also include a Rootstock-run cheese stall selling mostly foreign, semi-hard, hard and cooked cheeses provided by Uccello in Surry Hills, and oysters from Shane Buckley of Wapengo Oysters. “He’ll be driving them up fresh to shuck them alive,” says De Maria. There’ll also be another charcoal section roasting Slow Food Australia’s bull-boar sausages. “It's a specialty from the Italian region in Switzerland. [The dish] came here with immigration, but now the recipe just remains with the people in Australia – as far as I'm aware people in Switzerland no longer do it,” says De Maria.
Nights are a completely different deal. “From 6pm onwards everything will switch to something different,” says De Maria. On Saturday there’ll be a feast designed to match Rootstock’s increased interest in Georgian natural wine. Chef Renee Trudeau (last seen at Clever Polly’s in Melbourne) will make Georgian specialties such as cheese pie; grilled pork with chilli paste; and slow-cooked lamb with eggplant and caramelised onions. Trudeau recently spent a stint in Georgia learning these recipes. The regular Rootstock bars will close in favour of a small Georgian wine offering.
The following night there will be an Indigenous-inspired feast made in collaboration with an all-star cast that includes Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), David Moyle (Franklin), Pasi Petanen (ex-Cafe Paci), Analiese Gregory (Bar Brosé) and Aaron Turner (Igni). “We'll make something super simple but not really seen before,” says de Maria.
There’ll be charcoal-roasted palm hearts and two rolls made with Petanen’s Australian-flour flat breads. One will have roasted stingray wings and livers. The other will have kangaroo tails prepared with Indigenous techniques. "They'll be under the coals. You just put them in as they are, cover them in charcoal and they cook in their skin. At the end you cut them open and get to the inside part,” De Maria says.
Over both days and Sunday night Rootstock will run its regular bars serving orange wine, sake and sour beer – this time served from an old English beer pump. There’ll also be a Spritztock, a bar run by Spirit People, serving lighter-style cocktails using ingredients like Rondo, an organic, Campari-like apertivo. Masterclasses will be held over both days, presented by Broadsheet - stay tuned for details.
Rootstock Sydney will run from Saturday November 26 to Sunday November 27 at Carriageworks in Eveleigh. Tickets for the wine sessions and masterclasses are available here. Entrance into the festival is free.
Broadsheet is the proud media partner of Rootstock Sydney.