Maybe you’re looking to try all the organic wine; beer and sake on offer (and there is certainly plenty). Maybe you want to learn about Aboriginal agriculture, organic oysters or the future of the pungent and delicious raw-cheese movement. Or perhaps you just want to party and eat a hunk of whole spit-roasted cow. Whatever your bag, we’ve worked out a plan of attack.
For the Early Riser
If the range of delicious, wild booze is a little too much early in the morning, this year Rootstock Sydney has an entire pavilion dedicated to coffee. Paul Geshos from Mecca is behind the plan for the pavilion, and has curated a roster of Australia’s finest roasters. Expect to see the likes of Reuben Hills, Artificer, Melbourne’s Proud Mary, Seven Seeds and Market Lane and Monastry Coffee from South Australia, among others. You’ll find a flat white, no question, but take the opportunity to try out a few other techniques, such as cold brew, Aero Press and pour-over while you’re there.
For the Wine Thirsty
Rootstock Sydney began in 2013 primarily as a wine festival, and though it’s added many arms over the years, wine is still at the heart of the weekend. First step, book yourself into one (or all) of four wine-tasting sessions running over the weekend (there are two per day). Each session will showcase more than 200 Australian and international drops. It’s best not to rock up hankering for a glass of Hill of Grace, though, because all vino at Rootstock Sydney must be grown organically, sustainably and biodynamically (automatically culling a lot of Australia’s biggest producers). Each included wine is a true expression of the region in which its grapes were grown, and in fact must be represented at the festival by the winemakers themselves (automatically culling a lot of tedious marketing managers).
For the Everything Else Thirsty
Rootstock Sydney is not only about fermented grapes. Once you’ve tasted all you can at the wine sessions, make your way over to The Bars pavilion. This un-ticketed section will house an orange wine bar, a sake bar, a section serving wine straight up from the barrel, plus a whole bunch of sour beer and other brews provided by Young Henrys.
For the Hungry
For between all those drinks, Rootstock Sydney’s free market pavilion brings some of Australia’s best chefs and producers together to serve inventive dishes made from sustainable produce. Each chef, from the likes of MoVida, Flour and Stone, Ester, Icebergs, Mary's, Hartsyard, Cornersmith and more, will team up with a sustainable producer to create their dish. Fresh, seasonal produce will also be available to buy and take home on the day. Next door will be the Farmhouse Cheese Pavilion (isn’t that everyone’s dream, a pavilion filled with cheese?) where producers such as Holy Goat, Willowbrae, Gundowring and Marroock Farm will sell their wares.
Another integral part of Rootstock Sydney is the emphasis placed on Indigenous agricultural practices and native produce. Over at Gurandgi Munjie (which means Food of the People) you’ll find the Aboriginal Agriculture and Native Food Pavilion. A traditional Aboriginal midden is being built, as is a huge earth oven, which will be used by members of the Yuin people (Aborigines from the south coast of New South Wales) to cook mussels and pippies during the festival.
For Those Eager to Learn
Feed and water yourself all you like, sure, but what about all the thinking behind the produce? The Broadsheet Masterclass Series brings together some of the most forward-thinking minds in the sustainable and organic space. Apart from a now sold-out breakfast with acclaimed Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson, head along to a talk on Wapengo Rock organic oysters (Saturday 4pm), wild honey and Warre (vertical) beehives with Tim Malfroy (Saturday 2pm), a history of natural wine with Thierry Puzelat (Sunday 11am) or a masterclass on raw-milk cheese (Sunday 2pm) or real salt (Sunday 6pm). Tickets should be purchased beforehand.
For a Beefy Nightcap
Duncan Welgemoed, chef at Adelaide’s acclaimed Africola restaurant, is going to slow cook a whole cow over charcoal, beginning on Saturday, to be served on Sunday night for the Rootstock closing party, which will roll on from the final tasting session at 8pm. The feast will utilise every cut, off-cut and organ the cow provides.
For the After Party
There are a number of sideshow events happening post festival. There’s a full program of events here that will happen around Sydney, from incredible wine dinners at Automata, MoVida, Love, Tilly Divine and Franklin in Tassie.
Rootstock Sydney will take place at Carriageworks on November 28 and 29, from 10am each day. Entry to the Marketplace and all Pavilions is free, and the wine-tasting sessions and the Broadsheet Masterclass Series talks are ticketed. Tickets to all sessions and talks are available here.
Broadsheet is the proud media partner of Rootstock Sydney 2015.