Sunday, July 31st was Sydney's annual Aroma Festival, which was certainly aromatic. Crowds jostled for the best glimpses of the foodstuffs and wares on display. Purchasing said products meant waiting in a line over 10 deep in some cases, which was a little daunting if you were ravenous to begin with. Tents lining the streets of The Rocks near Sydney Harbor sold all kinds of food, coffee, tea, confectionery delights, and handmade items.
Prior to diving into the festival itself, I headed up to Harts' Pub with my tour guide and friend, Chris for an early lunch. Harts' Pub is known amongst Sydneysiders for its excellent beer and Cajun crocodile bites. I enjoyed a Wood and Stone, which is a pale ale, with a crocodile burger and jalapeno poppers. Now I love jalapenos and doubly so stuffing them with cheese, but these should have come with a warning label or something! They looked so unassuming, laid out on a plate with a creamy ranch dipping sauce, but they were really firebombs in disguise. Upon eating the first one, it was almost constant agony and a rush to get the other ones down before the beer or water ran out. Luckily the crocodile burger and fries were there to quell some of the burn.
After that painful experience, I knew no better fix than some ice cream. Milk helps to relieve any stomach pain I encounter with eating spicy food, and it has served me well eating Korean food the past 3 years. Two delicious flavors of gelato later (hazelnut and caramel), and I was feeling more like myself again. I could fully enjoy the Aroma Festival without worrying that my lunch was going to burn a hole through my stomach.
And enjoy I did. Lucky for me I wasn't hungry, or I probably wouldn't have resisted taste-testing all the foods laid out: wraps, steak sandwiches, popcorn, old-fashioned lemonade, chocolate-dipped strawberries, licorice, bratwurst, coffee, veggie kebabs, and chai tea, to name a few. I did stop to pick up some licorice for later, swapping flavors with Chris so we got to try four different ones each.
He headed home early, but I continued to linger, listening to musical performances and basking in the warm winter weather that Sydney has graciously extended to me during my visit here. When the sun started to head below the horizon and the festival began winding down, I decided to call it a day. My head was full of plentiful smells, sounds, and sights to take home with me.