Want to dine like they did in 1788? Well, folks, you've struck it lucky. Sydney Living Museums last night launched Eat Your History: A Shared Table, an exhibition and festival exploring the food cultures of some of our nation's earliest European settlers. The exhibition at the Museum of Sydney offers a snapshot of the city's kitchens and dining rooms from the 18th century to the 1950s - Vaucluse House, Rouse Hill House & Farm and Rose Seidler House among them - all of which you can experience first-hand through the festival's program of talks, feasts and events. These kick off on 1 October with a tour of the 19th-century working-class kitchens of Susannah Place in The Rocks. We paid a visit to the Museum of Sydney to see what it's all about.
The food Pork pies with Rouse Hill House & Farm tomato chutney began proceedings, followed by a guided cheese tasting, featuring lemon myrtle chèvre inspired by the early settlers' reliance on goat's milk in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Pyengana aged cheddar reminiscent of the colonial-style cheeses of the 1830s, and a Roquefort standing in for the one British naturalist William Sharp Macleay served at a dinner party in 1859.
The drink Sure, there was wine, but who needs wine when you've got a beer and mead hybrid called braggot? Peach braggot from the good folk at Young Henrys, to be exact, is inspired by the abundance of peaches in the late 1700s, which were left to fall from trees and ferment to such a state that they would intoxicate the hogs to which they were eventually fed. Potent stuff.
We loved The exhibition itself offered an eye-opening look into the kitchens of Sydney's past. The cheese tasting, too, was a highlight, and the braggot kept us lining up for more. History, it seems, tastes pretty darned good.
Eat Your History: A Shared Table, 28 September-9 March at the Museum of Sydney,Cnr Bridge & Philip sts, Sydney. For tickets and more information visit http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/food