This past Saturday saw Cuckoo Callay’s inaugural Bacon Brewfest take over Central Park for a full day of over 30 food and drink stalls dishing up their best bacon-centric creations. From 12pm to 9pm, two areas throughout the unique precinct (aMBUSH Gallery on the top floor and the lawn area downstairs) were packed out with people scrambling to try all these quirky, exclusive creations which came from the likes of Black Star Pastry, Brewristas, Mr Bao, Textbook Boulangerie, Burgers by Josh, and The Stinking Bishops; all of whom gave us our fill of bacon from bacon ice creams and bacon cakes to bacon burgers, bacon shakes, smokey bacon tea, bacon baos, bacon mac’n’cheese, bacon pizzas, bacon croissants…you get the point.
Newtown cafe Cuckoo Callay debuted their 12-week bacon festival last year, with a menu focusing on using bacon in all these weird and wonderful ways. It was a huge hit for the cafe so them curating a big food festival to launch this year’s menu (which will be available at the cafe from this week) makes sense, and it’s a good chance to see how adaptable these Sydney businesses can be.
The other element to the festival was the beer, bringing in some of the most respected local breweries like Rocks Brewing Co., Feral, Two Birds Brewing, Batch Brewing Co., and Willie the Boatman, for one big brewfest mixed up with some intimate beer masterclasses. All of that was concentrated into one area, so attendees could go along and spend a bit more time going from stall to stall for some beer tasting. Next year – and let’s hope there’s a next year – we’d like to see more bacon-inspired beers, because if the Bacon Ale from Rocks Brewing Co. is anything to go by, smokey bacon infused beers will always be a huge hit.
Aside from the food and beer, there was also quite a bit of merchandise rounded up for the festival, including Bacon Lollipops, Bacon Mints, Bacon Toothpaste, Bacon Soap, and even erotic cookbook 50 Shades of Bacon. There was also some live acoustic music and a space to chill out in the main area, on the top floor.
It was hard to pick a winner of the festival, but were some of our favourites of the festival.
The Drunken Piglet Cake from Black Star Pastry: chocolate porter and bacon had two layers of bacon sprinkles, was incredibly soft and full of flavour. Definitely our favourite dessert of the day.
The Devilish Doughnut from Cuckoo Callay with bacon and caramel ice cream, double smoked bacon, peanut butter mousse, and salted peanut caramel on a cinnamon doughnut. This incredibly indulgent piece of work is also available over the next 12 weeks at Cuckoo Callay.
This one was the second creation from Burgers by Josh, a stall so popular the waiting time climbed to around 20-30 minutes (possibly even exceeding that as the day went on). The burger was stacked with medium-rare wagyu, bacon, cheese, and jalapenos, with russian sauce.
One very strange freakshake from Brewistas with potato twists sticking out just for Instagram’s sake. We weren’t brave enough to take this one on.
Macquarie Park’s The Vogue Cafe went a bit overboard with the Bacon You Crazy freakshake, we weren’t game enough to try this one either, especially as we needed the stomach space, but this one unsurprisingly sent people into hysterics.
Newtown staple The Stinking Bishops went relatively simple with their offering, dishing up small or large Bacon Mac N Cheese. These guys know how to handle their cheese so there’s no surprise that this was one of the absolute best savoury foods of Bacon Brewfest.
Smokey Bacon Ice Tea was a refreshing offering from Altitude Tea for those that wanted a bit of a break from all the freakshakes and bacon beer.
Alexandria’s popular Textbook Boulangerie were the winners of the day as far as creativity goes, with piggy cakes made of bacon maple mousse, chocolate shavings, and butter which has been used from a reduced bacon rind.
The Bacon Bao Burger from Mr Bao.
N2 Gelato collaborated with Anna Polyviou for this Lil’ Miss Piggy dessert: vanilla panna cotta, strawberry gelato, and berry gel with a bacon and biscuit crispy, raspberry choc top.
For our full look at the Bacon menu being offered at Cuckoo Callay over the next 12 weeks click HERE
Images by Chris Singh and Nazia Hafiz