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Published March 4th 2013
Fresh & festive foodie feast to fill the biggest of bellies
What could sound better to me than a day of feasting on fresh, lovingly prepared, authentic Italian cuisine? The answer is...nothing. So you can imagine my excitement as I began preparing for my day out at 42 Bannerman Trattoria e Bar in the rolling hills district of Sydney. 42 Bannerman strives to and succeeds in providing it's patrons with locally sourced, seasonal, fresh produce with which they then create freshly prepared, traditional Italian feasts.
Here at the trattoria, the most unique and integral part of the operation is the cultivation of meaningful and lasting relationships with local farmers and artisans in the community. Not only does it make for the best seasonal produce on your plate, it also creates an important kinship in the community and opportunities for family run businesses to flourish. The freshly gathered and cooked to order produce is what makes the experience and the quality of the food so spectacular.
The Farmers and Artisans Market is held bi-monthly on the first Sunday of that month from 9am to 1pm. It is held in the large car park area of 42 Bannerman, as well as having some stalls inside the premises in the large dining room. There are around 15 - 20 stalls with lovely offerings from all of course. You can visit Karen at the Willowbrae Chevre Cheese Farm Stand, where you can try a selection of fresh, savoury goats cheeses before you are subsequently tempted to buy the lot. Unsurprisingly we left with a couple of tubs. Another must see is the fresh fruit and veg provided by Andrew Muscat whose family run farm has been in action since 1979. The seasonal produce is piled onto the back of his truck, fruit and veg overflowing in abundance. We took away a bag full of peaches, nectarines, rhubarb and a kohlrabi that were of great quality and it was an extremely affordable purchase.
For the non-food related items you can check out some candles, handmade jewellery, glassware, handmade cards, prints and other arts and crafts. However, as it is me talking here, I shall bring it back to more consumable items. Inside the rustic and welcoming 42 Bannerman you can enjoy free wine and boutique beer tastings, as well as purchase some delicious snacks fresh from the Bannerman kitchen to accompany them. If it's a warm day, or even a bit of a dreary day like ours was, there is an accommodating outdoor area to relax in with some house-made gelato and ample space to enjoy the sprawling bush views.
After our toddle around the markets and a sample of some lovely sauvignon blanc, we headed over to whom we could clearly tell was the mama of the household, Giuseppina Mammoliti. After meeting the hospitable and flamboyant Giuseppina, we were introduced to her son Sam, co-owner and chef at 42 Bannerman. The family warmth and cohesion could be seen and felt throughout the farmers feast experience. While the dining area was being prepared, all the willing and waiting patrons headed to the outdoor area for some entertainment courtesy of Michael on the accordion, complimentary wine and delicious canapés. We were treated to ricotta and mushroom stuffed crêpes and buttery, crisp bread topped with a chunky style olive tapenade. One was light and mellow with delicate flavours, the other crisp and crunchy with a punch of salty, tangy olive goodness.
Once our traditional experience of family style dining was prepared, we were led inside to our seats to begin our feast with some appetisers. The table was laid with mixed olives, slices of salami and poppyseed grissini. All were yummy indeed but for something so simple, I was surprised to enjoy the grissini so much.
Now, as there was such an abundance of food I won't go into all the details of delight from the flavours, but I must rattle off each meal as they were all noteworthy. To start we had fresh grilled figs with prosciutto and rocket, followed by snake beans with goats cheese, sweet shallots and mint. For the next round generous servings of handmade pasta was presented. We had freshly made orecchiette with beans, corn, parsley and spatchcock, accompanied by beetroot gnocchi with yellow and green zucchini and a buttery, light sauce.
For the main meal we were presented with a platter abundant with herb-crusted grass-fed lamb with grilled broccoli and some grilled corn coated in herb butter. At this stage I'm sure you can imagine I was a little stuffed, but nothing ever has or ever will stop me from having my dessert. On this occasion we got to indulge in a cinnamon crêpe, house-made nutty gelato and a poached peach.
My personal favourite was the luscious beetroot gnocchi, as a life long gnocchi devotee thanks to my Nonna's brilliant cooking, I enjoyed the addition of the beetroot giving the gnocchi an earthy note while not overtaking the delicate, soft potato texture and flavour. I highly enjoyed the gelato too and can not wait to sample some more flavours and revel in the silky, creamy texture their expertise bring to this Italian favourite.
I couldn't have been more full or had a more fulfilling experience at 42 Bannerman, the chatting with perfect strangers, all of us getting along through the common enjoyment of eating a good meal. It might not be a cheap experience, but for what you get it is well worth the money, it's something to treat yourself to and a perfect event for a get together with old friends and you might just meet some new ones too. What's better, is for all the parents that feel they just won't be able to get away for some one on one time at a relaxing day out like this, there is a free, yes FREE, babysitting service provided all day. So no more excuses not to treat yourselves with a day off of feasting and fun.