Taste Great Southern: Liberte back for a second helping

Taste Great Southern: Liberte back for a second helping
Taste Great Southern: Liberte back for a second helping

HAVE you ever been obsessed by a dish, a flavour, maybe even a particular ingredient, so much so it has had a starring role in your dreams?

No? Just me?

Some might consider this worrying behaviour but I consider it an entirely rational response since my trip down to Albany last November, where I found myself at Liberte at the London Hotel.

As I pulled up a chair with my fellow diners under a canopy of sandalwood fans, the menu for our Taste Great Southern spring dinner did not disappoint.

However, what stood out simply said: “Pork skin noodles, yabby, water cress, chilli”.

The wobbly bits of animals are always attractive to me and this was particular enticing.

At the helm at Liberte is the inimitable Amy Hamilton, protege of Must Wine Bar’s Russell Blaikie and a food hero in her own right.

She fast became my hero too, once those silky, savoury strands of steamed pig rind found their way into my mouth.

My only bugbear with Liberte and Hamilton?

They are in Albany and I am in Perth.

But Taste Great Southern is round the corner next month, and I had to know if this was going to be on the menu the next time I was in town.

Hamilton, along with Blaikie and wildly charismatic wine writer Mike Bennie, will host the Liberte Garden Parte as part of the festival on Saturday, March 25, promising generous servings of food and plenty of the region’s most delectable wine to go with it.

“We’re going to do lots of fun things that are quite theatrical,” Hamilton said.

“It’s a real opportunity to see the potential of where the produce from this region can go and it’s about really shaking it up a little bit.”

Hamilton is a real champion of the Great Southern, churning out dishes with a heavy South-East Asian-influence to showcase the region’s rich tapestry of offerings.

“I’m also really interested in supporting this new wave of producers that are coming up and using different techniques in regards to making their wines and beers,” she said.

“I’m going to be using a local brewer called Wilson Brewing, who have just come on the scene, and they are going to do us an exclusive seasonal beer.

“Because I have these good relationships with a lot of the producers, like Andrew Hoadley from La Violetta, he’s going to do something too.

“I’m still challenging the notions of traditional food and wine pairing so we’re going to do some pretty renegade matching.”

Diners can also expect to be enchanted on the night.

“We usually hold everyone at the front of the bar and we let them all enter the back room to the scene of the dinner,” Hamilton said.

“So this year I want them to feel like they’re outdoors, so a play on the idea of a picnic; it’s going to be shared, the Wilson boys are going to have a keg out the back, and I’m going to probably work out how to get people close to the ground.”

And about the menu and the presence of those pigskin noodles?

“They won’t be on the menu,” Hamilton said, to my despair.

“The pigskin noodles have done really well; it is on the menu intermittently.

“I might have to buy pork skin specifically and put it on the menu during Taste Great Southern.”

For more visit www.tastegreatsouthern.com.au/libertegardenparte.

Liberte will also play host to the Winos in Residence Sundowner, a free event that will see winemakers from the region showcase their drops with Bennie on hand to show you the way.