Monday, 19 September 2011

A Festival Like Alice 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm currently in Alice Springs for the annual Alice Desert Festival. I'd already done some dot painting and taken in an outdoor premiere of a new play; now here's what happened the next day.

Music in the gorge

The dry weather around Alice obviously makes it easy to schedule outdoor events. Match it with the Territorians' willingness to drive long distances for a day trip, and you have a 272km round trip to Ormiston Gorge to see the local choir Asante Sana perform in a spectacular location.

It was well worth the drive. The gorge is a fantastic place, with a sheer wall of craggy red rock looming over a watercourse lined by a broad stretch of sand on each side. The effect is that of an inland beach in a larger than life setting.


The choir were good too, starting off with a brace of African songs and then heading into more general material.

The highlight of the afternoon, though, was the cameo appearance of tenor Boyd Owen, who performed a powerful operatic aria which resounded through the beautiful space. And he did it in bare feet too, something he noted as a personal first.

Bush food on the menu

Back in Alice that evening, the Wild Bushfoods Gala Dinner featured the skills of chef Andrew Fielke, cooking several courses composed of bush foods presented in a modern style.

Outside the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza, we sampled canapes including crocodile spare ribs, and saltbush and whiting fritters.

Then, seated at the tables within, we were served dishes such as yabby bisque with coconut lemon myrtle foam; barramundi with pencil yam and leek gratin; slow roast camel scotch fillet with pepperleaf potato gnocchi; and this dish, braised kangaroo tail and seared kangaroo filet mignon with bush banana and brown butter:


Dessert, in case you're wondering, was sugar bag honey parfait and coolamon tuile, with wattleseed and Ferrero Rocher ripple gelato. Sweet.

[Read the previous Alice Desert Festival instalment here]

For more details of the Alice Desert Festival, click here. Disclosure time: On this trip I was hosted by Tourism NT.