It’s been quite the party week here at Romance HQ. We’ve both been running around like crazy – but all in the name of fun.
So as the end of the month of October looms right up in the form of Halloween, Sydney’s annual craft beer week comes to a close and good ol’ Silly Season gets its dancing shoes on, it looks like we’re in for a good time!
Hope you enjoy this week’s IG Edition. As a quick caveat – most of the photos here were taken by me. So as opposed to Mrs Romance’s clever, well-honed photographer’s eye, you might notice a somewhat novice edge to this week’s images.
Have a great week anyway – Jim & Christina xx
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I’m really excited about this year’s Sydney Craft Beer Week – mostly because I’m actually in the country for it for once! Today I’m at a great craft beer pub in Surry Hills – the Dove and Olive – to take part in a beer battle! The idea is that three local breweries bring one of their best beers for people to taste and judge which one they like the most.
However, there’s another element to it. The three breweries also work with three local venues to create a new beer especially for Sydney Craft Beer Week. So that’s 6 beers to try in total. The winning brewery will take home the Golden Growler and supply all three venues with the winning beer for a year. Pretty good prize!
And here are the winners! These two lovely ladies – Danielle Allen and Jayne Lewis – are the owners of Two Birds Brewing Co. Their beer – the Passionhop Passionfruit IPA – takes home the goods.
I’m very pleased to say this is the beer I voted for too! Surprisingly, it’s not an overly sweet beer in spite of all the passionfruit pulp they put into this brew. Instead it’s got a beautifully sour taste that works well with the rest of the flavours of this excellent beer.
I get the impression the girls are pretty happy with their win! Congratulations, Two Birds Brewing. You’ll be able to find this beer in the Dove and Olive, the Keg and Brew, and the Dog – and hopefully even more venues than that!
It’s time to carry on celebrating (and enjoying Sydney Craft Beer Week), so the next pub to visit is a no-brainer. I’m in the Royal Albert in Surry Hills. This is the best pub in Sydney as far as I’m concerned. The beers they have here are always superb and the people who work here are awesome too.
Plus they’ve got one of the best burgers in Sydney. Here’s our review of this cracking little pub.
The day ends with a beautiful sunset. Which day’s this? I’m not too sure. The session in the Royal Albert has messed things up a bit. But now’s not the time to argue about things like dates. Just enjoy the lovely sky!
Now we’re getting to the serious end of Sydney Craft Beer Week. Today, my beer compadre Anton and I are in the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst – a legendary pub for a great brew – for a beer education.
This event’s called A Heavenly Pairing.
We get to try five beers from around the world and see how they match up with some of the most incredible cheese I’ve ever eaten.
We’re lucky enough to have beer genius James A Smith from the original Local Taphouse in St Kilda, Melbourne take us through each of the beers he’s chosen for this day. James is a cicerone, which is beer’s version of a wine sommelier. His knowledge is so deep and so interesting, it shows there’s so much more to beer than meets the eye.
We’ve also got fromager Sognia Ocello from the amazing specialist cheese shop Ocello in Surry Hills. Sognia’s family has had this shop for years and we always walk in drooling. The cheeses she’s supplied for today’s event are incredible, and her knowledge of cheese history and flavour pairings with everything is profound.
We were very pleasantly surprised with how well the beer went with the cheese. Definitely something I’m going to be doing more of!
For your information, here are the beers and cheeses we tried:
1. Hervé Mons Petit Heletar sheep’s milk cheese from France paired with Stomping Ground’s Saison from VIC, Australia
2. Ford Farm Cheddar cow’s milk cheese from England (only 1 of 6 real cheddar producers left in the world) paired with Worthington’s White Shield from England
3. Délice des Crémiers cow’s milk cheese from France paired with To Øl’s Roses are Brett from Denmark
4. Mileens Dotes cow’s milk cheese from Ireland paired with Liefmans Goudenband from Belgium
5. Colston Bassett Stilton cow’s milk cheese from England paired with Stone’s Russian Imperial Stout from USA
Mrs Romance is out learning stuff today. She’s listening to three very talented ladies talk about creativity and success at the Dream Dare Create with Cointreau event at the Hacienda Bar at Circular Quay. Megan Hess, Helen Chik and Geneva Vanderzeil are each talking about their climb to creative brilliance in one of Sydney’s most beautiful bars overlooking the Harbour Bridge.
We’ve been invited to a Halloween party tonight. We’re a bit scared because we know how much our mate Brooke from HerPackingList.com gets into this scary night of the year.
We’ve decided to go as ‘struck by lightning’ in light of our recent post telling the story of how we were hit by lightning in real life when we first met.
We’ve cheekily asked our lovely Uber driver to take these shots before we get to Brooke’s party and it’s a good job we did; Mrs Romance will leave her brolly prop in the car when we get there! The things those Uber drivers must find their cars at the end of nights like tonight!
As suspected, Brooke has gone a bit crazy on the decorations for tonight’s party. These ‘welcome drinks’ are such a cool start to the night!
Brooke and her other half Pat have done such an amazing job tonight. There’s just so much attention to detail – looking back on our photos, there’s still stuff either Mrs R and I missed when we were there. These bottles of poison in the kitchen: genius!
Brooke (or Dr Schoenman) has even set up a photobooth with props and lightning. The app she’s used is really cool too and emails you your shots. So much fun!
Quite a fan of the googly eyes.
One of the final shots of the night. Lots of fun – this is how to throw a Halloween party. We’ve been seriously schooled!
This week’s Travel Recap
Each week we go back in time over some of our favourite travel destinations using never-before-seen photos of our travels. Here’s where we’ve been looking back on this week.
The seas around Thailand somehow look even more beautiful in stormy weather. It’s certainly time to move back to our hotel room here in front of the Sala in Phuket! Thankfully it’s not far from here.
Check out our full review of the Sala here. We’ve also produced a quick walk-through video of the rooms.
Nothing like a Sydney sunrise! This is at Bondi just near the famous Icebergs – a swimming club, bar and restaurant with the best view of Australia’s most famous beach. Of course, this is Mrs Romance’s photo. Not only is it well composed and in focus, it’s also at sunrise – a time of day I still have doubts on as to its existence.
Cheers! This is a rare photo of me multitasking: I’m watching 3 water levels at once! Our private pool at the beautiful Aleenta Phuket is absolutely perfect. Wish we could’ve stayed here forever.
Looks like the surf’s up at Cabarita Beach at the northern tip of New South Wales. This beach has been a favourite for surfers for decades, and the now very chic Halcyon House just behind us used to be the place to stay when you weren’t carving up the breaks. These days it’s a top spot for a romantic weekend away or a delicious meal.
Sunset on the west side of Phuket, Thailand over the Andaman Sea is pretty the perfect moment for romance! But then sunrise over the water can be pretty good too…
Ok – who thought this was snow? These are actually salt flats somewhere off the highway in California heading for Route 66 after visiting the amazing Joshua Tree National Park.
It was a road trip we’ll never forget – from San Diego to Palm Springs, then through the desert into Arizona and on to Nevada and finally Las Vegas, baby!
The beach villas at Aleenta Phuket are pretty unbelievable. If you’ve seen our previous photos of this resort, you’ll have seen our own private pool. That wasn’t too bad, right? Well these places are something else entirely! Next time we’re in Thailand…
If you want more info on this resort, check out our review and video walk-through. Interestingly, this resort’s older (but smaller) sister resort Aleenta Hua Hin is much lower key. Still luxe and lavish, but more of an eco resort, Aleenta Hua Hin is also well worth checking out. Here’s our review of this place too.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest IG Edition and Travel Update, and that the rest of your week’s looking good. See you again soon for more!
Cheers – J&Cx