CBD chocolate crawl

Guylian

It seemed like a good idea in the morning, before we embarked on our crawl of the chocolate cafés and boutique chocolate shops of Sydney’s CBD. By mid afternoon, groaning and threatening to lapse en masse into a hypoglycaemic coma, we weren’t so sure anymore. However, looking back on it now, with a few days of fruit & vegies behind me, it really was day of sublime chocolatey goodness. Let me share it with you…

We started at the Guylian café in the Rocks. Between the five of us, we had chocolate fondue (above), chocolate tart, a pain au chocolat and a few heart-starting mochas. One hell of a breakfast.

From there we sought out the city store for Adora chocolates, and found it tucked away in a little arcade off Bligh street. I’d been to the main store in Earlwood before, but had no idea there was an outlet in central Sydney. We chose one bite-sized treat each – some truffles (chai, ginger and something called a Ben Hur), chocolate-dipped candied orange, and the most sublime white cinnamon-chili chocolate. They didn’t stay in the box (below) for long.

Adora

Next was Max Brenner in the Metcentre – just down from Wynyard. The teenage lovebirds shared a gorgeous tasting plate of six hand-picked chocolates. The rest of us went thirds in a chocolate souffle that oozed molten chocolate as soon the fork went in.

Brenner

We hadn’t thought it would be possible, but we were starting to reach our collective chocolate limit. We decided to pick up some little bits to take home from our next two stops: Haigh’s in the Strand Arcade and Bon Bon Fine Chocolates in the QVB. The new mango truffles at Haigh’s were irresistible and didn’t make it home after all. And look at those cute little goldfish all stacked up in the window of Bon Bon (below) – ridiculously cute!

Haighs and Bon Bon

Thank goodness it was a fair walk from there to our next stops – both in Darling Harbour. In Harbourside, we tracked down the St Moritz Chocolate Café. The website promised churros, but we couldn’t see any on the blackboard menu. There didn’t seem to be much chocolate at all, really, but we did find a small display case near the door, and bought a chocolate strawberry to take away.

A short walk around Darling Harbour led us to our final destination – the Lindt Chocolat Café in Cockle Bay Wharf. I started the day with a mocha, and finished with another. And then rolled all the way home.

Lindt

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café
91 George Street
The Rocks, Sydney

Adora
2 Blight Street
Sydney

Max Brenner
Shop MG 24, Metcentre
273 George Street, Sydney

Haigh’s Chocolates
Shop 1, The Strand Arcade,
412 – 414 George Street, Sydney

Bon Bon Fine Chocolates
Level G, QVB
455 George St, Sydney

St. Moritz Chocolate Café
Shop 109, 2-10 Darling Drive
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Lindt Chocolat Café
104-105 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour, Sydney

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Jurassic Lounging

I found out about Jurassic Lounge several weeks before it opened, and started marking the days off on my calendar until opening night. Then a never-ending series of work and home commitments chewed up my entire February, and I thought that I’d missed my chance with the end of Summer. How happy I was to discover that I was wrong, and that I had until 19th April. Winning!

Finally this Tuesday night came around, and with it my chance to get along to Jurassic Lounge.

I was determined to see and do as much as I could in the one evening, but what first? Drink! With a glass of smooth Innocent Bystander white in hand, I started with a tarot card reading from Diana up in the Chapman Mineral Gallery (atmosphere courtesy of VJ Jerronimo). My cards – Focus, Communication and Abundance – set the tone for my evening.

From there it was off to the Skeletons for a bit of hip-hop from Billy B. It’s here, with the music pumping and the coloured lights swimming across the walls that that I really came to grips with the fact that this wasn’t any ordinary visit to the museum. Instead of hushed voices and quiet contemplation, here we were lounging on floor cushions eating beef and rice (scrummy!). Inspired by the chance to see familiar things from unfamiliar angles, I was off again in search of more adventures…

Heading upstairs, we grabbed a torch at the entry and headed into the Surviving Australia gallery. The taxidermied animals seem to almost come to life when seen by torchlight. More than once, I jumped when spying something out of the corner of my eye – you could swear the Museum was really coming to life.

Jurassic Lounge

One of the helpers swapped our torches and empty glasses for headphones as we headed into the Dinosaurs. Silent disco time! DJ PIRI’s lounge-y grooves made it difficult to move on to explore further (especially with the promise of glowsticks for the best dancers), but I could see a bearded nun projected on the wall at the other end of the Dinosaur hall and had to investigate. After swapping one set of headphones for another, I caught a couple of Kino Sydney’s shorts. McKillop (yes, Australia’s only saint as a bearded detective) was fabulously irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny.

Downstairs in the cavernous main foyer we discovered Creon working his magic with paint and board (not to mention hair dryer), as well as some live reptilian friends for a bit of a cold-blooded cuddle.

It being International Women’s Day, I wanted to be sure to catch the short documentary Eight Ladies by Dena Curtis. It provided a wonderfully still, quiet moment in the midst of so much colour and movement.

The highlight of the evening for me was the Twitter-based #FINDIT treasure hunt. The Jlounge team tweeted a cryptic picture of one of the Museum’s exhibits, and then it was up to us to find it and reply with the correct name. I was lucky (or determined) enough to find the first one – Weedy Sea Dragon! – winning a movie ticket into the bargain.

It was great to see so many people there last night. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this means Jurassic Lounge is here to stay (at least in the Daylight Savings months). It’s a unique and altogether wonderful addition to Sydney’s nightlife – I can’t wait to come back soon with a horde of friends. You hurry in too – only six more weeks left to this season!

Jurassic Lounge
5:30pm – 9:30pm Tuesday nights until 19th April
Australian Museum
6 College Street, Sydney

Sydney fireworks


Fireworks

Nothing beats the New Year’s Eve fireworks on Sydney harbour. But that’s a long time between bangs. (*snort*)

If you fancy a more frequent fireworks fix, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority puts on a show at Darling Harbour every couple of weeks. Mostly on a Saturday night, but sometimes Sunday or Monday – always from 9pm. The schedule until mid-2011 is below. Keep an eye on the Darling Harbour website for further dates.

  • Saturday 5th March
  • Saturday 19th March
  • Saturday 2nd April
  • Saturday 9th April
  • Saturday 16th April
  • Saturday 23rd April
  • Saturday 30th April
  • Saturday 7th May
  • Saturday 14th May
  • Sunday 21st May
  • Saturday 28th May
  • Sunday 12th June
  • Monday 13th June
  • Saturday 18th June

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

(Not me, obviously!)

After a scrummy lunch with friends at Sailors Thai in the Rocks, we toddled up to College Street to see the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Australian Museum. It’s always great to see these extraordinary photos. I love the ones that remind me of the old Curiosity Show segment “here’s a familiar object seen from an unfamiliar angle”, but the shots that really amaze me are from the young photographers (10 years and under, 11-14 years and 15-17 years).

This year, the Museum has very cleverly included a hands-on component called “My Photo Studio”. It’s great for engaging the younger visitors, but as you can see from the picture above, the grown-ups got to have a play as well.

There’s just over two weeks left. (Don’t forget that the over-18s can also visit the Wildlife Photographer exhibition on Tuesday evenings with a Jurassic Lounge ticket.)

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010
14th December 2010 – 13th March 2011
Australian Museum
6 College Street, Sydney

ArtExpress

ArtExpress, the exhibition of selected major works from HSC Visual Arts students, has been around for years. It was an annual affair even before I finished high school, which is a Very Long Time Ago Indeed. Since then it’s grown into a series of local and regional shows, across eleven venues.

In Sydney this year, you can visit ArtExpress at:

The small sampling that’s available online looks amazing. Every year I’m blown away with the level of maturity in these works.

The Queens are coming to town

(No, not Mardi Gras – through we’re pretty excited about that too!)

On February 22nd, the two ocean liners the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth will meet in Sydney. The grand dame Mary will meet the younger Elizabeth (on her maiden voyage) outside Sydney Heads, and lead her into the Harbour. They’re meeting before 5:30am, and are expected to sail past Fort Denison at around 6:30am, before berthing at Circular Quay and Garden Island.

Both ships will leave Sydney the following day, so you get a chance to see them coming and/or going!

Good spots for a view include:

The schedule for the two days of the “Royal Rendezvous” is:

  • Tuesday, February  22
    5:30 am (approx) Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 meet off Sydney Heads.
    6:30 am (approx) Ships to sail past each other, either side of Fort Denison. Whistle salute from Queen Mary 2.
    7am  (approx) Queen Elizabeth berths at Circular Quay and Queen Mary 2 berths at Garden Island Naval Base.
  • Wednesday, February 23
    Noon: Queen Elizabeth departs Circular Quay. Whistle salute as she sails by Queen Mary 2
    5 pm : Queen Mary 2 departs Garden island Naval Base

Sydney Ferries are running a dawn cruise to meet the Queens as they sail into the Harbour. See www.sydneyferries.info for more information and tickets.

Sydney Festival First Night


Sydney Festival First Night - Gramaphone Man

Last night we headed into the city for the early part of the Sydney Festival First Night. Our major driver was to participate in the big You Can Ukulele uke-off. All five of us (aged 10 to 43) had been watching the video on YouTube, and had learned our chords. We took the opportunity to do a bit of last-minute swatting up on our lyrics (the chorus, at least) while sitting in Hyde Park waiting for things to get going, and before we knew it, it was our turn! (Along with several hundred other ukulele wannabes.)

It was over far too soon! I wish we’d been given a whole songbook to learn – it was just so much fun playing along with such a huge crowd.

We wandered about Macquarie street and Hyde Park afterwards, and the feeling in the streets was great (though admittedly it was mostly families at this early stage). A large group of the NSW constabulary were joking around having their photos taken in front of Il Porcellino at the Sydney Hospital. Gramaphone Man (above) was entertaining passers by with his funky hapsichord beats. Orkestra Del Sol were keeping toes tapping. Everywhere you turned, there was something to groove along to or marvel at.

Before we headed home, we took advantage of the ANZ chill bar an the Hyde Park Barracks, drinking our free hot chocolates under the fairy-lit fig tree and lazing on cushions strewn across the astroturf. A perfect way to kick off the Sydney Festival.

Sydney Festival
8th-30th January
All over Sydney