Granny Smith Festival 2014

City of Ryde’s Granny Smith Festival on Saturday 18 October, 2014 from 9am-8pm was more than a fiesta of apples, but a celebration of the community around the area.

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“The annual Granny Smith Festival celebrates the life and legacy of one of our district’s most famous citizens, Maria Ann Smith – aka Granny Smith – who, back in 1868, ‘accidentally’ grew the first batch of little green apples that bear her name and are now grown all over the world. ”

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With an estimated 80,000 people who attend each year, the event is supported by local businesses, sporting and service organisations, schools and the wider community – and EVERYONE gets involved – even the staff at Eastwood train station makes a special announcement after every train arrives. The experience starts from the moment you step off that train.

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The first thing I notice walking to the park next to the library is that even the library wall is painted with kids from multicultural backgrounds with Granny Smith Festivals! For those who don’t know, Eastwood is very Asian? Lots of chinese, korean, vietnamese food and shops. I love how they’ve embraced this!

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Walking in the park, it was like a school carnival! Flying chairs, spinning teacups, bumper cars, showbags.. there was the lot!

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They were mostly 5 coupons each (or $5) so head to the booth to gather your tickets.

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So do we ‘accidentally’ encourage children to gamble already…?

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The best kids toy out there was the dinosaur bubble gun. Honestly, how cool is that? Plus there’s a santa one as well.

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I honestly wished that I was a kid again. Everyone was buzzing around! The Country Cousins Barn was massive with a range of mostly goats and sheep.

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It was $2 a cup to feed them but be aware- they are more mature and could literally jump on your chest to grab it off you! If you’re like me and am scared of animals, this would not be your cup of tea.

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Heading to the furthest end of the oval were food stalls and crafty shops. A Granny Smith Festival is not a granny smith festival without toffee apples!!

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There was henna and caricatures drawn.

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I’m not sure if this is an actual trend but I’m noticing that chips-on-a-stick is like a thing. The fatty crispy goodness is the most popular snack at almost every festival I go to- I guess it’s cheap for a meal? =S

There were tons of stalls including Nepalese momos, Vietnamese rolls, Turkish gozlemes, Korean fishballs and more.

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We settled for the paella with the lot – jealous? It was delicious and made on the spot. It was very heavy on the sauces and it was enough for two people!

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Sitting down infront of the stage, we saw really fun acts from school groups and the community. I actually cannot believe how talented kids can be. Well.. I guess they are hilarious to watch and its just super cute. My favourite were the little kids in tutus.. and they did flips, the splits and all these groovy moves! (I kinda wished I went to dance class when I was a kid).

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Might I say, the crowd were loving it!

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Another thing City of Ryde were doing was a ‘test’ where you had to look up the clues on Facebook and Twitter, action the clue and then you’ll receive a slice of apple pie or apple cupcake. When we arrived, it was answering when the first granny smith apple was grown and thanks to the train station man, I was very close to guessing the right one! The answer was in the leaflet though.

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It was d-e-l-i-ciousss!

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Next to it was a photobooth promoting Grandparent’s Day on Sunday 26 October. It was so much fun dressing up!

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The Salvation Army had a massive amount of space and I’m surprised at how much they brought in! There were heaps of clothes, shoes, hats, accessories and homeware. They also had a coffee/hot chocolate van.

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Walking up on Progress Avenue near IGA and the fresh fruit market, there were so many clothing and jewelry shops it was absolutely amazing. There were some winning bargains including rings, bracelets and necklaces for $5?

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The queue was a bit hectic with the free face painting- I mean, who doesn’t want to look pretty?

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Another trend I’ve noticed were the lucky dips. When I was a kid, I used to love these!!! I must say, I love surprises.

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I also realised that a lot of community centres and churches were present. Macquarie Anglican were extremely popular with their balloon-making.

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OK, the next stall was the best thing ever- there were minecraft toys and accessories! You could get a showbag and there were swords, small creepers, TNTs, necklaces, even SUNGLASSES! This was amazing!

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Apparently these gold metallic tatts are ‘in’ right now.

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As always, The Avenue had plenty of food stalls and the scouts had $4 sausage sizzle which turned into $1.30 sausage sizzles. I loved how all the kids were excited to be squeezing tomato sauce and collecting money!

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The most popular of the lot was the place which did chorizo and garlic prawn rolls. It smelt so good and the line was possibly too long. I know they’re at Chatswood every week so defs popping by there!

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The Arcade area was decorated with colourful flags.

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These lovely ladies are proud of their home made jams and Christmas puddings. Such a lovely thing to do when you’re slightly older!

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Kids did sandpainting! I remember doing this as a child! All you had to do is rip the sticker off and fill it with coloured sand. It was so easy and it required no creativity. Everyone also had perfect pictures.

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Something that I should’ve bought were these cats on benches. They were only selling at $1.50-$2 each and they would’ve been a great accessory to my desk at work!

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I’m actually glad that the stalls I remember from my last Granny Smith Festival are in the same spot. In particular, the soft toys and fun stuff for the kids. I mean, there were even stuffed koalas and kangeroos which would’ve been a great souvenir gift if I was going overseas (if only).

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At the end of The Arcade was a clown amusing the kids with his party tricks! The kids got really engaged and were screaming and shouting in laughter!

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After this, we walked back onto Rowe Street where there were tons more stalls. The possibilities were endless..

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Candle Story offered candle cupcakes and rose soap! All you have to do is drop a petal into your bath tub and you’re set! How romantic..

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City of Ryde’s blackboard “Ryde is my community because..” asked the the community to share their thoughts on why they love Ryde. I wrote ‘transport exchange’ because it was literally where I would catch my bus to school every morning when I was at school. I didn’t even notice someone was watching me and I received a rugby ball as a prize – yay!

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Watch our for the moving tree- it will literally snip off your heads if he wanted!

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Infucious’ jars were fun! I didn’t realise how many different types of tea one person could supply! They even made tea-infused cookies which were delicious!

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At the end of Rowe Street was the iconic ice cream truck. It was a sunny day and we’d finally saw everything!! Took possibly 5 hours.. but we had a lot of fun!

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See you next year for your 30th birthday party, Granny Smith Festival!

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Granny Smith Festival): 4.75/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4.5/5

Would I recommend going to Granny Smith Festival? If you live near Eastwood, I would highly recommend it. One of the things we’ve noticed is that a lot of primary school and high school kids come. For them, it’s a chance to hang out with friends and meet others! If you’re a shopper then this would be for you too! There’s so much going on its amazing!

Highlight: Everyone getting involved. It’s quite rare that the WHOLE community gets behind a festival. A lot of the shops in Eastwood have Granny Smith Apple decorations, signs, apples.. I can’t believe it! The stallholders and people in the area really make an effort and the attendance is spectacular!

Suggestion of improvement: Although there was a lot of green apples out and about in particular areas, I didn’t really feel it ‘celebrated’ Granny Smith? I think in previous years there were huge apples hanging from The Arcade which I guess got us in the apple spirit. Everything was well set up and I really liked the variety of stalls involved. Shame they all had to shut at around 5pm!! Should’ve stayed for the Bon Jovi Concert at 6 and the fireworks at 8pm.. ohwell! It was so much fun!

Link: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Community/Special+Events/Granny+Smith+Festival

Official hashtag: #WeLoveGSF

Angela Bee

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Cake of the day and Coffee – Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood

Treat your sweet tooth with a slice of creamy cheesecake, dangerously deadly chocolate cake, or  Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster cupcake at Eastwood’s Michel’s Patisserie for only $6.90, enjoyed with their fresh coffee roast.

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Michel’s Patisserie not only caters for individuals, groups and functions so try a sample from a selection of cakes along with great coffee to see what you’ll like for your next birthday cake and possibly ordering some fun cupcakes for the kids’ or work party.

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The staff was really friendly and even let us choose whichever cake we wanted!

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The most popular is the cheesecake so I decided to go for the mango cheesecake according to staff. The upper layer of mango jello was a nice compliment to the creamy cheesecake. It was extremely sweet but it did have small bits of mango in it.

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My friend got the kiddish Cookie Monster cupcake. Looks best for the photos! Loved the chocolate sprinkles as eyes and mini oreo as the mouth. However, the cupcake itself was quite disappointing because it was dry- but who cares, right? It’s the creativity that counts!

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Coffee was good and the baristas do a fine job every time I come in.

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I do prefer the outdoors area when it’s nice and sunny. But who knows these days with Sydney weather…

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Indoors is spacious and even with a full house it doesn’t get too crowded.

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Eastwood’s store is a two bar area with a savory side if these cakes get too much!

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Come along either to indulge in a sugar-high experience or pretend to be a kid again, eating the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the Cookie Monster!

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Cake and Coffee special at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood): =)

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =)

Would I come to Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood for cake and coffee every day? It’s nice to treat yourself every so often but being slightly health conscious these days, I would have to pass. Maybe once in a while, or even if I share with a friend I wouldn’t mind.

Would I pay full price for the Cake and Coffee special at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood? I’m not too sure about the cakes because they were really sweet and the cupcake was just dry. If I had a Sesame Street party, or a kids themed party then I totally would for the occasion.

Highlight: That Cookie Monster cupcake looked so good! It wasn’t particularly the taste that mattered, but the presentation was immaculate!

Suggestion of Improvement: probably make the cupcakes taste as good as it looks? It was quite dry and I didn’t really eat the bottom because it wasn’t worth its calories. The top was amazing though?!

Ends: never, but check in-store.
Link: http://michelseastwood.com/

Angela Bee

Banana Bread and coffee special – Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood

Bite into that lovely crispy crust on all four edges, then gradually make your way to chew on the light and moist centre of the thick banana bread or raisin toast with coffee for $6.90 as you treat yourself for tea at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood.

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Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood prides itself with its best sellers- raisin toast and banana bread with coffee. For two consecutive years, they were named Coffee Shop of the Year 2012, by the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards.

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Located right next to the fountain at Eastwood, the outdoor and indoor tables and chairs make meeting up for a coffee a treat for all seasons.

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Asking what was the cheapest and most popular eat at the café, we were presented with a delightful plate of banana bread. Definitely a favourite.

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Check out the coffee art!!

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Or even the display of tea.

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Banana bread can go wrong in so many ways- the texture, the softness, the sweetness, the moisture from the bananas.. I’ve had my run experimenting with baking. However, Michel’s Patisserie has seemed to get it perfectly right.

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Ask to get it toasted 2, or 3 times for that extra crunchiness. I really like how the butter is served on the side for those who don’t fancy it (like me).

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The size is huge too and after a slice I’m done!

Review Rating: =D =) =| =(

Product (Banana Bread and coffee at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood): =D

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I go and get a $6.90 raisin toast/banana bread every time I’m in Eastwood? I wouldn’t say every single time because there are a lot of cheap Asian places around. However, when it comes to western-style breakfasts/morning or afternoon tea, this would be my choice. I really liked the banana bread because it wasn’t awfully sweet like some other shops which sugar coat everything. Here, you’ll taste the light banana cake side, rather than mouthful of a thick and solid slice.

Would I pay full price for the bread and coffee? To be honest, I think I would. At normal cafes, banana bread is around $4 + and to add an extra coffee would be a standard price anyway. And on top of that, I know that I will enjoy it. 100%.

Highlight: ask for that banana bread to be toasted 3 times. You might think it’s a joke and it’ll get burnt but it is the BEST thing ever. I love muffin tops and I’m known to only eat (and be-head) them whilst I bake. Just imagine a whole slice of this.. yumo!

Suggestion of Improvement: The $1 extra only applies to the small coffee. It would be great if you could add $1.50 extra for a medium, and possibly $2 extra for a large for those needing a caffeine boost.

Ends: never, but check in-store.
Link: http://michelseastwood.com/

Angela Bee

Big Breakfast deal – Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood

Fresh air, summer warmth, beautiful big breakfast and excellent coffee for only $13.90, a breakfast special ONLY  offered at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood.

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“Michel’s Patisserie is a much loved family patisserie offering sweet treats, scrumptious savouries and award winning coffee. They have been named Coffee Shop of the Year 2012, by the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards.”

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Next to Eastwood’s iconic fountain amongst the bustling range of reject shops,  clothing shops and of course, Asian restaurants sits a simple, yet spacious western-style café with both outdoor and indoor seating areas.

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Breakfast is the best time to come, or rather brunch if you’re keen for a breakfast deal because the prices don’t seem to disappoint. With every breakfast deal on the board, can you believe it’s only $1 extra for a coffee?

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Notice that at Michel’s there are actually 3 sizes. Small is your normal regular ($3.60), regular is your normal large ($4), and large is an extra large ($4.60) for those coffee lovers desperate to stay awake.

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The ‘Big Breakfast’ was popping out at me. $12.9 for bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and toast? At the Coffee Club, they offer this for $22!

I highly recommend the scrambled eggs which were runny enough to be just cooked. I shared with a friend so we got to sample both the fried and scrambled.

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At other cafés, I noticed that bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms are always ridiculously oily and fried until black, or garnished with a ton of salt. If you want to taste real bacon, you should come here. Sausages were average though.

Now the coffee was very good. Not brilliant, not bad, but quite good. The barista they have is actually the owner’s wife who works there every day full time. You know it’s good when they’ve been at it for years.

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Michel’s Patisserie is the best western value-for-money eggcellent breakfast in Eastwood. #bigbreakfastbargain

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Big Breakfast at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I get a $13.90 big breakfast and coffee/breakfast at Michel’s Patisserie Eastwood? There is quite a range here and the prices aren’t that bad. If I was to meet up to someone at Eastwood, this would be an easy choice, and plus, the location is easy to describe- next to the fountain!

Would I pay full price for the big breakfast and coffee? It’s funny how there are 3 sizes of coffees. I wonder if we could pay an extra $1.50 for a medium and $2 for a large? The size of the big breakfast itself is enough to be lunch so why not!

Highlight: scrambled eggs. It was yolky, a bit runny and totally irresistible. I’m a sucker for eggs and these were just perfect for my taste buds.

Suggestion of improvement: preferably a selection of breads would make he place more ‘gourmet’. Currently they only give out white toast and I like my grains so that could help enhance the healthiness. Other than that, maybe just a bit of herbs here and there on the platter to make it more interesting.

Ends: never, but check in store.
Link: http://michelseastwood.com/

Angela Bee