Being a Sydney girl born and bred, I did not get a chance to experience any winter activities growing up. In fact, I have never experienced snow. The closest I ever got to snow was when my parents took me to St Moritz in Switzerland during the European summer when I was a teenager. On that trip, we travelled by train to Gornegrat from Zermatt for a good vantage point of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is the highest peak in the Alps and the most photographed mountain in Switzerland. On the ride up, I told these American tourists that I had never seen snow so, when we arrived, they suggested I make a snowball from the small puddles of ice that were yet to melt. I remember trying to form a ball with the dirty ice and feeling unconvinced. I looked up the Matterhorn (which still had snow on it) and thought to myself that this snow experience did not count.
Today, Sydneysiders don’t have to travel far to experience a European winter. On 18 June 2014, Winter Festivals Australia held a launch party at the Apres Skate Lounge at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, Sydney. The Winter Festival is aligned with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority‘s Cool Yule which is running until 13 July 2014. Co-founders Martin Kratky and Christoph Doerfel have been organising this festival in Sydney since 2009. With the help of Popcorn X, guests got a real taste of winter by experiencing open-air ice-skating, watching a Fire On Ice Synchronized Skatingperformance, enjoying traditional winter culinary delights from the Alpine Village, listening to DJ Adam Camilleri from Oddular and being photographed with St Bernard dogs from the The Saint Bernard Club of NSW Inc.
Guests were served Gluhweim, Wild Brumby Schnapps, Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia hot chocolate, Moët & Chandon Chandon, Oyster Bay red and white wine and a variety of beers. They were also provided with food from two establishments: Agape Organic Restaurant & Bar and Eat Art Truck. Agape Organic Restaurant & Bar supplied wagyu beef and vegetarian nachos, tofu or pork and prawn sang choy bao with peanut sauce, and chocolate spelt brownie with chocolate sauce and almond praline. Eat Art Truck served pulled pork in a bun with mustard cabbage and BB bourbon sauce, and eight hours slow roasted beef brisket in a bun with iceberg lettuce. Lindt Australiaalso provided macaroons and chocolates.
Celebrities in attendance were Channel Ten news presenter Tracey Spicer, Jack Kennedy and Australian fashion model Avril Alexander. There were also two ladies wearing Harmony & Lawson fur coats who looked the part but, as it turns out, they were the owners of the brand. Further, Uber were on hand to provide the celebrity feel chauffeur ride home free for up to $50 for all new Uber users who attend the Winter Festival.