Secret foodies in a secret garden

Secret Foodies is a company in Sydney that organises dinners in secret locations – special, exclusive, different events enjoyed with friends or friends you haven’t met. A text message is sent two hours before with the location of the dinner – the mystery really adds to the experience as you are likely to be invited to a place you have never been before (and may not have a chance to visit again). Our location for the evening was a heritage listed home in Millers Point which was built in the 1830s, one of the oldest surviving heritage buildings in Sydney. Walking onto the worn porch and through the aged front door I realise the house is filled by rampant gardens – vines, ferns, flowers, mushrooms and moss cover the house from floor to ceiling and my eyes widen as I try to take it all in.

Stoneleigh designed each room to give a sense of a wine, of a scent, of a terroir to really highlight the beauty and difference in their drops.  The tour of the rooms and the story behind the wines was a fascinating and special journey. We were also told about what a challenge it was to maintain the right environment for the plants to survive and thrive in a house with limited natural light. The designers allowed the garden to change naturally so a visit one day would not be the same as the next. I really appreciated the honesty of the house as the the garden was allowed to naturally evolve.

Secret Foodie dinners are also about meeting strangers and leaving as friends – you never know who you will encounter.  My friend Kate and I met Jennet and Don and our conversation spanned from the 1450s and the creation of sheet music to Bitcoin. We were still chatting long after our plates were cleared, the other guests at the table had left and we were still talking when our hosts were trying to subtly remove the table decorations  and gently nudge us towards the door (side note: I may have left with succulents and moss in my handbag!)

Secret Foodie dinners are also about food and wine. The menu was inspired by the house, with mushrooms,  flowers,  herbs and fruit matched with Stoneleigh wine. The food was challenged by the cooking arrangements in a heritage listed home and despite that it was delicious – but to be honest I so engrossed in our conversation I didn’t pay that much attention to the food this time around.

The evening drew to a close and it was finally time to leave. We walked out of the growing house, up the cobblestone path into the dark night and through The Rocks towards transport and the light of home. I will never visit Number 50 again, but I will always remember the textures and scents of a beautiful home which hosted a very unique Secret Foodie dinner party.

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