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Pizza speaks to everyone. Pizza in my younger years involved takeaway from the likes of Pizza Hut (hello puff crust!) and Domino's. As I matured, my tastebuds did too, and I switched the greasy common pizza for real pizza. Thanks to Italian migrants, authentic pizza is made with love all around Australia.

Remember this scene from Eat Pray Love? "I'm in love. I'm having a relationship with my pizza."

There's nothing a pizza moment can't solve. 

Following the success of its inaugural launch in Melbourne last year, the Pizza Festival has arrived in Sydney this month!

Festival organiser, Matteo Rubbettino is a food journalist who splits his time between Australia and his Italian homeland. He explains "I created the Pizza Festival last year to help showcase the skill and passion behind artisan pizza-making, and as a way of educating Australians about the regional pizza variations so fondly eaten around my country. Every place you go has a particular product, like a fingerprint, which is a result of preferences in process, ingredients, tools and craft."

From 8 to 28th July, 13 Sydney restaurants will be taking part in Pizza Festival. Each of the participating restaurants had to pass the critical eye of Matteo and his team of food industry experts. With their own dedicated night, each restaurant have been offering a special $20 promotion which includes one pizza and a beer, glass of wine or soft drink. A loyalty card also enables you to try three Pizza Festival restaurants for just $50, saving you $10 at the last restaurant! What a bargain!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield

The first Pizza Festival restaurant I dined at was La Disfida in Sydney's Inner-West. Known for their authentic woodfire pizza experience.

$20 here includes a choice of pizza, Moretti beer or glass of Zaccagnini Montepulicano or Cerasuolo Rosato.

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - wine and beer

One of La Disfida's most popular non-pizza dishes is this salad of baby beets, mozzarella di bufala, watercress and rocket ($18). It's easy to see why - the sweet beetroots, the utterly creamy buffalo mozzarella and that sharp pepperiness of watercress and rocket. This is one salad to love!

La Disfida, Haberfield - blackboard special salad, baby beets, mozzarella di bufala, watercress and rocket

There are three main styles of pizzas: Pizza Napoletana, Pizza Romana and Pizza Italiana. La Disfida's style is Romana. It's a very thin base that is low on the edges and deliciously crispy. I should also mention that they're pizza purists here. The kitchen doesn't allow variations on the pizza toppings, and there's no half-half.

Tartufa (normally $26) is an indulgent pizza for truffle and prosciutto connoisseurs. The base features mozzarella and wild mushrooms and is topped with ribbons of prosciutto and a pleasantly heady truffle oil concoction!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - tartufa

Matteo mentions that an authentic pizza should not be loaded with toppings. It should only have a maximum of five added ingredients. True to their reputation, this pizza is one of the best I've ever had. I love the blistering base, along with all the charred bits.

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - pizzza with bianca mozzarella, proscuitto, wild mushrooms and truffle

Next is the Disfida, named after the restaurant. It is tomato, mozzarella, ham, smoked mozzarella, olives, anchovies and capers (normally $22).

While the salty umami of the anchovies makes this pizza irresistible, the addition of capers makes the overall pizza 'pop'. Add a drizzle of chilli oil, and I'm in pizza heaven!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - disfida with tomato, smoked mozzarella, ham, olives, anchovies and capers

Just as I'm flagging down the dessert menu to try the almond brittle semifreddo I keep hearing about, Matteo surprises us with this Nutella pizza!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - dessert pizza with nutella, strawberry tartare and marscapone

The wafer thin pizza base is topped with a thick smothering of Nutella, tartare of fresh strawberries, toasted almonds and generous dollops of mascarpone.

It's such a sight!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - close up of Nutella dessert pizza with strawberries and marscapone

The crispy pizza base breaks up the intensity of the toppings and the hazelnut and chocolate spread binds every mouthful with a naughty sense of satisfaction. Two slices later, I say "No more pizza!" but truth be told, I had already planned my next Pizza Festival dinner! Stay tuned!

Pizza Festival Sydney 2013, La Disfida, Haberfield - door signage

La Disfida
109 Ramsay Street, Haberfield NSW
Phone: (02) 9798 8299

La Disfida Enoteca Pizza on Urbanspoon

Pizza Festival - Sydney
8 - 28 July, 2013
For more information on participating Pizza Festival restaurants, go to the official website:

JENIUS dined as guests of Pizza Festival

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The last time I attempted an all-you-can-eat mussels event was back in 2009, with fellow food bloggers Billy of A Table For Two, Simon of The Heart Of Food and Richard of Here Comes The Food! Can you believe that was 4 years ago!? How much has the food blogging scene in Sydney changed since then!

I'm not sure why or when Bungalow 8 removed it from their menu, but all that matters, is that it's back!

On every Tuesday from 5pm, $32.50 per person, will get you as many pots of Kinkawooka mussels as you like!

Sweet, soft, and robust, these South Australian black shelled mussels come in a choice of three flavours:

  • Tomato, lemongrass and ginger
  • White wine with smoky bacon and chives
  • Laksa with sweet corn, coriander and crispy shallots

Normally priced at $27.50 per pot, this is definitely great value for money if you have a big appetite!

All you can eat mussels at Bungalow 8 on King Street Wharf

It's rather loud indoors so I'm glad we're directed outside. Despite the rain, the outdoor space is well covered and the heater above keeps us toasty all night. Bare wooden tables, wicker furnishings and lush bamboo plants set the scene of tropical paradise.

All you can eat mussels at Bungalow 8 - tomato and lemongrass

My favourite flavour from the three would have to be the tomato, lemongrass and ginger. It's fresh, nourishing and so fragrant. The broth is gorgeous and a lot of care seems to have gone into steaming the mussels right. Plump, juicy flesh with a succulent taste of the sea, the light tomato soup and aromatics enhances the experience.

While I'm tucking into the tomato flavour, and mopping up every bit of broth possible, with the crusty bread, Zen is devouring the white wine flavour. I try a few mussels but the promise of smoky bacon falls flat on my expectations as the bacon isn't quite smoky enough to create those complex flavours we think about when it comes to the white wine and bacon combination. The cream coats the mussels well, maybe a little too well, as the delicateness of the mussels get lost along the way.

All you can eat mussels at Bungalow 8 - cream, white wine and bacon

I'm much happier with the laksa flavour. The beautiful mussels are bathed in a subtly spicy broth and topped with plentiful sweet corn. There's no sign of the crispy shallots it mentions, but the fresh coriander adds life to the pot.

All you can eat mussels at Bungalow 8 - laksa and sweet corn

Although complimentary sides of bread and butter are provided, I desperately seek out some side dishes to balance the meal.

The steamed seasonal veggies ($8) consist of green beans, broccoli, zucchini and carrot. They're unfortunately dosed with a little too much peanut oil for me to feel healthy. Thankfully, the fries with chipotle mayo ($9.50) chase down the mussels well.

In total, we manage two pots of mussels each. The tomato, lemongrass and ginger flavour is undoubtedly our favourite and is ordered twice. How I managed three pots back in 2009, I have no idea!

All you can eat mussels at Bungalow 8 - side dishes of fried with chipotle mayo and seasonal vegetables, complimentary bread,

All you can eat mussels is $32.50 per person; available every Tuesday from 5pm.

Bungalow 8
King Street Wharf
3 Lime Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9299 4660

Bungalow 8 on Urbanspoon

Jenius dined as guests of The Keystone Group

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It is packed full of delicious awesomeness! You can expect to find a behind-the-scenes look at JENIUS, plus a re-cap of recent eats and fresh stories, and sometimes we throw in exclusive giveaways!

Here is the latest issue:
Issue#28 December 2012

JENIUS is Jennifer Lam's gourmet logbook covering restaurant reviews, thoughts on trialled kitchen appliances & gadgets, tested and tasted recipes & cookbooks, travel stories and her quest to discover and preserve her family heritage and its cuisine.

Jennifer is a twenty-something Sydneysider living the dream - having switched her successful career in advertising for the life of a Gen-Y entrepreneur. Her current business interests include I Ate My Way Through food tours and The Bamboo Garden boutique digital agency.

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I Ate My Way Through Granville featured in Parramatta Advertiser's article on A Stroll to Lebanon

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