No words can describe how belated I feel about how my first workshop turned out. I was so blessed that dear Valentina and Zaira took a chance on me and flew all the way from Italy having never met me. It never ceases to amaze me that people from opposite sides of the world can connect and create, all for the love of a common interest.
It was so lovely to host Valentina, Zaira and her boyfriend Francesco for just over a week exploring Australia. We did the Bondi – Bronte walk, we scoured organic cafes for smashed avo, I introduced them to vegemite toast & Tim Tams and we drank lots of tea. We put the workshop on together, we ate a lot (obv), but the most special part for me, was to have them come stay with me in Canberra. Although I was (still am) in a bit of a crazy period with Hidden Feast this weekend, it was pretty cool that I got to show them my little corner of the world. After spending a week straight with these three special souls, I felt sad to say goodbye to them, but know I have made life long friends.
Being my first retreat, I know guests took the same chance with me, and I was so pleased to hear everyone enjoyed the weekend. What I wanted to create for the Chiaroscuro Retreat was a buzzing space for like minded creatives to come together, learn, share knowledge and be inspired. The girls taught their signature dark and moody style and I hope every guest walked away with a little confidence, inspiration and knowledge to re-create this at home. Every nook and cranny for the entire weekend was styled by the talented Lean Timms and as the pictures show, she did a kick-ass job of it. Her resourcefulness and community pruning skills are second to none! Ha ha! The weekend was filled with delicious food, gorgeous weather and even better company. I couldn’t have asked for more!
I was so lucky to have a wonderful team of people (including the incredibly generous Francesco and Megan who helped EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY) around me, but I have to say a special thanks for my husband Ryan, for being my rock and always supporting my (insane!) goals despite having the most stressful job himself. Also, I could achieve none of the things I do without my incredibly selfless mum. She always puts her hand up to do last minute errands, do my shopping or cook dinner or looking Remy, for as long as I need, and always with a smile (the best part!). It’s such a blessing to have grandparents close, but mum really takes it to another level and I am so grateful. Remy is at home with her as she is with me, which gives me such comfort when I leave her to work.
The first day kicked off with a seated lunch in the sun. No better way to meet new friends than to break bread, so to speak. After lunch our first workshop commenced which covered camera and photography basics. While the class was in session, we set up the cocktail station and guests were treated to a Martini and Cosmopolitan 101 class taught by my husband (the best bartender I know).
Our caterers, Alfie’s Kitchen put on the best F#CK off cheese plate you’ve ever seen and canapés to boot. Guests enjoyed sunset milling on the deck, sipping cocktails and practicing camera settings. As the sun went down we nestled into dinner by candlelight and got to know our new friends.
As I am not the most eloquent wordsmith, I will let the photos do the rest of the talking. I’ve had to split the wrap up into two posts as there were just too many photos for me to share at once. It’s still G I A N T, so grab a cuppa or a wine (I have a glass of Shiraz in my hand as I type) and enjoy.
Note: I have included the links to our partners and the menus from the weekend (some recipes are from our blogs so I have included these links for you too). Needless to say, no one went home hungry.
~ Partners ~
~ Welcome Lunch ~
Forrest mushroom Ragu, smoked with blue gum
Roasted root vegetables, spiced yogurt dressing, toasted nuts
Mixed Greens, radish and foraged herb salad
~ Cocktail & Canapes ~
Cointreau Wash Gin Martini
Heirloom carrots shaved, pickled and puréed sprinkled with roasted hazel nut in a sesame tart
Caramelised figs topped with crispy sage and macadamia cream
Jamon, prosciutto, melon platter
F*CK off cheese platter with hand rolled lavosh crackers
~ Dinner ~
Salt baked beetroot stuffed with hazelnut paté, salted plums and toasted wattle seeds
Confit duck leg roasted chestnut and orange caramel
Roasted eggplant, black garlic, toasted seeds and grains
Hand cut triple cooked potato chips
Sautéed seasonal green vegetables
Stone fruit upside down cake, Il Gelato chocolate gelato
Don’t forget to hashtag #workshopwiththemacadames when attending my retreats, I love to see your experience.
Anisa – The Macadames. xx