Pizza is one of my kids’ sole sources of nourishment so when I heard that the people over at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney were dedicating an event to it, so called Pizza Plants , as part of the annual tomato festival, we just had to check it out.
Arriving at the Lion Gate Lodge entrance of the Gardens, the kids were soon ushered off to get up close and personal with the very ingredients that typically reside on a pizza on a garden treasure hunt with a culinary twist. The scent of the Mediterranean was abundant with oregano, basil, mint and thyme all given much face time as their aromas and flavours were assessed.
Back to the kitchen and it was time to apply those herbs and flavours to the pizza dough, which was handed out in individual balls to each child. Furnished with a rolling pin and spoon, everyone got to flattening out their dough thin crust style and then adding passata sauce, oregano, basil and a range of toppings including pineapple, olives, fresh tomatoes and of course cheese.
The kids had a fabulous time taking control of the menu and arranging their chosen toppings to their personal liking. Dresses and faces may have ended up covered in flour, and some may have ended up in mouths for an experimental taste but it was also put to good use in the rolling process.
Into the ovens and while the pizzas baked, the kids were taken outside to where they were each given their own sweet basil to plant and take home. This is one of the elements of events held at the Botanic Gardens that appeals to me as a parent the most, giving my kids the opportunity to get hands on and green-fingered with nature and truly understand its place in our day to day lives.
The finished result was as delicious as it looked and the kids were suitably thrilled with their handiwork which they ate in a shady spot in the beautiful gardens overlooking the harbour across from the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
What: Pizza Plants
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
When: 17-18 February (the event is sold out for this year but occurs annually as part of the Tomato Festival so make a note for 2019)
Target Audience: 6-12 years (though I took my 3 and 6 year olds and both enjoyed it and got a lot out of the experience)
Cost: $20 per child
Getting There: Public transport is recommended with the Gardens a short walk from the city centre though if you are coming by car there are options.
Parking: We parked in The Domain car park on St Mary’s Road as on a weekend there is a flat rate of $10 per entry/exit – there is a lift that takes you from the carpark up to the Art Gallery of NSW and Gardens exit with a short walk to the Gardens entrance. There is also metered street parking along the perimeter of the Gardens but it is considerably more expensive.