These Are The Best Food And Wine Festivals In Australia
The food culture in Australia is awesome. Spend a little time in Eastern Europe, or Northern Europe, or Cuba, and you’ll come to appreciate the sweet boons of a varied climate and multicultural society, when it comes to #foodie lyf. From amazing artisan food producers to world-class chefs, this country has a tasty palette, and the best place to indulge your buds is at one of our many food and wine festivals. Here are our top picks…
Taste of Melbourne
Where: Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne is the foodie capital of Australia and Taste of Melbourne is all the best bits on a plate. Over the four-day festival, Melbourne’s hottest restaurateurs each craft three to four bite-sized dishes so that festival-goers can slip around and sample the range. Last year, the participants included the reigning lords Spanish cuisine at MoVida, the forefathers of Melbourne’s Mexican revival at Mamasita, the high-class burger boys from Huxtaburger and the exquisite sweets of Burch & Purchese. If you don’t have the time or the dimes for a night out at every stellar restaurant in town, Taste of Melbourne is the ultimate reconnaissance mission. Plus it’s spring, it’s outdoors and there’s wine.
Where: Manjimup, WA
When: Friday June 26 – Sunday 28
The delights of this foodie fest don’t end with the name. Held annually in Manjimup, West Australia, the Truffle Kerfuffle is a celebration primarily of the Périgord black truffle – Manjimup is in the heart of Australia’s black truffle basin, where 70% of the country’s truffles are grown. But the weekend-long event embraces all local food and booze purveyors, with a farmer’s market showcasing everything from cheese and honey to craft beer and chocolate. Expect to see many a truffle-based cooking demonstration (with heavy-hitting chefs flown in from out of state) and endless divine, truffle-flavoured food options. If you’ve got the cash to splurge on the gala truffle dinner, don’t think – just book. For the rest of us, the centrepiece of this party is the truffle hunt, in which punters hit the forest on the tail of a snuffling dog, which is trained to sniff out lumps of black gold worth up to $3000AUD a kilo. You get the thrill of the hunt as a treasured memory. You don’t get to keep the truffles.
Sydney Good Food Month
Where: Sydney, NSW
Sydney’s Good Food Month is a beast of foodie bacchanalia, with about one million entry points to a word of fine eats. Held every October, it’s the biggest food and wine event in the country, with top chefs from across the globe flying in to give talks, sign books, host dinners and just generally create a hubbub around food. Some seriously fancy events take place but street-level punters can find plenty of tasty diversions amongst the many pop-up restaurants and at the epic Noodle Night Market.
McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Festival
Where: Adelaide, SA
When: Friday June 5 – 8
South Australia’s green and gold wine region has more than 88 cellar doors and a few hundred-year-old grape vines dotting the hills that roll down towards the Gulf of St Vincent. McClaren Vale heats up when winter blows in, pulling out all the stops for the McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Festival, held each year over the Queen’s Birthday break. It’s a weekend of slow, easy pleasure; food trails through some of the regions best boutique wineries, swank dinners and degustations, and relaxed daytime drink-and-dine events that are family-friendly. And if ‘family-friendly’ isn’t your vibe, you can start your day with some epic cliff jumping from the rocky reaches of Port Willunga, where McLaren Vale meets the sea. It’s a bit of a local secret.
Orange FOOD Week
Where: Orange, NSW
When: Friday April 8 – 17, 2016
FOOD stands for ‘Food of Orange District’ and the FOOD Week festival is a celebration of all things cultivated and culinary in that New South Welsh region. Held over ten days in April, the event celebrates local producers with a series of relaxed, communal events that put taste before fashion. There are night and day markets, brewery tours and more, all with a relaxed and homey country vibe. The ever-popular Forage day sees guests walking across the landscape, sampling regional produce and stopping for a glass of wine every 500 metres or so, and the 100 Mile Dinner sees dozens of diners clustered under the stars on the Village Green in Molong, like some European family idyll. Food is delivered to them from no more than 100 miles away, grown and harvested in the surrounding towns of Orange, Bathurst, Molong, Mudgee and Cowra.
Where: Hobart, TAS
There’s something dark and lush about culinary culture in Tasmania – must be the wet weather that stirs the seas and makes the gardens grow. Anyway, food tastes fabulous down there, and the fabulous is at its peak during Savour Tasmania. Over five days in May, the states top restaurateurs (and some imported from out of state) stage luxe set dinners with matched wines, degustations and nose-to-tail feasts, all crafted from the rich local pickings of fish, farm animal, fowl and what have you. There are also excellent cheeses. The great advantage of Savour Tasmania is that you have an excuse to visit MONA, possibly the greatest and most bizarre contemporary art gallery in the world, which should be right up there on your cultural bucket list. For its 2015 incarnation, Savour Tasmania will be serving up something different, with the event taking place in China later this year coinciding with a government-led trade mission that will highlight the best produce Tasmania has to offer, but you can expect it back in 2016.
(Lead image: Sydney Good Food Month)