It was an all-new regime after the demise of its forebear, but the Noosa Food and Wine Festival didn’t disappoint this year! From slow food safaris, to champagne masterclasses, river-front dining with award-winning chefs, beach parties, street feasts, and everything in-between, it buzzed from dawn ’til dusk. Of course the unseasonal summer-like temperatures helped to keep the chardonnay flowing and seafood sizzling, and made the beach tipis, river cruising and languorous waterfront dining all the more enticing!
There were so many tempting events and so little time, but here are some highlights which I, and Evvoke’s competition winner, Penelope Shaw, attended:
Maria’s Moorish Must-Do’s:
I always love the hinterland tour, visiting local producers and eating from paddock-to-plate in unique settings, so the Slow Food Safari was a definite winner for me. First stop was Cooloola Berries to tour the boutique farm of owners Kim and Jason Lewis – third generation farmers who have put their heart and soul into cultivating rare species’ of strawberries and blueberries to sell to lucky locals. Kim had been baking up a storm since 4am and our morning tea of fresh scones with jam and cream, and plump muffins, was a treat! Kim and Jason have been invited to attend the Slow Food’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin in September, which is a testament to their dedication and expertise!
Next stop was the Kin Kin General Store for a bush tucker lunch, prepared by owner Jodie Williams, in a marquee overlooking the rolling hills. We were treated to a trio of Native Australian Dips, including Bush Tomato Relish and Lemon Myrtle Peppered Lebnah, followed by a choice of BBQ Emu Sausages; Mayan Pork Spare Ribs slow cooked in Davidson Plum Chipolte Pepper Sauce on Creamy Corn Polenta; and Lemon Myrtle Smoked Barramundi with Crocodile on Grilled Yams with a Desert Lime Hollandaise. Desserts were equally luscious with a choice of Finger Lime Tart with Native Honey Chantilly Cream or Baked Lemon Myrtle and White Chocolate Cheesecake with Macadamia Base. Accompanied by Pikes Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from the Clare Valley and Ninth Island Pinot Noir from the Tamar Valley, and with an overview from local native bee keeper Chris Fuller about his passion for bees, we were both well educated and aptly satiated!
The afternoon was spent perusing the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden at Kin Kin State School with Principal Trent Shaw, and then on to Eumundi Beef, to visit Susan Rodger’s property at Belli Park, where we tried a variety of beef broths and chatted to other local grass fed livestock producers, Tamworth Flyers Pork and Melsted Park Chickens. Susan uses biological methodologies to provide nutrient dense, quality beef to local families and her property is a delight to behold!
The next day dawned cloudless and sun-drenched – just perfect for cruising on the Catalina to Sir Richard Branson’s private island resort, for the Makepeace Island Seafood Experience. Only possible to visit if you hire the entire island for an event or retreat, this was a rare experience indeed! It was made even more special by the seafood feast prepared by chefs Peter Kuruvita, Massimo Mele and David Pugh, washed down with Pizzini Wines from the King Valley in Victoria. We roamed the Bali-inspired pavilions, lounged by the pool, pretended we were celebrity guests (Brad and Angelina had reportedly stayed there recently!) and generally wondered what the rich were doing that day!
Penelope’s Perfect Pick – our guest blogger shares her Noosa Food Fest experience:
I have many memories of visiting Noosa as a child. It was always a beautiful place but had the air of somewhere unattainable unless you met a certain demographic. I’m glad to say that, moving forward to 2016, I find Noosa a much changed beast. It’s still beautiful and don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly still a dish best served with a side order of cash and credit, but I don’t believe it’s solely defined by that stigma anymore. Noosa has carved a more organic identity for itself. Beside the designer labels are quirky shops boasting local arts and craft. Next to the fancy award-winning restaurants are hole-in-the-wall-hipster coffee shops. It’s lost the pretense and embraced a broader market and I personally believe it’s all the better for it.
This year, after many years of talking about it, we decided we’d take a trip to Noosa to be a part of the Noosa Food and Wine Festival. We were lucky enough to attend the Noosa Street Feast Long Lunch on the Saturday. At our particular table we were treated to a scrumptious feast hosted by Season Restaurant’s Andrew Tomlin and special guest Spencer Patrick from Harrison’s Port Douglas.
Patrick seemed to be a real attribute to the festival as he gladly shared information about his chosen menu. Each dish was carefully created to pay homage to beautiful Queensland produce. He was a delightfully personable gentleman who was only too happy to come around and chat to each individual guest on our table of fifty people. His passion for sustainable, local food was evident. Full credit too to the wonderful staff of Season; it truly was a mammoth task to take on, but they managed to serve it all with a smile. The food was of course amazing with the standout of the day being the paperbark wrapped whole snapper served with sprouted lentil salad, smoked tomato ketchup and taro chips. It was basically phenomenally posh fish and chips and, to me, it seemed to be the perfect meal for Noosa – a bit fancy but still happy to embrace it’s Aussie-ness. Every meal was expertly paired with Tasmanian vineyard Holm Oak’s wines.
I can’t wait for the Noosa Food and Wine Festival next year; it will definitely be in the calendar!
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