I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that the Noosa Food & Wine Festival is the best food festival in Australia. All the ingredients are there: Noosa’s gorgeous setting, small-town atmosphere, and buzzing restaurant scene are a great start. Mix in plenty of big names from the food, wine, restaurant, and publishing worlds, and you’ve got a recipe for my ultimate weekend.
You know you’re at a good festival when there are too many events that you want to go. I’ve been poring over the programming and planning my movements with military precision. Wine tasting, check. Cooking demo, check. Discussion on the role of food critics, check. Oh and then I have to eat and drink, of course!
Here are my top picks for what to do at the festival this weekend:
1. Courier-Mail Annexe
Last year, the talks held at the Courier Mail Annexe were one of my favourite parts of the festival. The issues up for discussion range from fun and informative, to serious and thought-provoking. I’m looking forward to hearing about finding good places to eat when travelling with kids, the role of professional food critics, the new Oz diner, and the latest from Restaurant Australia.
2. Critics’ food kiosks
Can the food critics walk the walk as well as talk the talk? Australia’s best known food critics, including John Lethlean, Matt Preston, and Elizabeth Meryment battle it out to see who can produce the winning dish. But I think the real winners are the festival-goers, who get to do the taste testing.
3. Noosa High Tea by the River 2 with Adriano Zumbo
High tea? Adriano Zumbo. Say no more.
3.30pm, International Riverside Marquee
4. Cooking demonstrations
You can’t leave the Noosa Food & Wine Festival without visiting at least one cooking demonstration, and once again the challenge is narrowing down your options. This year, I’m very excited to be helping support Peter Kuruvita on stage – he’ll be doing the cooking, I’ll be doing the Instagramming. And some tasting, I hope. It’ll be a tough gig. I’ll also be looking out for Adriano Zumbo, Ben Williamson from Gerard’s Bistro, and Annette Fear from the Spirit House. My tip: don’t forget your cookbooks as the chefs are usually available for signings and selfies after their demo.
5. Qantas Epicure First Class Wine Masterclass
Ever wondered what the food and wine is like at the pointy end of the plane? Given that I’m as likely to fly on a solo mission to Mars as I am to ever fly first class, I thought this was an opportunity to make like a high flyer and nod seriously when connoisseurs comment about the undertones, aromas and palates. I’m looking forward to tasting a few first-class morsels and pondering the selection process that Qantas uses to select its wines.
1pm – 2.30pm
Auditorium 2 ILVE Wine Cellar, Grand Marquee