Food, Wine & Fun in the Sun at the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival

As an avid foodie, I love a good food festival. But having Australia’s premier food event just around the corner from where I live is a foodie’s dream come true! If you weren’t lucky enough to be at the 2012 Noosa International Food & Wine Festival last weekend, picture this: amazing food, gorgeous wines, a line-up of some of the best chefs in the world and first class entertainment in a stunning location.

Anyone who has been to Noosa before knows that it is one of the most beautiful places in Australia if not the world, boasting simply stunning scenery: pristine beaches, one of Australia’s most visited  national parks and an almost perfect climate.  At this time of the year Noosa can expect blue skies and sunny days, and the weather gods definitely delivered for the Festival.

Now in its ninth year, the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival this year ran over four days, and included exciting events such as to opening concert The Cook, The Chef & the Orchestra featuring Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant on stage cooking up a storm and accompanied by flautist Jane Rutter and the Queensland Arts Orchestra;  the Asian Food Trail hosted by Matt Preston and food prepared by legendary Thai chefs David Thompson and Martin Boetz; The Best Dinner in the World featuring seven chefs from the prestigious 2011 San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list including Fergus Henderson and Davide Scabin and much much more.

With Davide Scabin

With Davide Scabin from Combal.Zero

As a member of the Slow Food Noosa committee, I spent Saturday and Sunday mornings on their their stand, talking to the public about what we do and the various causes we support.  This year our stand had a bushfood theme, and on Sunday we had local bushfood chef Peter Wolfe  do a cooking demonstration. Peter cooked up Bunya Nut Felafel with a Pickled Finger Lime Yoghurt and Red Claw Crabs stir fried with Lemon Aspen and Rosellas. I am constantly amazed at the variety of bushfoods we have in Australia and the dishes that can be created with them.

With Peter Wolfe,  Bushfood Chef

With Peter Wolfe, Bushfood Chef

In the Grand Marquee was a culinary exhibition where food producers were showcasing their wares with lots of generous tastings on offer. Some of my favourites:

An amazing selection of cheeses

 

Spanner Crabs Noosa

Yarra Valley Caviar

There were numerous other delicious and innovative products on display, including the best Spanish Jamon (ham), gorgeous Gundowring ginger ice cream made with crystalised Budderim ginger, Snowy River Station Samphire, a beautiful assortment of olives from OlivFresh to name a few. Not a bad selection for free tastings!

Moving outside and enjoying the warm autumn Noosa sun, there were a fantastic variety of dishes on offer – definitely something for every palate.  Each dish cost 1 food voucher ($7), and although the portion sizes did vary t was mostly good value considering the quality. Here are some of the best dishes I tasted over the weekend:

Slow Cooked Turkish-Style White Pyranees Lamb Shoulder, Cucumber, Coriander, Pomegranate, Green Olive & Pistachio Salad

Slow Cooked Turkish-Style White Pyranees Lamb Shoulder, Cucumber, Coriander, Pomegranate, Green Olive & Pistachio Salad

Chipotle Pulled Pork Baps, Avocado & Spicy Salsa

Chipotle Pulled Pork Baps, Avocado & Spicy Salsa

Noosa Spanner Crab, Preserved Lemon Mayo, Wasabi Parsley Steam Bun

Mooloolaba Prawn & Padron Pepper, Noosa Reds Tomatoes, Chilli Jam Rice Paper Rolls

Baked Fig, Walnut & Goat Cheese Tart with Raincherry & Grape Chutney

Rhubarb & Apple Crumble

Rhubarb & Apple Crumble

Although food was the main drawcard for me, I do enjoy a glass of wine and was more than happy to partake! With so many excellent wines offer it was difficult to make a choice. My favourites for the day were the Tribute 2010 Pinot Gris from T’Gallant and the 2009 ND (Naturally Dried) Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Baileys of Glenrowan.

At the end of each day, entertainment was provided, and first class entertainment it was. Saturday night featured the Martini Club and The Fabulous Singlettes, and Sunday night was Audio Vixen with the the grand finale being Sneaky Sound System. I have to say, Miss Connie and Black Angus sure know how to get a crowd going, and I believe this was a major drawcard for the festival.

Sneaky Sound System

The crowd partying to Sneaky Sound System

In summary, another excellent Noosa Food and Wine Festival, truly world class. It’s success is largely due to the awesome contributions of the organisers, participants and volunteers. Next year the Festival will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary – I can’t wait to see what they have in store!

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival

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