We all need something to look forward to and with summer holidays quickly becoming a distant memory, it is time to fill the calendar year with treats to savour.
Having visited Noosa Food & Wine Festival in May 2013, I would go back again in a heartbeat.
Noosa Food & Wine has become an international event with both chefs and visitors from around the globe flowing through the gates of Lion’s Park for 4 days every May. The festival is a fabulous opportunity to taste, sip and talk your way through some of the best produce and dishes you could ever hope to find.
And, if you happen to have a partner who doesn’t share your gastronomic passion then all is not lost, there is plenty for everyone in this sunny little village that is just over an hour north of Brisbane.
Noosa town is essentially tiny and nearly everything is only a short stroll away (very handy for those of us planning on sampling many of the wines on offer). From Lion’s Park to the beach is probably only a 2 minute walk. May is still plenty warm enough for an afternoon swim, or you can check out the shops, cafes and bars along the beachfront strip – Hastings Street.
A trail covered National Park borders Noosa village, the perfect place for those wanting to take a walk or jog before starting a day of eating and drinking.
Eating (and talking about it) of course is what the festival is all about.
Within the festival grounds are a plethora of stalls selling delicious small plates, run by both local restaurants and also celebrity chefs. The only problem is deciding just what to eat as you are certainly spoilt for choice, including the famous local spanner crab. Standards are high as vendors vie for the title of best stall of the festival. Boutique wines stands are dotted amongst the food and there are plenty of spots to recline in the sun and enjoy your fare. Food and wine is purchased with tickets and you also have the choice whether to book yourself gold or platinum entry giving you access to quiet lounges within the festival.
Prawns and Australia go together like basil and tomato, and Noosa Wine and Food has the biggest and tastiest prawns I think I have ever seen.
This year, renowned Sydney Chef Neil Perry teams up with fish expert John Susman to host the seafood lunch in the beach marquee. This is just one of the many events outside of the park grounds. There are loads of lunches and trails to choose from including lunch on the river, a 4 wheel drive adventure and a day in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
An event not to be missed is the Asian Food Trail. A short bus trip from Noosa and you arrive in lush gardens, where spices such as galangal, chillies, ginger, turmeric, allspice and lemon grass are grown for restaurant and market supply. After a guided tour of the garden with a refreshing cocktail in hand, a huge banquet lunch is served in a large marquee with the sides rolled up. This year it is cooked by chefs Marty Boetz, Adam D’Sylva, Louis Tikaram & David Thompson, some of the stars of Asian cuisine.
Noosa Food & Wine, like Australia, is a melting pot of cultures and over the 4 days you can traverse the cuisines of the globe eating very fine offerings.
Join Italian chefs Lucio Galletto, Alessandro Pavoni, Giovanni Pilu & Nino Zoccali as they prepare a family style picnic fare to share and the Middle Eastern lunch prepared Joseph Abboud, Shane Delia, Michael Rantissi & Ben Williamson is enough to have me checking out flights!
The line up of talented chefs in attendance are very approachable and will generally multi task over the 4 days hosting discussion panels, taking cooking demos, cooking at events or just wandering around the park. Sitting back and listening to debates on the future of food and top food destinations in the world is certainly a lively affair where opinions run strong and are not always the same.
Many of Australia’s (and some NZ) top producers gather together to showcase their wares in one central area, here you can purchase as well as taste. Artisan cheese, cured meats, fish, chutneys, books and my favourite truffle infused salt are all displayed like a farmers market of the best of the best.
At the end of each day the musicians take the place on the stage where the chefs have cooked and you can relax into the evening with a continuous flow of wine and canapés. Just make sure you have a jumper handy as although the days are generally hot the nights and mornings are cool.
Thinking you might treat yourself? Tickets sales and more info are available here.
- Air NZ flies to Brisbane from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
- Some flights are available to the Sunshine Coast
- Noosa is approximately 1 ½ hours drive North of Brisbane
- Weather in May is around 22°C mid afternoon but it gets cold morning and night so take layers.
- Noosa has a wide range of accommodation but rooms fill quickly so be sure to book in advance. For a relaxing break outside of the main Noosa precinct try RACV Noosa resort.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland has charming little towns, restaurants, B&Bs and wineries. It is well worth the short drive from Noosa.
Helen traveled courtesy of Tourism Australia and Tourism & Events Queensland.