By Abbey Cannan
The countdown is well and truly on for this years’ Noosa Food & Wine Festival, spread over five mouth-watering days from 16-20 May, the festival is an annual love affair of great food, wine, celebrity chefs, live music and entertainment.
The festival is a ‘must attend’ event on the foodie calendar, bringing people from all across Australia to Noosa, with this year’s festival expecting to draw crowds of about 7000 local, interstate and international visitors.
Festival Director Sheridah Puttick said that planning is going well and the team are pulling together the final touches for the festival.
“This year we have 113 events taking place across the four days so there is an incredible amount of collaboration with our local restaurants, producers, industry experts, visiting guests and festival partners,” she said.
Sheridah said this year they are extremely passionate about creating conversations and memories that make an impact.
“Sustainability is a key focus for the festival this year as we all need to do something now to make a significant change to our future. We’re working with some amazing local organisations to raise awareness, including Plastic Free Noosa and OzHarvest. To help reduce our impact, the festival will be restricting all single use plastic, including water bottles, straws, plastic bags and we’ll have a team of dedicated Waste Warriors helping visitors in the Village recycle their waste correctly,” she said.
The team will be working with OzHarvest Ambassador Cameron Mathews to create a menu based 100% on the surplus produce from the festival for the Industry Day on Monday.
“Whilst not open to the public, we’re extremely excited to introduce the Industry Day this year – it’s an opportunity for our local hospitality community to connect with some of the best in the business. The day will begin with a welcome from Alla Wolf-Tasker, followed by a series of intimate workshops, conversations, tastings and panel sessions led by industry influencers and experts,” she said.
The festival has also introduced two new exciting spaces within the Festival Village, the River Lounge and Drinks Lab.
“It’s the place to be to enjoy amazing collaborations from Australia’s best chefs, producers, mixologists and wine producers. The Hinterland is also host to some exciting new events this year including The Underground Collective lunch, a once in a lifetime, unique opportunity to witness an intimate lunch prepared by some of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs,” she said.
“We are also very excited to put a spotlight on local breweries from Noosa and the Sunshine Coast. With a range of events including Locally Crafted, Brewers Delight at Heads of Noosa, The Noosa Brewery Trail, Beer, Gin and Gourmet Junk Party at Land & Sea and the Brewery Tour and Barnyard Picnic at Copperhead.
“The Festival Village is the heart of Noosa Food & Wine on Saturday and Sunday and is without a doubt the place to be. There is so much happening here with free cooking demonstrations from some of Australia’s best chefs and celebrities across two stages including Matt Moran, Paul Carmichael, Kirsten Tibballs, Matt Preston, Anna Polyviou, Alastair McLeod and local favourites Matt Sinclair, Peter Kuruvita, Andrea Ravezzani and more.”
Sheridah said that she is also very excited about the Providore on Hastings Pavilion where you can meet an array of food and drink purveyors from the Noosa region and right across Australia including Hum Honey, In Noosa, Kokopod Chocolate Australia, Roza’s Gourmet, Slow Food Noosa, Ugly Duck Preserves, Woombye Cheese Co. and an array of other producers.
Providore on Hastings support and showcase local producers and food brands, from boutique chai blends, to cheeses found nationally.
Graham Bradford from Providore on Hastings said there is a lot of work that goes into planning an event like this, “We’ve had a lot of meetings with Tourism Noosa, a lot of planning to see how the Producers Pavilion will flow. We’re working out the design and build of the section and counting numbers to predict the amount of produce we will need.”
One local producer that will be featured in the Providore on Hastings Pavilion is Ugly Duck Preserves.
Ugly Duck Owner and Founder, Michelle Mascher, said she started the company in order to fight food waste.
“We source unloved, ugly, imperfect fruit and vegetable and transform them into outstanding deliciousness,” she said.
Michelle said this is her third year in a row at the festival and that she loves the wonderful atmosphere.
“It’s the perfect blend of music, gourmet food and boozy drinks. We love meeting so many new people and introducing our flavours to them,” she said.
“Our stall will be bursting with interesting, delicious preserves for sweet and savoury food lovers. We will have plenty of free tasters available and we are going to make a special Noosa Food and Wine super-hot jalapeño relish.”
Local café, SevGen’s Deadly Espressos Coffee will also be joining the Producers Pavilion and will be offering Deadly Espresso Coffee and a range of treats including house-made Probiotic Bushtucker Bites.
Adult tickets to the Festival Village for either Saturday 18 May or Sunday 19 May are $39.19 and can be purchased online at www.noosafoodandwine.com.au/festival-village. A complimentary shuttle bus will run between the Noosa Transit Centre, The J in Noosa Junction and Lions Park, Festival Village.