The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival 2014
The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival may have had humble beginnings – starting out in 2004 (without the ‘International’ bit) as a row of food stalls under the one marquee in picturesque Lions Park – but it has since evolved to become one of the greatest culinary celebrations of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Noosa’s primary sector – thanks to its fortunate positioning along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – has been delivering some of the country’s highest quality produce for a long time. The freshest of viggies, tender meats, succulent seafood, and an array of herbs and spices, from organic to hydro, have all been readily harvested, farmed or caught around these parts.
By 2005, Noosa had become a magnet for culinary professionals, and the Noosa Food & Wine Festival (still without the ‘International’ bit) a major forum for foodies to dine and discuss everything food-related while celebrating local produce, acknowledging new cooking techniques and, yes, a drinking a decent drop of booze.
The crème de la crème of the Australian food and beverage industries – luminaries such as Stephanie Alexander, Philip Johnson, Neil Hadley, Huon Hooke, Luke Mangan and Peter Doyle (to name a few) would soon become regulars at this annual ever-growing affair.
So what makes Noosa stand out amid the dozens of other cities and towns that play host to food and wine festivals? Mainly its natural surrounds, including the beauty of Laguna Bay, great expanse of Noosa National Park, a pristine river system and a delicate but well-kempt Hinterland. Indeed, the town possesses a village atmosphere that is totally unique. Add all this to the region’s quality produce, and of course the place should have to come up trumps on a national – no, international – culinary scale.
And this year’s festival is set to be bigger, brighter and bolder than before, with plenty of events on offer, both big and intimate, for locals and tourists to take part in.
On the grander end of the scale are productions such as the Gala Opening Night ‘Foodie Fandango’ where musical chefs will literally sing for your supper (well, at least hum while they’re creating delectable dishes for you, to the strains of the wonderful Queensland Virtuosi Orchestra).
On the more intimate side of things will be champagne breakfasts, decadent luncheons and finely-crafted degustation dinners – hosted by some of the nation’s better-known chefs, even the occasional comedienne.
This year’s festival continues to showcase the brilliant work of our restaurant kitchen masters, these including Shane Bailey of Noosa Boathouse, Paul Baker of Establishment in Adelaide, Jonathan Barthelmess of The Apollo in Potts Point, Daniel Hong of Sydney’s Merivale restaurants, Guy Grossi of Melbourne’s Grossi Florentino, ‘butter kings’ Pepe Saya, and Lebanese kitchen wiz Joseph Abboud.
There are also Master Classes, plenty of cheese and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and competitions, even a Sixties-themed beach party complete with Beach Boys cover band.
Yep, things have evolved in the humble ol’ town of Noosa. In fact it might just want to throw the words ‘humble’ and ‘old’ out of its diction for good. ‘New’ and ‘awesome’ more like…
The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival is on May 15-18.
For the full program of events and information on special travel packages visit www.noosafoodandwine.com.au.