Australians celebrate their local produce and world-famous wines with a wide range of festivals.
By Jac Taylor and Leah Dobihal
In a land as large and diverse as Australia, your tastebuds can go on a wonderful journey, from the ripe mangoes of the tropical north to the cool climate wines of Tasmania. Locals love their food and wine, and welcome any excuse to take to the streets at festival time. The result is a fusion of food and frivolity.
The many flavours of Australia
The Grampians Grape Escape, Dunkeld, Victoria
Celebrate the best gastronomic makers and producers of the Grampians region when you visit this long-running regional food, wine and music festival. Nestled in the foothills of magnificent Mount Williams, The Grape Escape is a weekend party where you can do masterclasses with celebrity chefs, get involved with the hotly contested Barrique Auction or just grab a spot on the lawn to watch live bands while you taste the best food, wine and beer from the area. With over 120 stalls to discover, the Grampians Grape Escape is the ultimate experience for any wine, food and music lover.
Key dates: 4 - 5 May 2019
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, Victoria
More 200 events take place in the giant Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, not only throughout the city of Melbourne but across the entire state of Victoria. Go on a dog-walking winery tour, try a AUD$40 two-course menu at one of more than 80 restaurants, and check out the events, drinks and art at the House of Food and Wine laneway venue in the city. That’s just for starters.
Key dates: 8 - 24 March 2019
Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival, Hunter Valley Region, New South Wales
The Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival combines premium wine, gourmet food and true Hunter hospitality. Take a journey through the rolling vineyards and lush surrounds to discover the diverse wines and produce of New South Wales. Not only will you experience new flavours and creations, but you’ll also enjoy a range of events in the area. Indulge at decadent dinners, learn the tricks of the trade at winemaking masterclasses, and walk among the grapes at vineyard tours. Get hands-on at cooking classes, where you’ll dine on a menu of your own making. The event runs around May and June, so mark your calendars for this delicious foodie festival.
Key dates: Each May and June, dates to be announced
Orange F.O.O.D Week, Orange, New South Wales
Orange F.O.O.D Week is Australia’s longest running regional food festival. It takes place in the food bowl around the town of Orange (FOOD stands for Food of Orange District), just over three hours drive north-west of Sydney. Celebrate cool climate wines, a 100-mile dinner under the stars, day and night markets, and the much-loved Forage event, in which you walk through vineyards with food and wine tastings every 500 metres. Catch the F.O.O.D train from Sydney for the weekend, which includes breakfast onboard on the way.
Key dates: 5 - 14 April 2019
Tasting Australia, Adelaide, South Australia
Tasting Australia boasts over 100 events, lunches, dinners and tasting classes featuring the very best South Australia has to offer. Feast your way through South Australia’s most stunning locations, as the program of events takes you across Adelaide and iconic regions such as the Barossa, McLaren Vale, the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island.
Key dates: September 2019
Noosa Food & Wine Festival, Noosa, Queensland
Join dozens of Australian winemakers and chefs, three festival villages and 10,000 guests at the stylish beach town of Noosa, 90 minutes north of Brisbane. The Noosa Food and Wine Festival runs for three days and offers events from casual, sand-on-your-feet barbecues, beach tipis, street carnivals and markets, to chef-hosted dinners.
Key dates: 16 - 19 May 2019
Canberra Truffle Festival, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Few ingredients are so highly prized as the truffle. Its distinct aroma, rich flavour and intriguing harvest are all reasons foodies and chefs alike adore these culinary gems. Each year, Canberra hosts a festival that celebrates the truffle with thrilling hunts, markets and recipes that hero the tasty truffles. Follow clever truffle dogs as they sniff out the ‘black diamonds,’ which grow under trees and brush. Learn to master the truffle at cooking classes, or simply sit back and sample the local creations from truffle pizza to truffle beer. Head to the Truffle Festival to satisfy your culinary curiosity – and your appetite.
Key dates: Dates to be announced
Barossa Gourmet Festival, Barossa Valley, South Australia
At the Barossa Gourmet Festival, you’re invited to celebrate the season – from fresh fruit harvests in spring to hearty dishes in autumn. Join in dozens of events that showcase the locally-sourced produce, offer up the best wine of the region and provide platters of authentic South Australian cuisine. Sip on world-class wine, cook something new at a masterclass or blend your own gin. You’ll enjoy ingredients ranging from olive oil to game meat. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find an event to expand your gastronomic horizons.
Key dates: 5 - 7 April 2019
Gourmet Escape, Western Australia
Treat yourself to an event that combines incredible landscapes, top notch food and stunning wine. Gourmet Escape, which was first held in 2012, has established a reputation for being one of Australia’s most comprehensive and premium food and wine festivals. Visit gourmet villages in Margaret River, learn to cook from some of the world’s best chefs and feast on fresh produce that will have you inspired and satisfied. Mingle and learn from the likes of Guy Grossi, Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein. With events ranging from wine tastings and tea parties to private dinners and masterclasses, there’s something for every foodie at this renowned festival.
Key dates: Each November, dates to be announced
Taste of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania
At the height of Tasmania's summer, the week-long Taste of Tasmania festival is the ultimate way to enjoy the sunshine on Hobart's waterfront. Dozens of stalls offer the best of local produce, accompanied by more than 100 street performers and musicians. Get some celebrity chef advice and perhaps attend a ticketed party or tasting. The festival coincides with New Year's Eve, adding to the atmosphere.
Key dates: 28 December 2018 - 3 January 2019
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