Monday, May 20, 2013

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival 2013

It has been a wonderful month of eating for us both, enjoying some unique local produce, plus the skill and talent of the chefs, who have been creating and cooking the dishes. No doubt the photos posted on this and the previous post will make you all very hungry, as well as leave you inspired to attend such events, I do hope!
Last Thursday we headed up to Noosa on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, for a gorgeous three day weekend to enjoy the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival. One of the things that sets this festival apart from most other Food and Wine festivals, is the majority of events are held outdoors and also many offsite in the surrounding coastal area and hinterland, as well as in local restaurants. I have read about the festival for many years and this year we decided, after a huge year last year with Naked Food Cookbook, that we would go and enjoy.
We stayed at a lovely set of apartments on Hastings Street called Sandcastles, they were very well positioned on the beach front, just a short walk to the festival activities and fully self contained which is handy, not that I was planning on doing any cooking or washing during my stay this time around!
Our first meal out was at a little local Ristorante Italiano called ipazzi, serving traditional, authentic Italian cuisine with an emphasis on organic produce and hand made pasta, gnocchi and desserts.

It had been recommended to us by a friend and although it was not on the main strip of Hastings Street or Gympie Terrace row of restaurants, along the Noosa River, it was well worth the walk or taxi ride from Hastings Street to Sunshine Beach Road, to delight in it's simple menu and traditional flavours, as well as the wonderful, friendly service.
We began with a fresh tomato bruschetta; followed by a simple mediterranean salad

For mains Paul had the house made gnocchi marinara and for me the house made organic egg noodles - pasta fettuccine bolognese (apparently it was Nonna's recipe made with pork and veal mince)...both dishes were so fresh, flavoursome and the servings were generous without being huge, which meant we could eat dessert!

Of course dessert had to be the house made tiramisu which we shared, the second photo tells the story of how much that was enjoyed!

Friday morning we were up early for a long walk, along Noosa main beach and up the boardwalk track into the National Park, with stunning views.

An 8am breakfast at Seasons on the beachfront, also recommended to us, was very good.
Fresh juices, eggs and tomatoes with cape seed toast, very affordable and yet with million dollar views in the sunshine.

We then headed over to the festival for our 9.45am departure on our day trip on the Hinterland Trail - Strings and Straw - travelling by bus and then four wheel drive to Martin Duncan's Freestyle Escape in the Blackhall Range near Mapleton. A special mini market offered samples from local producers, followed by a tour of the organic vegetable patch and surrounding orchard with Linda Brennan, a lady with 20 years experience in horticulture, organics and sustainability.

This was topped off with a divine long lunch created by Chefs Matt Wilkinson, Mark Jensen, Cameron Matthews and Martin Duncan with wines by T'Gallant and stunning views to the coast.

A peek at three of the six courses served:
slow cooked sweet potato and yoghurt; zuchinni, grilled haloumi & coriander salad

duck slow cooked in the stone pizza oven overnight, served with roasted beetroot and parsnip

layered mousse dessert with feijoa icecream, white chocolate sauce and caramelised orange

Saturday morning we squeezed in a short visit to Eumundi markets, before we headed back to the festival for the Seafood Feast on the Beach. A relaxing lunch on Noosa's main beach in the Barefoot Marque with local seafood by Chefs Martin Bosley and Giovanni Pilu.

This was a shared plate experience with just a taste of each dish - it was a delicious showcase of the local and NZ seafood and with the stunning location and weather, it was possibly a once in a life time experience for us!

raw Mooloolaba Bincho Tuna & Yellow Fin Tuna,
fresh Kolophon Capers, preserved  lemon & oil

Yarra Valley caviar, Pepe Saya Creme Fraiche, Crostini

Shark Bay prawns with Nahm Jim, Smoked Cloudy Bay clams

Lakes Entrance Fish stew, chickpeas & safforn aioli

BBQ Glacier 51 Toothfish, salsa creosa

New season Kinkawooka Petit Bouchot mussels, black pepper & tomatoes

One final dish was served.... which we missed the photo of BBQ Lakes Entrance Gould's Squid, Pasta, walnuts & shaved Mooloolaba Mojamma.A visit Saturday afternoon to the festival food stalls and local and international producers and wine growers, followed then with the evenings Live entertainment. We chose however with full bellies, after two days of feasting, to leave the festival behind and instead soak up another beautiful main beach sunset, then settled for an early night.
Another early morning walk and then a visit to Noosa Farmers Market for breakfast, we returned home to Sydney with a renewed affection for Noosa and Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival is held in May each year, it is an incredibly popular event, being haled as one of the best in the Southern hemisphere. 2013 was the 10 year celebration of the festival and our first visit, bookings for the event are usually made available online around December - January prior.
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