10 awesome events to chow into for 2016 Orange F.O.O.D Week festival ⋆ Silver Compass Tours
PHOTO CREDIT: Brand Orange
If you’re tempted by the thought of a food festival in regional New South Wales, and you’re thinking ‘sustainably sourced, incredibly fresh and innovative food experiences in quirky, charming country venues’ then have WE got a festival for YOU.
Throw into the mix the thought of venturing into Australia’s most interesting cool climate wine-growing region at vintage time, when everyone’s brought in the grapes and is getting ready to stomp – ladies & gentlemen, may we present the Orange F.O.O.D Week festival, running 8-17 April 2016.
It’s Australia’s longest running regional food festival, and is celebrating its’ 25th anniversary this year. The 2016 festival program is jam-packed (see what we did there?) with foodie events, including long lunches, degustation dinners, paddock pop-ups and more.
In fact, if you’ve never been to Orange in the Central West region before (3.5 hours drive from Sydney, 45 minutes by helicopter – go!) we can guarantee you’ll be peering through the program wondering what’s good and what’s great. There are over 80 vineyards and nearly 40 cellar doors here, three hatted restaurants, 38 cafes and a whole bunch of clever and creative and passionate foodies who throw surprising and delightful events.
To make life easy for you, here’s our insiders #LocalSecret Guide to the Orange F.O.O.D Week festival.
You’re welcome x
1.F.O.O.D HQ – it’s on daily (except Saturdays) at The Agrestic Grocer and features talks and cooking demonstrations by local producers. Gain an understanding of holistic farming, have a listen to our local butcher, meet our pioneering craft beer brewers and chocolatiers, taste the difference of honey made from the pollen of different native trees and flowers, say hello to our orchardists and farmers – and if you’re really smart, you’ll come and meet me & Paolo and learn how to make Italian tiramisu using all local products (the secret’s in fresh farm eggs and freshly roasted espresso).
2. Go foraging for brunch with the bunch at The Agrestic Grocer on Saturday 9 April – take a farm tour, get your hands dirty foraging, and watch as the foraged fare is turned into your lunch.
3. Small Acres Cider Festival, Saturday 9 April – it’s an award-winning cider house in Borenore, they make apple and pear cider straight from their orchard, their sparkling ciders are the cat’s pyjamas, and this event has morris dancers – what more could you want?!
4. Hunt for truffles at the Borrodell Vineyard Truffiere and then sit down for a two-course truffle inspired lunch under the truffle trees on Saturday 9 April.
5. Grab your castanets and join the Fiesta in the Courtyard at Patina Wines on Sunday 10 April – this event will be packed full of locals letting their hair down, Latin American live music and dancing combined with the flavours of Mexico and winegrower Gerald Naef’s superb and sophisticated portfolio of wines. Olé!
6. Throwing in two events here, but what would a visit to a food festival during vintage time be without taking in some vintage parties? There’s a Harvest Lunch at Philip Shaw Winery on Sunday 10 April and a Harvest Bash at Racine Restaurant on Saturday 16 April. Good old fashioned fun in tin sheds with sweeping views.
7. Look no further for a real ‘paddock to plate’ event than this pop-up in the paddock on Sunday 10 April at Mandagery Creek Venison Farm. Five courses of local produce and starring the farm’s venison (ok, maybe not dessert), on a long table out in the paddock with the deer. Lunch is paired with new cool climate label, See Saw Wine.
8. Where else in the world would a two-day polo finals be held during a food festival? You’ve got to get yourself along to the Millamolong Polo Club’s Country Classic 2016 just to see it to believe it. They’re holding a Long-Late-Lazy ‘Foodolo’ lunch on Saturday 16 April, followed by the traditional evening Polo Party. And if you’re still alive the next day, you can get back on the horse (so to speak) and watch the heart-thumping polo finals on Sunday 17 April.
9. Forget the popcorn, take in an avant-garde movie in a wine cellar with a three course meal at Orange Mountain Wines on Saturday 16 April. Australian producer and author, Michael Caulfield is a local, and he spoils us all with cinematic delights from his treasure trove every festival.
10. The Old Convent in Borenore is a well-loved local favourite, and it used to be my great-grandmother’s church. Now it’s a swinging dinner venue during festivals, and this event with renowned local Chef Josie Chapman and Swinging Bridge Wines shouldn’t be missed.
Hang on a second, there’s actually 11 awesome events to chow into during the 2016 Orange F.O.O.D Week festival:
11. Pochi ma Buoni @ Cargo Road Wines, Saturday 9 April. It’s a wine tasting evening with a difference – Paolo does his Italian thing with local produce and 2015’s ‘Vigneron of the Year’ James Sweetapple talks you through the portfolio of Cargo Road Wine‘s eminently drinkable wines. Sitting at shared, long tables down in the wine cellar we always have an absolute ball at these events. Hint: the party’s in the kitchen.