5 Top Tips For Enjoying 2018 Orange FOOD Week To The Max
PHOTO CREDITS: Orange Region Tourism
It’s Australia’s longest-running (and most loved!) regional food festival and it’s becoming increasingly popular with visitors from nearby Sydney and Canberra. With direct flights now from Brisbane and Melbourne we’re expecting to see more gourmet aficionados from further afield too. For all the newbies who are thinking of joining us for 10 days of food festival fun (yeah, it’s not really a ‘week’ is it?), there are a few things that insiders know that we’re willing to share with you. So we’ve put together the following list of our 5 top tips for enjoying 2018 Orange FOOD Week to the maximum:
BOOK TICKETS TO SIGNATURE FESTIVAL EVENTS EARLY
Tickets to FORAGE and the F.O.O.D Train sell out months in advance. In fact, we recommend that if you’re serious about getting involved in Orange FOOD Week that you become a ‘Friend of FOOD’ member to access pre-sale tickets as well as monthly newsletters about food and wine events in the Orange region.
The FOOD Week Night Market on Friday 6 April in Robertson Park and the Sunday Producer’s Market and Brunch on Sunday 15 April in Cook Park are both free events, and there are still tickets available (at time of writing) for the Autumn Grazing Dinner in Blayney.
FOOD WEEK NIGHT MARKET IS THE BEST WAY TO DISCOVER THE REGION’S FOOD & WINE
In one fell swoop, you can visit over 50 local food and wine stallholders and discover the flavours of the Orange region. What’s more, you’re in a park lit up with fairylights in the centre of town – – it’s a magical evening. Our top tip for this event is to ARRIVE EARLY. Like seriously, when the doors open at 5.30pm. It’s the best opportunity to grab the deliciously creative local food you crave, as some stalls are so popular they sell out early. And at about 6.30pm around 6,000 people walk in to the event…somehow they all seem to turn up at the same time. Also, we are in the middle of the country and everyone keeps country hours here. Doors shut at 8.30pm, last drinks are at 8pm. We know, we know. But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (be the first to turn up!).
MEET THE PRODUCERS AT FOOD HQ
This year for the first time FOOD HQ is being hosted at the stunning new Orange Visitor Information Centre and Regional Museum. Rock up daily during the festival to listen to our local producers give talks on their farms and products, and their personal success stories. This also gives you an opportunity to roll down the green slopes of the Orange Regional Museum roof (yes, it’s a thing!) and ideal for selfies. Finish off the entire experience with a locally-ground coffee and cake at Groundstone Cafe.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN LOCAL MARKETS
Live like a local and do all your shopping at local markets, there’s a plethora of beauties being held during Orange FOOD Week.
Start with The Journey Person Handmade Pop-Up at The Corner Store Gallery on Friday 6 April. Features a curated collection of handmade artisan wares all created and designed here in the Central West and runs until Sunday 8 April. Is also in the neighbourhood of Bills Beans East Orange, walk down the block for the best coffee in town (can’t miss it, corner store with queue a mile long out the door!).
A personal favourite, the Borenore Country Fair on Saturday 7 April. It’s hard to get more charming than this. Century old public school, and thanks to most of the parents having their own nearby farms and vineyards it’s usually a food and wine lovers delight. We’ve seen a traditional chocolate wheel turn into a wine wheel at previous events, and there’s been venison and alpaca on the barbie. Lots of artisanal craft stalls and homemade preserves.
On Sunday 8 April, the quintessential Millthorpe Markets in the historical village of Millthorpe. This has got to be one of the most popular market days in New South Wales, and you’d be crazy to miss it. An incredible array of stallholders from fashion, furniture, food, wine, art and craft in a gorgeous goldrush-era historic village. It’s almost impossible to describe the eclectic mix, so just go and experience it! Get there early to beat the crowds if you’re in a serious shopping mood though.
One last one. Orange Farmers Markets on Saturday 14 April, held at Northcourt just behind the Orange Regional Art Gallery and Orange Regional Museum. This is the monthly meeting place for our local farmers, producers and vignerons – and lovers of 100% local, fresh seasonal produce and wines.
POCHI MA BUONI STREETFOOD, SUNSET AND SPARKLING AT CARGO ROAD WINES
We’ve saved the best to last. Our next Pochi ma Buoni (Small but Great) Italian pop-up will be at Cargo Road Wines on Sunday 8 April as part of Orange FOOD Week. A walk and talk holistic vineyard tour with the vigneron, sipping sparkling on the way with handheld Italian streetfood (with a local twist) to keep your appetite for learning keen. The tour finishes at the cellar door with a plate of pasta featuring regional produce. Stay for sunset on the cellar door deck overlooking the picturesque vineyard, order a glass or two – or a bottle!
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