Yarra Valley producers prime for inaugural food and wine fest
Regional Victorian producers are rallying for a sensual feast next week with the inaugural Yarra Valley Food and Wine Festival.
Held over four days (April 26 – 29), the festival will host a series of exclusive lunches and dinners, masterclasses from local producers, culminating in a Sunday Garden Party with plenty of hands-on (and mouths-on) experiences to be had.
Troy Hughes of Yarra Ranges Regional Marketing said the festival’s ‘Reap & Relish’ theme would allow people to get involved and discover the wide range of produce coming from within the Yarra Valley – from coffee and pasta, to hydroponic vegetables and caviar.
“We find a lot of people don’t realize that it’s so much more than wine.
“It starts with the wine but it’s so much more and that’s what we’re trying to put across,” he said.
While the region is famous for its pinot noir and chardonnay, its long-time brewing history is also being celebrated with a Hop Addiction Masterclass at Hargreaves Hill Brewery as well as an apple tree grafting-and-planting, followed by cider tasting, at the historic Gulf Station.
The crowns of the festival however are the bespoke dinners, kicking off with a Grand Opening Degustation Dinner at Stones of the Yarra Valley – a collaborative effort from Stones’ head chef Hugh Davison and Melbourne restaurant Sarti’s head chef Riccardo Momesso.
“People have to remember that the dinners are in historic or famous venues within the Valley.
“They’re also extremely heavy with the best food and wine and the top quality chefs of the region,” Mr Hughes said.
This includes the Autumn Harvest Dinner hosted by wine aficionados Steve Webber and James Halliday, who will guide diners through the region’s wines paired with local produce in an elegant articulation of the produce-to-platter ethos. Alternatively for, well, alternative types, the Avant Garde Producers Dinner offers a step in to the world of Yarra Valley’s most innovative, maverick makers.
For would-be festivallers with only a day to spare, it’s all about the Sunday Garden Party which will hold tastings of wine, cheese, ales, ciders, have cooking demonstrations, more masterclasses, and all the tasty treats you can stuff into your picnic basket so you can lie back, take in some tunes (yes, there will be music), and nibble your life away in a bucolic haven.
Yarra Valley Festival
When: Thursday 26 April – Sunday 29 April, 2012
Where: The Yarra Valley is located less than an hour's drive, 50 km east of Melbourne CBD. Buses to Garden Party and dinners will depart from select locations
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