The Best Food and Wine Festivals in New South Wales

Australians are renowned for their love of good food and wine, and with such a vast country with such varied conditions, they are able to produce outstanding produce and stunning wines. Nearly all cities within Australia are host to a food and wine festival at sometime during the year, but the smaller regional festivals should not be overlooked with their friendly small town hospitality and fresh regional produce. Most of the fresh food we eat comes from these country areas along with Australia’s internationally renowned wines and stickies.

The Orange F.O.O.D Week is a highlight of the Australian food calendar with many events selling out within hours of them being announced. The festival runs over a week in the middle of April and boasts several major events along with an almost unlimited number of smaller events run by local eateries and wineries. The festival highlights this year include ‘Forage’, a gentle 3.5km meander through vineyards, along sheep tracks and through cattle country, stopping every 500m or so to sample local produce and hear informative talks about the local growing conditions and their effect on regional produce. Tickets to this are limited and include bus to the walk, food and wine. The 100-Mile Dinner is another highlight and offers a unique outdoor dining experience showcasing the local produce from within a 100 mile radius. The dinner is a 7 course degustation served at communal tables, each course supplied by one of the participating towns within the region. The Night Market is also not to be missed and features 40 stalls spruiking the best food and wine from the region, along with the chance to meet the producers, chefs and cooks. The F.O.O.D Train from Sydney is the ideal way to enjoy the festival and departs and returns to Central Station in Sydney. The Train included breakfast with ‘bubbles’, two night’s accommodation in Orange, tickets to Forage and most meals. Other events are too numerous to list but include pop up cellar doors, gourmet BBQs in the park, Fiesta in the Courtyard, cheese tastings, apple tastings and much much more. The festival is hugely popular so Orange accommodation needs to be booked early or you may miss out.

Although, nowhere near the scale of Orange F.O.O.D Week, the one day Collector Village Pumpkin Festival near Goulburn, now in its 10th year, is gaining a reputation of being a fun-filled, not to be missed family festival. The festival, at the beginning of May, is focused around the local production of pumpkins with its main event being a giant pumpkin growing competition. There are over 80 stalls to explore, offering all things pumpkin (scones, soup etc.), local produce, local arts and activities. Vintage farm machinery, classic cars and rural demonstrations, live music and entertainment and the biggest display of giant pumpkins in the country complete the day’s activities. The event culminates in a supper dance where the locals and visitors get to kick up their heels and share some homemade country delights. All proceeds from the supper dance go back to the local community. There are some accommodation options in Collector but nearby Goulburn accommodation is more plentiful and varied.

Moree on a Plate, held in the small northern New South Wales town of Moree in May, is another small family orientated festival that packs a lot into a small time. The one day event focuses on the locally grown produce and features cooking demonstrations, guest chefs, TV personalities, cooking challenges and tastings. There is also a fun range of activities for the kids. The BBQ Challenge is a festival highlight which incorporates three rounds of preparation, barbecuing and judging with the winner being crowned ‘Moree on a Plate BBQ Challenge Winner’. There is also a gala evening, local art exhibition and live music. Moree accommodation is limited so plan ahead and book your room early.

There are so many food and wine events throughout New South Wales and Australia, some big, some small. Real foodies will enjoy the smaller festivals just as much as the larger ones, as the small town community and country hospitality offer not only a taste of county style food but an insight into the way the rural community live and function.

Michelle Obama, Pepsi and Kraft Foods – Here’s to You, Your Courage and Your Leadership!

Obesity is a national crisis. Our seniors are Fat, our middle aged are Fat, our teenagers are Fat and so are our children AND they are getting Fatter! You have heard the statistics. Thankfully Michelle Obama, Pepsi, Kraft foods and others are taking the leadership in reducing the sugar, Fat and salt in their products. The old corporate, unspoken and un-admitted motto for many in the fast food industry was a silent war of them and us and them.

Supply “It” and they will eat “It” and drink “It”! So what if they will get Fatter and more unhealthy and even die from preventable lifestyle induced diseases that are in our power to stop. That is neither our responsibility nor our problem. They don’t care about their health; our shareholders care about our investments. So let our profits soar. We’ll even supersize it and thereby profit some more!

For years, there were the cola wars and the burger wars. There was more sugar for the younger Pepsi Generation. Get them when they are young. We’ll give them toys, collector items for their parent and playgrounds. For their value conscious parents, we’ll make it larger: extra size, extra Fat, salt and sugar.

Serve “It” and they will buy “It” and we will have customers for life. They will bring their kids and grandchildren too. Corporate was right: They did and they got Fat and Fatter, as butts and profits soared. We have ignored corporate greed and the public’s gluttony long enough. Excess is killing our people and bankrupting our society. It is time for change and time for our governmental and corporate leaders to help us, the common flock, DO something positive and permanent about what we eat and drink.

Pepsi is courageously facing the truth of errors past and willing to take the lead for a New Pepsi Generation. Bravo! So is Kraft. So is Michelle Obama. Bravo to you and to those others who will follow suit, to those others who will change what we produce and what we sell to ourselves and to future consumers. It has taken almost 50 years since Bob sang: “The times they are a changin!” – Bob Dylan

Finally there is a movement. There is New Leadership, New Rules, New Opportunities to address Wellness instead of creating and supporting illness for profit! Our leaders can only lead those who are willing to follow. This is no longer about power, profit and control. This is about our wellness, our lives, our children’s and the lives of generations to follow. Fat is Fat! Fat is also a metaphor for uncontrolled excess. We are bursting at our seams and it finally seems time to address wellness. We can’t afford to live this way any longer.

Delicious Barbecued Roast Pork – A Super Food Recipe

Now although I have been a collector of worldwide foods recipes for many years I was presented with the pleasant task of having to host a dinner party for a group of prospective clients. Although the group consisted of several nationalities I decided to prepare a Western type dish “Oven Barbecued Pork Roast”. I was quite sure that pork was not likely to offend any of my prospective guests!!

Although I already have thousands of recipes and popular foods recipes ebooks mainly in PDF format, that are these days available for instant download worldwide, I wanted something different.

After various free searches I came across an ebook containing 490 Blue Ribbon Recipes that had the exact recipe I wanted.

Having acquired my recipe I was curious as to how a recipe can get a “Blue Ribbon”.

Again I did loads of searches on various combinations of words including “Blue and Ribbon” and was surprised to find that was not an actual definition, maybe I just didn’t look in the right places, but my search was pretty thorough.

What I did however discover is that in America the competition for the blue ribbon is extremely competitive.

Basically I learnt that every year there about 80 fairs in the USA with representation from 50 States. Each fair has its own blue ribbon recipe competition. The field of acceptable categories is quite diverse which means there is something available for every taste. I found references to these fairs starting in the 1800’s

You will find Blue Ribbon Recipes in categories for appetizers, soups, sandwiches, main dishes, bread, rolls, biscuits, dips, dressings and every dessert you can think of. In fact there is recipe to satisfy every passion and for every occasion in the world of Blue Ribbon Recipes.

Astonishingly the contestants range from hardcore old hands and competitors who tour the whole country entering recipes for big cash rewards, to beginner home cooks enthusiastic to take a chance with Grannies ancient recipes for, say, the good old “Apple pie”.

As one hopeful contestant said “I just love entering County and State Fairs and I have been collecting competition recipes and cook books for many,many years”.

Inevitably, I suppose, commercialism has crept in to these events. During recent years apparently, sponsorship of recipe contests by national food companies has become popular at fairs across America. The various companies award generous prizes for original recipes featuring their products.

Again notably, some famous food products have originated as a result of state fairs. Way back in 1852 at the first State Fair of Texas, a notable contestant named Gail Borden Jr. submitted a dried “meat biscuit” recipe. His recognition and success came some time later after turning his processed and condensed milk into a “National Brand Name”.

If you are looking for a delicious dish to be proud of, let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with a recipe that has won a state fair competition and even better got that “Blue Ribbon” award!! They obviously do not just give them away lightly!!

Well there we are, just a little information on the significance of “Blue Ribbon Recipes”.

Just in case you are interested in the great recipe I discovered, here it is:

    Delicious Barbecued Pork Roast Serves 10-12 persons 3 lb / 1.5 kg boneless rolled top loin pork roast joint 3 large garlic cloves sliced 1 teaspoon black coarsely ground pepper 1/4 teaspoon dried sage 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme vegetable oil, approx. 2 tablespoons 1 large onion, sliced (approx 8 oz) 1/4pint (approx 150 ml) chicken stock 8 oz tomato sauce (just over ¼ pint – approx 200ml) 50ml (approx. 4 tablespoons) chili sauce 50ml spicy tomato ketchup 50ml apple cider vinegar 50ml lemon juice 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 Tablespoons brown sugar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon red pepper If there is a large amount of fat on joint, trim it off along with strings if the joint has come tied. Using butcher’s (or kitchen string), tie at 2″ intervals. Cut deep slits in roast & insert garlic slices If desired, lay fat skin side up, sprinkle with salt and roast in a separate tin for those who like crackling. Combine pepper, sage & thyme; rub over surface of roast. Coat a non stick deep frying pan with oil, place over medium high heat until hot. Add pork roast and roll around until brown all over, about 10 – 15 minutes. Take out meat, put on one side. Add onion & sauté until tender. Add chicken stock bring to the boil. Transfer to a dish, then roast the meat uncovered at 350°f / 180°c for 30 minutes. Combine tomato sauce & remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; pour over pork. Roast for an additional 35-45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of roast registers 160°c. 325°f. Slice pork, serve with hot sauce, ideal with tender new potatoes, in season vegetables and home made apple chutney/sauce. Please note, I have amended the measurements from the ebook recipe so that they equate internationally.

For the record this recipe took 3rd place at the Illinois State Fair but I can’t tell you which year. What I can tell you is that the outcome of my dinner party was a complete success for me and my guests to the point that many of them even asked for the recipe!!
If you are interested in collecting good foods recipes, do yourself a favour and try and get hold of “490 Blue Ribbon Recipes”