So many treats, so close to home...

Fun and fresh: A vendor at the Sample Food Festival in Bangalow. Picture: Jim Kellar

Fun and fresh: A vendor at the Sample Food Festival in Bangalow. Picture: Jim Kellar

AS much as we are in love with our part of the world, there is plenty of good fun out there when it comes to food, and not too far from home.

Flavours of Mudgee

As part of the Mudgee Wine Festival that runs through September, Flavours of Mudgee is held in downtown Mudgee. The event is today, September 24, from 4pm as city streets are closed for  celebration of food, wine and produce. There are dozens of cool events during the month in case you consider a longer visit.

Taste The Tweed

The Tweed Foodie Fest is only five years old, but growing quickly. A highlight is the Taste The Tweed event held in downtown Murwillumbah on Friday evening, September 30.

Port Macquarie Beer & Cider Fest

This relatively new event has certainly gained traction. It is on today, September 24, in Westport Park, featuring 20 craft beer brewers (including local Black Duck, plus 4 Pines, Dusty Miner, Frank's Cider, HopDog BeerWorks, Hops And Tales, MooreBeer, Murray's, New England Brewing, Pagan Cider, Stone & Wood, Wayward and more).

Tastings on Hastings

This festival in Port Macquarie stretches events over three days, October 28-30. The main event is a downtown festival on Sunday, October 30, on the banks of the Hastings River featuring the best producers in the region showing off their substantial wares, from oysters to ducks, avocadoes to ginger beer. Restaurateurs are in too. The lead-up events, beer and wine masterclasses and celebrity chef events, are excellent.

Slice of Haven

This is another event with a priority to local food producers. It’s held on the last Sunday in May annually on the Camden River foreshore in Laurieton. There are lots of new producers who have moved to the Mid-North Coast in recent years and started up new food and farm ventures. Of course, the established businesses put out some great products too, everything from oysters to avocados, and the plant offerings, both decorative and food-producing, are varied and good value. Like all things outside the cities, the atmosphere is laid back. 

Sample Food Festival

Mark this date, the first Saturday in September, on your calendar now. The location is the picturesque Bangalow Showground on the edge of the main village. The emphasis is on smart restaurant food, with 28 venues offering different $5 and $10 plates, varying from fish tacos to salt’n’pepper squid, from waygu teriyaki skewers to fresh Coffin Bay oysters, plus serious barbecue food and desserts from a hatted restaurant (Town Restaurant, right there in Bangalow). There’s a bottle shop on site (this year’s featured Moet tasting classes), plus Stone & Wood Beer, and Byron-produced wild cider (with a tinge of finger lime in it).

Gold Coast Food & Wine Festival

The first event was held in June, so mark down June 2017 for number two. It’s held at the Night Quarter in Helensvale, a new food event venue, with vendors and chefs from throughout south-east Queensland.

Gosford City Farmers Markets

Close to home you can spend a lazy Sunday (8am to 1pm) checking out Central Coast food producers at the new markets at Gosford racecourse in West Gosford. Like any thriving market, you never know what treat you may find.

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