Foodie festival dates and Murray's Brewery has a crack at a lamington beer | NIBBLES

CHEF IN ACTION: A masterclass at last year's Taste of Sydney festival. Picture: Supplied

CHEF IN ACTION: A masterclass at last year's Taste of Sydney festival. Picture: Supplied

If you love your food, wine, craft beer, chocolate or coffee, start keeping an eye out for this year’s foodie festivals and events and pop them in your diary. 

The Tomato Festival is being held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on February 18 and 19, and will feature a produce market, informative talks and cooking demonstrations.

Taste of Sydney, in partnership with Electrolux, will transform the spectacular Brazilian Fields of Sydney’s Centennial Parklands into a fine-dining playground from March 9 to 12.

Some of Sydney’s popular new food precincts will be debuting at Taste and the best of NSW will also be on show, with the festival expanding its geographical reach and welcoming regional restaurants. Visitors can learn tricks of the trade from Sydney’s leading food personalities at masterclasses and cooking demos, shop from more than 100 artisan producers or simply sit back and enjoy great food in the pop-up alfresco bars.

Closer to home, A Little Bit of Italy in Broke returns on April 7 to 9. This popular weekend-long festival of food, wine, workshops, music and fun is in the process of finalising its program of events but Whispering Brook, The Cellar Restaurant, Ascella Organic Wines, Broke’s Promise and Greenway Wines will be participating. More details to come. 

Maitland Taste Festival is on March 11 and 12, where you can learn about edible gardening and biodiversity while sampling some of the best street food and wine the Hunter region has to offer. There will also be fun and educational activities for the kids, live entertainment, boutique market stalls, fresh produce and styled dining areas.

Also returning to Maitland is the Aroma Coffee & Chocolate Festival at The Levee on August 12 and 13. Enjoy demonstrations including chocolate making, cake decorating, coffee roasting and cooking with coffee, along with live music, food, wine and tasty treats from the Hunter and beyond.

And the inaugural TasteFest on the Manning will take place at Queen Elizabeth Park, Taree, on January 14. Run by Taree Lions, the community event will feature family-friendly activities and a variety of food, craft beer and wine from the Great Lakes region. 

More festivals and events to come. 

Australia Day

Murray’s Brewery will be celebrating Australia Day with an “Australiana” long weekend from January 26 to 29. A special lamington beer will be brewed and a range of lamb food specials offered. There will also be a thong-throwing competition.

Long lunch

Tintilla Estate, on Hermitage Road at Pokolbin, is hosting a French Provincial Long Lunch on March 18 from 12.30pm to 4pm. The cost is $95 for non-club members and $85 for club members, which includes a four-course lunch and wines to match. For further details or to book email or phone (02) 6574 7093.

A good cause

This year’s Trevor Drayton Scholarship Fundraiser is being held at Carrington Place on February 26. It is an afternoon of wine, craft beer, finger food, live music by the Carrington Place Jazz Band and a live auction hosted by MC Mike Rabbitt.

Carrington Place executive chef and owner Scott Webster was a founding member of the Trevor Drayton Foundation committee and remains a driving force behind the fund-raising and scholarship scheme established to honour the memory of his good friend, Trevor.

Get stomping

Peter Drayton Wines’ popular STOMP is on again. On Sunday, February 12 you can help celebrate the 2017 vintage at a fun-filled day of grape picking, stomping grapes and even bottling wine. There will be a buffet breakfast from 9am and plenty of bubbles and craft beer on offer. Live music, a jumping castle, entertainment for the kids and a souvenir shirt completes the package.

Tickets cost $70 for adults, $25 for children aged eight to 15, and children under eight are admitted free. Book online at

Brain freeze

Greg & Audreys is kicking goals when it comes to flavour. Food & Wine has kept a close eye on what is on offer at the Toronto ice-cream shop this week. Think Mojito, white rum, mint and lime juice; mango banana and apple sorbet; creamy soda sorbet; Milo, cookies and marshmallow; and lemon, lime and bitters sorbet. Yum.

Menu revealed

Last week Food & Wine mentioned Flicks on The Green and the dinner and movie package that is being offered at Panino Caffè & Restaurant on January 14. Well, the menu has been revealed with a choice of two of the three courses. Entree: yellow fin tuna sashimi served with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger; Main: lasagna (layers of roasted capsicum, eggplant and beef ragu with béchamel and parmigiano); Dessert: zuccotto (mango and sponge liquor semifreddo) served with wild summer berries. Spots are still available but are filling fast. Bookings are essential on 4998 3483 or 0416 245 655.

The film being screened is Rabbit Proof Fence and director Phillip Noyce will be present to answer questions. 

Stepping stone

Electrolux Appetite for Excellence applications are now open for young chefs, waiters and restaurateurs.

Now in its 12th year, the program continues to inspire young culinary talent by providing money-can’t-buy educational opportunities, unique experiences and enviable prizes, with the objective of creating a sustainable industry.

Entries close on April 3.