Where would our amazing chefs be without the hardworking and very talented people who produce the ingredients for them to work with? The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, to be held from May 14 to 17, shines the spotlight on these quiet achievers who supply the produce that allows chefs to bask in the limelight.
The festival is dedicated to bringing the nation’s top producers to the international stage, connecting not only the world’s best chefs directly with the producers, but celebrating the amazing produce with consumers, who are now more engaged than ever with the origins and the stories behind their food.
The festival brings together the winners and finalists of the prestigious delicious. Produce Awards, now in their tenth year, unearthing Australia’s best produce and highlighting the real food heroes – small artisan producers around the country.
New delicious. editor-in-chief, Kerrie McCallum, said the festival and the awards strive to shine a light on the sometimes unsung heroes of the Australian culinary industry.
For Carla Meurs from Holy Goat Cheese in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia’s cheese journey has only just begun. “This summer our goats are sleek and shiny. They are eating indigenous wallaby, kangaroo and cumbungi grasses. The milk quality is amazing, sweet and savoury. Our cheeses carry the story of the minerals from our granitic soils, the health of the goats and our dedication to organic farming and traditional cheese making methods,” she said. “We love and care for our land, our goats, our cheeses. We are continuous learners and sharers of knowledge. We have a team of wonderful people who work and learn with us.”
Julia and Shane’s Backfatters Farm in far north Queensland came about from their love of good food and animals and one keen boar called Romeo. Such an enthusiastic willing worker, Romeo broke down four fences and mated with every sow on the farm in one morning, which led to a population explosion on the farm about five years ago from which they have never looked back.
“Farming is not just about us, it is about working as a community of farmers and helping each other out. By reopening the abattoir we can now process local lambs, beef, pork and soon, birds. This creates a lot of opportunities for not only us but all our fellow farmers, along with bringing some diversity to our area which traditionally farms sugar cane,” Julia said.
Julia’s, Shane’s and Carla’s perspective, and respect for life on the land, is wholeheartedly shared across the broad spectrum of producers attending the 2015 festival.
Michael Dlask from Salumi Australia believes that Byron Bay isn’t all just hippies and surfers; there’s so much more up in those hills. Hidden away in little old Billinudgel is the stuff foodie dreams are made of: award-winning Salumi products hand crafted by founder Massimo Scalas and the team, kitted out in white coats, matching hair nets and wielding impeccable knife skills. Setting out on the Salumi journey in 2010, it was Massimo’s ambition to create an old world product utilising the new world facility, local pork and recipes derived from his home in Sardinia.
Gena Karpf from Sydney’s Sweetness the Patisserie is living out her dream. Among many other incredible sweets, she makes marshmallows in 36 flavours, and couldn’t be happier with the ‘sweet life’.
“The delicious. Produce Awards brings to life all the products, and no other event showcases all of these amazing people together like the Noosa festival. Every year we are challenged to take a light-hearted food like confectionery, and compete against an earnest food like a lentil, or an heirloom herb. It’s one of the most brilliant events. I’m blessed.”
It’s easy to see why the festival celebrates these colourful characters and their incredible talents as the grassroots of Australia’s culinary scene. In one gorgeous location, the delicious. Produce Awards winners and finalists are brought together for four days of food, wine, music and fun, and consumers get to thank the producers who put the food on our tables.
For the full program of events, visit www.noosafoodandwine.com.au