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10 delicious ways to explore Taste Riverina 2017

Beatrice Smith

Spring is here! Unfurl your social calendar and shake off the blankets!

Finally, date night and catch-ups with friends can go beyond cosy coffees to road trips, lunches outdoors and days spent traipsing around vineyards.

We’ve previously written about Taste Riverina – a month-long festival where you can do all the things mentioned above and more. I had the pleasure of attending the festival last year where we foraged for herbs, met acclaimed winemakers and enjoyed cooking classes with celebrity chefs. This year, the Festival runs from 1 to 31 October and is the perfect excuse for a spring getaway.

If you, like many Canberrans, came here for work, love or study and have yet to explore the ACT’s neighbouring regions, a crash course. The Riverina is most often described as the ‘food bowl of Australia’ and each of the area’s farmers is said to feed 600 people annually.

But that description needn’t conjure up images of dusty farmlands and tractors—think lush horticultural landscapes and a sophisticated, food and wine-loving population. On my visit I found that the ‘food bowl’ they’re talking about is more like an elegant four-course lunch, served completely paddock-to-plate, with everything (even salami, cheese and chocolate) made locally and accompanied by matching wines.

So having said all that, here’s what we’re looking forward to the most at Taste Riverina 2017.

Blast from the Past

280_Blast from the Past in Barellan

For the opening weekend of the Festival, the town of Barellan (birthplace of tennis legend, Yvonne Goolagong) is taking us on a trip through history. Discover the farm life of yesteryear with cow milking and butter churning demos, polished off with an authentic camp oven dinner under the stars.

Happening 30 September-1 October at the Barellan Showgrounds | $5-15 | Find more information here.

A Journey From Paddock To Plate

280_A journey from Paddock to Plate

One of Taste Riverina’s signature events, Paddock To Plate is the creation of local chef Corey Hammond from the Blue Apron Steakhouse. Over three delicious courses you’ll have the opportunity to meet local producers and find out exactly where your food came from.

Happening Friday 13 October from 6.30-11pm | Narrandera Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Narrandera | $75 per person | Book your spot here.

Bundyi Cultural Tours

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Mark Saddler is a proud Wiradjuri man and a natural born storyteller. I had the privilege of attending one of his Bundyi Cultural Tours to The Rock Nature Reserve last year and can say that it was one of the most valuable and interesting tours I’ve ever been on.

Happening across a variety of dates during the Festival | Depart from the Visitor Information Centre, Wagga Wagga | Find more information here.

Fizz and Fungi dinner

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Locally grown truffles, locally produced sparkling AND locally hand crafted beer. That’s what you’ll be able to indulge in at this exclusive dinner where producers and makers will speak throughout the evening, guiding your palate through the rich region of Tumbarumba.

Happening 7 and 28 October | Elms Restaurant, Tumbarumba | Tastings free, meals at menu price | Book your spot here.

Spirit of the Land Markets

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This year, Lockhart’s Spirit of the Land Markets are embracing the theme of ‘Make it, Bake it, Grow it’, which gives you something of an idea of what you’ll find there. Handcrafted sculptures and art, baked goods and farm tours, live music, entertainment and even heritage train rides and open gardens are squeezed into two jam-packed days across the weekend of 7 and 8 October.

Happening 7-8 October | Green Street, Lockhart | Free entry | Find more information here.

Regional Dinner

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It’s not every day that you get to see the next generation of culinary masters in action, but that’s exactly the point of the Festival’s Regional Dinner.

At TAFE NSW Wagga’s On Course Restaurant, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a three course meal inspired by the apprentice chefs themselves, created from ingredients hand-picked from a tour of the region’s producers.

Happening 17, 24 and 31 October from 6-9.30pm | On Course Restaurant, Wagga Wagga | $50 per person | Book your spot here.

Leeton Chill and Grill

280_Leeton Chill and Grill

A full day of foodie goodness awaits you at Leeton’s Chill and Grill in the beautiful Mountford Park.

Watch cooking demonstrations from River Cottage Australia’s Paul West, browse market stalls, buy fresh local produce straight from the farmer and fill up on food from local chefs for just $5 per plate.

Happening Saturday 21 October from 10am-2pm | Mountford Park, Leeton | Free entry | Find more information here.

Music Food and Wine in the Vines

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An event that sells out every year, this half-day festival is all about the winning combination of music, food and beautiful spring weather.

As afternoon turns to dusk, watch the sun set over the Koorambi Winez vines while you listen to a huge line-up of local acts and indulge in some delicious food, polished off with a cheeky tipple of local beer, wine or spirits.

Happening Saturday 21 October from 12-8pm | Koorambi Winez, Temora | $40 per person | Find more information here.

Long Lunch at the Piccolo Farm

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The birthplace of Limone Head Chef Luke Piccolo’s passion for fine food, indulge in an afternoon of fine dining at the Piccolo Farm—a working citrus farm surrounded by two acres of established gardens, just outside Griffith.

The lunch will be fully catered by Luke and his team and will hero local produce and wines. Keep in mind that you can book either individual tickets or a whole table of 10. Roadtrip, anyone?

Happening Sunday 22 October from 12-4pm | Piccolo Farm, Lake Wyangan | $150 per person | Book your spot here.

Tumbarumba Tastebuds

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Taking place over the final weekend of the Festival, Tumbarumba Tastebuds promises to round out the month with a bang—or should we say a bloom?

Combining the colour of the Garden Club’s Open gardens and Flower Show with Tumbarumba’s award-winning wines, this is the perfect way to cap off a phenomenal month of food and wine.

Happening 28-29 October in Tumbarumba | Free entry to cellar doors, $5 entry per garden, bookings not required | Find more information here.

DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?

If your head is spinning from all that delicious info (don’t worry, ours is too), Taste Riverina has done the hard work for you and organised a special boutique travel package for every single weekend of the Festival.

From ‘Tumbarumba Mania’ to ‘One Big Palate Party’ and ‘Local Food for Body and Mind’, there’s a personalised package out there for everyone, taking the stress and guesswork out of planning your getaway.

Check them out here.

the essentials

What: Taste Riverina 2017
Where: Various locations across the Riverina region, NSW
When: 1-31 October 2017
More information and bookings: www.tasteriverina.com.au

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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