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Summerside Festival set to sizzle! Five events you shouldn’t miss…

Amanda Whitley

The annual Summerside Festival is shaping up to be wonderful again this year (refresh your memory of last year’s adventures here) with a calendar full of summer-themed events. Kicking off today, this month-long festival is full of dining events celebrating local and seasonal produce, opportunities to taste the best of the region’s wines as well as exciting performances, events and exhibitions.


Make the most of the rest of summer (and hopefully warmer weather!) with a morning horse ride, lazy long lunch, chocolate or wine tasting, film under the stars or an afternoon of live music. There are heaps of experiences to choose from across the Canberra region: from Murrumbateman to Bungendore to Lake George and everywhere in between. Here are five events you shouldn’t miss (and skip to the end of the post if you want to join a special day of wine, cheese, chocolate and more, run by our very own Elouise Calabria!)


The team at Poachers Pantry is presenting a spectacular degustation dinner on Saturday 7 February: the Deconstructed Degustation is a sensational food and wine experience in four distinct chapters. Guests will meet at Lennox Gardens in Yarralumla at 5pm for the first part of the journey before heading out to Poachers Pantry.

The chapters include oysters on the waterside; wine and canapés in the Wily Trout vineyard; dinner at the Poachers Pantry Smokehouse and dessert under the stars. Guest will then be returned to where it all began – with wonderful memories.

New head chef, Marcel Schulte is looking forward to presenting his first degustation dinner at Poachers Pantry. Marcel comes to the region with a wealth of experience having worked in Michelin Star restaurants in Europe and award winning venues throughout Australia.

Ticket Price: $210pp with bookings essential and spots are limited. Call 02 6230 2487 | email [email protected] for details.


A wonderful opportunity to try the best of our local wines in the city, during the Summerside Festival the East Hotel is once again playing host to a number of local wineries.


Every Friday evening during February (starting next Friday 6 February) you can ‘meet the locals’ when a handful of the region’s finest wineries will head to Kingston to peddle their wares the old fashioned way – taste and talk. You can taste a great selection of local wines and pick up your favourites to take out to dinner afterwards and impress all your friends with a great local wine.

Tickets can be purchased online for $20 or at the door for $25.


Flint at Shaw Vineyard is presenting a spectacular event with Shakespeare in the Vines.  Now in its fourth year, the show this year will be Macbeth for one night only on Friday 20 February.


Held in the beautiful countryside setting at the Shaw Vineyard Estate the talented team at Flint have a couple of dining options for guest including restaurant dining with a two-course dinner or hamper packags including tickets and a hamper stocked with a bottle of local wine, cheese and antipasto platter with crackers and a sweet treat.

Bookings are essential and this will sell out so be quick.


Make the most of the beautiful summer mornings and balmy summer evenings with a horse ride through the trails at Burnelee Excursions on Horseback during the Summerside Festival. Experience the beauty of twilight with a riding experience and then after two hours in the saddle, relax back at Burnelee with a tasting of Poachers Pantry’s award-winning smoked meats, accompanied by a sample of Eden Road Wines. If you’re a morning person then what better way to start the day than a morning exploring this beautiful grazing property on horseback.

4. Taking in the views towards Gundaroo

Twilight rides on 31 January and 14 February, and morning rides on 31 January, 7, 14, 21 and 28 February. Book early as the group size is limited.


Lerida Estate has an exciting program of events during the Summerside Festival with live music, wine master classes, wine and cheese matching and more. Join some of Canberra’s leading local musicians share their talents with live music in the barrel room every Sunday afternoon during the festival.


The new wine and cheese matching is sure to be popular with Janet Gavey from The Essential Ingredient, Canberra on board to explain cheese-making techniques while Jim Lumbers, owner of Lerida Estate, will discuss Lerida’s winemaking styles and techniques and which wines he considers a suitable match for the respective cheeses.

Jim will also run a series of wine master classes with a focus on Pinot Noir and one class looking at the delicious combination of duck and Pinot.

Bookings required for all events. Book through www.thepoachersway.com.au or call 6295 6640. 


Head out for the day and explore the cellar doors at the wineries of The Poacher’s Way, including Tallagandra Hill – one of our favourites of the Canberra District.

high tea

Annemaree and Brad at Tallagandra Hill are presenting a Summerside High Tea during February. Get a few friends together and make the most of this delicious menu including a selection of finger sandwiches, petit fours, sweet and savoury pastries, scones with preserve and cream, tea or coffee and a glass of Tallagandra Hill Sparkling Chardonnay.

The price is $39.00 per person and bookings are essential.


We’ve teamed up with Vines & Wines‘ Scott and Elouise Calabria (who you may know from her wine articles) to give you a chance to experience the Poachers Way with other HerCanberra readers and writers on Saturday 28 February.


The tour will pick you up and whisk you to Poachers Pantry for a wine tasting plus sampling of their smoked meats and cheeses. Then it’s on to Eden Road for more wine, then a woodfired pizza lunch and a glass of wine among the vines at Four Winds Vineyard. The afternoon rounds out at Robyn Rowe Chocolates, where you’ll experience an afternoon tea like no other…full of chocolaty goodness!

You can get all the details of what’s included at the Vines & Wines website – and because you’re a HerCanberra reader, you get 10% off! The itinerary is usually $150 (including transport, expert guides, wine tastings at three wineries, lunch and afternoon tea), but you can enjoy it for just $135 if you use the discount code: v&whercan2015

But hurry, there are only 10 places available! It’s sure to be a great day out with friends – and a chance to make new ones! Book here.

the essentials

What: Summerside Festival
When: Saturday 31 January–Sunday 1 March 2015
Where: Poacher’s Way venues throughout the Capital and Canberra region
Web: thepoachersway.com.au/summerside-festival


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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