Beauty and the Feast

Noosa Heads -Qld. Australia

April 29, 2014 • Food, On the Menu • Views: 1450

Noosa Heads - AustraliaNoosa can relax, it’s all over for yet another year.  Sheathed in colourful silk dresses, the ladies who lunch have headed home. Bronzed young men circling clusters of lissom lovelies teetering on vertiginous heels are back in the water, eyes fixed on the next wave while foodies from around the country are making their way back to familiar pastures. For the past decade, the entrée-sized seaside town of Noosa Heads nestled on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has drawn up to 26,000 food lovers into its orbit for an annual International Food and Wine Festival that for many gourmet groupies has become an annual pilgrimage. We’ve been surfing Noosa’s menus for years loving the cafes and restaurants’ beguiling blend of laid-back beach culture and chic sophistication but each May, it’s not just the water that’s making waves as a stellar line-up of celebrity chefs jet in from around the world to dazzle diners as part of a four-day gastronomic tour-de-force.Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia Crowded into white marquees, there’s a frisson of excitement amongst festival-goers eager to soak up trade secrets from culinary’s A-list and cameras at the ready, they jostle to get up close and personal with their favourite celeb-chef. Planning my day on a plate, the tantalizing menu of options includes food trend discussions and cooking demonstrations, lifestyle lunches and food trails, wine and champagne master classes, picnics and high teas by the picturesque Noosa River, sand-between-the-toes seafood feasts in the barefoot beach marquee and sublime sunset concerts. Whew!Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia “Luring chefs from busy cities to cook near our golden sands is no hard sell as Noosa really delivers the ‘wow’ factor,” says festival co-creator and local restaurateur Jim Berardo who along with Greg O’Brien has been driving the event since 2002. Adjacent to Noosa’s pristine Main Beach, the picturesque National Park is just the place to walk off excess calories and observe cuddly koalas sleeping in the fork of gum trees, watch screeching, gleaming black cockatoos take flight and bush turkeys lazily scratch through the undergrowth of this lushly rainforested, 4,000 hectare nature zone. Dipping down to sandy coves and pebbled headlands where zinc-nosed surfers scan the ocean, no wonder a coterie of hat-ed chefs from some of the world’s most celebrated restaurants can’t wait to return.Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia As organic larder luxuries and kitchen gadgets have (almost) replaced shoes and bags as my must-have accessories, has our food obsession gone too far? Festival founder Jim Berardo thinks not. “Food is a celebration of life and people are hungrily consuming new food and wine trends. Thanks to television shows, chefs are as popular with kids as sporting stars and the Sunday Noosa farmers’ market personifies the turf-to-table movement as people look to cut food miles in favour of seasonally fresh flavours and sustainable shopping,” says Berardo. Throughout the year, the weekly Sunday Noosa Farmers’ market showcases the Sunshine Coast’s burgeoning gourmet pedigree. Noosa Heads - Qld. AustraliaHeirloom vegetables, particularly the ruby-orbed Noosa Reds tomatoes, delicate Noosa spanner crabs caught between Moreton and Fraser Islands and pudgy fingers of local Buderim ginger are sold alongside aromatic spices cultivated at Garnisha spice farm, sweet Eumundi strawberries that taste of sunshine and rainforest-grown macadamias. Food trails have become a popular part of the festival program and in coastal Noosa, they aren’t always on foot. The Noosa River splashing under the sleek bow of ‘MV Catalina’ accompanies splashes of sparkling wine as the Seafood Afloat trail sets sail with guests lunching on fresh oysters and smoked salmon. We travel inland for the ‘Strings and Straw’ Freestyle Escape and over pre-lunch drinks in a rustic barn, meet innovative new food producers, some of whom are part of the just-launched Sunshine Coast Gourmet Trail. Under shining skies, eighteen local restaurants and more than forty wineries sell all kinds of awesome. Having world-renown chefs in town certainly raised the bar and buying a book of tickets, we gourmet speed dated the food stalls putting the bite on a scrumptious range of dishes.Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia One of the international contingent again this year was Alvin Leung from Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation. A couple of years ago,  he had the crowd eating out of his hand with his version of Sex on the Beach – a dessert, not a viral video!  What he created with a packet of TimTams and evaporated milk defied description….. Check out www.noosafoodandwine.com.au and book early for the 2015 festival. Virgin Australia and Jetstar operate flights to Sunshine Coast Airport, Noosa’s nearest gateway. www.virginaustralia.com www.jetstar.com For information on Noosa: www.visitnoosa.com.au For accommodation packages go to www.deals.visitsunshinecoast.com.au/nifw

  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
  • Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia
    Noosa Heads - Qld. Australia

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