A Feast of Flavours: Food Intro Autumn 2024

Image source: Contributed

Food festivals are back in a big way! Matt Golinski tucks into what’s on offer and discovers a veritable feast of themes and flavours.

Being a born and bred Queensland boy, I’ve always scoffed at people with air conditioning.

I swore I’d never install it in my house, I’d rather sit around in a pool of sweat in my lounge room than accept that I’m not tough enough to handle whatever summer can throw at me.

But this year broke me. The electrician came last week, and now I live in 26 degree comfort all day long like the majority of the sane population.

It really has been hard to get motivated to do anything outside over the past few months – the relentless sweltering heat has been punctuated by only just enough rain to make the day more humid than it was before.

The vege garden has exploded into a very successful crop of weeds out of sheer neglect, exercising outside is unbearable, and any time spent socialising outdoors ends in sweaty armpit patches and heatstroke.

Which is why we don’t see many food festivals taking place in the summer months – no one looks glamorous running screaming for cover from a sudden hail storm, high heels and champagne flute in hand, perspiring from every crevice.

Autumn, however, is when the foodie fun all kicks off.

GourMay Mary Valley is a month long celebration during May which covers everything from food movies to farm tours. There’s something for all age groups and budgets, and it’s all happening in one of the most picturesque parts of the coast. Even if food isn’t your passion it’s worth the country drive to take in the beauty of this place.

Staying in the Gympie Shire, there’s also the Big Rosella Festival in Woolooga on the first weekend in May, the triumphant return of the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival on the last weekend, and the Gympie Show right in the middle of the month.

Noosa Eat Drink is back in full force at the end of May and into early June with the much-loved festival village in The Woods at the end of Hastings Street promising plenty of opportunities to catch your favourite chefs in action on stage, and snack and sip your way through the weekend. There’s also dozens of satellite collaborative lunches and dinners happening over the four days in all the best restaurants around town.

Over the last week of July and the beginning of August, The Curated Plate shows off the southern part of the Sunshine Coast from Caloundra to Eumundi, and out west into the lush hinterland.

There’s so much diversity in the food and landscape in this region that you might find yourself eating prawns while you’re looking at the ocean from the beach, or eating beef while you’re looking at the ocean from the mountains.

Moreton Bay Food and Wine takes in three days and nights at the Woody Point waterfront in late August, with so much happening you’d need to be there the whole time to see it all.

If you’re keen for a food discovery road trip, there’s plenty happening in regional Queensland as well.

June brings the Scenic Rim Eat Local Month and St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend between Rockhampton and Mackay; July sees the return of the Jumpers and Jazz Festival in Warwick; August is all about Baconfest in Kingaroy and the Capricorn Food and Wine Festival in Rockhampton.

Spring sprouts the Mundubbera Blueberry Festival on 27-28 September, Cooloola Farm Trail on 28-29 September and the Stanthorpe Berry Festival on November 16 and 17!

Country festivals are a great way to meet the locals, get to know a new area and explore the surrounding countryside while you’re there.

There’s enough food festivals on in 2024 to keep even the most gluttonous gastronome satisfied, and each event is a truly unique experience due to its climate, geography and most importantly the chefs and producers who live and work there.

So step out into that safe Autumn weather, find the indulgence that grabs you, and start creating some culinary memories that will last a lifetime.

About the Author /

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Matt Golinski is a highly regarded chef with a passion for simple, produce-driven cuisine based on seasonal, fresh local ingredients. He is an active member of the Slow Food movement, a champion of artisan producers and a generous mentor to keen young chefs. He is the Food and Culinary Tourism Ambassador for the Gympie region; Ambassador and Advisory Executive Chef for Peppers Noosa; and a festival favourite.

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