The Localist

Food, glorious F.O.O.D


There’s really no better place to celebrate all things related to glorious food than the Orange F.O.O.D Week gourmet festival held in April. I’m not really sure where to start when it comes to this festival; with over 120 events being held by local producers, providores and vineyard, it’s really one helluva show. You can download a full program for this year’s festival here.

The festival event that probably sums up the spectacular celebration of all things local for me is the annual FORAGE, which sees around 800 people tramp (in small groups!) through three vineyards and a cattle farm, stopping at food and wine stations along the gentle 3.6 km walk. Now that’s my kind of walk! As a sign of its popularity, this event sold out within the first couple of hours of tickets being released. But have no fear, FORAGE tickets are included in the weekend F.O.O.D Train package, which includes a dedicated train carriage on the Countrylink rail service departing from Sydney’s Central Station and a whole weekend to savour the food and flavours of the Orange district.

And there’s much, much more, kicking off with a Friday night food market in Robertson Park. This kind of experience, complete with communal tables and local entertainment, is really something else here. All the best vineyards are represented, as are our best restaurants and food producers. Good Food Chef Hat restaurants, Tonic, Racine Restaurant and Lolli Redini, will be serving up incredible dishes, for starters. Local favourites Bistro Ceello, The Rocking Horse Lounge, Sister’s Rock and Bodhi Garden are also worth checking out while you’re here.

If you love a good local market, there are markets aplenty throughout the festival, in addition to the Friday night food market. There’s the Orange Region Farmers Market (starring my personal favourites Trunkey Creek Bacon, Fourjay Hazelnut Farms and Nanima Farm Lamb) and the region’s much-loved bi-annual Millthorpe Markets, featuring local artists, artisans and handicrafters. You can finish off the weekend at the Sunday brunch market in Cook Park in the centre of town, while admiring the gorgeous changing autumn colours.

For a real taste of the countryside, you could also join The Moveable Feast, an amazing new event that starts with canapés at local wonderful café/music venue/wine cellar/fresh farm produce providore The Agrestic Grocer, and then takes you out to Mandagery Creek Venison Farm for entrée and mains, and finishes off with a wander through The Farm Gate’s Nashdale Orchard where you’ll help pick dessert.

Seriously, this list could go on and on, as nearly every one of the 40+ vineyards in the region is holding its own celebratory events for the festival. Check out the Taste Orange website to see what you can find. Orange also has a blossoming café culture, and they’re all getting into the swing of the festival festivities with a Sunday brunch – my top picks are Anything Grows, Byng St Local Store, The Borenore Store, Old Mill Café, The Lakehouse and Union Bank Wine Bar. Have fun and enjoy!





Image. Photo by Kelly-Anne Smith.

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