The Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival is back and organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever.
The annual festival kicked off with last weekend's A Little Bit of Italy in Broke event.
More than 40 events are planned throughout May and June, showcasing and celebrating the best the region has to offer - including the sub-regions of Broke and Lovedale.
You can wine and dine with some of the Hunter Valley's leading winemakers and chefs, take part in a range of entertaining and interactive masterclasses to sharpen your culinary skills, or simply curl up beside an open fire with a glass of premium Hunter Valley wine and a local cheese spread.
From gastronomical lunch experiences that roll into late dinners, to vineyard and winery tours followed by a tasting, there is something to suit all palettes.
"Given the challenges the of past few years for the hospitality, wine and tourism industries, we are delighted to be able to bring our signature festival to life again with a full program across both May and June," Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association chief executive officer Amy Cooper said.
"The 2022 program is bursting with events and our reputable chefs, cooks, winemakers and hospitality stars are ready to put their best foot forward to allow you to immerse yourself and experience Wine Country in all its glory."
She has two words of advice for those interested in attending one of the festival's many events. Book ahead.
A highlight of this year's festival is the Lovedale Long Lunch on May 14 and 15, which is back after a two-year hiatus. The progressive lunch sees leading local chefs team up with seven Lovedale wineries to offer guests food, wine and live music among the vineyards. Tickets are selling fast (go to lovedalelonglunch.com.au for details).
A new and exciting event on this year's program is the Firelight Festival + Firewalk in Singleton's town centre on May 21. It features a spectacular light show combining unique sensory, hologram and laser light experiences, with vibrant fire performances, food stalls and trucks, roving entertainment and live music, and laneway bars.
Other signature events include:
Big Ram Beer & BBQ Festival (Hope Estate, May 28 and 29) There will be more than 40 varieties of beer to taste plus you can talk to the brewers, watch the BBQ masters at work, check out the RAM trucks, take part in a masterclass or just kick back, relax and enjoy the live music.
Olive Long Table Luncheon (Whispering Brook, June 4) This alfresco luncheon takes place in the estate's olive groves and features a four-course Mediterranean-inspired menu by chef Frank Fawkner (EXP restaurant) with matching Whispering Brook wines, guest speaker Carol Jenkins, live music and a tour of the olive groves and vineyards.
Smoke in Broke (McNamara Park, June 11 and 12) This family-friendly event includes a Steak Cookoff Association Competition on the Saturday and the Australasian BBQ Alliance Competition on the Sunday. There will also be food vendors, music, and a demonstration stage.
Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, June 18) The 10th annual festival features wine, gourmet food, beer and cider, plus live music, tasting events and fun for the kids (a jumping castle, face painting, carousel and train ride).
Burning of the Barrel (Glandore Estate, June 25) Named as one of the top 50 wine events in the world by Gourmet Traveller, this fun event sells out annually so don't delay.
Epic Annual Lunch (Muse Restaurant, June 25) Join chef Troy Rhoades-Brown and his team at the two-hatted Muse Restaurant for their annual signature lunch. The five-course menu will be matched with a selection of premium aged and new release Hungerford Hill wines.
Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, June 28) The annual Food Fight is the signature calendar event organised each year by Hunter Culinary Association. Two Hunter region chefs (Michael Portley and Thomas Waite) and two Sydney chefs (Joshua Raine and Alexis Besseau) will prepare one lunch course each, matched with a Hunter Valley wine. Diners vote for their favourite dish at the end of the gourmet, fundraising feast. Hosted by Colin Fassnidge.
These include The Ultimate Margan Experience; Perfect Plate Degustation with Saddler's Creek Winery; Port and Cheese Tasting at Tintilla Estate; Let's Get Sensory at Scarborough; Special Tasting Experience at Talits Estate Vineyard; Sunday Long Lunch at Hunter Valley Gardens; Red Wine and Dine at Restaurant Kawul; Museum Masterclass at De Iuliis; Hunter Valley Wine Quiz Night; Tulloch Wines 'Tour of Italy' Experience; Single Vineyard Experience at Tyrrell's; and Chardonnay, Art and Antipasto at Winmark.
Wine and dine with some of the Hunter Valley's leading winemakers and chefs, take part in a range of entertaining and interactive masterclasses to sharpen your culinary skills, or simply curl up beside an open fire with a glass of premium Hunter Valley wine and a local cheese spread. The choice is yours at the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival.
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