A Hollywood high tea, cheese and wine masterclass and live cooking demonstrations are all on the menu this month when the 2017 Food & Wine Expo winds its mouth-watering way into Newcastle.
More than 10,000 food and wine enthusiasts are expected to flock to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre during August 25-27 for the gastronomical gathering in what will be its sixth annual visit to the city.
More than 100 exhibitors will be on hand to showcase their products and offer free samples of gourmet food and wine, bringing to life the connoisseur delights of Australia’s cuisine.
A walk through the aisles of the Food & Wine Expo will also take you to some of the most renowned wineries in Australia, where you can sample award-winning wines and find out more about the winemaking process.
Those just starting out on their wine appreciation journey can learn to distinguish the difference between a Shiraz and a Merlot and develop their palate while also getting the chance to meet the faces and hardworking business owners behind the brands.
A stroll through Kurrajong Kitchen Cheese Alley is also a must for Newcastle cheese lovers, combining cheeses from all over Australia with the Kurrajong Kitchen lavosh in a mouth-watering match made in heaven.
Those wanting to combine their love of both cheese and wine should book a spot in the master class for a chance to learn from the best in the business.
For $40 per person, you can sample cheese from the experts at Smelly Cheese Shop, served with lavosh from Kurrajong Kitchen and paired with French wines from Bordeaux and Beyond.
A visit to the Appreciation Area is also a must, with free workshops offering a chance to taste, sample and learn an appreciation for the finer things in life.
With classes covering cheese, wine and liqueurs and nonstop sessions running throughout the expo, there’s sure to be a taste sensation and a time to suit everybody.
Places are limited to 40 people per session, so you’ll need to get in quick for the opportunity to be educated while you indulge.
A new feature at this year’s expo is the Hollywood High Tea, which is set to take the food and wine experience to a whole new level. Enjoy a red carpet welcome and bubbles on arrival, followed by delicious food lovingly prepared by Newcastle-s own My Kitchen Rules stars Carly and Tresne.
A special guest speaker, fashion display and complimentary gifts from Designer In a Box and Event Cinemas will round out the experience, which also includes access to the broader Food and Wine Expo.
Tickets cost $95 per person, with proceeds from the high tea supporting the Newcastle-based Got Your Back Sista charity.
Fellow celebrity chef Ben Milbourne will also be offering up a gourmet dining experience for $95 per person in the Taltarni Celebrity Dining Room.
The MasterChef favourite will prepare a succulent five-course, a two-hour degustation menu, paired with matching wines while sharing some of his cooking secrets.
Of course, there will be plenty of more casual options to satisfy the appetites of the hungry hordes, including the classic Beer and Burger Bar, as well as the hugely popular Oyster Bar.
Sit back and relax with a serving of fresh oysters and chilled sparkling while taking in the action around you, or make the most of its perfect location in front of the Main Stage to savour the sights and smells of the live cooking demonstrations.
One of the most popular elements of the expo, the interactive demonstrations will see a host of celebrity and local chefs share their latest recipes and fail-safe cooking tips, with the line-up to include the winners of 2016 My Kitchen Rules, Tasia and Gracia Seger.
Known to fans of the show as the “Spice Queens” because of their love of chillies, Tasia and Gracia grew up in Indonesia, India and Australia and like to incorporate international influences in their cooking.
They are constantly developing new fusions within traditional Asian cooking, combining innovative dishes with modern plating and love to use chilli, garlic, onion, shallots and rice in their creations.
Ben Milbourne will also take a break from his duties in the dining room to share stories from the whirlwind years since his appearance on MasterChef in 2012. He’s produced two cookbooks – Mexican Craving and Tasmanian Trail – and travelled the country and the world, often with his friend and fellow contestant, Hunter local Andy Allen, who took out the 2012 title.
Ben now has his own TV show on Channel 10, Ben’s Menu, which is filmed at his picturesque farmhouse in north-west Tasmania and has just been nominated for a Logie.
Rounding out the celebrity chef element of this year’s expo will be perennial Newcastle favourites Carly and Tresne, who won hearts across the country on My Kitchen Rules in 2014 with their resilient natures, positive attitudes and down-to-earth personalities.
The pair said they were excited to be in the line-up again at this year’s Food & Wine Expo and were looking forward to sharing plenty of nutritious tips and delicious recipes with their home crowd.
“We love being at home during these presentations, so we'll make sure our demonstration is filled with nutritious facts and tips for cooking the food in a way that will retain the food at its optimum level,” Carly said.
“Of course there will also be plenty of games, jokes and stories to make it fun.
“We absolutely love doing the Food & Wine Expo. The vendors have the most fabulous produce, so we like to stock up while we are there, especially in Newcastle because we don't have to fit it in our suitcase.
“Live cooking demonstrations are so great because you can smell the food cooking and they get to taste everything at the end. We always have loads of fun with the live audience.”
While Carly loves to cook sweet treats such as cakes, mousses and slices, as well as traditional Italian and French desserts, Tresne is passionate about protein and loves using the pressure cooker or preparing slow cooked ribs or lamb shoulder, with Thai and Japanese her favourite flavours.
The pair also take part in the Food & Wine Expos held across the country in Perth, Gold Coast, Canberra and Brisbane, but said there’s definitely no place like home.
“Novocastrians are so supportive, so the vibe is always super positive,” Tresne said.
“We have people we catch up with every year who’ve become friends, and it is lovely to see local faces. Newcastle is where our heart is, and we feel so honoured to be able to cook at a local event.”
A one day pass costs $22 per adult while three-day unlimited entry costs$50 per person. Children under 14 accompanied by a paying adult are free. For more information about the
expo or to purchase your ticket visit www.foodandwineexpo.com.au/shows/Newcastle