If ever there was a time to support and celebrate Australian food and wine, it's now. The annual Orange F.O.O.D. Week has returned for 2021, which means it's time to pack your bags and head for the bountiful hills of Orange where the region's local wines and fine food await.
Orange F.O.O.D Week has become a mainstay on the calendar of regional festivals in New South Wales, and has featured repeat appearances from many top chefs over the past 30 years including Peter Doyle, the late Tony Bilson and Luke Mangan.
From April 9 to 18, the Orange festival will gather local farmers, chefs, restaurateurs and producers to show their stuff across six main events and more than 90 smaller attractions. It's a packed scheduled that's dizzying for all the right reasons, and to help you deftly navigate the 10-day affair, we've picked our favourites of the festival.
Sampson Street Long Lunch
Autumn in Orange lends itself particularly beautifully to a long, wine-fuelled lunch under the Plane trees, and the Sampson Street Long Lunch is the perfect excuse to while away an afternoon. Here, you'll feast on fare cooked by local culinary legends Michael Manners (Selkirks), Simonne Hawke (Loli Redini), Josie Chapman (The Old Convent) and Lesley Russell.
With local produce on your plate and the region's cool-climate wine in your glass, it's a delicious reminder of why Orange F.O.O.D Week is regarded as one of the top New South Wales food festivals. 10 April.
Meet the producer workshops
With such great local talent and produce, it's no wonder Orange has carved a reputation as a destination food festival in New South Wales. These workshops invite you to delve into the world of Orange's fine produce further. Revel in the art of pairing cheese and honey with Second Mouse Cheese Co., and honey from the Lockwood family – they've been harvesting the sweet nectar for some 35 years.
Mingle with David and Margaret Ogilvy, owners of Brittle Jacks Chestnut Farm. They've been growing local and imported chestnut varieties since 1976. There's also the chance to meet the third-generation owners of Thornbrook Orchard and sample freshly pickled apples, plums and peaches, or talk all things pork with Zanzie and Fred D'Souza, owners of Trunkey Bacon & Pork, April 12-16 .
F.O.O.D's 30th anniversary dinner
Over the past 30 years, this regional festival in New South Wales has nurtured a great many young guns and F.O.O.D's anniversary dinner will be no exception. We suggest reserving your place well in advance for this event, which is all about celebrating the young culinary guns from Orange, including Ruben Lopez (A Table of 10), Dom Aboud (The Union Bank), Lily Hahn-Stevens, Chris Tudor and Richard Learmonth. Tudor, for example, will prepare a pork cheek, veal sweetbread and saffron milk cap mushroom terrine with sauce gribiche and preserved fruits and vegetables - all locally sourced - in true paddock-to-plate spirit. It's an exemplary way to experience Orange's offering in one evening. April 12
Sunday producer market
Orange F.O.O.D Week takes place at the height of the Autumnal fruit picking season, and the producer market on the final day promises a sensory conclusion to the week's festivities. Take a leisurely stroll through the market for a relaxed morning of meet-and-greets with producers and food artisans in the leafy surrounds of Orange's historic Cook Park. Keep an eye out for Second Mouse Cheese Co.'s artisinal cheeses made from locally-sourced milk, or the family-owned Goldfield's honey, one of the largest beekeeping operations in the country. You'd best bring along an extra bag or two to carry home your bounty from these producers' markets. April 18.
Orange F.O.O.D Week 2021 runs from 9-18 April. Book tickets at orangefoodweek.com.au