Published on March 26th, 2015 | by Ann Rickard0
Live The Good Life
You don’t need an excuse for a short break in Noosa, but it’s good to have one.
This May is your excuse when the average temperature in Noosa is a beautiful autumn 21 degrees, making it the perfect time to party at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.
From a small beginning 12 years ago, when founder and restaurateur Jim Berardo took a group of southern media to the Coolabine Goat Farmstead in the Noosa hinterland and showed them local produce before sitting them down to lunch, the festival has grown to be the country’s most prestigious food and wine event.
But it is not just for foodies. Despite the large number of celebrity chefs and renowned winemakers who converge on the town for the four-day mega event, the festival is about lifestyle, and about enjoying a celebration of the good life in one of Australia’s most beautiful beachfront towns (actually it is the most beautiful if you ask the locals).
Jim Berardo, a New Yorker who has lived in Noosa for 15 years and loves it every bit as much as the locals, shamelessly uses Noosa’s charms as a backdrop for a number of ambitious events during the festival.
Every year he has upped the ante, bringing on more and more glamorous events over the four days. Lavishly lined marquees are erected on Noosa’s Main Beach to hold champagne breakfasts and cocktail-making competitions with some of the country’s top mixologists.
Noosa Lookout, with its spectacular views, is the tableau for sunset cocktails and orchestral concerts before grand multi-course dinners.
The Noosa River becomes the backdrop for seafood lunch cruises.
The hinterland towns of Kenilworth and Maleny form the montage for intriguing food trails.
The Noosa Heads Lions Park is transformed into a Festival Village with a massive 70m-by-25m marquee as its main hub, and a 20m covered stage the centre for entertainment.
It takes a full year and a large team working with military-like precision to plan the four-day festival held each May.
“We are already working on the 2016 festival,” Mr Berardo said. “You have to work that far ahead when you are dealing with international chefs with frantic schedules, and you have to stay on the cutting edge of rising stars.”
The festival, with its exceptional infrastructure of marquees and stages, is an all-weather under-cover event that locals are very proud of.
“We knew from the beginning for our festival to take hold nationally and then internationally it would have to take hold locally, so we integrated our restaurants and producers and shared the love by sending our visiting media writers, celebrity chefs and wine luminaries out to the local restaurants,” Mr Berardo said.
Noosa is beautiful all year, but from May 14 through 17, when the town is bursting with chefs, winemakers, sommeliers, entertainers and television personalities, it sparkles.
The opening night on Thursday, May 14,
will feature the US’s official Blues Brothers Revue as
well as the Swinging Martinis and the Devine Beach Party.
A variety of packages is available to enjoy the festival,
with a Gold Pass offering VIP entry to the festival village and the hospitality pavilion.
General admission to the festival village on the Saturday and Sunday remains at $40
and includes the Delicious Produce Awards, the culinary exhibition with food tastings,
a choice of 20 celebrity chef cooking demonstrations daily,
lifestyle discussions and live entertainment.
Accommodation packages are available.