Wednesday 20th of April 2011
Peter Sniekers from Industry and Investment NSW; RDA Northern Inland Snr. Project Officer (Food & Wine) Kim-Trieste Hastings; President of the ‘New England Wine Industry Association’ (from Mihi Creek Wines), Andrew Close; and the Chinese chefs for the event, Vincent Wang, Achilles Yu, Fiona Hua and Daisy Yang.
A one-off showcase of New England fine food and wine was organised by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Northern Inland last Sunday, 17 April. Positive feedback has flowed in from the wine and food producers who exhibited. Community members who attended have also expressed their delight with the event, relishing the opportunity to try everything from local liqueurs to meats, fruit and condiments.
“It was a very nice little fine food and wine festival. I tasted some beautiful trout, a great locally blended coffee and some wine,” said RDA Northern Inland Deputy Chair, Herman Beyersdorf. “It is very important that we promote the region’s produce and identity locally as well as further afield. We should source locally before looking elsewhere.”
Cinders Lane, which runs parallel to Armidale’s Central Mall, was blocked off for the Sunday morning flavour fest. Hundreds came for a taste of New England. The steady stream of test-tasters sampled wines from Tenterfield to Uralla and food from throughout Northern Inland NSW. “It was fantastic!” said Armidale resident, Barry Adams. “I’d like to see something like this more often.”
Achilles Yu led a team of Chinese cooks, who barbequed and served up local lamb and beef. “Everybody enjoyed the good food,” he said. “It is good to promote and use the local product, and support the local economy.”
Restaurateur, Marie Wall runs the “Bistro on Cinders”, which makes sourcing local produce a priority. “It was lovely to showcase our local produce; the vignerons, bread makers, vodka makers, beef growers, trout, you name it. People in New England need to back their local producers more. We order in local fruit, veg’ and meats every day in our bistro – our customers appreciate the fresh New England flavours,” she said.
President of the ‘New England Wine Industry Association’ Andrew Close from Mihi Creek Wines was among the exhibiting wine growers. “We had a great day. The weather was a little inclement and cold but the crowd was good. Importantly, those who came along were a genuinely interested target market,” he said. “Events like this are vital for boutique producers. They are the only (cost-effective) way we can get our message and product out to the public.”
The event was co-ordinated by RDA Northern Inland Senior Project Officer (Food and Wine), Kim-Trieste Hastings and she heard encore calls from the crowd. “It was very successful. I’ve fielded many requests for more such events in the future, possibly on a regular basis. RDA Northern Inland is working to support the region’s producers and in turn, the local economy and will definitely look into it,” she said. “With funding support from Industry and Investment NSW, this showcase was a chance for residents, retailers and those in the hospitality sector to learn about, taste and experience local fine food and wine. I would like to thank the following producers for their valuable support for the event; Jac Wagyu Beef, Arc-en-ciel Trout, Olives of Beaulieu; Country Fresh Lamb, Milly Hill Lamb, Freshly Berried, Spice Trading Company, Bellata Gold Pasta, Deetswood Wines, Mihi Creek, Thunder Ridge, Australian Bush Honey, Greenhill Orchards, The Super Strawberry, Daily Ritual Tea & Coffee, Red Dirt Distillery, Kurrajong Downs, The Goldfish Bowl, Blush Tomatoes and the Inverell band ‘D&M’.”