Scenic parklands, celebrity chef demonstrations, live entertainment and produce from over 80 of the state’s finest providores at Regional Flavours this July 16 and 17.

Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands will become a feast of ‘Regional Flavours‘ as foodies descend upon the lush, riverside precinct for the annual food and wine festival this July.riverquay_flowersIf you think Queensland has little more to offer to the Australian culinary scene than pineapples, bananas and XXXX Gold, this glorious gastronomic weekend is sure to change your mind.

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The Lockyer Valley is one of the most fertile farming regions in Australia and it’s only just over an hour outside Brisbane in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. The Lockyer Valley is nicknamed ‘the salad bowl’ of Australia and produces over 90% of the nations winter vegetables.

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The Lockyer Valley

So as one would expect, produce from these rich farmlands will be proudly showcased at Regional Flavours. In fact, bountiful harvest from all across the sunny Northern state will be at the forefront of this festival that celebrates local farmers as much as it does celebrity chefs.

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Organic pumpkin from Bauers Organic Farm

Fresh and artisanal produce in Queensland is reaped in abundance; cultivated from a glorious climate, unique natural surroundings and a touch of that typical laid-back charm of Queensland farmers. If this doesn’t sound like ripe conditions for a winter weekend bursting with tasty tucker, we don’t know what does.

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Salted caramel and hazelnut chocolate tarts with clotted cream from Cove Bar and Dining at River Quay

Plus, Regional Flavours will be jam-packed with cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs, a provincial street market where you can meet those charming farmers and producers, a pop-up bar presenting craft beer and gourmet ‘paddock to plate’ fare, a coffee and dessert station for those with a sweet tooth and a craving for caffeine, a series of informative sessions run by chef Paul West from River Cottage Australia, special menus designed by trendy River Quay restaurants, a multitude of mouth-watering food trucks and the Picnic Patch where you can plonk yourself down on a rug and enjoy the bountiful produce of the Lockyer Valley region.

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The bougainvillea along The Arbour walkway at South Bank.

Australians are starting to care more than ever about what they eat, and although we are not over our love affair with superstar chefs who inspire us in the kitchen, we’ve started to ask ‘Where does our produce come from?’. Get amongst the cooks, chefs and producers to discuss concepts such as seasonal, ingredient-driven, organic, sustainable, farm-to-fork, paddock-to-plate fare.

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The lush, riverside South Bank parklands.

Meander down to South Bank Parklands to learn about all things food. Did we mention it’s free entry?

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Straddy king prawn taco with avocado, sweetcorn, tomato, coriander salsa from The Jetty at River Quay

A quick flight up to Brissy and you’ll soon experience some of the finest Queensland hospitality, meet some of the biggest names on the culinary scene and salt-of-the-earth farmers alike, and best of all – taste from the smorgasbord of tantalising offerings over the course of the weekend.

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Lavender cocktail made with flowers picked from Holmwood Lavender Farm

TOP TEN THINGS TO DO AT REGIONAL FLAVOURS

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A range of pumpkins from the rustic Forest Hill Farm Stall in The Lockyer Valley

EAT – SHOW – TELL

This is the main event at Regional Flavours and it’s easy to see why – the crème de la crème of celebrity chefs from all over the country will be hosting a series of cooking demonstrations. The big names in the foodie biz; Paul West, Maggie Beer, Adriano Zumbo, Hayden Quinn, Luke Hines and the stars from hit television show Masterchef – Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. What a stellar line up!

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Quality meat from Schultes Meat Tavern in The Lockyer Valley

PRODUCER SHOWCASE

It’s a rustic street market brimming with produce from all across Queensland. Head to the Producer Showcase where the stalls are lined up along Little Stanley Street for a unique opportunity to meet growers, winemakers and purveyors who’ll be happy to shoot the breeze about the benefits of keeping things local.

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Outdoor lunch spread at Bauers Organic Farm, The Lockyer Valley

Keep an eye out for Lockyer Valley favourites such as Bauer’s Organic and Schulte’s Meats.

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IAMWT sampled the bounty of the Lockyer Valley with beautiful veggies from Bauers Organic Farm.

QUEENSLAND TASTE

This pleasant grove is all about sipping top-notch wines and sampling delicious morsels (Hint: cheese and pâté!) from the state’s best artisans. On the Queensland Taste Stage there are a series of cooking master classes and demonstrations run by culinary experts and local chefs. Make sure to get in quick on the day to score your free tickets. We recommend seeing the ever-so-entertaining Alastair McLeod cooking up a storm with Lockyer Valley veggies.

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Behind the scenes ale tasting and brewery tour at The Charming Squire

THE HUNTING CLUB

Blokes listen up, this pop-up bar will be open until late over the weekend with a solid focus on beer and homegrown Queensland meat. The ‘paddock to plate’ experience will bring together cattle and lamb farmers with boutique breweries to give you this laid-back yet wholly gourmet experience.

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Texas smoked Denver steak slider with spiced BBQ sauce and corn salsa at The Charming Squire

The Charming Squire will be behind the tempting bistro menu, and if that’s not enough find their food truck during the day where they’ll be serving up sliders along Little Stanley Street.

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A classic cappuccino at Merlo Coffee
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Banana bread and pastries at Merlo Coffee

SWEET ESCAPE

Sweet Escape celebrates the perfect pairing of coffee with cake, if this sounds like your kind of guielty pleasure then save room for dessert. This zone is designed specially for coffee connoisseurs and those with a sweet tooth. Expect sugary treats galore and an informative appearance from esteemed pastry chefs such as Adriano Zumbo (Australia’s very own Willy Wonker) whose demonstration will be the cherry on top of your weekend.

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Coffee education specialist, Frith La Vin Lloyd, hosting a cupping session at Merlo Coffee

There will also be piping hot barista-brewed coffee and demonstrations by Brisbane’s renowned Merlo Coffee team.

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RIVER COTTAGE AUSTRALIA

Gardening enthusiasts and green thumbs should flock to the innovative Epicurious Garden along the South Bank for ‘farm-to-fork’ fare and a series of cooking demonstrations run by Paul West from River Cottage Australia. The informative sessions cover a lot of ground – sustainability, cheese making, permaculture, fermentation and garden gastronomy.

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Degustation at Tukka restaurant in Brisbane’s West End. Entree of four native berries fresh muntries, glace lillypilly, glace red quandong and glace desert lime), four native meats (wattle seed cured crocodile, lemon myrtle seared emu, fennel seed seared kangaroo and coriander seed seared kangaroo) and fresh lillypilly, macadamia nut and bunya nut salad with a lemon myrtle dressing.
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Strawberry gum cured crocodile ceviche served with a finger lime and basil dressing, fresh watermelon and freeze dried mandarin.
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Kangaroo seared medium rare served with a roasted pumpkin puree, char grilled zucchini ribbons, roasted cherry tomatoes, samphire and a balsamic jus.
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Dessert: Honey panna cotta, toasted meringue, vanilla sable and a pepper berry gel garnished with edible flowers from Tukka’s own restaurant garden.

Look out for local Queensland chef Bryant Wells from Tukka restaurant, as he’ll be presenting a discussion about surprising native Australian foods that people can use to create beautiful dishes in their own kitchen. This series of inspiring presentations are all hosted at the permanent organic, riverside gardening project that is worth a visit in itself.

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River Quay

RIVER QUAY

Along the most Northerly point of the South Bank walkway is the River Quay Green, a favourite riverside spot amongst Brisbanites. It’s a pleasant grassy patch with lovely views over the Goodwill Bridge and home to a cluster of upmarket restaurants.

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QLD pork belly and black garlic dumplings with XO sauce from Stokehouse Q.
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Example of dishes that will be served as part of the River Quay event at Regional Flavours.
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Crumbed mozzarella with local thyme infused honey from Popolo Brisbane.
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This hand pulled mozzarella could not be more tasty. The salty and sweet combination is so moreish.
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The tarts from Cove Bar and Dining are prettily decorated in flower petals.

Five of Brisbane’s trendiest restaurants will sort you out with an array of delicious dishes to devour. Plus, there will be live music to ensure maximum levels of merriment.

EATSOUTH BANK FOOD TRUCKS

 Parked along Little Stanley Street for the whole weekend, EatSouthBank food trucks will be serving up a moveable feast. The trucks will be run by some of Brisbane’s prominent restaurateurs and they’ll be showcasing Queensland’s fresh produce. So, when you’re enjoying lunch you know you’re also supporting your local farmers!

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The exterior of Forest Hill Farm Stall in The Lockyer Valley
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Breakfast parfait with local Lockyer Valley custard apple, fromage blanc and granola.

THE PICNIC PATCH

Did you know the Lockyer Valley is one of the most fertile farming regions in Australia? Experience the glorious produce coming out of Queensland’s very own Lockyer Valley at The Picnic Patch.

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Lemon myrtle cheesecake from Holmwood Produce Lavender Farm in the Lockyer Valley.
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Homemade lavender scones with farm-fresh cream and rosella jam from Holmwood Producer Lavender Farm.

Plonk yourself down on a comfy picnic rug, bask in the sunshine and enjoy an alfresco menu created by television personality and Lockyer Valley Region Ambassador Alastair McLeod.

WHERE TO STAY

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Brisbane Marriott lobby
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Swimming pool at Brisbane Marriott

The Brisbane Marriott Hotel has a special accommodation offer for Regional Flavours attendees, with a discounted rate of $199 per night between the 14-18th of July 2016. The hotel is in easy walking distance to the central hub of Brisbane city; close to restaurants, cafes and shopping. Brisbane Marriott also boasts views of Brisbane River, Story Bridge and the city skyline.

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Cheese selection at Brisbane Marriott breakfast buffet.
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A sampling of sweet treats at Brisbane Marriott breakfast buffet.

If you happen to have any appetite left after the festival, be sure to spoil yourself with the extensive buffet breakfast.

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Landscape view of Branell Homestead in the Lockyer Valley.

INSPIRED TO VISIT THE LOCKYER VALLEY?

Seeing you’re in Brisbane, you may as well visit the source of some of the city’s finest produce. The Lockyer Valley is only an hours drive outside of Brisbane. Branell Homestead B&B (branell.com.au) is our pick for a luxury stay in the region.

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Sunshine on the porch at the luxury Branell Homestead accommodation.

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Both the Federation style accommodation and the modern luxury suites have incredible countryside views and quality amenities.

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Breakfast basket with pumpkin scones to write home about.

Be sure to opt for a farm-style breakfast hamper to complete your stay.

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FLIGHTS

Flights run regularly from Sydney to Brisbane and the journey only takes 1½ hours. Qantas, Jetstar, Tiger Air and Virgin Australia all offer return flights at competitive prices.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

http://regionalflavours.com.au/

I Ate My Way Through travelled as a guest of South Bank Parklands

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Eddie is a food and travel blogger from Sydney. Bon vivant, brunch enthusiast and that person who always saves room for dessert. Due to an insatiable appetite for worldly wanderings her life can best be described as a moveable feast . Eddie has travelled to +40 countries and lived in foodie-hotspots Paris, London and New York. When in town, she divides her time between teaching 'Online Media' at the University of Sydney, working as a photographer and exploring the latest food scene. You’re likely to spot her roaming the streets of Sydney with a camera slung over her shoulder or tapping away on a laptop in a local cafe. You can follow along on more of Eddie’s adventures at www.theportmanteaupress.com