The Food of Orange District (F.O.O.D) festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Running from 8th to 17th April, F.O.O.D Week is the country’s longest running regional food festival. You only need to drive about 3.5 hours out of Sydney to reach the charming food and wine hub. Showcasing quality produce and cool climate wine of the region, Orange F.O.O.D Week brings together a love of good ingredients, community spirit, and diversity. The festival is packed with six signature events and more than 90 satellite events at local eateries, cellar doors, and paddocks.
The Moveable Feast: A Preview
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of what The Moveable Feast has in store for guests. A progressive lunch moving from café to farm to orchard, the event allows you to meet the producers and taste the fruits of their labour. In its 5th year as a satellite event at Orange F.O.O.D Week, the lunch takes you straight to the source to explore the diverse produce of the region.
The Agrestic Grocer
We start with a delicious breakfast at The Agrestic Grocer, abundant with incredible local produce. Everything from the Rise Artisan Bakery croissants to the figs topped with The Second Mouse quark are from Orange.
Lucas and Danielle Martin are focused on local, wholesome food at their cafe, and stock their store with fresh produce from the region, pantry staples, and artisan products.
Mandagery Creek Venison Farm
After a satisfying breakfast, we head over to Mandagery Creek Venison Farm to meet farmer Tim Hansen and to have a peek at the deer. Outlining the health benefits of venison like its high protein and low fat content, Tim speaks passionately about his free-ranged and pasture-fed stock. Mandagery Creek venison is the star of our lunch that we’re treated to at the following stop, Cargo Road Wines.
As part of the nose-to-tail philosophy, Tim’s sister Penny is the brainchild behind 1803 Artisan Deer Design, using the antlers and hides, which are natural bi-products of deer farming. Everything from beautiful knifes and cushions to wallets are handcrafted by local artisans.
Cargo Road Wines
Our next stop is at Cargo Road Wines to meet winemaker James Sweetapple, who is also President of Orange F.O.O.D Week. James is in the midst of making vincotto as we walk in, the sweet aroma of grapes enveloping us straight away. Alongside a wine tasting, James tells us how much he cares for the soil and the land. He’s passionate about holistic farming, where everything works together, from the sheep eating the grass, dropping pellets, and dung beetles bringing the pellets underground. Other than growing grapes for wine, the vineyard is also home to quince trees, cherry trees, and fig trees. In fact James even makes a beautiful quince paste to accompany cheese platters.
Our lunch is prepared with fresh produce aplenty. Large salads celebrating local ingredients are waiting for us at the table. The pumpkin salad with The Second Mouse cheese is my favourite, but the fennel and zucchini salad is also a winner. Mandagery Creek venison is the hero of the venison sandwich with pear and rocket, paired with a glass of Zinfandel. A fantastic apple pie with local cream concludes our lunch at Cargo Road Wines on a high.
The Moveable Feast
Date: Wednesday 13 April 11am-4.30pm
Price: $145 per person
Bookings Essential: 02 6360 4606
Event Details: The Agrestic Grocer for canapes, entrée and mains at Mandagery Creek Venison’s Farm Kitchen, dessert at The Farm Gate Orchard. Includes farm tours.
Check out the full list of events on the Orange F.O.O.D Week website.
I visited Orange as a guest of Orange F.O.O.D Week. The preview is a recreation, and not identical to The Moveable Feast event on the 13th of April.