I looked out the window as soon as I woke up yesterday to see if it was going to be sunny and warm or sunny and cold or rainy. I was hoping for warm and it wasn’t but it wasn’t raining.
John and I said goodbye to Charlie our cavoodle and headed for Eumundi for the 10th Food Fest. Eumundi is a small town in the hinterland of the Sunshine coast that’s claim to fame is the market they have on weekends and Wednesdays. Their statement that stall holders, “make it, bake it, grow it or sew it,” is certainly true. I love this market and it’s a huge tourist attraction.
The Food Fest was IN the market area and we got there just in time to see Elisabeth Fekonia. She migrated to Brisbane in 1964 from Amsterdam with her family and was a complete city girl. When she left school she moved to the country and has learned the art of self sufficiency on her 6 hectare property.
In her demonstration today she shared with us how we can all make essential ingredients like brie, cheddar, cottage cheese, cultured butter, ghee, sour cream, yoghurt, sourdough, sauerkraut, rennet, miso and kefir — and probably much more.
We had a taste of her sourdough rye with cultured butter, homemade brie and rosella jam. My bite was delicious and the bread was light and flavourful unlike some sourdough rye.
Elisabeth teaches classes in all these methods as well as how important it is for us to love fermented food. You can find her at Permaculture Produce.info.
After Elisabeth’s talk we were HUNGRY and decided it was time to try some of the tasting plates that had been talked about on the website. Frankly, I expected to see quite a few stalls offering $6 tastings and what we found were two huge queues for the arancini balls and the Spanish tapas. Since it was a market day, everything was open and we couldn’t tell what was Food Fest and what was general market. It wasn’t until it we were on our way out that we noticed another row of producers hidden in what looked like a dark alley.
We decided on the tapas and these were magic on a plate. I just loved every taste. I got a $5 tasting plate because I was hoping for more plates and John got the $10 plate and I had as much food as he did. We both enjoyed the tapas.
Did I take a photo? no.. I was starving. What’s worse was I got this little wooden spoon/stick thing and I started to point to something and the spoon flipped and I got two really big mushrooms covered in sauce all over my white shirt. Know what mushroom juice looks like on a white shirt? I looked like a woman covered in baby poo. My husband laughed every time he looked at me.
I really wanted to see the school students from North Arm State School cooking food they’d grown in their school gardens. I don’t know if schools around the world teach cooking and gardening to elementary students but the idea has taken off like a rocket in Australia. In 2001, renowned cook and food writer, Stephanie Alexander joined forces with an inner-Melbourne school to establish the first Kitchen Garden Program.
The kids learn how to prepare and care for the soil, how to plant and care for the growing food, how to harvest, how to compost, and most importantly for me, they learn how to cook and eat the food they grown. There are currently 267 schools in the program and because of the benefits the schools are seeing, the government has allocated funds for another 190 schools to join the Kitchen Garden Program.
Because I didn’t want to miss the kids, I did miss out on Max Porter’s “The Duckman Cometh – Waddle We Eat”? Max was in in charge of all of the Farm-Acy presentations in the CWA Hall. When we got to the market I asked a lovely volunteer where the CWA Hall was and she smiled broadly and said, “Just around the corner in the pink building.” How could we miss it? The CWA Hall was there all right but it couldn’t have been more blue. John said it was that “other” pink.
I wanted to see what Max had to say about ducks but I couldn’t be in two places at once. He’s a chef who’s worked in Michelin starred restaurants, had his own very popular restaurant in Noosa, the kind of place you tell your friends about. I did see him speak several times during the day and he’s completely charming.
Max is also known as the Prince of Duckness and Friar Duck. He’s a great cook but has a greater sense of humour. Next time, Max!
On my to-see list was Jamie Milverton and his Kitchen Bootcamp presentation but Jamie had the flu and couldn’t be there.
Our final presentation was by my new friend Cath Manual and her two boys, Edison and Archie. Cath has a business that teaches people how to grow their own food, harvest and cook it. It’s like a Kitchen Garden Program for adults and it’s very popular. The classes are reasonably priced and most of them are sold out before they start so book early. Her business and website are called Soil to Supper and Cath thinks everyone can find something they can grow and eat at home.
The boys, with a little assistance from Mum, chopped vegetables and then made some delicious tacos served on lettuce leaves. Almost everything but the meat came from Cath’s garden. If I had more than a 4 x 8 plot of grass at my house, I’d join all her classes. She’s really lovely and knows so much about growing food.
There was a small petting zoo for kids and a snake presentation along with several musicians on the main stage but we didn’t get to see those. The queue for the arancini and tapas stalls meant nobody could see the stage area so we moved on. I apologise for the crappy photos. I brought the little camera and I didn’t realise until I got home that someone had mucked up the settings. I loaned it to a friend last week and didn’t bother to check. I arghed.
What we did see at Food Fest was really informative. I see Cath socially, but I’d never see someone like Elisabeth Fekonia or Max Porter or the kitchen garden kids without an event like this. Both of us were a bit disappointed that everything seemed like such a hodgepodge with no direction as to what was market and what was food fest. We went to see to see food producers at Food Fest and I didn’t want to miss anyone. Sadly, I couldn’t tell who was Food Fest once I passed the tucker tent.
Did you go to Food Fest?
Jen L @ Tartine & Apron Strings says
Are you sure you are in the midst of winter there? You winter looks like a nice Fall day over here in Canada!
Well, modestly speaking, our climate is about central Florida so I can’t really complain, can I ? I AM wearing shorts today.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a fun experience! The sourdough rye with brie looks fantastic!
It was.. my sourdough has never been that light 🙂
Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits says
I’m envious of your remarkable experience!
lizzie - strayed from the table says
Such a shame I missed out. Though we started our own veggie patch instead. Will definitely make it next year.
the wicked noodle says
This looks like so much fun! That homemade brie has me drooling!
The brie was divine. I love the permaculture idea but getting up and milking a cow and then a few goats is really more than I’m willing to do because that’s just the beginning. There’s feeding and watering and having to be there every single day. It’s wonderful in theory and I’m very glad some people can do that. 🙂
Baker Street says
What a great experience! I would love to go for the food fest!! Your pictures are great, Maureen!
You are too kind. I was too interested in what was going on 🙂
Cheryl Barker says
Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Maureen. So much fun to meet other bloggers. Especially fun to meet someone who lives so far away from me! I wish our area had something amazing like Food Fest taking place regularly but no such luck. Wishing you sunshine today! 🙂
Thanks, Cheryl, we have sunshine on the Sunshine Coast today! Actually it’s been sunny for too many days and I had to top up the water in the pool. Feast or famine around here!
Maureen…what a fabulous food festival! Sounds like you tasted some amazing stuff! Sorry, but I had to laugh a bit about the ‘baby poo’ on your white shirt ( hope that came out!). We have some food festivals here around the D.C. area. But more like restaurants just serving their food along the streets. Nice that you had so many people giving talks and demos! What fun! : )
Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) says
Nope. Didn’t go to Food Fest.. would’ve been a really long plane ride.
Nevertheless it looks like it was a lot of fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the tapas.. even if you didn’t enjoy the mushroom stains as much. Hehe. When I was in Spain the tapas there were also delicious! 🙂
Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? says
What an experience 🙂 I’d love to grown my own garden. And the food fest looks great on your pictures.
Judy@Savoring Today says
You had me at “sourdough rye with cultured butter, homemade brie and rosella jam” — YUM! Anything after that would be a bonus. 🙂
What a wonderful event to get to enjoy! I would so be the one to get mushroom all over me too…but it wouldn’t stop me from eating it….mushrooms are my favorite! The Garden program is such a good idea. I don’t think I have heard of any programs like that in our area but it would be so good for the kids! Have missed visiting your site and will be catching up!
Barbara | Creative Culinary says
It’s times like these when I wish we could transport ourselves as easily in real life to other worlds as we can get to know each other on Twitter…this sounds like great fun and that bread, butter and brie? Oh my.
I know.. I think life should also be like the DVR.. “Wait, I didn’t hear that, rewind!”
Eat, drink and be Kerry says
What a great day. Shame you missed Max Porter’s session but we all miss his duck restaurant. The Sunshine Coast food scene is so dynamic I’m itching to get up and sample the goods. Soon!
I know. I wrote to Max and asked to be put on his list for upcoming duck classes. I was very stressed that I couldn’t see both.
Jen @ Savory Simple says
This looks like so much fun!
Ah ha tracked down your proper site now. I still loved the toast breakfast though 🙂 Interesting post, be back soon. Diane
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Wow I want to learn to make my own brie!
I love the school kitchen garden program. It’s such a valuable lesson for kids to learn and I extra love the idea of an adult version!
I have no place for a garden but I would love to spend some time at Cath’s place 🙂
The kitchen garden program sounds so wonderful, I wish there was something like that available here! Looks like you had a wonderful time, have a great week.
It was started by one very good cook and friends at one school. Good ideas catch on. Vandalism is down, attendance is up on garden day and the kids I talked with just love it.
Choc Chip Uru says
I’m loving your day my friend, so many fun activities 😀
Thanks for sharing!
Choc Chip Uru
Thanks Uru, you happy birthday girl you!
Jennifer @ Delicieux says
Where have I been because I’ve never heard of the Eumundi food fest. I’ll have to keep it in mind next year because it looks like a great day! I’d definitely like to learn how to make homemade brie.
I think the food show coming up in Maleny is going to better. I would love to take Elisabeth’s cheese or fermenting class or maybe her sourdough class. 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Everything looks sunny there! Which is fitting given where you live! I have some jars of Jamie’s preserves, they’re delicious! 🙂
Hotly Spiced says
This sounds so much like the weekend we had except you didn’t walk around drunk and the weather was much better. Love the sound of that Rosella jam – haven’t had that for years. And I need to be more self-sufficient and less wasteful like Archie’s family xx
Based on your first picture, Eumundi is a warm and charming community. The food looks great and the peope super friendly. You are lucky to live in an area with such great food fairs/fests. Bon appétit! Wish I was there. 🙂
Oh, I’m feeling ugly twinges of jealousy – your winter is looking pretty good from down here in the bottom bit of the country!
Love the look of the sourdough, too – I really, really must get more into fermented foods – there’s so much to learn about them.
Food fests are always so much fun. And it looks like you had a great time. I need to make sourdough bread one of these days. It’s on my to do list.
Sounds like a fun day! Your winters are quite nice, I think. How hot are your summers? Too bad about your shirt, though!
No I didn’t go to Food Fest but I wish I could! Looks like you had fun and the cooking classes were worth the trip! Your white shirt story is exactly why I NEVER wear white! 🙂 Another fun day!
All That I'm Eating says
Sounds like you had a great time! Looks like a lot of fun.
I think the Kitchen Garden program is such an awesome initiative to allow school children to learn about food production, cooking and how to minimize food wastage.
What a fun fest!
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Sounds like you had an awesome time at the food fest! The sourdough rye has very interesting combination. I have never attended this kind of food event. I’d probably enjoy eating good food all day. 🙂