“You’ll be taking your life into your own hands,” joked Jenny as I arrived at this year’s Relish Fraser Coast food and wine festival in Maryborough.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“At the free wine tasting stalls, people are lined up six deep and it’s each for their own!”
Jenny waived her free wine glass above her head and stood on tiptoes, showing how she finally drew a stall tender’s attention for a small taste of handcrafted wine from the South Burnett.
Relish visitors are a thirsty and hungry lot when it comes to sampling the wide variety of medal-winning wines and exquisite food from the Fraser Coast Hinterland regions.
Growers and makers from Childers to Kingaroy come together just once a year to showcase their varietals, blends, sparking and fortified wines. The mouth-watering foods include a wide variety of delights from sea scallops to macadamia nuts.
Held each June on the ground where sly grog running was rife and opium was a legal import in the early days of European settlement, Maryborough Portside is now where visitors meet local growers and makers who love to share the fruits of their work.
Waiting 12 months for the region’s food and wines to come together in one place again is a long time for some locals and the temptation to sample as much as possible as soon as the gate opens is huge.
Jenny excitedly gave me a run-down on all she had savoured in her first hour at Relish Fraser Coast, counting on all her fingers and toes (hic!) so she didn’t forget anything.
Soon my friends and I were heading over to the wine stalls in Queen’s Park to kick-start our day. The early rush had tapered off and we filled our day leisurely meeting chefs and wine makers, listening to amazing musicians and visiting Gatakers Artspace.
Next June’s Relish Fraser Coast isn’t that far away, is it?
Once I’d entered Relish’s gate for just $10, there were plenty of things to do from food lovers’ sessions to entertainment galore without spending much more.
Opportunities to splash out a few more dollars on a Mary River cruise, workshops, or an event session such as Hill of Promise Food and Wine Matching, are also plentiful.
So if treating yourself to an amazing day out appeals, why not start your own Relish fund and pop your spare change into a special jar throughout the year to make the most of this annual opportunity?