Take a Culinary Journey with GourMay in May
One of Australia’s richest food bowls, the Mary Valley – just north of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – is set to celebrate its outstanding produce in the appropriately named Mary Valley GourMay Festival throughout the month of May.
European settlers may have first flocked to the Mary Valley and Gympie in the mid-19th century for the prospect of gold, but today, it is golden fruit, vegetables, dairy, herbs, and meat that deliver the region’s earthly treasures.
The Mary Valley is located just an hour’s drive north of the Sunshine Coast, and two hours from Brisbane Airport.
With fertile land and microclimates, the Mary Valley can produce everything from the more traditional dairy, beef, pineapples, avocados, and limes to more exotic persimmons and feijoas. Even the Spanish grape tempranillo has found a home in the Valley.
GourMay Mary Valley is a celebration of the farmers, producers, and creators, whose hard work and passion bring flavours to the plate.
It’s a great opportunity to meet the people behind the produce, who put joy on the plate. It’s a month full of events that will appeal to lovers of good food and authenticity.
Imbil Town Square and Rail Park: A foodie’s paradise
Festival Day will be held on Saturday 6 May 2023 in Imbil Town Square and Rail Park, providing a perfect introduction to have an initial ‘Taste’ of the Mary Valley. There will be talks, cooking demonstrations, exhibitions, and competitions.
Reflecting the Mary Valley’s role in the food chain, in the GourMay Garden the Macadamia Conservation Trust will share the story of the wild macadamia and how all macadamia trees can be traced back to the area.
Witjuti Grub nursery owner Veronica Cougan will explore growing edible natives. Rebecca Dart will share her knowledge of the benefits of edible bamboo and Amber Scott, from Kandanga Farm, will explain the importance of Farming with Nature.
The main event however will be a cook-off – a Ready Steady/ Mystery Box ‘cook-off’ between local foodies.
The contestants will be given a box with a couple of items, including a voucher to spend in the market, and ‘Sunshine Coast Foodie’ Martin Duncan will set the timer going for contestants to create a dish that will be judged for the title of ‘GourMay Cook of the Year’.
Imbil’s exciting new Wild Vine Café will host Mary Valley’s Boozy Brunch as well as a Cocktails and Canapes session in the newly created village gardens, which also chart the history of the township.
Kandanga Farm Store will host a dinner curated by bush foods expert Peter Wolfe. They will also show off the benefits of ‘syntropic’ farming in their organic gardens.
Try out cooking demos, competitions, and more
A wide range of produce-led events will be held during GourMay, including:
- WINE DEBUT: From Vine to Glass. WindRush Estate’s Tempranillo 2020 Launch Event.
- WINE LUNCHES: Dingo Creek Vintners Lunches.
- FOOD FESTIVAL: Kenilworth Tasting Festival.
- CAMPFIRE DINING/MUSIC: ‘Bellbird and back… a taste of the trail’ involves a gentle half-hour stroll along the Mary Valley Rail Trail to a bellbird habitat where a campfire dinner with local foods and music will await. Relax with new and old friends while listening to music under the stars.
- HERITAGE railway, the Mary Valley Rattler will operate Tasting Trains throughout May.
- FILM: A short films festival will be held at Kandanga Hall themed around “Food at their Heart”.
- ART: The epicurean theme continues with master artist Ian Mastin exhibiting a collection of food-inspired works at the Art on Yabba gallery in Imbil.
- PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION: There will also be a GourMay Mary Valley photography competition based on photos taken during the festival.
Get ready to GourMay: Unforgettable experiences and accommodation
There is plenty of accommodation in Mary Valley and Gympie during the Festival ranging from hotels to glamping, cabins, and farm stays.
Ideal for a short break, Mary Valley offers a myriad of activities including horse riding, kayaking in search of platypus, trekking, cycling, and shopping in atmospheric heritage villages.
The program for the GourMay food festival will grow over the next month, and full details of events can be found at https://www.maryvalleycountry.au/gourmay-2023.html
The Mary Valley GourMay Festival is being made possible through the support of the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce, Gympie Council, Queensland Hydro and Vintitech, and many other local operators.
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Story and photos contributed by Visit Sunshine Coast.
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