Tastings on Hastings festival 2017

Author: Emma Breheny
Photography: Supplied

Port Macquarie puts the spotlight on its bounty of local produce.

Tastings on Hastings, Port Macquarie's annual food festival, broadens its focus this year, offering punters the chance to tour the region and meet the people behind its wines, oysters, cured meats and other produce.

Taking place over 27-29 October, the festival's main event is a big day out on the Saturday on the banks of the Hastings River, with more than 100 stalls from the likes of macadamia farmers, craft brewers, berry farms and local eateries. The rest of the weekend, choose between long lunches at wineries, tours of local farm gates or dinner at some of the town's best restaurants, The Stunned Mullet and Bill's Fishhouse among them

At the Oyster Barn, a dedicated festival space at the main event, chef Matt Golinski will demonstrate how to shuck and prepare oysters with different accompaniments, with three local producers on hand to offer tastings of Sydney rock oysters alongside various wines and beers from the region

"When you fly into Port Macquarie, you fly over all the oyster leases," Golinski says. "And you're thinking 'I can't wait to get down and try some of those'. It's nice to try lots of different oysters from the same area and notice differences in taste depending on where they're grown in the estuary."

Golinski will also show visitors how to cook from a vegetable patch, hosting a Sunday morning brunch and demonstration at volunteer-run community garden The Lost Plot. Silverbeet, broad beans, garlic and six varieties of potato will figure in his brunch menu, which will be powered by a wood-fired oven and barbecue. Keeping things local, Golinski will also use organic eggs from Ox Hill, Ewetopia sheep's milk feta and Bellingen Smokehouse's smoked trout.

The region is also home to Cassegrain Wines, Near River Produce and The Little Brewing Co, all of which are participating in satellite events throughout the weekend

Tastings on Hastings, 27-29 October, Port Macquarie and surrounds. Tickets to the main event on 28 October are $5 for adults. tastingsonhastings.com.au







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