By Vivienne Pearson
The 7th Ballina Fine Wine & Food Festival was held on the weekend, with a gala dinner on Friday night and the main festival day held at the Ballina Racecourse on Sunday.
Five facts about the Ballina Fine Wine & Food Festival:
1. Wine comes before food in the name for a reason – alcohol is a big focus of the festival and you are greeted with a glass of champagne.
2. Only over-18s are allowed entry, making it an adult-only event.
3. The festival is run by Rotary (Ballina on Richmond), with profits going to local causes.
4. It is an all-weather event, with all stalls undercover
5. Buses run to Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Bangalow – costing only $5 a ticket.
Over to the punters for their views on the day:
Jo Colja, from Kingscliff, speaking about Paella Time: ‘The big paella pans are amazing; they look like works of art! I’d like to try some but I’ve eaten so much that I might have to go for a walk first.’
Photo: Jo with the work-of-art paella
Gina Combo, from Banora Point, speaking of Wharf Bar and Restaurant: ‘It’s my first visit to the festival. The cheeses are great and now I’m going to try a coconut margarita.’ Says Ralph Mamone, owner of of Wharf Bar and Restaurant: ‘It’s called an ice luge – the drink is poured through an ice sculpture, chilling it. We wanted to create a bit of theatre.’
Photo: Gina tries an iced coconut margarita
Kerry Deeley from Lismore, with friends Kerry Gollan and Nola Murray, speaking of Byron Bay Olive Company: ‘We’re browsing and tasting before deciding what to buy for lunch. Everyone is so friendly and happy to share information on their food and wine.’
Photo: Kerry, Kerry and Nola with Antoine and Louis from Byron Bay Olive Company
Nicole, Sandra, Darren, Josh and Justine, from all over, about Truly Tea: ‘We are best friends – some from primary school – who come here every year. We love the tastings and the aromas. We love these cocktails!’ Says Nyoli Scobie, from Truly Tea: ‘Our tea cocktails are sugar-free, hydrating cocktails.’
Photo: The best friends with Nyoli and Keith from Truly Tea
Gavin Hughes, head chef at Byron at Byron, about his cooking demonstration with Blake Seymour, executive chef at Ballina RSL Club:
‘I really enjoyed the festival! It was fun to do a cooking demonstration with Blake Seymour from the Ballina RSL. We are old friends because he was my second chef at the Byron at Byron for four years. The Rotary Club organisers were very accommodating and the festival was very well organised. I think the way they showcase local restaurants and food vendors is very worthwhile.’
Photo: Ballina meets Byron: Blake Seymour and Gavin Hughes prepare for their demonstration
Jenny Ellenbroek, station manager at Paradise FM, Ballina: ‘Paradise FM is overwhelmed to be the main beneficiary of this year’s festival. The funds raised from the whole festival, including this raffle, will go towards our plans to establish a second studio to be used as backup, for training, and for local content development.’ Says Col Lee, chairman of the festival committee: ‘Local papers and radio stations are the hub of the community’.
Photo: Col, Jenny and Sue with an alcohol-fuelled raffle.
Here at The Echo, we say cheers to that!