Sun, Jan 21, 2024 4:00 PM

World class line up on menu for food and wine festival


William Woodworth

Throw in some of the country’s best chefs and finest wines. Season with a good helping of Marlborough restaurants and blend with flair. Serve at warm temperatures and enjoy. It is a recipe for a successful festival.

Throw in a side of social media followers and this year’s festival looks like it has all the key ingredients for a perfect day out.

All are due to inspire, entertain and share tricks in the Culinary Pavilion throughout the day.

Revealing the line up late last year, Wine Marlborough Ltd General Manager Marcus Pickens was delighted to announce a who’s who of New Zealand’s finest culinary hands and minds.

Michael Meredith, Matt Lambert, Andy “Cooks” Hearnden and Sam Webb will be showcasing their talents.

In a festival first, this year’s festival also adds local Brazilian restaurant Gramados and Frank’s Oyster Bar.

“The Culinary Pavilion is a destination in itself, a place to sit back and see these super chefs work their magic with amazing local Marlborough produce and artisan foods,” says Marcus.

“Matt Lambert is an absolute legend with New Zealand kaimoana and will demonstrate the preparation of locally grown Ōra King Salmon.

“We are also very excited to bring Michael Meredith to Marlborough, to see what he does with local produce and food products.

“Andy and Sam will put on an excellent show – Andy’s 10 million social media followers love his home cooking videos, so don’t miss the chance to see this dynamic duo in real life.”

The annually popular Masterclasses have also been given the room to expand, with three classes throughout the day still able to be booked in.

Wine Marlborough Events Manager Loren Coffey says wine education is a key part of the festival programme.

“Expanding the Masterclass offering means we can continue to deliver popular wine and food pairing classes and introduce more intimate and in-depth winemaking-focused Masterclass experiences, targeted to suit our wine enthusiast attendees.”

Masterclasses on Méthode Marlborough sparkling wines, Unlock your Hidden Winemaker Pinot Noir blending, and the ‘From the Mountains to the Sea’ local sustainable produce class promise to impress.

The ever-popular Wine & Cheese Pairing class, alongside 2023 Marlborough Wine Show judges and the region’s most popular local cheeses, has already sold out.

However, Wine and Spirit Education Trust teacher and Bragato Research Institute research winemaker Ngarita Warden says that each of the masterclasses will inspire and inform those joining the cast of experts.

“Traditional méthode sparkling winemaking is such a fascinating process and the masterclass is a great way to show how individual winemakers create their own style.

Ngarita says Masterclass hosts enjoy classes as much as the participants, that for the Unlock your Hidden Winemaker class put lots of care into creating their blend and leave the class with a great festival story.

“Hunting and fishing enthusiasts will also love the Mountains to Sea class, as will anyone interested in wild game and locally harvested seafood”.

“Some people assume every wine will go with every cheese, but they just don’t. So, there are many nice surprises in the class and people leave feeling confident and inspired about how to put the perfect wine and cheese together.”

Entertainment too has been upgraded, with spots around the Domain for a daytime dance. The Groove Garden hosts Vinyl in the Vines’s popular DJ’s and local soulful solo act Chloe Vitale joining the already popular lineup of Drax Project, Sons of Zion, AACACIA, and Tom Knowles – while homegrown MC Tony Lyall will guide guests through the day and have some fun along the way.

The Marlborough Food & Wine Festival will be held in Renwick on 10 February 2024.

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