Noosa Food and Wine Festival

Today's program at the Audi Noosa Food and Wine Festival included a host of celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, discussions on sustainable produce and the Masterchef phenomenon.

Tonight's nine-course degustation at Berardo's features leading chefs using ingredients sourced from finalists in the Delicious 2010 Produce Awards matched with outstanding Australian wines.

I arrived in beautiful, sunny Noosa yesterday and first stop was the Top Tastes of Queensland lunch.  The line up of chefs was inspiring and the food was innovative and delicious.

First up was a creation by Lizzie Loel, The Courier-Mail's restaurant critic who has a long background in food. The White gazpacho with Noosa Spanner crab proved Lizzie really knows both her food and audience.  The cool gazpacho was a welcome palette starter in the steamy tent which was taking up a little too much of the Noosa warm weather. The chunks of Spanner Crab were another treat. Wine matches were a 2009 Ravens Croft Verdelho and a 2009 Symphony Hill Pinot Gris.

Young chef of the moment, Ryan Squires' second course was melange of Autumn Vegetables which looked stunning on the plate. He also opted for the cool started option which was welcome. The drops of green  had us all guessing till Ryan told us it was rocket puree!  The word is that Ryan, formerly of The Buffalo Club, is just about to sign on a new restuarant in the Brisbane CBD.

Raw yellowfin tuna with stewed peppers and tomato essence was Nick Holloway's creation. Nick, who hails from Palm Cove in North Queensland where he is chef and co-owner of Nu Nu, said he created the dish with the girls in mind and wanted it to look like a jewel box - and it did! Accompanying wines were a 2008 Ballandean Estate Viognier annd a 2006 Clovely Estate Left Field Semillion.

Meyitte Boughenout from Abynthe on the Gold Coast presented Steamed Quail filled with Apricot and Liquorice.  Meyitte told us that the quail came from a farm near Gympie and was cooked in a vacuum sealed bag for 20 minutes at 80 degree. It was delicious but I couldn't get much of the liquorice flavour. Wine matches were a 2009 Tobin Estate Jacob Tempranillo and a 2008 Summit Estate Alto Mourvedre Blend.

Fifth course was by Brad Jolly of Alchemy in Brisbane's CBD. The Lamb Crocquettes with lemon scented quinoa and soaked sultanta and lamb jus was a wonderful combo. Brad said the striploin minced lamb was from a small producer in northern New South Wales and then brought the house down by telling us there were lamb brains in the mix.  I'm here to say that I ate lamb brains and it didn't hurt a bit! No photo of this one because I was too busy enjoying eating it. The wine matches were 2008 Witches Falls Prophecy Syrah, 2005 Robert channon Reserve cab Sauv and 2008 Borieann Shiraz Voingier.

Dessert was a delight from Philip Johnson of Ecco - Poached figs,cinnamon mouse, polenta crumble, ccreme fraiche ice cream and balsamic syrup. Philip said the recipe is in his new cook book!

Wine writer Tony Love told us that matching wines with sweet foods is really difficult but he chose Sirromet's Sparkling Petit Verdot.

I'm heading out now to taste my way around the festival. It's only a short  walk down Noosa Hill from my accommodation at The Rise Appartments.  The view from the appartment is stunning - you should see the sunset!  It's a wonderful way to experience the best of Noosa. My car is going to get a little rest and my legs will be getting a good work out - just what I like.  See you at the festival!