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NEWS & MEDIA

2012 News & Media

Major regional food & wine event to launch in 2012

The launch of a major showcase of regional food and wine spanning 10 days in May is a key recommendation of a new strategic plan developed in the High Country.

Built around the long-established Harvest Celebration in Beechworth, the new regional event, the High Country Harvest, will be based on the successful Melbourne Food & Wine Festival as a model for industry participation.

The High Country Harvest will open on the third weekend in May with the Beechworth event, bookended 10 days later by the popular Myrtleford Italian festival, La Fiera. A comprehensive program from across the region of food and wine related activities and experiences will be developed with industry to link the major weekend events.

The three year plan for 2012-15 for a signature food and wine event for Victoria’s High Country was developed after a series of consultations and workshops with key industry and tourism representatives from across the region.

The plan was jointly commissioned by a committee of representatives from Tourism Victoria, Regional Development Victoria, the Beechworth & District Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Indigo and Alpine Shire Councils, the Rural City of Wangaratta and the key industry body, North East Valleys Food & Wine Victoria.

The strategic plan offers a blueprint for the development of the High Country Harvest into one of Victoria’s premier food and wine festivals, celebrating the regional diversity and quality of the area’s food, wine and producers.

The new North East Victoria Tourism Board Inc will play a central role in the project, guiding the strategic direction of the High Country Harvest, initially in partnership with a transitional steering committee made up of key stakeholders for the 2012 event. Once the North East Victoria Tourism Board has finalised its own strategic plan it will become clearer as to the exact role that each group will play for the 2013 event and beyond.

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2011 News & Media

Food Royalty to Descend on Beechworth

Event organisers are very excited to announce that the 'Queen' of Australian food, Margaret Fulton and her daughter Suzanne Gibbs, will be the celebrity guests for this year's Harvest Celebration in Beechworth and the fabulous Friday Gala Dinner.

Margaret Fulton OAM is one of Australia's leading and best-loved cookery experts. The matriarch of Australian cooking, she has been credited with changing the way Australians eat. Her original 'The Margaret Fulton Cookbook', first published in 1968 (with a revised edition released in April 2010), sold over 1.5 million copies and taught generations of Australian families how to cook and entertain.

Margaret has been nominated by the National Trust as an Australian National Living Treasure and in 2009, she was named by a Sydney Morning Herald panel as one of the 25 Australians who has most changed the nation. Margaret's passion for cooking has been passed down through the Fulton family. Her daughter, Suzanne Gibbs, is also one of Australia's leading food writers. Suzanne is a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London, has published 10 cookbooks and co-authored 5 books with her mother and is the Food Editor of BBC Australian Good Food magazine.

Organising Committee Chair, Jodie Goldsworthy from Beechworth Honey said she was very excited that Margaret and Suzanne would be attending the Gala Dinner and festival. "We had a great response last year when Stephanie Alexander was our special guest, so we are equally delighted that Australia’s Queen of Food, Margaret Fulton and her daughter and food journalist, Suzanne Gibbs will be attending the festival. Margaret and Suzanne will be talking at the Friday evening Gala Dinner and will follow up on Saturday with a 'fireside' chat with Dinner MC, Barb Lowery in our Culinary Theatre."

The Gala Dinner will take place on Friday May 13 in the Memorial Hall in Beechworth, with pre-dinner drinks and canapés being served in the beautiful Beechworth Town Hall. Tickets for the North East’s Dinner of the Year will go on sale at 9.00am on Tuesday March 29, and will only be available from www.beechworthonline.com.au People are encouraged to book very early as last year’s dinner sold out in less than an hour.

The Friday Gala Dinner will act as the official opening activity of the Festival, which will see the region's first 'Locavores' dinner, where all produce and wines will be sourced from within a 100km radius of Beechworth.  The Dinner will be an absolute 'Feast of the North East' where guests will be able to sample a delicious range of regional produce, matched with the superb wines of the region.

MC for the evening will be Beechworth food writer and ABC Broadcaster Barb Lowery. Along with Margaret Fulton, she is a Founding Member of the Australian Food Media Club. (now Australian Association of Food Professionals) In 2006 Barb was inducted into the Food Media Club of Australia 'Hall of Fame'.

Event organisers are also very pleased to announce that the guest Chef for the Gala Dinner will be the renowned Michael Ryan from the much lauded Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth.  Working alongside Michael will be guest Sommelier, Rocco Esposito who was the 2009 recipient of The Age Good Food Guide Wine Service Award. A dazzling food & wine duo!

The renowned Harvest Celebration in Beechworth is also on the move and will be relocating its festival site from the Main Street of Beechworth to the beautiful grounds of La Trobe at Beechworth for the 2011 event, which will be held from May 13 to 15.  The Harvest Celebration in Beechworth is a celebration of the exquisite produce of North East Victoria, its passionate regional producers and the wines of five distinct wine regions.

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Harvest Celebration in Beechworth – The Move is On!

The renowned Harvest Celebration in Beechworth is on the move and will be relocating its festival site from the Main Street of Beechworth to the beautiful grounds of La Trobe at Beechworth for the 2011 event, which will be held from May 13 to 15.  The Harvest Celebration in Beechworth is a celebration of the exquisite produce of North East Victoria, its passionate regional producers and the wines of five distinct wine regions.

Event organisers are wishing to make the festival a truly regional event for North East Victoria and as such, the space and amenities at La Trobe provide a much broader canvas to host and grow the event.  Harvest Committee Chair, Jodie Goldsworthy from Beechworth Honey said "The Main Street site was a great location but with moving the event to La Trobe at Beechworth, we have the opportunity and scope to develop a truly regional event in the gorgeous garden surrounds.  It is the Committee’s intention to grow the event in both size and stature, and facilities at La Trobe will enable us to do this."

Event organisers are also very excited to announce that the 'Queen' of Australian food journalism, Margaret Fulton and her daughter Suzanne Gibbs, will be the celebrity guests for the Friday Gala Dinner.  Margaret Fulton OAM is Australia's 'cooking guru' and our best known and loved food author, commentator and television star.  Margaret was identified as an 'Australian National Living Treasure' by the National Trust of Australia in 1997.

Suzanne Gibbs has been a food author and journalist for over 30 years, after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London. She is Food Director of the BBC Good Food Australia Magazine and is also Margaret Fulton's daughter.  Suzanne's daughter Kate is now a food writer and is following in the 'Fulton footsteps' as a wonderful ‘first family’ in food.

The Gala Dinner will be again be hosted by Beechworth food writer and ABC Broadcaster Barb Lowery.

Initiatives for the 2011 event will include:

Kristy Taylor, Executive Officer of North East Valleys Food & Wine and Festival Committee member was also very excited about the move to La Trobe and the new festival initiatives.  "The move to La Trobe will provide the festival with a range of options for activities that were not possible in the Main Street location.  We’re also very excited about Margaret Fulton and Suzanne Gibbs joining us for the Friday Gala Dinner and the new initiatives for the 2011 event, where we’ll have the opportunity to showcase our fabulous regional chefs and winemakers, combined with our passionate regional producers."

The Festival Committee has also been in discussions with Tourism Victoria representatives about the 2011 event.  They have indicated they wish to see the event reposition itself as the major food and wine festival for North East Victoria.  Early indications from Tourism Victoria suggest that they will provide strong funding support for the event into the future on the proviso that new initiatives are implemented.  One of the initiatives they felt necessary to take the event to the next level was a change of location, as they felt the event had already outgrown its Main Street location.

The Harvest Celebration in Beechworth is managed and funded by the Beechworth and District Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber's President, Jason Dawson acknowledged Tourism Victoria’s support for the event. "Events such as the Harvest Festival in Beechworth take a lot of effort and financial resources to stage and the reality is that without Tourism Victoria funding, we would not be able to present the quality of event we currently do." 
"The Chamber is very much looking forward to working with Tourism Victoria to expand the event, in terms of encompassing all of North East Victoria and the quality & quantity of producers, regional chefs and winemakers we can attract. We see the initiative of moving the festival site to La Trobe at Beechworth as a strong indicator of the strategic approach the Chamber and Festival Committee is taking to this very important event for North East Victoria."