First things first, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck is this amazing festival?” An excellent question, my inquisitive friend. For the first time ever, the amazing team at Spicers Hidden Vale are putting on an epic festival to celebrate all things Queensland, summer and food! I think they may have been reading my dream journal.

But first, watch this…

The Flavours of Summer Gourmet Festival will take place at Spicers Hidden Vale from 8-28 January 2018, showcasing the best produce the region has to offer combined with Homage Restaurant (which was just awarded a Chefs Hat) and Spicers’ award-winning food, wine and exceptional service. Best of all, this isn’t your ‘come and join 10,000 other people and line-up for 2 hours to purchase one over-priced plate of low-quality food’ situation. Oh no, this has been given the Spicers royal treatment and really is a boutique food festival. Full details and essential links at the bottom of this post. Now, let’s look at some photos!

Brisbane City Land Rover is one of the official partners of the Flavours of Summer Gourmet Festival, so Matt and I got the chance to experience the luxe-life! We had THREE cars to choose from and, after checking them all out thoroughly, opted for the Range Rover Evoque convertible. It was so fun to drive!

Things kicked off with lawn games and a cocktail class under the shade of a huge tree at Spicers Hidden Vale. Resident bartender/booze genius, Mitch, took us through a few easy and delicious cocktail recipes using Ink Gin. Another festival partner, Ink Gin is freakin’ delicious! I love the blue colour of the gin, which turns purple when mixed with tonic water. Gin is usually clear, which can be a bit boring at cocktail hour, so it was really fun and a bit special to sip on such gorgeous cocktails. Matt and I drank many, many cocktails on your behalf.

As always, the Spicers team were prepared with ample snacks to help keep the booze under control. The carnivores were treated to the perfectly cooked beef while veggie lovers were spoilt with these mock-mushroom pastries! Yep, those aren’t mushrooms, they’re a deliciously earthy pastry served with a yummy cream for dipping.

We spent a little time exploring the property and enjoying our rooms then freshened up and met by the pool for an Aperol Spritz (or two) and some pre-dinner snacks. Head Chef, Ash Martin, prepared smokey, char-grilled flatbread, charcuterie, cheeses and more. I live for smokey flavours and ate about 5 pieces of flatbread. #NoRegrets.

Afterwards, we wandered up to the barn, which had been beautifully decorated with long shared tables, candles, flowers and fairy lights ahead. We were serenaded with live music and plied with rosé from one of the biggest bottles I have seen in my life. Head Chef, Ash, prepared a huge array of dishes for us to try. For meat-lovers, he had been slow-cooking locally sourced cuts of meat all day over open coals. It was all served up share-style with salads, potatoes, fresh bread and fabulous wine.

Matt and I, the herbivores, were treated to lentil and corn patties (that doesn’t do them justice, they were SO good). Afterward, we served slow-cooked pineapple, which had been cooked in the coals all day, and BBQ’d stone fruits topped with ice cream. You guys, the food was so good. Everything was delicious, fresh and seasonal. Chef Ash talked us through everything we were eating and could name where each thing had come from, you really got a sense you were sampling the flavours of the season. Which, I guess, is why it’s called the Flavours of Summer festival! Makes total sense!

With full bellies, we headed over to the moonlight cinema and cuddled up under the blankets on cosy bean bags. If you have the room, you can get your hands on popcorn and ice cream or even a coffee or hot chocolate if you wanted. We were very full and scooched down into our seats to watch the movie, a food-themed one, of course, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Apparently, all the movies during the cinema are food-themed, just to take the foodie celebrations to the next level. (Sorry this image is low-quality, it’s actually a screenshot of my Vlog film. I was so excited I forgot to take a photo!)

Astonishingly, Matt and I woke up hungry. I don’t know how. We wandered down to the restaurant and tucked into scrambled eggs, served with a home-made tomato and onion tart (yum!) and a breakfast Pana cotta served with granola, berries and a sherbert-like topping. The croissants were freshly made and melt-in-your-mouth buttery and the coffee was amazing!

Next up, we were treated to a cheese tasting with one of Australia’s only cheese masters, Peter Gross, of Black Pearl Epicure and one of the founder’s of the famous King Island Dairy. Peter truly knows his cheese, of course, but what I loved was how relatable and passionate he was. He really took the time to explain things to us in a way we could understand and let us taste and experience each cheese carefully, giving us little tidbits of insight as we went along. I came away from the tasting feeling like I had a much better understanding and appreciation of cheese (rather than just mainlining cheddar right out the bag).

Just when I thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more food, it was time for lunch and we somehow managed to find room for three more fantastic courses.

Relaxed, happy and very full, we packed up and headed back home after an incredible two days.

The verdict…

I have to say, I didn’t really know what to expect from the festival and was really glad I went into it not knowing too much because it totally knocked my socks off. Spicers always do great food, that’s for sure, but the festival really aims to kick this up a notch.

The festival is a true celebration of all things food in Queensland. You won’t just eat, you’ll learn about where the food comes from and how it’s farmed and prepared. You’ll make new friends and connect with other food-lovers. You’ll experience food in an immersive way you may not have before and you’ll have a fantastic time doing it all! I would recommend the Flavours of Summer Gourmet Festival to anyone who loves food. You don’t need to be a die-hard foodie, you can just be regular people like Matt and me, who love to eat! Everyone at Spicers is so welcoming, you won’t feel intimidated. Full festival details below!

Hit me with the details…

When: The inaugural Flavours of Summer Gourmet Festival will take place from 8-28 January 2018.

Where: Spicers Hidden Vale, located in Grandchester, a little over an hour’s drive from Brisbane City

What: Festival events will include Trinity Coffee brewing and tastings, Chef’s ultimate Aussie BBQ, aperitifs and charcuterie by the pool, cheese and bubbles masterclass, moonlight cinema, Everdure charcoal cooking demonstration, Everdure greatest Aussie BBQ, gourmet sausage making class, Mulgowie market day, Twilight feast in the barn, Ink Gin cocktail making class, homemade ice cream of the day, Brisbane City Land Rover test drive, market garden tour, whip cracking masterclass, Hawkes Lager backyard cricket, The Perfect Party Co. lawn games and fine dining at Homage Restaurant.

How: Tickets are $95 per person (+ $6.31 booking fee). When booking, you select the date and time of your visit, either a Day Pass or Twilight Pass. Day Pass gives you access to all festival events between 10am and 5pm. Twilight Pass gives you access to all festival events between 2pm and 10pm. Each pass includes either a 3-course lunch or dinner at Homage Restaurant. You can purchase tickets through Eventbrite here.

In-house guests of Spicers Hidden Vale can access all festival activities Monday through Sunday. Ticket holders can access all festival activities Friday through Sunday.

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