Wine and dine with our region's connoisseurs
A FOODIE experience with friendly banter is something Kamala Dunn looks forward to every year.
The Maryborough mum marks the calendar for the Relish Food and Wine Festival, books the babysitter and plans the day with a group of friends.
The festival, to be held on Saturday, June 3, includes live entertainment, stalls from local producers, cafes and restaurants, plus a range of sessions, workshops and demonstrations.
Kamala said the group loved to discover new tastes and flavours and after a few reds critique the fine wines and foods.
"We try and get a table near the rotunda and then go off to do different things,” she said.
"We get food from the various food stalls and all come back and taste-test each other's and critique it and have a few bottles of wine from the winery stalls.
"We have all got different tastes and we give it a score out of 10, have a little argue over what's good and what's bad, what they could do better.
"By the end of it we are just having fun.
"We all ended up drinking the same bottle of wine last year - so that came out a clear winner.”
Kamala said she also enjoyed the foot tents where all the guest chefs do their cooking.
"It was good last year to watch the two locals cook off against each other and then have all the audience judge their food,” she said.
"Last year we had a ball at the photo booth and would highly recommend it.”
This year the group has planned to do the Tipples Tour at the Bond Store Museum.
"I am looking forward to some funny tales by the Gauger - and I don't mind a bit of port,” Kamala said.
"It will be interesting to see how good the liqueurs are.
"It's a good day out - you don't have to be a wine drinker to enjoy yourself and if you are a foodie there is something there for everyone.
"It's great just watching the demonstrations in the big tent.”
The Food Lovers Marquee is where you'll find some of the region's best chefs preparing a list of mouth-watering dishes throughout the day.
There will be Hervey Bay scallops showcased by Kingfisher Bay Resort's Nathan Roberts, coral trout prepared by Coast Restaurant and Bar's Tom Jack and a delicious pork belly by 2013 My Kitchen Rules champion Dan Mulheron, to name a few.
The Queens Park Rotunda and Mary River Parklands will be filled with tunes from some of the area's favourite artists, including Derek F Smith, Wal Nielsen, Forbidden Road and Leonie Kingdom.
If you're wanting something a bit fancy, Bubbles on the Boat is a cruise along the Mary River aboard Hervey Bay Boat Club's Amaroo, with cheese in one hand, a wine in the other and a view of the stunning Mary River.
Phil House from the Hervey Bay Boat Club said Bubbles on the Boat was a very popular addition to the festival.
There are plenty of other sessions to choose from, including beer and food matching, cheese making and bush tucker tasting, among others.
Tickets are $15 at the gate. For more info or to purchase your tickets, head to www.relishfrasercoast.com.au.