The countdown is on for an event that has been championing local chefs, produce and producers of the Sapphire Coast for the past decade.
EAT Merimbula will be happening again on the foreshore of Merimbula Lake on Sunday 12 March from 10 am to 2 pm.
Locals and visitors are invited to visit the ‘Fishpen’ precinct, where around 30 stalls show off the region’s local food and produce, beer, wine and spirits, going all out for this annual festival of local flavour, with a big side of camaraderie and pride, with nothing over $15.
Satellite events also entice food lovers into various hot spots around the region, making up a four-day festival of food.
This year will see the addition of a potentially legendary event, an oyster and spoon race. “What better way to celebrate 10 years of EAT than by pitting our local food heroes against each other?” asked EAT committee member Amanda Heather.
At 1 pm on Sunday, six of the coast’s finest chefs, producers and other foodie legends will line up at EAT Festival for the inaugural EAT Oyster and Spoon Race, comprising three laps, six pairs of waders, 18 oysters (if none get dropped) and federal MP, Kristy McBain firing the starting gun.
Anthony from Merimbula Wharf, Pete from Longstocking Brewery, Di from Dulcies, Dave Arens from Free Range Catering, Kelly from Eastwood’s Bermagui and Nat from the EAT committee will make up the field.
When asked how she will juggle her doughnut stall with running in the inaugural race, Kelly Eastwood said, “I am in training, running laps around the kitchen at work right now, taking tips from engineers on aerodynamics …!”
Each year there are new businesses showing off their wares at EAT, and this year welcomes Italian Restaurant Bar Monti, new smoking outfit Southtown Smokehouse and ever innovative Ryefield Hops, as well as celebrates the many that have been along for the ride since the first festival in 2013.
Think local lobster rolls and Eastwood’s famous doughnuts, Texan smoked brisket and ribs, Mor Mor’s san choi bao, a good old-fashioned RFS barbecue, home-made ice cream, also waffles, beef and bean nachos, Japanese gyoza, wood fired pizza and more.
Fans of the region’s famous Sydney rock oysters will be well catered for, with a dedicated Sapphire Coast oyster tent shucking up the best of these famous molluscs from start to finish.
Beverages will include plenty of freshly brewed coffee, Faraway Farm kombucha, local vodka, beer, gin, wine, spiders, shrubs and spritzes and young Axl Aren’s legendary lemonade stand will be back, raising money for a local project that needs a bit of help from the community.
Of the EAT satellite events, this year will see the return of Wheeler’s Seafood Restaurant’s Long Table Lunch, TOAST of Pambula’s small batch dinner, and Merimbula Wharf Restaurant’s three chef dinner.
The committee has also announced a new satellite event to EAT for 2023, the EAT Eden Progressive Dinner on Saturday 11 March, which includes three of Eden’s restaurants. In true 1970s progressive dinner style there’ll be a starter served at Fig Cafe & Bar, main course at (the new) Hotel Australasia and cheese and dessert offered at Florabel, on their new terrace.
“We’ll also welcome a collaboration between award-winning Navigate Expeditions and Broadwater Oysters as they deliver a kayak and shuck tour which really does serve up the best of our region in one go,” Ms Heather said.
Started in 2013 by a bunch of talented local food lovers who set out to provide a platform to showcase the foodie legends of the coast, EAT Merimbula has grown over its 10-year history.
“In 2013 the committee weren’t sure how the inaugural event would go,” Ms Heather said, “and we were staggered and thrilled to ultimately welcome over 1500 visitors, with a dozen stalls running out of food by 12:30 pm!
“Twenty-twenty was an amazing year for the festival with out of region visitors turning up in droves to support the Sapphire Coast foodies, only eight weeks after the Black Summer fires.
“In 2020 we welcomed over 4000 punters to the Fishpen on the big day,” Ms Heather said.
“At its core, EAT Merimbula is the celebration of a local industry that continues to grow and excel.”
For more information about EAT Festival 2023 and all satellite events, visit the EAT website here.