This weekend, local chefs and producers return to EAT Merimbula, the fabulous food festival of Fishpen.
Back for its seventh year this Sunday (March 10), what started in 2013 as twelve stalls selling out within two hours is now a significant food event with 25 to 30 stalls dishing out up to 8,000 serves of local delights.
This foodie’s ‘Big Day Out’ throngs with locals and out-of-towners, sampling and sipping a sumptuous array of gems from ocean and earth. It’s a wonderful opportunity for food lovers to taste a wide range of local produce and check out the talents of the coast’s chefs and restaurants.
EAT committee member Anthony Osborne says “around 4,000 people will flock to the event, and over the weekend many visitors will stay in and around Merimbula, dine out for breakfast, lunch, and coffee, and maybe follow their favourite restaurant or chef throughout their stay in the area.”
This year sees the addition of a collaboration with Wheelers Restaurant for the ‘Long Table Lunch’ that will take place on Saturday (March 9). This is the first in a clever series of ‘long table’ events at Wheeler’s offering a degustation menu to showcase the produce of this and surrounding regions. Bookings HERE.
Dishes at EAT this year are capped at $10, and stallholders are selected according to the strength of their ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’ ingredients and products. At $10 everyone can try a variety of flavours and cuisines, so bring a picnic blanket and settle on the grass for a glorious Sunday graze.
The EAT committee believe the Fishpen site is important to the event. Osborne says “there are always comments that the site is too small, but we believe it should stay at Fishpen and that we should focus on improving quality before quantity. At EAT there is a really urban, bustling environment, everyone’s literally rubbing shoulders, it’s more like a city laneway festival”.
The event runs from 10 am to 2 pm, this Sunday, March 10. However, if previous years are anything to go by some stalls may run out, so be early to take advantage of the broadest choice of dishes on offer.
Due to the success of last year’s road closures around EAT, this year Fishpen Road, Marine Parade and Calendo Court will be closed for the duration of the event.
Region Media has been scouting around chatting to local chefs about their EAT menus. Here is a taste of what’s on offer this Sunday. Warning! Reading further could incite extreme cravings.
Rockpool Cafe at Club Sapphire
Rockpool Cafe have been using greens and herbs from the wonderful social enterprise ‘From Little Things Parklands’ and they’ll be serving an Eden fish soft taco with freshly picked herbs and vegetables, and a spicy Eden arrow squid soft taco with Disaster Bay chilli chipotle salsa and more ‘Little Things Parklands’ herbs.
Wild Rye’s Baking and Coffee Roasting Company
Wild Rye’s of Pambula is a great supporter of EAT, always creating sensational hand-held festival pastries. This year is no exception with treats such as Italian beef Brasato using Rusty Fig Temparanillo, mussel, bacon and corn chowder, a Florentine and mushroom quiche with Bega heritage cheese, and on the sweet side – Portuguese custard tarts, Passion fruit topped with finger lime and meringue, honey lavender cheesecake with rhubarb and fig, and batch brew iced coffee.
Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters – Oyster Tent
Oysters are of course a feature of the day and last year over 4,200 oysters were shucked and slurped. Wilderness Oysters will freshly shuck Sydney Rock Oysters from our local estuaries, a real taste of the Sapphire Coast.
Fresh from their successful appearance at Kylie Kwong’s Night Market at Carriageworks in Sydney, where they sold out in no time, newcomers MM will wow you with unctuous pork belly with wild ginger BBQ glaze, and cherry outback-bark beef brisket, then lemon myrtle spiced kangaroo with local warrigal green potatoes and lemon myrtle slaw. They’ll also have chocolate and macadamia, Davidson plum and desert lime tarts plus some zingy sodas of lemon myrtle and Lilli-pilli.
This Merimbula Mexican restaurant will be serving up crispy braised pork belly tacos with jalapeño and coriander slaw, pickled onion, chipotle lime aioli, and a taco with fresh crumbed local fish, Pico di gallo, crunchy slaw, house-made lime aioli, fresh coriander and Larry’s Lettuce Leaves.
Wheelers Seafood Restaurant
It’s a big weekend for Wheelers, with chefs presenting the long table lunch on Saturday and then at EAT on Sunday – Eden kingfish house-smoked, kelp and sesame flatbread with tomato lime and perilla salsa, Shirley’s famous Bald Hills garden greens, jalapeño aioli, and also a Rosebank produce blackberry tartlet with Tilba double-thick cream.
The kitchen at the Waterfront has created a chorizo jam and parmesan Danish pastry, with avocado purée and tomato relish, also a herb-roasted local pumpkin and haloumi Danish, with a spicy tomato relish. And who doesn’t love white chocolate? Settle down on the grass with a white chocolate tartlet, with poached local stone fruit, and baked almond crumble (GF).
Sapphire Coast Eats
Once again SC Eats will set up their mobile woodfire pizza oven and serve up meltingly delicious cheesy pizza including Three Cheeses and Vegetarian.
Eastwood’s Deli and Cooking School
Kelly Eastwood, of River Cottage Australia fame, is bringing her famous Artisan Brioche Donuts with local, seasonal fillings, and mini masterstock-braised pork belly banh mi, a summery Vietnamese lunch treat.
Gelati with local flavours home-made Italian ice cream using Tilba Milk and honey yoghurt, Bega eggs and local fruit, and also a sweet, buttery crepe topped with local strawberry sauce and a mascarpone cream and also refreshing homemade lemonade.
XO foods Golden Moozly cups served with your choice of either banana coconut and turmeric nice-cream or chilli chocolate ‘nice-cream’ – vegan, vegetarian and GF.
Pinch of Yum Catering
New to EAT, bringing their succulent Gyoza dumplings, Pinch of Yum are presenting their ginger and pork, plus vegetable Gyozas with chili, soy, and black sesame dressings.
This Indian restaurant and take-away in Tura has been quietly gaining a following with their delicious and authentic cuisine. They will present a Chicken Vindaloo and Vegetable Samosas.
Free Range Catering Merimbula
Lamb and Quinoa Koftas on a foraged green salad with yoghurt and pomegranate.
Chirashi sushi (scattered sushi) which is a serve of sweet sushi rice topped with avocado and cucumber salsa, ceviche Kingfish and micro-herb salad with a crisp wonton with sesame seeds.
Candelo General Store
Zucchini, leek and capsicum fritter with mixed herb salad and tomato garlic chutney (V) and they have also promised their amazing baked apple-cider and cinnamon donuts.
Fabulous fare also from Dulcies Cottage, Merimbula Fresh Seafood and Merimbula Wharf Restaurant, Cheeky Mango Catering, Smifie Catering, and Drift Eden.
In the licensed area, within arm’s reach of the Wilderness Oyster stall, you’ll find nano-brewery Longstocking Brewery presenting their Australian Weisse, Session IPA, Ginger Beer and Brewer’s choice. Longstocking use local honeys, oranges, and Bemboka Ryefield hops in their refreshing brews, ideal for a hot March day.
A new addition is the gorgeous vintage-style mobile bar Peisley’s – mobile licensed bar, luxe beverages. Showcasing locally distilled North of Eden gin (3 ways), a selection of wines from Breakfast Creek, Rusty Fig, Rocky Hall, also homemade Limoncello, and Wyndham blackberry mojitos.
There will also be coffee from Ragino Coffee Estate, Waterfront Café, Mitchies Espresso Bar, and the Rotary Club of Merimbula with cold drinks.
Check the EAT Merimbula website for more info.