With more than 200 wines and a move to Town Hall’s upper sanctum, this year’s Sydney Italian Food and Wine Festival is going to be big.
“The overall concept is the same as last year, but there are a few new elements,” says founder Lara Caraturo. “We will do food demonstrations within the food market, so there will be live demonstrations of cheese-making and pasta-making.” Food-making demonstrations will run every 45 minutes.
The event will host chefs from some of Sydney’s favourite Italian restaurants – including Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) and Richard Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo) and first-timers Adam Swanson from Lot 1 and Richard Ptacnik from Otto. The food market will feature stalls from Goose on the Loose, RivaReno, Dolcettini, Velutti’s Fresh Produce and a pop-up cooking school from Salt Meats Cheese, among others.
Olive oil, chilli oil, marmalades, Italian pastries, ice-cream and a selection of made-for-festival dishes will be available at the event. Five dishes to look out for include Otto Ristorante’s truffle aranchini; the Sicilian octopus salad by Lot 1; Popolo’s fregola with saffron, lamb and tomato; Mantecato’s beetroot risotto with sesame seeds; and Capriccio’s focaccia with prosciutto and mozzarella.
Caraturo says to also look for Vannella’s burrata-making demonstrations; Pasta Gallery’s ravioli-making masterclass; and Melbourne’s illustrious Johnny di Francesco (400 Gradi) and his pizza-making demos.
“People love watching cooking demonstrations, but for me I love watching ingredients [like pizza dough or pasta] being made,” she says.
The event will also feature an extensive selection of Italian wines to taste, and Australian wines that feature Italian grape varieties. There will be a terrace wine garden this year, as well as wine classes for beginners (hosted by Aria’s sommelier Matt Dunne) and the more advanced (hosted by wine writer Mike Bennie).
“With Italians, you can’t really do food without wine or wine without food,” Caraturo says. “If people want to come and have a really amazing learning experience, they can, but if they want to have a great day out with friends, they can do that too.”
The Sydney Italian Wine and Food Festival will be held at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday August 21 from 11am–9pm.