Friday, March 15, 2013

Festa della Vendemmia

We arrived early at Festa della Vendemmia .  I was eager and hungry and we had travelled 300 kilometres to be there.  Regardless of our early arrival we were given a warm welcome and I knew immediately we were in for a special evening.

Festa della Vendemmia is a “feast of the grape harvest” promoting the International Slow Food philosophy of ‘good, clean, and fair’ The dinner showcased a range of produce grown and manufactured solely in the Sunraysia area, including local wines and beers.   The dinner was a friendly degustation on long tables set beneath high trellis vines on the Garreffa family vineyard in Irymple, hosted by Slow Food Mildura

The evening air in the vineyard was hot, humid and perfectly still. We enjoyed a cold local beer while we watched two ladies expertly make zeppoli right before our eyes.  Soon we were devouring these traditional Italian pieces of fried dough, stuffed with anchovies or dried fruit.  Just don’t tell your heart specialist about these incredible pre dinner treats!


Over the next 5 hours we enjoyed 6 courses of magnificent food including aged free –range prosciutto, Murray Cod, handmade canneloni and goat slow cooked in camp ovens.   The finale to our main meal was a delicate pistachio frangipan tart served with fresh figs from the Garreffa’s own tree. 


It was after midnight when we emerged from beneath the grapevine canopy only to discover even more delights.  A massive wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano sat on top of a wine barrel surrounded by muscatels.   Upon a neighbouring wine barrel sat a generous pile of whole wheat sourdough crostini.  Although we were absolutely full it was hard to walk past without tasting just the tiniest morsel. 

Before we boarded our bus the contented crowd gathered to collect generous goodie bags and a freshly made affogato with Frangelico, home-made vanilla bean ice cream and a slice of handmade crostoli.  Every bus trip should involve a perfectly made affogato I have decided. 

This was the most memorable evening.  We were paying guests but it felt like we had been invited into a special family gathering.  

This event has left me in awe of what can be achieved when a group of passionate, like-minded people put their heart and soul into sharing their knowledge and skills with the wider community.  Congratulations to all involved, we hope to return again next year.  

I did some research while writing this post and decided to share some descriptions with you.      

A traditional Italian fried dough stuffed with anchovy or dried fruit in this case.  

Meaning “little toasts”.  Toasted slices of crusty bread.

Sweet crisp pastry that has been shaped into thin ribbons, deep fried and sprinkled with icing sugar.

Espresso coffee accompanied by 1-2 scoops of vanilla ice cream served in a cup.   Can  include a shot of liqueur.


  1. .so beautifully captured Jane .... felt like i was there ( Ewe Beauty)

  2. what an amazing experience jane..eating all that beautiful locally grown/produced food among the vines on a beautiful summer's night must have been like being in paradise..x

  3. Wow! What a special experience.

  4. jane, i am so envious of this wonderful experience. your photos are so warm and evocative - it looks like you are in a european vineyard, as part of a big italian family gathering (as you said!). and the food sounds scrumptious. my mouth is watering at the affogato (and i don't even like coffee - but frangelico, that's anoter story). lucky you!

  5. I was a little jealous but it sounds like you had a fantastic night. I would have to agree about bus trips and might have made some of those lengthy bus trips a bit better hey?! Festa della Vendemmia is on my to-do list.

  6. What a fantastic evening, how I wish we had something like that here.

  7. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! This looks so incredible Jane! I would love to attend that event now that you've made me aware of it. It makes me think of the Italian guy we met in Oslo who loved the Slow Food movement. And of Diner en Blanc that I attended in Brisbane and Sydney last year. Just love these passionate, inspired pop up dinners. Your photos are beautiful.

  8. Oh my, just when I thought it couldn't get any better I see that giant wheel of Reggiano! What an amazing event, lucky duck :)

    xox Lilly

  9. Beautiful photos - it looks like it was a wonderful event :)

  10. Fantastic setting with such a great menu, if only I was there to eat too. Looks like you had a great time and great photos.

  11. This looks like such a beautiful evening! I'm a little bit jealous (ok, a lot jealous)!

  12. Jane, what a wonderful experience and so beautifully captured and shared!

  13. That sounds like a wonderful event and right near my home town too! Your pictures are lovely Jane.

  14. Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous! I love it Jane - I can see why you'd travel 300ks to get there. Wonderful photos - thank you for sharing!

    Hope you get that cool change soon


  15. Stunning!

    I'll share that on the Slow Food Hobart facebook page

  16. so inspired by your photos i looked it up on the net.. I see 2014 is sold out so have requested to be considered for next years event - fingers crossed

    1. Thanks Monique. It is a special event, we booked tickets for 2014 before Christmas. I hope you get a chance to attend one day.


Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane