It's about the food, wine and tourism at the 10th IGA Taste Great Southern, which will be launched today in Albany. More than 40 events are on this year's program, which runs from February 22 to March 30, with the popular Mr Barker Graze and the Albany Oyster Festival taking place on the Labour Day long weekend.
Big names in the line-up include Stephanie Alexander, MasterChef's Poh Ling Yeow, Iron Chef's Herb Faust and Jamie Oliver's offsider Danny McCubbin, who will run one of his signature pop-up supper clubs in Denmark to raise money for the Fifteen London Apprentice Program.
"2014 will see the largest number of events throughout Taste Great Southern's evolution," Justine Nagorski, chief executive of Denmark Tourism, said. "It's certainly proving to be a festival of world-class gastronomic entertainment. The smorgasbord of event options will attract the most discerning foodie audiences."
Highlights are the Albany Oyster Festival with local chef Dan Sharp and the Bushfood Festival with Yeow and WA food identity Don Hancey taking centre stage. Bushfood specialist chef Claudia Form, from the Bushfood Factory and Cafe, will oversee a range of stalls offering modern food with a real Australian identity. Both events will be held at Eyre Park (2-8pm) on March 1.
The Great Southern spreads over 39,000sqkm and is WA's second biggest agricultural producer taking in Albany, Denmark, Katanning, Kojonup and Mt Barker.
Peter Rundle, chairman of the Great Southern Development Commission, said it was a foodie's paradise with a diverse range of fruit, vegetables, cheese and wines. "Everything stands out, but for me, the seafood is exceptional," he said. "The festival has certainly developed into a major event in the past three years with top-line chefs and attractions and that's great news when it comes to putting the region on the tourist map."
It winds up on the March 29-30 weekend with the Ivy on York Street food fair and markets in Albany on Saturday, followed by the eight-course degustation Fervor Foods Pop-Up Dinner featuring indigenous foods with Paul and Bree Iskov. Sunday's highlight is the Three Cooks Lunch at Pepper and Salt Restaurant in Forest Hill Vineyard with Anna Gare, Sophie Zakolar and Stephanie Alexander, who will each design a special course supported by in-house chef Silas Masih.
For more information and a full program of events visit greatsoutherntastewa.com