The Grampians Grape Escape is on this weekendApril 29 and 30 and Celebrity chef Stefano de Pieri of A Gondola on the Murray TV series fame is the executive chef for the annual event at Halls Gap.
Stefano will head forthe Grampians from Murray riverside Mildura where he runs the famous Stefanos restaurant. He will hold cooking demonstrations on both days for more than 5,000 visitors to Halls Gap, using regional produce in his mouth-watering creations.
Those attending the Grampians Produce/Grampians Winemakers dinner on Saturday night, April 29 will be in for a treat, with Stefano the executive chef.
Stefano was born in Treviso near Venice and migrated to Australia in 1974. He dabbled with food - always his passion - in the early 80s, training for a little while in a professional environment, but finally chose a job in the Victorian Public Service. He became a private secretary to Minister Peter Spyker and then an advisor to a number of Ethnic Affairs Ministers.
Stefano assisted in the refurbishments of the Grand Hotel, Mildura and provided leadership in the area of beverage and food preparation. He was impressed with local produce - and local wine - but was frustrated by the lack of recognition of the district.
He thought of a book that would include his food memories from his native Veneto and the produce of Mildura. The book took the title of Gondola on the Murray and after a few rejections from publishers it was accepted by ABC Enterprises, the publishing branch of the ABC. It was then turned into the television series A Gondola on the Murray.
Stefano's restaurant in the Grand Hotel is the recipient of many prestigious awards and continues to attract the support of many patrons. Stefano and his wife Donata continue a family tradition in hospitality with the hope of providing variety and interest for residents and the many visitors who come to Mildura.
The Grampians Grape Escape is in its 15th year and to have a highly regarded chef like Stefano actively part of the program says a lot for the regions reputation for award-winning food and wine, GGE organiser, Mike DiLisio told GoSeeAustralia today.
The Grampians Grape Escape, held at Halls Gaps sporting oval, brings out the best in the areas fine foods and wines. The Grampians is one of Victorias premium wine and food producing regions and tourist destinations, he said.
Grampians Grape Escape pilgrims can drink and graze their way around the makeshift village near the towns service centre. Regional producers come from all corners of the Grampians to showcase their painstakingly prepared goodies like olive oil, lentils, fruit and berries, yabbies, organic produce, venison and preserves. Around 25 winemakers from the region will cork hundreds of bottles to complement the delicious fresh foods.
There will be wine making seminars throughout the weekend, as well as cooking demonstrations, Mike DiLisio said. Get Down Gang (funky 6-piece band), Fat Pocket (string trio performing racy polka style), contemporary guitarist Nick Charles and Celtic group Aniar will back the relaxed atmosphere.
Therell be fun for the kids as well as the odd game of petanque if you feel like stretching the legs. The Grampians region has been producing wine since the mid 1800s and boasts the oldest producing vines and underground cellars in Australia, Mike DiLisio said. The weekend gives visitors the chance to taste many different wines and cuisines and take home a supply. Halls Gap Visitor Information Centre can be contacted on 1800 065 599.
What: Grampians Grape Escape The Wine and Food Festival
Where:Halls Gaps sporting oval (visable from the main road)
When:Saturday 29 to Sunday 30 April, 10am to 4pm daily
Who:Celebrity chef Stefano de Pieri, regional food and wine producers
Cost: Entry and entertainment is free (and you get a souvenir drinking glass). Costs differ for food and wine tastings. Saturday night dinner tickets $95 (meal and wine included) available through Ararat Visitor Information Centre 1800 657158
More info: www.grampiansgrapeescape.com.au
Parks Victoria reports on the state of the Grampians
The latest report from Parks Victoria on Grampians National Park road openings current closures and general park facility access is: When walking in fire affected areas please help the recovery process by keeping to walking tracks.
The following walking tracks have reopened: Mt.Gar (Difficult), Briggs Bluff and Tilwinda Falls Loop in the Mt. Difficult Range. This will also allow access to the Mt. Gar (Difficult) /Briggs Bluff overnight walk.
ROADS OPEN - Northern Grampians
1. Mt Zero Road: Halls Gap to Mt. Zero
2. Roses Gap Road
3. All roads north of Roses Gap Rd
4. All roads east of Mt. Zero Road
ROADS OPEN Central Grampians
1. Mt. Victory Road
2. Mt. Difficult Road (sealed section to Boroka Lookout)
The GSA tree. Regrowth from Dec 31 fire
By the end of March the GSA tree makes a green comeback