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Seven Highly Indulgent Food Festivals Happening Around Brisbane This Autumn

Eat your weight in ice cream in West End, snack on fancy cheeses in the Valley or try heaps of new beers around the city.
By Sarah Ward
March 01, 2019

Seven Highly Indulgent Food Festivals Happening Around Brisbane This Autumn

Eat your weight in ice cream in West End, snack on fancy cheeses in the Valley or try heaps of new beers around the city.
By Sarah Ward
March 01, 2019


Eat your weight in ice cream in West End, snack on fancy cheeses in the Valley or try heaps of new beers around the city.

They say everything in moderation but not this season. How can you keep things in check when Brisbane's throwing a cheese festival, an ice cream festival and not one, but three festivals dedicated to beer? You can't. So lean in and get amongst it. Have your cake (and your camembert and chocolate gelato) and eat it, too.

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    Brisbane Ice Cream Festival is returning for a huge third year. Perhaps this sweet treat-loving city’s most popular occasion  — although most tickets are free, it regularly books out within minutes — BICF is back with even more opportunities to gorge on your favourite frosty food. This year, the fest will run across three days between Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24, adding two new paid (and boozy) events to its lineup.

    You can still head along during weekend daylight hours for free, with two-hour sessions taking place from 11am–1pm, 1–3pm and 3–5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. If you’re keen to drop by, simply paying for whatever tickles your tastebuds’ fancy, then a world of ice cream delights await. Think the titular treat, gelato and every other kind of icy, creamy confection, with dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan dietary requirements all catered for. Feeling particularly indulgent? You can also drop by on Friday night for two hours of ice cream canapés, dessert-inspired cocktails and DJs spinning tunes, all for $49. Or, on Saturday evening, pay $99 and witness four local chefs whip up eight inventive dishes (which you’ll then eat over wine, of course).

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    Mould: A Cheese Festival 2019

    You can never have too many occasions to eat cheese, but this new Brisbane cheese festival isn’t just keen to shower cheese fiends with creamy goodness. A collaboration between Bruny Island Cheese Co. cheesemaker Nick Haddow and the organisers of Pinot Palooza, Mould wants dairy lovers to explore and devour the mild, hard and soft bites that Australia’s best cheese wizards have to offer.

    Alongside unlimited tastings of Australia’s best cheeses, it’ll feature flavoursome fare from cheese specialists too. Think of it as a cheese tasting trip around Australia without leaving Lightspace. Of course, snacking on samples and purchasing slices and slabs to take home with you are just two ways to enjoy cheese. The fest will have cooking demonstrations, masterclasses and talks so you can stretch your cheese knowledge as well as your cheese stomach. And it wouldn’t be a cheese festival without beverages to wash it all down with, so expect a bar serving Aussie wines, whisky, beer and sake — all of which match nicely to a bit of cheese.

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    GABS Brisbane 2019

    Brisbane’s beer calendar just received a new entry, with The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular announcing its first-ever Brisbane festival. Better known as GABS, and considered by most as the best craft beer and cider festival in the Asia-Pacific region, the fest will hit the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, April 27, with fest creators Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone (The Local TaphouseStomping Ground Brewing Co.) wrangling up the best breweries from the region.

    Previous events have offered up over 500 brews in total, including up to 170 festival beers and ciders, with 100 of these often wacky specialty brews — created just for the event and are generally the festival’s main draw — set to come to Brisbane. GABS’ exclusive beers give attendees the rare chance to try brand-spanking new beers, while also meeting the brewers behind them. 2018’s tipples included ingredients like Great Ocean Road snails, crickets and durian. There was also a laksa ale, a whisky sour beer and an umami beer with miso, soy and seaweed, in case you’re wondering what might be in store. Apart from beer, the fest’s interstate legs have played host to everything from Holey Moley pop-up courses, gin and whiskey cocktail bars and an 18-metre-high beer Ferris wheel, as well as wandering performances and local food stalls.

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    Caxton Hotel Seafood Festival 2019

    After sitting out the last couple of years, 2019’s Caxton Street Festival has big shoes to fill. Of course, if there’s any street party that’s up to the task, it’s this once-annual, now-returning Paddington party. Think food, music and a good time all round. On the culinary side of things, the fest is returning the word “seafood” to its name, which might come as welcome news to those with long memories.

    While the specifics of the Caxton Hotel Seafood Festival will be revealed closer to the date — Sunday, May 5, so mark your calendar accordingly — expect plenty of fresh ocean bounty to feast on, as well as drinks to wash it down with. Also on the agenda: food trucks, pop-up bars and fun in The Caxton Hotel’s beer garden. It’ll all kick off from 10am, with the aforementioned pub driving the whole shindig. That’s another blast from the past, with the watering hole a fest staple since the event first launched 25 years ago.

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    Brewsvegas 2019

    Once, Brisbane was just the home of XXXX. Now, this beer-loving town has a brewery on every corner, or so it seems. It’s no wonder, then, that Brewsvegas sprung up to celebrate the city’s plethora of places for a yeasty pint — and it’s back in 2019 for its sixth massive year. From Friday, March 15 through until Sunday, March 24, you’d best prepare to quench your hard earnest thirst with an ice cold brew.

    Plenty of beverages will be sunk across the ten-day period; however there’s more to Brewsvegas than just knocking back beer. Fancy pairing your boozing with doughnuts? A scavenger hunt? A riverside food truck party? A parkside meet-up for doggos and their drink-sipping owners? Several other pooch-friendly events? That’s all on the agenda. The list goes on, and includes a heap of beer match-ups — think beer and ice cream floaties, beer with fondue, beer with other types of cheese, beer with coffee, and beer with chilli, for starters. Also on the bill is everything from three-legged races through the Valley, helping design a new brew choose-your-own-adventure style, laneway shindigs and getting crafty, to pinball and 90s tunes, buskers singing their hearts out, trivia and a battle of the bands. And saying ‘cheers’ a whole heap, obviously.

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    Gauchito Gil's Malbec Day Brisbane 2019

    After a successful six years, Gauchito Gil is once again bringing Malbec Day to Brisbane with a four-hour wine bonanza at the Valley’s Lightspace on Sunday, April 7. The event comes from the organisers of the Pinot Palooza and Mould cheese festival, and mirrors the free-reign tasting set up. Your $60 ticket includes a wine glass, and from there you’ll be able to move around, sampling over 90 Australian, French and Argentinian malbec varietals.

    Other events have been known to get a little boozy, so to soak up all that wine there will be top-notch empanadas from five local restaurateurs — who’ll be vying for the prestigious Golden Empanada award. It really doesn’t matter if you know everything there is about malbec or if you don’t know much at all, because Malbec Day is about education and celebration of the Argentine grape. And what better way to celebrate than with an bottomless glass of wine?

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    Beer InCider Experience 2019

    Drinking a beverage and watching a band ranks among life’s simplest pleasures. Enjoying one of hundreds of craft beers and ciders from around 50 independent brewers and cideries, while being entertained by DMA’s, Something for Kate, Alex the Astronaut, WAAX, West Thebarton and new super group Loser — now that’s how you take something great and make it even better. Ensuring a good time is had by all is part of the aim of the Beer InCider Experience, which is returning a little earlier in 2019. It’s holding a one-day fest on Saturday, March 9 — but it’s a different time, same place, same ace day kind of situation.

    As always, the event will showcase the best in brews and music, and throw in some delicious food and fun entertainment options. And, like last year, the tasting festival is taking over the Brisbane Showgrounds. Felons, Gage Roads, Green Beacon, Stone and Wood, Young Henrys, Balter, Burleigh Brewing, Brick Lane, Slipstream and Kaiju are among the breweries that’ll be quenching your thirst for lagers, ales and more, plus Golden Axe, Batlow, Flying Brick and others on the cider front. Expect collaborative beverages and exclusive brews made just for the day, plus local food-slinging folks helping to line your stomach, and even a bout of ping pong. Yes, this truly is the ultimate in drinks-focused festivals. Tickets start from $45 and are on sale now.

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