Culinary delights tingle the taste buds at sample fest
RAVENOUS, curious, and open-minded eaters, and a plethora of stalls catering to every tradition and whimsy of modern and classic cuisine.
This year's Sample Festival, the fifth of its kind, saw ever more choice for foodies in a culinary smorgasbord which is fast putting our region on the must-visit gastronomic touring list.
The Bangalow event has attracted enough attention to see former My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph Mulheron come all the way from Hervey Bay to set up a stall this year.
"It's the amount of great produce and great suppliers from this area, we knew it would be a great festival," Dan said.
"You've got coffee suppliers, salami, people raising their own animals, growing their own veggies, and baking their own breads. We'd love to have this kind of thing where we're from."
There was another motivation for the trip, too - for the couple to spend Dan's first Father's Day away with baby daughter Emmy.
"The story through MKR was to be able to have a baby so this is a really special weekend for us."
Frenchman Benjamin Leonardi had his own "baby" two years ago, starting a patisserie business he had dreamed about ever since moving to Australia. It's called Love in Blossom.
Mr Leonardi couldn't find the kind of luxurious and delicate French-made treats he used to devour every Sunday while growing up on the French Riviera locally.
So he learned how to make them himself, using YouTube and a stack of cook books, and his natural French flair.
"We treat patisserie like jewellery. It's a different level of attention. Every detail is important," Mr Leonardi explained.
"It's the Sunday treat."
Pickling queen Claire Mason and son Ty have a more savoury affair with food, choosing Sample to launch their new business producing gourmet relishes, Pickle Palooza.
"I've been making these for about 30 years," Ms Mason said.
She said you could eat relishes in three meals a day, such was their versatility.
"They're addictive; if they're in the fridge you can have them every day with anything."
With so many different stalls to choose from and well-priced plates of food, the culinary event drew thousands of hungry locals who descended on the Bangalow showgrounds for the all-day affair.
Organiser Remy Tancred said close to 15,000 people came through the gate.
"We had a great year; a lot of variety, great music, and a good day all round," she said.