The fourth edition of Forbes’s very unique long lunch has lodged itself in the memory banks of the 700 plus guests who came from far and wide to enjoy a degustation menu among the magnificence of the Central West’s gum trees.
Many said it was the best Grazing Down the Lachlan yet, and director Wendy Muffet agreed that it might be judged by the resoundingly positive feedback. “I could not be more delighted with how it all worked out.
“The highly curated menu by Creative Director O Tama Carey was very exciting this year,” said Wendy. O Tama, who created all the recipes for the degustation menu, drew inspiration from the local history during the gold rush era and incorporated ideas from Chinese dishes found in regional restaurants in Australia with touches of native ingredients and flavours.
What is there not to enjoy about meandering from food station to food station through the wondrous landscape at the Gum Swamp Wildlife Refuge while enjoying carp crackers, ginger and shallot scrolls, kangaroo dim sums, a family soup, Ants Crawling on Trees (rice vermicelli with lam mince) and burnt bloodwood honey gelato each very carefully matched with a beverage?
The return of the multi-award winning event after a two-year hiatus came with a new set of weather challenges leaving the usual event site at 9 Mile Reserve under about a foot of water, and a new venue had to be found last minute.
“I take my hat off to the team, they are so resilient,” said Wendy. “That was a highlight for me when nobody said we could not do it.”
According to Wendy the new venue at Gum Swamp turned out to be a huge bonus as they were able to highlight the beauty of the area. “Many locals had never been there.”
Leaving the site as they found it by delivering a no-waste, environmentally responsible event makes this foodie adventure truly unique. Guests have the option to donate back their goodie back of items, including wine glass, enamel plate, linen napkin and recycled cutlery to be used the following year. Items worth $19,000 were donated back after the previous event. “We literally leave only footprints as everything is recycled,” said Wendy. “We find that more and more people are commending us on this philosophy, as so much waste is left behind at huge festivals and events across Australia.”
The benefit of this small idea that has grown into something really big, is not just a direct injection of $400,000 in the local economy, but the profits are delved back into community projects, such as the ever growing Sculptures Down the Lachlan art trail.
By Maggi Barnard