From Bánh Mě to Black Truffles & everything in between
It is no secret that Canberrans love their food and if there is one thing we like even better, it's a food festival. Thousands (and I mean thousands!) of locals and visitors turn up to each foodie event, all eagerly awaiting the opportunity of tasting new and exotic foods from all around the world. International street food in particular is a favourite, with plumes of spicy BBQ smoke hovering over the city at various events, with the smells alone drawing in even more crowds. With the embassies of the world all located in the city and a host of multicultural restaurants located around the region, it is only natural that we would all come together and want to try each others cuisines. Another reason these festivals are so popular is the sense of community that these festivals bring to the city, as we all come to together to celebrate different cultures as one. The following 5 markets and festivals are the main foodie events held throughout the year, however there are many more happening almost every weekend (keep an eye on Weekendnotes for all the details).
Wake up your tastebuds and bring your appetite to these festivals each year. You're going to need it.
The Forage. Image: Original photo's from The Forage Facebook
1/ The Forage (held four times a year seasonally) is a night market designed to showcase the diversity of Canberra's foodie scene, all in the one place. These markets are held between 2pm - 7pm with local restaurateurs, cafes, food trucks, wineries, breweries and gourmet food producers all coming together in the one location. Held in the carpark of the Little National Hotel in Barton, this market begins in the afternoon so there is plenty of time to relax with a drink, stay on for dinner and then linger for dessert, all the while listening to local talent, playing lawn games and meeting the people behind the stalls. See here for their website, however their Facebook has all the latest dates and details. Also check their Facebook if rain is forecast, as the event will be cancelled.
2/ The Multicultural Festival (February) is the biggest festival of the year, with the CBD blocked off to traffic and over 380 stalls selling their range of international food to over 250,000 visitors over the 3 day period. Did I mention it was big? Almost every country in the world is represented in street food, as well as in cultural performances on the stages positioned around the festival. Listen to African drummers, watch Bollywood dancing, celebrate Chinese New Year and admire the talent of Pacific Island choirs. This is a family friendly event, for all ages to enjoy. See here for details, as well as their Facebook for updates. For an idea of what to expect at this three day party, see the You Tube clip below.
3/ Night Noodle Markets (March) are part of the Enlighten Festival, which lights up Canberra's iconic landmarks with artistic projections every year. The Night Noodle Markets run nightly for a week in the festival, with local and national Asian restaurateurs firing up the woks for a street food extravaganza. The markets are held at Reconciliation Place on the lawns behind Questacon, so people attending the market can see the projections on Old Parliament House, Questacon and the National Library nearby. It is the food however, that keeps people coming back every night, with its wonderful flavours and aromas. Artistic stilt walkers and performers also wander through the crowd, creating a surreal and festival atmosphere. See here for details each year.
The colour and magic of the Night Noodle Markets and Enlighten. Image: Original photos from Enlighten Facebook
4/ The Canberra Truffle Festival (June to August) is in celebration of the Black Perigord Truffle which grows around the Canberra region. As Canberra has the same weather patterns as the truffle-growing regions in France, there are a number of truffle farms around the region who are farming this "black gold". Here in Australia, farmers use specially trained dogs to hunt for truffles, as the traditional pigs have a tendency to eat them after they catch them. During the Canberra Truffle Festival you can book in a Truffle Hunt with the dogs and watch them in action. Many of the farms have teamed up with chefs, who then host a cooking demonstration with the truffles and provide a three course meal to enjoy. See here for details each year.
Canberra Truffle Festival. Image: Original photos supplied by Canberra Truffle Festival Facebook
5/ The World Curry Festival (July) is held in one of the coldest months of a Canberra Winter, which is the perfect time to warm up with a spicy curry. The CBD is once again blocked off and food stalls line City Walk and Garema Place with stalls from all around the world, showcasing the variety of curries from various parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. For the daring in the crowd there is a chilli eating competition, with the ultimate winner crowned "Canberra's Hottest Citizen". This festival also runs over 3 days, with music and entertainment throughout. See website here for details each year, as well as their Facebook for the latest updates.
For Canberra locals, we are fortunate that so many foodie festivals are on our events calendar each year, with more added every month. If you are visiting the city, why not combine your trip to the Capital with one of these foodie festivals, to get to know the real Canberra and its people - not just the politics that you see on the news. We look forward to seeing you here. Just don't forget your appetite (and beanie!).
Warm up at the World Curry Festival. Image: Original photos from In The City World Curry Festival Facebook