We didn’t let the weather stop us from having fun at our 10th Anniversary Sample Food Festival on Saturday. In fact, the amount of people that came out in the rain to support our stall holders with smiles from ear to ear truly warmed our hearts.

Before you keep reading we ask if you can take a few minutes to complete this quick survey using the button below. It helps us continue to grow our festival program and by completing the survey you will go into the running to win a picnic ticket package for next year’s festival! Thank you so much.

Let’s talk about the food and drinks!

With many of our local businesses facing increasing ingredient prices, staffing issues and Covid closures since the last festival, we were so impressed with the creativity, quality ingredients used and high standard of tasting plates offered from our food stalls.

The tasting plates on offer Saturday truly provided attendees a taste of the Northern Rivers, with so many local ingredients showcased. Pictured above is Forest by Crystalbrook’s line-caught torched kingfish poke bowls and Muhammara shrooms and Natural Ice-cream Australia’s local banana & wattleseed ice-cream with banana miso butterscotch and roast macadamia.

Attendees were also treated to a huge choice of beverages with pop up bars from Stone & WoodThe CellarLittle Dragon Ginger BeerSunly SeltzerWinding Road Distilling Co., Cape Byron Distillery, Lord Byron Distillery, North Wall Kombucha and Kombi Keg Byron BayAsoma provided festival goers with non-alcoholic cocktails and elixirs and The Kind Coffee Co. and Mount Warning Beverage Co. kept them energised and refreshed.

Golden Fork Award Winners!

Our guest judges Magdalena RozeJulia Busuttil Nishimura and Shannon Martinez were not only impressed by the exceptional local food and beverages on offer but also our incredibly supportive community. They had the tough job of deciding the best savoury and best sweet tasting plate of the day to crown the winners of the Annual Sample Food Festival Golden Fork Awards.

A huge congratulations to No Bones Byron Bay for taking out the best savoury taste plate for their No Lamb Gyros and Brunswick Heads based Natural Ice Cream Australia winning the sweet taste plate for the Wattle Seed, local banana Ice-cream with Banana Miso Butterscotch and Macadamias.

The judges also gave a special mention to the Ballina RSL who wowed them with both of their savoury and sweet plates. Magdalena Roze telling the crowd how impressed the judges were by a regional RSL producing dishes of that calibre and beauty. Thank you to the Hon Benjamin Franklin, MLC for presenting the awards and coming out to enjoy our brilliant local produce.


Attendees were treated to a full day of fun at the cooking stage tent on Saturday. From making sweets with Magdalena Roze, to vegan treats with Shannon Martinez and family-friendly meals with Julia Busuttil Nishimura, every type of dietary preference was covered. Camille Awad from Winding Road Distilling Co., shared her knowledge on spirits whilst Robert Mudge showed the crowd how to prepare some easy cocktails at home. Samantha Gowing shared some useful waste hacks and delicious recipes. Jonas Widjaja from Fair Game Wild Venison and Nick Pearce from Recipearce broke down a wild deer and prepared three easy meals with the game meat, answering lots of questions on this growing sustainable meat movement. The day was closed with a lot of laughs when Jason Saxby Raes Executive Chef went head to head with Alastair Waddell Frida’s Field Executive Chef in a cook-off using items foraged from Peter Hardwick’s workshop earlier in the day. The audience also enjoyed lots of wild-food stories and wisdom from the foraging pioneer. And the winner of the cook-off? It was a tie!!

A taste of the Northern Rivers

The innovation and skill of our artisans, producers and small business owners was on full display on Saturday. Our festival goers got to sample regional food and beverages and take a taste of the Northern Rivers home with them including artisan crumpets, jams and spreads, oysters, cheeses, crackers, native foods, venison and so much more. There was also new local products to try including Flora Foods (m*lk) and The Kind Coffee Co. who launched their incredible new ready to drink cold brew range that is about to hit the shelves across Australia and beyond!

Lord Byron Distillery

Even with all the wet weather everyone was in it together! The Lord Byron Team thoroughly enjoyed the day, sharing our spirits and cocktails with so many locals and friendly faces. Sample Festival was fun, delicious and most of all, a day for everyone to share what our region is all about, community. Can’t wait for next year!

We so appreciated the good vibes and support of our festival partners Lord Byron Distillery on Saturday. If you live in the area or are holidaying, make sure you visit them in Byron Bay for a complimentary Cellar Door tour and an expertly made cocktail or mixed drink. They also run an incredible gin distilling masterclass that gives you the opportunity to select the botanicals, make and take home your own bottle of gin! Open Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 5pm.

Thank you for supporting our local food economy. We can’t wait to celebrate with you all next year for our 11th Annual Sample Food Festival on Saturday 2nd September 2023.









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