Cheers to a great day!

Thank you for coming along on Saturday to support our hardworking stall holders who truly blew us away this year with the level of quality and creativity they showcased. The exceptional talent and produce our region is renowned for was well represented in the beautiful tasting plates and beverages we got to enjoy. Thank you for being there with us and celebrating these chefs, producers, brewers, distillers and artisans.

We were blessed with a warm and sunny Spring day, perfect for enjoying a picnic at our new location at the Showgrounds. We loved seeing your positive feedback on the festival site and how the extra space allowed for a lovely relaxed atmosphere.


Before you keep reading our highlights of the festival this year we ask if you can please take a few minutes to complete this quick survey that helps us to continue to grow our festival. By completing this survey you will go into the running to win a beautiful Wandering Folk picnic rug made from durable cotton canvas and valued at $190!

Wandering Folk Picnic Rug Offer

We have some lightly pre-loved locally designed Wandering Folk picnic rugs available for sale. See above for the four designs available. We are selling them at a reduced price of $100 plus postage (they usually retail at $190) These beautiful rugs are 164 cm x 147 cm and made from durable cotton canvas with a waterproof canvas base. The rugs have been used at the festival so are considered second-hand however are in great condition. If you would like to order one email us using the link below with the name of the design you would like to purchase and your contact details.

A Northern Rivers Feast

We have had so much feedback on how amazing the quality of the tasting plates on offer was this year. To be able to produce such refined, beautifully plated dishes at a food festival is no easy feat so a huge congrats to our 2023 restaurants!!

Our pop up bars from Stone & Wood, The Cellar, Little Dragon Ginger Beer, Winding Road Distilling Co., Cape Byron Distillery, Lord Byron Distillery, Aurum Mead Byron Bay and Frank’s Cider also impressed with their delicious cocktails and range of beverages. We are so spoilt for choice here in the Northern Rivers!

And the winners are…

Our guest judges Magdalena Roze, and Ben Pollard sampled over 20 tasting plates before deciding on this year’s Golden Fork Award Winners and were impressed with the calibre of dishes on offer. Magdalena Roze said “the chefs and cooks this year went to huge efforts not only to create something delicious but something that looks really beautiful as well…” Ben Pollard, who writes menus for a profession and attends events as group Head Chef with Trader House said he was so surprised that our Savoury Plate winners Doma “could pull off a dish with so much technique, flavour, innovation and presentation at a festival”

A huge congratulations to Federal Doma Cafe for taking out Best Savoury Tasting Plate for their stunning “Three Snacks” dish featuring Dragon’s Eye (blow torched salmon, scallop, sushi rice) Blue Ocean Cracker (sashimi salsa, coconut, blue spirulina, tapioca) and Spanner Crab Chawanmushi (Katusobushi bonito and macadamia dashi, egg)

Wal of Natural Ice Cream Australia has proven himself unstoppable with his second win in a row for Sweet Tasting Plate of the year for his  “A Cultured Mess” dish. The incredible dessert featured Lemon Myrtle & Lisbon Lemon ice cream with cultured Lisbon lemon curd,  salted Lisbon Lemon Meringue, blueberries macerated in Kombucha vinegar and honey, native thyme and Byron Bush Foods Ooray powder.

The cooking stage…

A huge thank you to Andrew from TAFE NSW for guiding us through a full day of fun cook-offs and masterclasses on the Sample Food Festival cooking stage.

We thoroughly enjoyed the friendly banter between our guest chefs, Diana Desensi (Pixie Byron Bay) Matt Kemp (Beach Hotel), Jason Saxby (Raes on Wategos), Joachim Borenius (The Smoking Camel), Jordan Staniford (Forest by Crystalbrook) and Ally Waddell (Frida’s Field). Thank you to all these incredibly talented chefs for coming down and joining in on the fun.

Thank you to our generous local suppliers for supplying some gorgeous ingredients for our mystery boxes including Byron Bush Food, Flora Foods, Cheeses Loves You, Pimp my Salad, 3 Geese, Nimbin Valley Dairy, Uki Ginger Co, Flavouristas, Playing with Fire Native Foods, and Solidteknics for the cookware!

Also a huge thanks to Winding Road Distilling Co. and Aurum Mead Byron Bay for sharing your knowledge and expertise with everyone in the beverage masterclasses.

Fun for the young and young at heart!

There were lots of fun and engaging activities in our kids space this year and the little ones enjoyed learning all about beneficial insects and getting their hands dirty with some take home arts and crafts.

Our line-up of local muso’s in the Sample bar area also proved to be a hit this year and it was great to see you all enjoying some beverages in the Spring sunshine and even a few of you having a boogie later in the day!

The best kind of shopping

It was a beautiful day to browse our market stalls on Saturday and see the incredible innovation and skill of our local artisans, makers and producers. We hope you enjoyed meeting the people behind these small businesses, sampling their products and finding some special things to take home with you.

A fabulous night with the Fab Ladies

Sample Food Festival’s opening night kicked off with a whole lot of fabulous thanks to the Fabulous Wine Ladies Society putting on a great event at Crystalbrook Byron Bay.

The sold out crowd enjoyed an incredible five course feast from Forest Byron Bay’s Head Chef Jordan Staniford and The Loft Byron Bay’s Head Chef Juan Hernandez as well as matching wines from Dandelion Vineyards.

Lord Byron Distillery

We saw lots of Pina Coladas and other beverages being enjoyed in the Spring sun on Saturday thanks to the master mixologists at the Lord Byron Distillery tent. If you want to learn the art of making the perfect cocktail then look no further than Lord Byron Distillery who run a cocktail masterclass with some of Australia’s leading bartenders. You can also drop by their 100% renewable, zero waste Distillery in the Byron Bay Industrial Area for a tour and tasting or a few expertly made cocktails featuring their hand-crafted spirits. Visit their website for more information and bookings.

Thank you to our 2023 Festival Partners 

Thanks for coming along to our 11th Annual Sample Food Festival. We can’t wait to celebrate the incredible flavours of the Northern Rivers once again with you at the 12th Annual Sample Food Festival on Saturday 7th September 2024.









Pin It on Pinterest

Share This