Celebrate nature’s spoils – and the locals who produce them – at gourmet festival Orange F.O.O.D Week.

Gaanha-bula (Mount Canobolas) is the most significant geographical feature near the Central Tablelands city of Orange – land of the Wiradjuri people – a 50-minute flight from Sydney. A powerful volcano thousands of years into dormancy, its rich surrounding soil is the leading reason the region is known as NSW’s “food basket”.

The mountain makes a perfect orientation point for Forage, one of the most popular events of Orange F.O.O.D Week, a 10-day celebration of makers and growers that takes place each autumn (5-14 April).

“About 1000 people traverse 4.5 kilometres of vineyards leading up to Gaanha-bula,” says festival president Charlotte Gundry. “They stop along the way to complete an eight-course walking dégustation sampling the region’s produce and wine. It’s just magic.”

Night markets kick off celebrations on the first weekend and bring dozens of traders to the party. Try a hibachi-grill creation from local favourite The Agrestic Grocer, followed by a mango tango – white chocolate gelato spiked with mango and raspberry jam – from relative newcomer Spilt Milk Bar. A ticketed long-table Saturday lunch on Sampson Street for 350 people is another highlight, as is the producers’ market and brunch, held amid the old-growth trees and fairytale begonia greenhouse in Cook Park on the final Sunday.

The rest of the festival calendar is ripe with activations from local eateries and vineyards, plus live music and the work of local artisans. “It’s been said before but every week is Food Week around here,” says Gundry.

Make it a weekend

The Byng St Boutique Hotel, NSW

The Printhie cellar door already punched well above its weight but the label’s recently hatted restaurant, Printhie Dining, which brought a hyper-local dégustation to the vines in mid-2022, has only upped the ante. If the Murray cod and yabby dumpling is on the menu, run, don’t walk. Basalt – three cabins overlooking a cherry orchard off the edge of Towac Pinnacle – is a newish addition to the region’s luxury accommodation, while The Byng St Boutique Hotel is a historic homestead with 22 elegant rooms in the heart of town.

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SEE ALSO: Your Guide to Exploring the Best Wineries in Orange

Image credit: @photographybypip; Pablo Veiga; Basalt.

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