Fine food and wine with a global twist at Ballina food fest

BON APPETIT: Quattro co-owner Joanna Matricardi gives customers a taste of their Oliva and Luca pizzas.
BON APPETIT: Quattro co-owner Joanna Matricardi gives customers a taste of their Oliva and Luca pizzas. Marc Stapelberg

LOCALLY produced fine food and wine with a very global twist was the smorgasbord on offer at this year's Ballina Food and Wine Festival.

Whether it was gourmet pizza, local prawns by the bucket, South-American inspired street food, or Greek sweet treats, food lovers had plenty to indulge in.

There were blueberries, chocolate, coffee, cheeses and dips.

The wine was also flowing freely, with the souvenir wine glass lanyards handed out to all punters coming in handy and worn with pride.

Among the live entertainment was the attention-grabbing Samba Blisstas, with their percussion troupe rocking the Ballina Jockey Club with their syncopated beats.

Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond president Wayne Crawford he believed said the event had drawn a bigger crowd than ever in its five year history.

"There's definitely more people here than there were last year," Mr Crawford said.

"It's looking extremely good."

Matt and Natalie Duff from Alstonville said they didn't know what to expect from the event, and used it as a chance to scout for local products and interesting wines.

"We have friends overseas and we always like to take local produce overseas with us," Mrs Duff said.

Shona Barrett from Wardell said she "tasted everything" and was very happy with the staff working the different stalls.

"They were very confident about educating us about their products, people were so polite and courteous."

"You could hear the passion in their voice about the food."

The all-weather event using the indoors of the jockey club along with two marquees allowed people to wander comfortably even though the wind was howling outside.

Nicci Carter from East Ballina had come to the event for the first time in its five year history with friend Beth Engwinda.

"We've eaten out way around the world," she joked.

"We've done most of the food stalls, although we're staying away from the wine."

"We've found the food has been so lovely."

Highlights for Ms Carter included the gourmet lentils from Lentilicious, and Olive and Luca pizza.

Eat Me Latino, a Gold Coast-based food stall was almost selling out of their signature tostadas, deep-fried corn and flour tortillas inspired by Argentinean and Mexican street food.

By the close of the day at 5pm, everyone was soundly satisfied.

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