Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Porchetta Day in Gunnedah - My home town

Most of you know that I grew up in Gunnedah in North West NSW. Yep for my first 16 years I was pretty much kicking around in the bush. Generally there weren't a lot of diverse food options available and until Woolworths started stocking Asian/Italian/Greek/Mexican/Whatever goods, there really was NO WHERE else to buy them. I had to save my Yum-Cha cravings for trips to Sydney and it was only because of my food loving parents being that I had ever had the opportunity to try something other than San Remo with Dolmio.

For as long as I can remember we have always had various friends around for various feasts- depending upon what Dad felt like at the time. Dad and his best friend have been known to dress up, donning traditional costumes of various countries and partaking in a culinary feast. One particular meal that Dad and Ken became fixated on was Porchetta- they just loved it. And rightly so! They decided to have a Porchetta Party at our house and it was such a successful day. Picture glorious pigs on spits basted in fennel and olive oil, about 90 bottles of red wine + beer + spirits between 120 people (20-30 of which were non- drinking children). As you can imagine- it went down in the history books for being hilariously messy, but the food and friends were fabulous. It was so great, Dad and Ken decided to see if they could make it a public event - something where Gunnedarians can come down, munch on some delicious pig, partake in some pasta eating and drink some Italian wine and beer.

This was two years ago, and we are now gearing up for the 2nd Annual Porchetta Day! After much planning and preparation, the event went ahead in September last year (and despite the horrid dust storms) was really well received. We sold out of all the Papa Pasticcerie ricotta cheesecake within the first couple of hours!!The success of this event proved that Country people really do support events like this- and are craving culinary delights that are often more common in city life. More importantly, It is great for the town to have a cultural event they can be proud of, particularly for the tight knit Italian community who have embraced the festival with a lot of passion and gusto.

The nicest part about all of this is that Porchetta Day Committee is a not for profit organisation, in fact only a few of the commercial vendors make marginal amounts of money on the day- everything else is done for 'the love of it.' This includes all the voluntary labour- and it is so nice to see so many people willing to lend a helping hand- country towns really are cute like that!!! The committee just want some nice events happening for the town- **squee!**

The first year meant a lot of lessons learnt, and this year the program has changed a little to incorporate suggestions from festival goers, as well as new ideas to keep the festival fresh. I can't wait to go down for September 25th and spend the WHOLE day eating, as well as drinking, and I guess helping out will be on the cards too! If last year is anything to go by, Dad and I will be down at the grounds at 5am to get things rolling.

If you are in the area and love food- you should definitely drive down for the day - or even the weekend. Gunnedah really is a cute little town and the festival will be spectacularly fun- I've had a fair few of my friends confirm attendance which automatically means the evening could get quite wild. At any rate- check out the website and my posts about Porchetta Day last year so you can see what you are in for if you make the trip.

If you are going to visit, be sure to let me know so I can catch up and say hi!

Porchetta Day:
Saturday 25th September 2010
10:00 a.m. onwards
Under the Olive Trees
North West corner of the Gunnedah Showgroud
Oxley Highway
Gunnedah NSW 2380

The iconic Gunnedah event. A rustic Italian-style festival with pigs roasting on spits being basted by swatches of rosemary dipped in olive oil. Traditional pizzas. Gelato. Cannoli and the famous Papa's cheesecake from Haberfield. Food stalls, Italian-style bowls (bocce), a pasta eating competition. Music from a string quartet wafts through the grounds while wine flows abundantly and city folk and country folk discuss local produce and celebrate the fruits of the land. Many say this is the best social event in country NSW and a wonderful way to savour the new sophistication of country living. You don't have to go to Tuscany this year. Come to Gunnedah.

12 fabulous comments:

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

There is a always something special about a whole animal cooked in its entirety (provided size not being an issue) - from a small bird to a whole pig - and being able to examine the flavour and textural differences of various parts.

Haha, I now want roast pork on a roll for lunch now! =p

Ladybird said...

Wow I can imagine there would be LOADS of good food there - hope you have a blast! x

Poss n Mark said...

Hi Gastonomy Girl. I know who you are!!! No - I really know who you are!!!!!!

I knew your Mum (R) when she was at school and I have just married her old best school friend (P). Your Mum told us about your blog and we have read many of your entries.

P runs a catering business so we too love great food. We think you have a real talent as a food writer and critic and just wanted to tell you that we think your blog is fantastic.

I think you find just the right balance between modesty/non-pretentiousness/self effacement and serious comment on food, service etc which you obviously take very seriously.

Keep up the good work and we hope one day you will sample some of our culinary delights - mind you we will be nervous about what might appear on your blog the following day.

PS - we may even make it to Porchetta this year - your Mum has invited us but depends on how many functions we have on that weekend and availability of chefs etc so we can get away to pig out on pancetta, porcini, prosciutto, pasta, pannacotta etc etc.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Gunnedah... is it the hometown of Miranda Kerr? Lovely post!

The InTolerant Chef said...

My husbands family is from a very small country town, and it is remarkable how the community bands together and supports each other. Here in the big smoke, we only see our next door neighbours occaisonally.
I hope you have a wonderful,wonderful day, and wish I could come too!

Matt said...

Looks like bags of fun was had! I need to get myself to one of these rural fairs!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Mmm I love porchetta too! And it looks like a really fun event too! :D

SOL's view said...

I would love to be there, but I'm not sure I could convince the hubby that the drive would be worth it even for a good food festival! Hope you have a great day and it all goes without a hitch.


Steph@LittlePotBelly said...

Roasting pigs on spit is such a manly, primal thing to do, I'm sure most guys love it. It looks like a fun day and I'll definitely mark this on my calendar. Hopefully Eddie can have a weekend off to make this trip...looks like a long drive though. (p.s. your website link isn't working)

M.E nee M.D said...

I think it will be your attendance that may mean the evening could turn wild GG... Don't go blaming it on your poor innocent friends, they know the truth! x

K said...

Gastronomy Girl,

I thought you might appreciate this. I'm so bummed I missed it!


Cook with Love said...

Well, lovely blog xxx congrats on porchetta dayx
Being from gunnedah (and a chef for 25 years) i appreciate your passion for fir
All things food!
Congrats again & hope we can get there one year
Cath (O'Donnell) and David Hopgood

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