Porchetta Day was a huge success. So many people came, that we sold out of pork! Can you believe it? We doubled the amount from last year and still ran out. So great to see people supporting what started out as a small community food festival that paid homage to Italian food! This article from the local paper- the Namoi Valley Independent- has more details.
An Italian feast to remember
By Kate Ramien | September 27, 2011
The event has in three years grown to something that has become a ‘must do’ on the social and culinary calender, with 50 per cent of the crowds coming from out of town, including Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and Port Macquarie.
“It was fantastic. We had great reports,” Porchetta Day committee chairman Richard Gallen said.
“There was virtually nothing negative said about the day, except that we did run out of a little bit of food.”
The festival kicked off with the official basting of the whole pig – the stuffed porchetta – by Gunnedah Mayor Adam Marshall and Italian residents and sisters-in-law, Jan and Maria Capezio, which involved dipping rosemary swatches in olive oil.
The pork, which included a whole bodied 35 kilo pig and another 120 kilos of boned out meat for the porchetta rolls was so popular, it ran out at 1.30pm despite organisers ordering more than last year.
“We could have sold 30 to 40 kilos more of pork, because a lot of people wanted that,” Mr Gallen said.
The famous Capezio sisters-in-law, Jan and Maria, also sold out of their home-made gnocchi – they had made 300 portions, an extra 100 on last year.
“The gnocchi is always a sell-out. It’s getting a bit of a cult following,” Mr Gallen said.
“But there was still lots of other things to eat.”
Food orders for some dishes like the Italian sausages doubled this year. They were again extremely popular, as were the pastries and famous cheesecakes. Italian breads like paninis, ciabattas, antipastos, lasagne, gelato and pasta also kept the crowds satisfied.
There was a minor hiccup however, when the wood-fired pizza maker from Sydney took the wrong route and ended up at Gundagai – not Gunnedah. Luckily the local Terry’s Pizza outlet stepped in and filled the void.
In just three years, crowd numbers have grown from 1500 to 4000, with Mr Gallen saying the festival has now reached another level.
“It’s certainly drawing the younger generation who are now organising get togethers and reunions around Porchetta Day. I think the cooking and food shows are also making more people appreciate food.”
Mr Gallen said the committee is doing things better every year, with a lot more entertainment offered for children this year, including a magic trickster, which was a crowd favourite, as well as face-painting and kids’ pizza making.
The famous spaghetti eating competition attracted both young and old, and made for an entertaining event on the program.
The day successfully attracted hundreds of families – a theme the festival committee has been trying to promote.
The Gunnedah Visitor Information Centre fielded dozens of enquiries in the days leading up to the event, from people at Tamworth, Maitland and Albury.
“We also had a lot of people on the day just driving through and pulled up their caravans, had a look around and were really impressed,” Gunnedah Shire Council Conference and Events Co-ordinator Lisa Davis said.
Richard Gallen thanked the entire Porchetta Day committee, community groups and volunteers who helped out on the day and in the lead-up to the festival.
“It’s just fantastic the way people chip in,” he said.
The Annual Porchetta Day “post mortem” will be held next week. Anyone who would like to give any feedback is being encouraged to fill out a survey which can be obtained at the Gunnedah Visitor Information Centre.