July 30, 2020 / By Nicole West
Who doesn’t love a chance to celebrate coastal cuisine in beautiful Port Stephens? ‘Love Sea Food’ has been tantalising the taste buds of foodies throughout August, with everything from gala dinners to cooking classes and learning about sustainable fishing. If you haven’t had a chance to get there yet, don’t worry, the best is yet to come!
From Saturday the 31st of August to Sunday the 1st of September, food, wine and jazz combine in the Nelson Bay CBD, at Apex Park and D’Albora Marinas. Get set to shuck an oyster, sip on craft beers and tap your toes to the sounds of fantastic musicians playing across the weekend. There’ll be over 70 stalls, including 10 wineries, along with food trucks and three stages. Free entry means you can splurge on all the prawns you can possibly eat, or book tickets now for a range of special events. Here’s a look at the mouth-watering, trumpet-infused lineup.
Free Cooking Demonstrations
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to shuck an oyster, D’Albora Marinas is the place to be on both festival days. Port Stephens Oyster Growers shows you how, along with an oyster shucking competition to see how the professionals do it. If you’re bringing dad, there’s a special comp for Father’s Day, so he can show off his superior prawn-peeling skills.
Marc Cartwright, chef for the Mercure Hotel, will whip up torched kingfish sashimi, foie gras mousse, fried panko, basil oil, pickled heirloom tomatoes and cauliflower cream right in front of your eyes. Bay Cooking School’s Stephen Daley brings spice and tea-smoked flathead, fermented garlic, microgreens and citrus.
Feeling hungry already? You’ll find many more demonstrations to feast your eyes on, including ones by Michael Jenkins from The Anchorage, Ben Way from Little Beach Boathouse, Ludovic Poyer from The Poyer’s, Alex Stollznow from the Sydney Fish Market and Mitchell Turner from Rick Stein at Bannisters.
Thankfully, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to dance your socks off to make room for more seafood. The Stockton St stage will host the New Orleans funky rock of Rehab Brass Band, the Djangologists with music inspired by Django Reinhardt and the jump jive jazz of Fish Fry.
Head over to Apex Park to hear the smooth sounds of Jude & the Dudes, the University of Newcastle Jazz Orchestra and The Tangled Souls. At the Mangus St stage, tap your toes to the old-time jazz of Queen Porter Stomp and pull out your rock’n’roll moves for Footloose Band.
If you want to sample some of the most scrumptious dishes in the region, buy a ticket, ($59), for this walking tour around the CBD and Marina. You’ll get a delicious tasting plate and a matching glass of wine at Sandpipers Restaurant, Sienna's Pizzeria Bar, Evviva Cafe and The Wharf Bar and Grill, so it’s pretty good value for money.
Get out on the glittering water with Moonshadow-TQC, to feel the salty breeze in your hair as you cruise the bay. You’ll feast on a two-course buffet lunch, starring seafood of course, while listening to the energetic tunes of the Eric Gibbons Jazz Band. This is another ticketed event, so get in quick to book.
To celebrate on Saturday night, Hot Potato Band takes to the stage at Soldiers Point Bowling Club. The 10-piece brass band from Sydney is renowned for their original acoustic tunes, interactive performances and the unique sound of the sousaphone, an array of horns and no less than three drummers. Again, you’ll need to book your seat for this one, to get in on the musical action.
If you’re bringing the kids, sit back, relax and munch on fish and chips while they enjoy fish feeding at the marina, casting competitions and free face painting at Apex Park. Bon Appetit!
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