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Showcase for best regional produce

If it’s good enough for Adele, it’s good enough for anyone. The pop princess had a taste of the Great Southern when food ambassador Don Hancey and his chefs cooked for the star and her consort when she played in Perth this month.

Among her favourite Great Southern proteins were an Amelia Park lamb shepherd’s pie and Mt Barker free-range chicken with lemon thyme.

Both of which will be heavily showcased along with a string of the region’s choicest produce at this year’s IGA Taste Great Southern festival which kicks off again this month.

The festival, which saw more than 9500 people across all events last year and a target of more than 10,000 this year, showcases the best the region has to offer encapsulating the farming hinterland and major towns of Albany, Denmark, Mt Barker, Kojonup and Katanning.

Think markets, degustation dinners and lunches, wine tasting, beer, whisky, coffee and spirit sessions, food and wine- pairing masterclasses and community events.

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Celebrity chefs such as first timer Miguel Maestre — who is flying down early to catch his very own kingfish for his menu — MKR’s Colin Fassnidge and WA darling Anna Gare will all be hosting and cooking at events across the region.

CMS events director Richard Campbell said this year would see a better variety of events.

“We have expanded into the outer regions a bit more which is good for the profile of the region,” he said.

“For the first time we have introduced fly-drive packages from Perth for each of the weekends offering a three-day getaway to take in events.”

He said while chefs were promoted, the aim was to highlight local produce.

“We want to give chefs and produce equal billing so visitors not only enjoy the food but get a better understanding where it is from and seasonality,” he said.

“Great Southern boasts a large and diverse region with unique tourism attractions, world-standard wines and fresh, clean and amazing produce which needs a visit there to experience.”

Clean and fresh local oysters.
Clean and fresh local oysters.

The economic impact for the region was a major driver of the festival, with Food and Wine (Culinary) Tourism being a significant strategy for Tourism WA as part of the government’s Taste 2020 campaign.

Former tourism minister Kim Hames, who spoke on behalf of the premier at the launch this month, said he believed food and wine festivals were paramount for national and international exposure “and are key to taking WA tourism forward”.

IGA Taste Great Southern runs from March 23-April 9. For tickets and further information head to tastegreatsouthern.com.au.

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