A new year. A new calendar. A lot of empty spaces… for now! Perth’s glorious sunshine and mild winters means there’s never long between food and drink events. I love checking out new festivals but there are some events I look forward to every year. They’re consistently well organised, have a great range of stallholders, a good atmosphere and don’t cost a fortune. Grab a pen or for digital types, grab your smartphone and save the dates for my favourite food and booze events happening in 2018!
Araluen’s Chilli Festival, Perth Hills
This festival has travelled around, appearing at Fremantle’s Esplanade and last year taking over McCallum Park in Victoria Park. In 2018, Araluen’s Chilli Festival returns to where it all began – Roleystone’s Araluen Botanic Park. I love chilli and my man does too, so the festival is a great day for sampling chilli-flavoured sauces, snacks, baked goods, and alcohol! If you (or your mate) can’t handle the heat, there’s typically a few ice cream trucks and plenty of beer to cool things down.
- Date: 3 – 4 February 2018
- Tickets: $22 + booking fee, kids free | Website: araluenbotanicpark.com.au
- Why I love it: A diverse range of stallholders and punters, united by their love of chilli.
- Tip: Check out the chilli plant displays to learn about some seriously hot and rare varieties.
City Wine, Northbridge
Winter in Perth can be pretty miserable. It rains, it’s dark by 5.30pm but it’s never cold enough to snow. So it’s always a magical time when City Wine takes over Northbridge’s Urban Orchard. Rugged up with a wine glass in hand, you can wander from stall to stall and experience the best of West Australian wine. Tastings are free but wine is also available by the glass or buy a bottle to take home. The green surroundings, live music and of course, the vino make it the perfect catch up with friends or solo night out.
- Date: TBC, usually a Friday and Saturday night in June.
- Tickets: $28 pre-sale (2017) | Website: www.wineandfood.com.au
- Why I love it: It’s like visiting Margaret River, but with one metre between wineries.
- Tip: Stallholders will look after any bottles you buy so you don’t have to carry them all night.
Good Food & Wine Show, Perth CBD
Don’t let memories of your last work conference put you off heading to the Perth Convention Centre. The Good Food and Wine Show is the biggest event of its kind in Perth, with food stalls covering everything from cheese and antipasti to desserts and health food products. There are huge areas dedicated to wine, beer, cider and spirits too. There’s also a strong local presence – last year I discovered Noshing Naturally vegan cheese and also met the founder of Turban Chopsticks meal kits! Tastings are free and there are plenty of bargains if you’re buying products to take home.
- Date: 24 – 26 August 2018, various day and night sessions.
- Tickets: About $25 – $35, depending on session (2017) | Website: goodfoodshow.com.au
- Why I love it: One ticket, hundreds of exhibitors. I’ll be honest. It’s pretty boozy.
- Tip: Bring a reusable bag for all your shopping, or buy a trolley from the merchandise stand.
This is hands-down one of the most organised and well-curated events in Perth’s food and drink scene (congrats JumpClimb!). Held at Birdwood Park near the Brisbane Hotel, your ticket includes four hours of beer, wine and cider tastings. Each year I discover a new winery or find a new beer at an old favourite stallholder. There’s a big emphasis on local producers with a few east coast surprises too. Food options are equally boutique, with pop-ups from some of Perth’s best eateries. It’s outrageously good value if you get pre-sale tickets.
- Date: TBC, usually a Friday night, Saturday day/night and Sunday day in October.
- Tickets: $29 + booking fee (2017) | Website: www.beauvine.com.au
- Why I love it: Meet the smaller brewers and producers in a hip but not too crowded space.
- Tip: Bring a hat and sunscreen, as there’s serious competition for shade during the day.
WA Beer Week, various locations
This massive celebration of WA craft beer has been happening since 2002. I’ll confess, last year was the first time I got involved with WA Beer Week but I’m already excited for 2018! This 10 day festival features events across the state, including beer launches, masterclasses, dinners, quizzes and even a beer run (yep, the exercise kind). It’s a great chance to visit bars and breweries beyond Perth too, with events held in regional Western Australia too.
- Date: TBC, late November 2018.
- Tickets: There are free events! Others are ticketed | Website: www.wabeerweek.com.au
- Why I love it: It’s a huge celebration of WA’s beer industry, no suits or heels required.
- Tip: Get your tickets early! Events will sell out.
Ones to watch…
- From the team behind Beauvine, Kegs by the Quay gets underway at Elizabeth Quay next week featuring more than 20 breweries and cideries.
- Seafood lovers can rejoice as Fish and Sips Festival makes its debut at Port Beach in early February. If you prefer sweets, De Lish Expo takes over Crown Perth the same weekend.
- South West in the City was a huge success on the South Perth foreshore in 2017 and has promised a return in early 2018.
- I’ll be closely following Perth Craft Beer Festival, which last year swapped the awful token system at Northbridge for the much friendlier PayPass at Claremont Showgrounds.
- I’m still yet to make it to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, but with the State Government renewing funding for another year and the promise of it expanding to Perth’s Swan Valley – 2018 may finally be my chance!
QUESTION: What’s your favourite food or booze event in Perth?