Australia's culinary scene should be very grateful for the nation's hardworking and extremely talented food producers. Usually it's the quiet achievers supplying the unique produce that allows our chefs to bask in the limelight. Now it's the producers' turn to shine and take their rightful place as the true celebrities of the Aussie food culture.

The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival (NIFW), May 14-17, is dedicated to bringing the nation's top producers to the international stage that is the NIFW, connecting not only the world's best chefs directly with the producers, but celebrating the amazing produce with Festival goers each and every year.

Foodies and consumers alike are now more engaged than ever with the origins and the stories behind their food. The festival connects consumers to the producers who dedicate their lives to the wonderful world of food producing through their deep connection with their animals and the earth and ocean around us.

The event brings together the winners and finalists of the prestigious delicious. Produce Awards, now in its tenth year, unearthing Australia's best produce and highlighting the real food heroes - small artisan producers around the country.

Advertisement

New delicious. editor-in-chief, Kerrie McCallum says "Both the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival and the delicious. Produce Awards strive to shine a light on the sometimes unsung heroes of the Australian culinary industry and so it makes great sense to come together at the Festival and celebrate the country's very best as we lead into announcing the delicious. Produce Awards finalists for 2015."

For Carla Meurs from Holy Goat Cheese in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia's cheese journey has only just begun.

"This summer our goats are sleek and shiny. They are eating indigenous wallaby, kangaroo and cumbungi grasses. The milk quality is amazing, sweet and savoury. Our cheeses carry the story of the minerals from our granitic soils, the health of the goats and our dedication to organic farming and traditional cheese making methods." Carla said.

"We love and care for our land, our goats, our cheeses. We are continuous learners and sharers of knowledge. We have a team of wonderful people who work and learn with us."

Julia and Shane's far north Queensland's Backfatters Farm came about from their love of good food and animals and one keen boar called Romeo. Such an enthusiastic willing worker, Romeo broke down four fences and mated with every sow on the farm in one morning, which lead to a population explosion on the farm about five years ago from which they have never looked back.

"Farming is not just about us, it is about working as a community of farmers and helping each other out. By reopening the abattoir we can now process local lambs, beef, pork and soon, birds. This creates a lot of opportunities for not only us but all our fellow farmers, along with bringing some diversity to our area which traditionally farms sugar cane." Julia said.

Julia's, Shane's and Carla's perspective, and respect for life on the land is one that is wholeheartedly shared across the broad spectrum of producers attending the 2015 Festival.

Michael Dlask from Salumi Australia believes that Byron Bay isn't all just hippies and surfers; there's so much more up in those hills. Hidden away in little old Billinudgel is the stuff foodie dreams are made of; award winning Salumi products hand crafted by founder Massimo Scalas and the team, kitted out in white coats, matching hair nets and wielding impeccable knife skills. Setting out on the Salumi journey in 2010, it was Massimo's ambition to create an old world product utilising the new world facility, local pork and product recipes derived from his home in Sardinia.

Gena Karpf from Sydney's Sweetness the Patisserie is living out her dream. Among many other incredible sweets; she makes marshmallows in 36 flavours, and couldn't be happier with the 'sweet life'.

"The delicious. Produce Awards brings to life all the products, and no other event showcases all of these amazing people together like the NIFW. Every year we are challenged to take a light hearted food like confectionery, and compete against an earnest food like a lentil, or an heirloom herb. It's one of the most brilliant events, I'm blessed."

It's easy to see why we celebrate these colourful characters and their incredible talents as the grassroots of Australia's culinary scene at the NIFW. In one incredible location the delicious. Produce Awards winners and finalists are brought together for four days of food, wine, music and fun, and we the consumers get to thank the producers who put the food on our tables and sample their unique produce.

Only in Noosa can you experience the nation's premier food, wine and lifestyle event set against the stunning backdrop of Noosa Heads. Festival goers can walk to most events from the Festival village, not to mention the local highlights of Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park, and the world famous Hasting's Street. Bump into your favourite chef (or producer!) and mingle with the world's best in Noosa this May.

The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival is supported by Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a dynamic calendar of events throughout the state.

"Once again Westpac is absolutely delighted to be part of an event that is so important to not just the local Sunshine Coast community, but to foodies right across Australia. We can't wait for the 2015 line up, which is set to be bigger and better than ever". Greg Crocombe, Westpac QLD State General Manager, Retail and Business Banking.

Tickets are now on sale and selling fast; view the full event program at www.noosafoodandwine.com.au

Download the free festival app for your free copy of the 2015 NIFW Cookbook, and start planning your festival fun now with the in-built planning features.