Save the date for the Grampians Grape Escape May 2-3, 2015- by Emma Stirling APD

Long, long before he was a famous TV celebrity I had a major crush on Matt Preston. Well to be correct, on his food writing.  That man certainly has a way with epicurean words.  Without a script and under the flashing camera lights, phrases like this roll off his tongue: the Grampians food and wine region is a “stunning beauty with uncut diamonds that jut out of fertile plains”.

So I was very pleased to hear that he is the new Grampians Grape Escape festival ambassador.  And as I hail from 6th generation Western District farming stock, I was very pleased to attend the launch event today to support local producers.  You can too.Mount Zero Salt


Matt described how his family spends a rather colourful Easter every year in the Grampians, and as you know lovely regular readers, we gather our family tribe every Summer at Halls Gap too.  But what we really look forward to is the Grampians Grape Escape Festival on this year from 2-3 May, 2015.

Matt describes the festival as, “A constantly surprising region with so much great stuff to eat and drink.  And as much about the people you meet.”  Well.  Ok. I know, right?  It’s not as eloquent as “fertile plains”.  But he was being genuinely kind to the producers in the room and over half of my extended family who will read this.  While the media and guests snapped pics with Matt, I snapped up a few minutes with the delightfully humble, Richard from Mount Zero Olives. Who doesn’t look quite as at ease with the limelight as Mr Preston’s seasoned swagger.  We had three attempts at this shot before his hand uncovered the whole product and branding.

Mount Zero

Mount Zero have some fabulous new products to add to their range of divine artisan Pink Lake salts.  Including Glenelg River Herbs: Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme sourced from the Grampians.  Australian Native Pepper Berries: Sustainably harvested from Tasmanian rainforests.  And Roasted Kalamata Olive: Infused with Mt Zero’s own pitted Kalamata Olives.  The have also launched a naturally iodised version using kelp harvested from Narooma and Wakame from Tasmania (pictured above).

IMG_4276Matt looked like he was going to pocket a bottle in his cravat.  But Richard jumped in and generously bagged up two bottles to giveaway to you lovelies, both in handy grinder packs.  If you’d like to win the #giveaway drop a comment below and tell me what you’d cook up?  Entries open to Australian residents only and close 5pm Friday 20 February, 2015.

With over 125 food, wine, beer and cider exhibitors, plus live music and festival fun it’s time to save the date.  What are you waiting for? Check out the program.  Book a weekend getaway from Melbourne now.  Or schedule a holiday to coincide with Victoria’s oldest food and wine festival.  Kids will be grape stomping.  My mate Pete Dillion from JoyFM will be elegantly and eloquently MCing.  Matt will be cooking.  And talking.  And cooking at the same time as talking.  And I’ll be hanging on every word.

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