Tasting Queensland

RACQ food writer Kerry Heaney takes you on a bite by bite journey around Queensland’s most interesting eats.

Festitalia - one day of la dolce vita in Brisbane

The Brisbane celebration of all things Italian, Festitalia, will return with tarantella dancers, Italian singers and a pizza acrobat at Newmarket’s Spencer Park on 14 October.

Expect a day filled with Italian flavours from more than 30 stalls selling authentic espresso, pasta, pizza, calamari, cannoli, gnocchi, Nutella doughnuts, granita and Italian meatballs.

There will be cannoli and gelato eating competitions, Nonna’s slipper toss and traditional Italian cooking demonstrations starring local Italian chefs.

This year, Festitalia will celebrate the ancient art of glassblowing and flag throwing from performers dressed in medieval costumes. You can even practice your Italian conversational skills in the Talk Italian tent.

Find out more here.


Brisbane Quarter opens for dining

It is starting to look like a multi-cultural feast at the new Brisbane Quarter (Cnr Adelaide and Ann streets and North Quay and home to W Hotel), with the opening of Italian-inspired Persone and Indian-influenced Heritij.

Both venues offer panoramic views over the Brisbane River that locals are sure to love.

Persone is a 149-seat restaurant straight from the heart of the Gambaro family, who have drawn on their Italian heritage with a signature dish of rabbit ragu. The menu will take you to the streets of Italy with everything from pizza and porchetta to risotto, ravioli and gnocchi.

Described as a new approach to Indo-Asian, Heritiji (the name is a modern twist on the word heritage) promises a vibrant drinking and dining experience with Michelin-starred Chef Manjunath Mural at the helm.  A champion of global Indian gastronomy, Mural uses traditional Indian preparation methods with a variety of flavours in cross-cultural fusion.

Dishes include Sambal Barra (barramundi, fresh chilli, sambal, charred silverbeet), Pomegranate Prawn (banana prawn, pomegranate, mace, cardamom, shisho, Warringal green salad), Kashmiri Lamb Shank (yellow chilli, cinnamon, clove, traditional bread, saltbush leaves) and more.

Malt Dining’s Nick Pinn has crafted an exciting cocktail menu, combining classics with a signature range also inspired by the dining experience’s Indian-Asian heritage for Heritij’s Bar.

Browse the menus for both venues here.

Are you ready for ruby chocolate?

For the first time in 80 years, a new natural type of chocolate has been unveiled.

Ruby chocolate sits alongside white, milk and dark chocolate and is derived from the ruby cocoa bean grown in Ecuador, Brazil and the Ivory Coast. The colour and berry-like flavours are unlocked from naturally-occurring elements within the cocoa bean and the flavour includes berry fruitiness and hints of citrus with a luscious smooth texture.

Launching the ruby chocolate with a dazzling tasting experience, Spanish-inspired chocolateria San Churro have created a range of products to show off the new flavour.

Sign up for the Ruby Chocolate Experience and expect a chocolate tasting and a dramatic dessert reveal with made-to-order Spanish churros covered in velvety smooth ruby chocolate, all enveloped in a scented berry mist.

Book for the $35 per person experience here.


Discover the spirit of Bundaberg

The award-winning Spirit of Bundaberg Festival will return on Saturday, 14 October, at the iconic Bundaberg Rum Distillery.

Serving up rum-inspired food, rum cocktails, local music and the latest Bundaberg Rum Distillery releases, the festival is a celebration of Bundaberg.

Flavour is a big festival focus with more than 20 rum-inspired food stalls offering dishes including pulled pork rolls with Kakadu plum and rum sauce, BBQ rum sauce pork ribs, onion rings with rum dipping sauce and Bundaberg Royal Liqueur Gelato for a delicious sweet hit.

Festival goers will be among the first to try Bundaberg Rum Small Batch Silver Reserve, a premium white rum perfect for summer cocktails, which is the latest rum release.

“The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival is our way of thanking the community for their continued support. We've added quite a few awards to our trophy cabinet since our last festival, particularly with Bundaberg Solera winning the World's Best Dark Rum and the festival winning Best Distillery Event in the World so there's lots to celebrate,” Bundaberg Rum Senior Brand Manager Duncan Littler said.

The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival will open to the public with free entry from 10am to 5pm.

For more information visit Bundaberg Rum.