The culinary minds behind CheeseFest+FERMENT are back this weekend with Gather & Graze, a more intimate food and beverage event in a new location at The Market Shed on Holland.
Kris Lloyd’s top tips for Gather & Graze this weekend
CheeseFest+FERMENT will be a scaled-back affair in 2020 – the inevitable result of a year that has turned the events and hospitality industries upside down – but its new offering, Gather & Graze, will hit all the notes fans of the festival have come to expect.
CheeseFest founder Kris Lloyd says it was important the festival go ahead, despite the significant challenges and uncertainty presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Rather than just scrap it and not have anything at all, I thought it would be nice to have something that’s a little bit more intimate,” Kris says.
“We decided to [go ahead with] the elements everybody loves about CheeseFest – the cooking demo stage and having the producers on site so that people can talk to them.
“That’s part of what’s important to me. It’s about making it accessible and fun. But it’s also about creating a platform for the producers to talk to people and market themselves and show what it is they do.
“Quite often people know the product, but behind the product, there’s a fantastic and entrepreneurial and innovative producer as well.”
When asked to identify her top tips across the two days of Gather & Graze, Lloyd to make a selection – every producer in the program is extraordinary, she says.
However, there are a number of presenters on the demonstration stage she is particularly excited about.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Maggie Beer… she’s the fabric of the South Australian food industry and to have her on stage doing a cooking demo is really special,” Kris says.
“Jake Kellie is going to do a fermented quail dish on the demo stage… [and] Karena Armstrong from the Salopian Inn is doing her pork buns… They are amazing.
“And don’t miss Emma McCaskill’s gulab jamun – a sweet Indian donut which she is stuffing with our award-winning (Woodside Cheese Wrights) buffalo curd.
“The burrata bar, I think, is definitely going to be a hit [as well].”
Kris and son Mitch will be presenting something special of their own, too – a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese washed in kombucha from Scull.
“We get our cow’s milk from Mount Torrens in the Adelaide Hills and we created a gorgeous cheese… very sweet… the milk from up there is just amazing,” says Kris.
“And once the cheese is made… we go through a process of washing it with quince kombucha from Scull, and it’s ended up with a really lovely rind, there are some residual sugars from the kombucha, and it’s a little bit floral from the quince.”
Kris says organisers have taken steps to ensure the event is safe and complies with their COVID plan, and have even imposed an additional requirement that all stallholders have a COVID marshal present.
However, she understands some people may still be reluctant to socialise at public events, which is why the demonstration stage will be livestreamed on the CheeseFest Facebook page all weekend.
“Not everyone is ready to go out,” Kris says.
“If you don’t feel comfortable [attending] but you still want to see it, go on to our Facebook page and it will be live.”
Gather & Graze runs from Saturday, 7 November to Sunday, 8 November at The Market Shed on Holland, with two sessions each day.
Tickets for sessions are available here.