Top chefs at wine festival

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 12:52 15/01/2013
brown
MICHAEL BRADLEY/FairfaxNZ

Chef Al Brown's paua buttie is only found in New Zealand.

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Some of Marlborough's premium produce will shine in the hands of New Zealand's top chefs at the 2012 Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, on February 9.

Held at Brancott Vineyard in Brancott Rd near Blenheim, the eventis in its 30th year.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said the cooking demonstrations have been extended this year, following their popularity at last year's event.

The lineup of celebrity chefs at the festival will include NZ chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and writer Al Brown and MasterChef winners Brett McGregor, Nadia Lim and Chelsea Winter.

"It was great to have such interest from them, and it wasn't hard to convince them to come," said Mr Pickens. "Marlborough may be a small region, but we are big on quality in terms of wine and food."

The chefs will present 10 free cooking demonstrations throughout the day using fresh Marlborough produce, in a new area dedicated to food dubbed the Culinary Pavilion.

Another new addition to this year's event is the Festival Quarter, which will be home to some of Marlborough's smaller boutique wineries and food producers, complemented by live classical music, Mr Pickens said.

"The Festival Quarter will provide festivalgoers with a whole new experience, in a more intimate setting."

Auckland-based folk-pop band Avalanche City and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra will be joined by Wellington jazz band Twinset and Christchurch's New Entrants.

This is also the first year that festivalgoers will be able to pick up their tickets from the Blenheim and Picton i-Site visitor centres. "The i-Sites make it easy for locals to pick up their tickets, plus it's an effective way to showcase the region to people from out of town and encourage them to extend their stay," he said.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said Waitangi Day falls the Wednesday before the festival, creating an ideal opportunity for visitors to have a mini-break in Marlborough.

Tickets cost $48 and are available from marlboroughwinefestival.co.nz or at the Blenheim and Picton i-Site visitor information centres.

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- The Marlborough Express

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