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Tuesday 7 March 2017

Hunter Valley winemakers practice their Italian accents

Hunter Valley winemakers are brushing up on their Italian accents and pizza-making skills ahead of the annual Broke-Fordwich Little Bit of Italy in Broke Festival in April.

The festival aims to bring the essence of Italian hospitality to this tranquil corner of the Hunter Valley with an abundance of fresh, authentic cuisine, local produce, cooking classes, workshops, demonstrations, vineyard tours and the region’s renowned local wines, even though Valpolicella and Soave are not the main styles in the Hunter. 

Stretching across 11 picturesque venues, the highly-anticipated event is now in its 12th year. Set in the stunning rural scenery and boasting a welcoming vibe, the festival is described as "the perfect foodie escape".

This year the Broke-Fordwich community is launching signature event, La Grande Festa to be held in the award-winning Margan Barrel Room on the Saturday evening. Guests will join local winemakers, vignerons and producers for a night to remember, beginning with Italian cocktails and antipasti under
the stars in the Margan courtyard, followed by a four-course menu of Italian regional cuisine featuring the best estate-grown produce and live entertainment. 

Many of the venues are teaming up with local restaurants for the festival to bring the very best offerings to visitors, with a host of options available. 

Greenway Wines will offer mouth-watering picnic boxes to share on the long table; Broke’s Promise has Italian meatballs, sausages and a feast of Italian patisseries and espresso from Ray the Butcher; Krinklewood will tempt diners with wood-fired pizza and gelato in its Tuscan-inspired courtyard; while at Catherine Vale Wines visitors can build their own antipasti platter or indulge in pork or lamb from the open Italian fire pit. 

There’s also plenty on offer for those who love cooking and creating as much as eating, with gnocchi-making classes, cooking schools, the Margan garden tour and lunch, olive oil pizza-making demonstrations and Vermouth cocktail masterclass.

Food for thought has also been taken care of. Krinklewood Vineyard will host a biodynamic walk and talk, while Whispering Brook has a vineyard, winery and olive grove tour and Catherine Vale Wines will host an olive tasting and preserving workshop. 

A number of fringe events will be held in addition to the main program, including the Big Italian Dinner at Catherine Vale on Friday night and breakfast at Nightingale Wines on Sunday morning.

Transfer buses will pick visitors up from a wide range of accommodation in the Cessnock, Rothbury, Lovedale or Pokolbin areas, with shuttle buses running between festival venues over the course of the weekend. 

The full program and more information can be found at

A Little Bit of Italy in Broke will be held on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9 with some fringe events on the Friday night. 

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