Hawke’s Bay food festival ‘F.A.W.C!’ releases 2024

It’s easy to assume one must fly to Italy or Spain to attend a food and wine festival in a ‘Great Wine Capital of the World’.

However, foodies will be pleased to know one is happening this March, and it’s only a short flight or drive away, in Hawke’s Bay.

The Summer Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C!) is scheduled to take place from March 15 to 24. It is the 12th festival and the first since Hawke’s Bay was named a Great Wine Capital of the World, in May 2023.

The prestigious list includes globally recognised wine regions such as Bordeaux in France, America’s Napa Valley and Bilbao in Spain.

This year’s F.A.W.C! will also be its largest yet, with more than 30 culinary events featuring top chefs. To help you choose what to see, we round up some of the top picks for 2024.

Great Wine Capitals: Adelaide Showcase
Saturday, March 16, $150 per person

Want a full South Australia wine experience without having to travel across the ditch? You’re in luck.

To celebrate Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion in the Great Wine Capital network, F.A.W.C! is showcasing a different member capital each year. In 2024, it’s Adelaide, South Australia. At this event, Callum Hann (from Masterchef Australia, Lou’s Place in Barossa Valley and Eleven Restaurant in Adelaide) will dish up the best of Adelaide flavours during a three-course dinner, accompanied, of course, by South Australian wines.

The Grand Long Lunch
Sunday, March 17, $280 per person

The last event in 2022 sold out and it’s no surprise as to why; this exclusive event takes place in a secret location with award-winning chefs who prepare the most luxurious of long lunches. This year, the Grand Long Lunch features a five-course meal prepared by leading chefs in New Zealand and Australia.

Experience Vintage with Trinity Hill
Thursday, March 21, $66 per person

Those who know NZ wines will know Trinity Hill, located in the Gimblett Gravels District of Hawke’s Bay.

During F.A.W.C!, you can get amongst the harvest action with the winemaking and viticulture team and participate in three vintage activities that will teach you about the process of making wine from grape to bottle.

Don’t worry, after the hard work of foot-stoping wines and learning about fermentation you can sample fully finished wines with the winemakers themselves.

Sundown Groove
Friday, March 22, $80 per person

What’s better than handcrafted tapas, delicious organic wines and groovy music? Not much. So, if that sounds like your cup of tea (or glass of wine), Havelock North’s Brother Café is the place to be on Friday, March 22. As the sun sets, ticketholders can enjoy a variety of Village Vineyards organic wines, carefully chosen to compliment a four-course gourmet selection of handcrafted tapas dishes.

Tacoteca MasaClass
Sunday, March 24, $220 per person

Love Mexican food? Then this “MasaClass” with the chef behind Auckland’s Tacoteca is a must-do. During this epic session, Chef Jean Brito will teach you the ins and outs of Mexican cuisine before you can sit down and enjoy a long lunch prepared by the Tacoteca team.

For more information on the events, tickets and other details, check out the official F.A.W.C! website.

First published by NZ Herald.