It’s our favourite time of the year: the beloved festival dedicated to showing off the best food and drinks in Geelong is back and we’ve never been more ready to indulge.
That’s right, the annual Tastes of Central Geelong returns like a phoenix from the ashes with a monumental-sized program this June, marking its return to in-person events for the first time in two years.
Gifting locals and tourists alike an excuse to taste everything under the sun from Friday, June 10 through to Wednesday, June 29, this year’s festival is all about enticing food lovers to make their way into Central Geelong to sample gourmet food and drink and participate in food-themed activities and offers from restaurants and cafes, old and new, that need support as they continue to navigate the rocky road back to post-Covid normality.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.
With everything from walking tours and whiskey masterclasses to flower crown and cupcake decorating and special four-course gin degustations, there’s pretty much something to keep you busy every day of the festival, and providing the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best food and drink that the Geelong region has to offer.
This year, like all its previous years, there are plenty of plates full of activity at the Tastes of Central Geelong festival, so to help you navigate your way through this culinary celebration we’ve listed a few unmissable events and a few of our own personal favourites that we think are an absolute must through the 20-day feast.
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Afternoon tea with Adam Liaw
One event that we are excited about (and is sure to be one of the biggest treats of the entire festival) is the annual Afternoon Tea event, this year featuring one of Australia’s favourite cooks Adam Liaw. Adam is a renowned writer, cook, television presenter. He is the author of seven cookbooks, and has hosted television programs such as Destination Flavour (SBS), The Cook Up with Adam Liaw (SBS), and Tomorrow Tonight (ABC).
As part of the event, sweet treats and bubbles will be available and attendees are encouraged to indulge while host and GT Editor, Sarah Bieske interviews Adam about his life in the culinary spotlight, alongside a live cooking demonstration of three dishes from the chef himself.
The afternoon tea goes down at The Pier on Geelong’s Waterfront on Saturday, June 18 from 1pm-3:30pm. Booking essential.
Sweet treats demonstration with Anna Polyviou
For all the budding pastry chefs out there, powerhouse pastry legend and 2017 Chef of the Year, Anna Polyviou will be hosting a live sweet treats demonstration as part of Tastes.
Anna is a renowned pastry chef, cookbook author and television personality, with serious culinary cred. She perfected her talents in some of the world’s best kitchens, from the prestigious Pierre Herme Patisserie in Paris, to London’s Claridge’s Hotel, and has seriously developed her second-to-none skill.
Knowing how to make sweet dreams come alive, Anna’s larger than life personality will have you entertained throughout the entirety of the cooking demonstration, giving you her best tips and tricks for perfecting your sweet treats, alongside a special live DJ. What a treat!
The demonstration with Anna goes down at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre on Saturday 11 June at 1.30pm. Booking essential.
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With so many amazing dishes and drinks to explore around Central Geelong, why settle for one when you can try multiple? Tastes’ guided tours provide you with a sample of some of the great cafés, restaurants, and bars in just a couple of hours.
With a number of walking tours happening over the festival, including Tastes of Asia, Wine & Cheese, and a Morning Tea event, it’s the Fried Chicken & Froths event is an annual favourite.
Dedicated to fried chicken – the epitome of soul food in any language – and its golden counterpart of beer, this Tastes of Central Geelong event will see guests spending an evening with this ultimate couple. Running across two dates, Friday, June 17 and Friday, June 24, guests can sample tasty Korean, Japanese and Southern fried chicken while washing it all down with crisp local beers found in Central Geelong.
A beloved part of the annual celebration is the vast selection of masterclasses on offer, where attendees can learn the tricks of the trade and discover some handy tips from the best local experts.
There are some brilliant masterclasses on offer this year, including learning how to create your own charcuterie board with Zara from Boxed & Boards at the stunning Brush n Bubbles; a gingerbread cookie decorating class with Finnska Pipari; a masterclass of how to watch wine to food with the good humans at Union Street Wine; and a ‘Whiskey’s of the World’ class with The 18th Amendment Bar, among others.
Across the festival, a number of restaurants and bars will be hosting special events and experiences, providing a more holistic experience for the food and drink enthusiasts around town. There’s Vietnamese High Tea, a ‘Bubble & Pop’ four-course experience at Felix Restaurant, a flower crown and cupcake decorating workshop with high tea run by A Natural Bunch and Cakesmith, a Gin Degustation night, a Mexican fiesta, and an Italian Native Grapes Wine Lunch. And that’s barely scraping the surface. There’s also All You Can Eat Mussels, a three-course Sunday Lunch at Emerge, and a moreish Bar Lunch at Sumi, among many others.
We’d recommend pulling out the calendar and going through the event’s guide with a fine-tooth comb – there’s a lot to treat your tastebuds to.
Other highlights of the festival include ‘Cook The Dish and Win’, which encourages home cooks to try their hand at making recipes from local Chefs and go in the running to win vouchers to the esteemed restaurants; Drag Brunch at Piano Bar, complete with a piano man, drag queens, champagne on arrival and finger food; plus there’s a bunch of kids activities too, including workshops, craft classes, stage shows and more.
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There’s also a central Event Hub where guests can immerse themselves in Geelong’s most instagrammable location with sweet treat giveaways and mouth-watering scents, delivering a wholly sensational sensory experience; while roving performers and musicians will bring a side of entertainment to the streets for the entirety of the festival.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a food festival without some pretty tasty specials on offer from a tonne of Geelong’s most adored foodie locations. Think 2 for 1 ramen, $12 cocktails, $13 lunches, $6 sangrias, ice cream upgrades and so much more. If that wasn’t enough, Love Central Geelong has even teamed up with local accommodation to bring exclusive deals just for Tastes Visitors. celebration.
With hundreds of activities on offer, it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned foodie or a newfound food lover, we can guarantee that there will be something new and enticing for your to devour.
See the full program online here.