For the very best in spectacular seafood, decadent cheeses and superb wines, you don’t need to head to the south of France or Tuscany to experience the good life. Just look to our very own Hunter Valley, fast becoming a gourmet mecca for the epicurious.

This year the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association is hosting an array of fabulous can’t-miss events that will showcase the prestigious wine and produce the Hunter region has to offer.

We have a fantastic schedule of events for 2008 aimed to suit everyone, Rowena Hawkins, the Association’s business development manager, said.

All events will include a fabulous mix of wines and food from the Hunter region, from the world’s best Semillons, to some of the best cheeses and olives you will find in Australia.

Events to be hosted by the Association in 2008 include the Hunter Semillon and Seafood Festival, April 18-20. The celebration of Semillon in the stunning local wine country will be held over three days, incorporating more than 20 events involving several of the area’s vineyards.

Justin North, the award-winning head chef of B?sse, will be conducting seafood cooking demonstrations for all visitors to attend, and Hunter Valley legend Karl Stockhausen will take them through a Semillon masterclass.

Then on April 29, the Warners Bay Wine and Food Fair will be held on the foreshore of Lake Macquarie. Premium wines from over 10 Hunter Valley wineries, from boutique companies to the larger well known brands, will be available for tasting and sale.

Visitors can enjoy delicious meals from Hunter Valley and Warners Bay restaurants, as well as the Hunter Valley cheeses and local olives that will also be on offer.

With free entry to the event, families are encouraged to bring a picnic rug and relax on the lawn, enjoy the live music and rides for children, whilst sampling the fantastic wine and produce the Hunter has to offer.

May is officially Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month, a favourite for many visitors to the area. Events throughout the month include the renowned Lovedale Long Lunch, Broke Fordwich Spirit of the Vines, fabulous wine dinners and lunches as well as tutored wine tastings.

There are plenty more fabulous events scheduled for the rest of the year, including a Hunter Valley delegation at the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show in June and the Shoal Bay Jazz, Food and Wine Festival in September.

Phone 4991 4535 or visit for full details.

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