GUNNEDAH’S Kennel Club grounds were transformed into a Little Italy at the weekend as the town celebrated its annual Porchetta Day.
Italian sausages, homemade gnocchi, cheeses, breads, olive oil, gelato, bruschetta, biscotti, pizza and pasta – and, of course, some good old-fashioned Italian coffee – greeted the 5000 or so foodies and wine lovers who flooded through the gates on Saturday to take part in the feast.
Perfect spring weather saw market stallholders inundated with droves of hungry and thirsty festivalgoers keen to wrap their lips around the scrumptious cuisine and il vino on display.
Porchetta Day co-ordinator and local Gunnedah girl Lindsay Sheedy said she couldn’t have asked for a better day.
“It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant," she said.
“We’re so thrilled with it.”
Jan and Maria Capezio helped Gunnedah mayor Owen Hasler continue the tradition of basting the spit-roasted pig with rosemary swathes dipped in olive oil at 10.15am, to kick off the event.
Arancini balls – a first for the festival – were a “major hit”, selling out well before 1pm, Ms Sheedy said, as were the ricotta cheesecakes made by famed Sydney Italian patisserie Pasticceria Papa.
The festival, in its fifth year, made better use of the grounds, with changed layouts of marquees and exhibitors affording festivalgoers plenty of seating under the shady trees to relax.
“It was perfect. We ran out of beer, it was that good,” Ms Sheedy said.
“Probably 90 per cent of the food sold out.”
The historic Punch and Judy puppet show kept the kids entertained, as did the slurpy spaghetti-eating competition.
Completely not-for-profit, the festival was run with the help of “insane” volunteers and sponsorship, Ms Sheedy said.
“We make nothing out of it. That’s not what we’re here for. It helps the community and is a major tourism drawcard,” she said.
Ms Sheedy said she planned to garner new sponsorship next year to continue making the event even bigger and better than the last.
“We want to keep this going for 10 or 15 years. We’re pretty strict on making sure everyone is here because they can do something Italian. That’s what makes it unique and brings the crowds.”