Words by Penny Cordner Images supplied
Forget a plane ride to Italy, Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao is bringing the best of this beloved European destination right here to country Victoria (15 November – 1 December).
The two-week festival will showcase the region’s Italian heritage through great food, wine and hospitality – as well as encouraging people to get moving. With a range of events for visitors of all ages, you could plan a day-trip, a weekend away, or a week-long stay.
The festival kicks off in Healesville on the 16th November with the vibrant Festa di via Verde (Green Street Festival), coinciding with the iconic Targa Florio motor car race arriving in town. This beloved race is an event for classic cars produced in the years between 1907 and 1976.
Maria McCarthy, a volunteer committee member says Festa di via Verde is designed to support the race and bring some colour to town.
It is an Australian version of an Italian village. The food, the entertainment – it will all fit in with the flavour of the day.
Think lawn games, tomato throwing contests, cheese-wheel races, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and more. Whether you plan to join in the activities or take it easy, there’s something for everyone.
“Come with an empty tummy and enjoy a bit of everything – there will be spiducci (skewers), pizza, pasta, wines and desserts. And then, at the end of the day you can sit under the trees with the music playing and take it all in,” Maria says.
Tickets to Green Street Festival are just $10 and include a reusable wine glass (for tastings), a Ciao YV Festival canvas bag and a program. Online purchases will also receive a drink token to use on the day. Oh, and did we mention that you can use the code ‘OHO’ to get two tickets for the price of one? Click this link for tickets and don’t forget to enter the ‘OHO’ promo code.
Yarra Valley is the perfect place to hold such a festival – you can see evidence of the region’s Italian heritage in the award-winning wine and produce.
Following the launch weekend there are a range of events to choose from. On Sunday 17th November you can sign up for Pinot + Pasta at Rob Dolan Wines – a decadent, hands-on pasta and sauce cooking class with pinot noir; or Frizzante! at Innocent Bystander, an Italian style sparkling masterclass.
The following week you’ll find more food and wine-focussed events, including an Italian Cooking School at Fondata 1872 (November 22nd), where you’ll master the art of home-made, pillowy gnocchi.
Cyclists should mark this one down – the internationally recognised cycling festival Giro della Donna, is coming to Warburton on the second weekend (23rd-24th November). There will be cycling events for all ages, a feast on Saturday night and the main ride on the Sunday – with plenty of food, drinks and entertainment along the way.
Looking for something a little slower paced? Head along to one of the long lunches at De Bortoli or Sedona Estate on Sunday 24th November, which will showcase the best produce of the region. You can also book in for a long lunch in the Cherry Hill Orchards on Thursday November 28th or Saturday the 30th November.
Just one hour from Melbourne, this festival will celebrate all things Italian, and all things local. For a full list of events, visit the website here: https://ciaoyarravalleyciao.com.au/events
WHAT: Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao
WHERE: Yarra Valley
WHEN: 15 November – 1 December
MORE INFORMATION: https://ciaoyarravalleyciao.com.au/events