Cool drizzles of white ice cream stickied tiny fingers, while larger fingers were moistened by condensation on plastic wine glasses as the temperature climbed well past its expected maximum at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival last Sunday.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Heyfield’s Mackenzie and Lolly were all smiles at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival. Photos by Zoe Askew.

The Heyfield Food and Wine Festival made a welcomed return last weekend, following two years of cancellations throughout the pandemic. Severe weather forced organisers, Heyfield Traders and Tourism Association and The Heyfield Wetlands, to postpone the event, initially scheduled for Sunday, October 16, 2022.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Heyfield Food and Wine Festival at the Gordan Street Recreation Reserve last Sunday.

Cars lined the streets surrounding Heyfield’s Gordon Street Recreation Reserve, and brows quickly broke into a sweat as the hot sun belted down on guests filing through the entry gate.

Sounds of local artists hailed from a truck-turned-stage, reaching the ears of myriad Gippsland local makers and procedures scattered around the outskirts of the reserve.

Local musician Shane Marshall keeps guests entertained.

Passing through the entrance gates directly to your left, a small team manned the bar stall, serving cans of ice-cold beers, cider and other sugary drinks.

Next door, Bendigo Bank representatives chatted and laughed with passing guests under the shade of their maroon-coloured tent.

Silverwaters Vineyard, The Backwater Creative Co., The Bakery For Dogs, Bearded Bee Meadery and Glenmaggie Wines followed before stalls changed to food trucks, providing hungry guests with a plethora of options.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Nova, Luna and Daisy wait patiently for mum and dad to give them their treats. Photos by Zoe Askew.

Tantalising smells caught in the warm breeze, drifting across the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve as guests were handed plates, bowls and boxes of delectable menu items through serving windows.

With your choice of Lazy Gramps, Decadent Donuts, Doin Dumplings, Slinky Spuds, Big Bears Donuts, Dypsy Gypsy Ice Cream, Rosedale Pad Thai, Dine with a Difference, The Travelling Squid and Wheelie Good Pizzas, there was something to fulfil everyone’s cravings.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Many an ice cream was handed through the Dypsy Gypsy Ice Cream truck window at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival.

Lining the opposite side of Gordon Street Recreation Reserve, curling back toward the makeshift music stage, was Remi and Florence, Scottish Highland Beef Butcher, Marshall Arts Face Painting, Gippsland’s Wild Yeast Bakery, What the Fudge and Windsong Farm Providore.

Children wiped droplets of sweat from their brows with the back of their hands, before sitting tall in the face painting chair. Little eyelids fluttered, and noses twitched as the brush stroking cold paint onto youthful skin tickled their cheeks.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
What the Fudge cookies proved a hit. Photos by Zoe Askew.

Bread, delicious bread, sat protected in Gippsland’s Wild Yeast Bakery’s hard plastic display cabinets, each loaf so aesthetically pleasing even a coeliac would be tempted to suffer the consequences for just one bite.

Decedent cookies the size of small plates with mouth-watering, eye-catching toppings filled tubs on top tables at What the Fudge market stall.

Droves of guests roamed the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve, visiting stall after stall before returning to their personal camping chairs or picnic blankets, carefully balancing hands full with aromatic foods and delicious local wine.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Maffra’s Lisa and Sale’s Natalie enjoyed local wines as they sat together, listening to the music pouring from the truck-turned-stage.

Silverwaters Vineyard, a family-run business in San Remo, was among the local wine producers at the festival.

Emily grew up in Melbourne and met her husband Hercules (Herco) in the UK whilst backpacking around Europe. Little did she know that Herco would move to Australia following their travels, that they would marry, have three gorgeous daughters, buy an 18-acre property with a vineyard, and then spend six years doing up the property and learning the ropes of the industry.

“The vineyard is 28 years old; we’ve had it for eight years,” Emily said.

“The wines here today are the first vintage [wines] as us being the owners, which is quite exciting.

“This is the first time we’ve been at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival; we do a lot of farmers’ markets. We try and do any festivals we can get to because we don’t have a cellar door, so this is our way to get our brand out there.”

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Leah and Silverwaters Vineyard owner Emily at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival. Photos by Zoe Askew.

Silverwaters Vineyards supply numerous local restaurants and operate an online store, shipping Australia-wide with free local delivery.

In 2021, Silverwaters Vineyards Pinot Gris, Emily’s favourite wine, sold out in just six weeks; the trend continuing in 2022 with the family-run business selling out of their 2022 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir almost as soon as products hit the shelf.

Silverwaters Vineyards 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2021 Chardonnay was also awarded bronze in the 2022 James Halliday Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge; not bad for a husband and wife team who bought a vineyard eight years ago with zero previous experience.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
Boneyard Blondes lead guitarist Les Barker.

Across the way, mum of two and founder of new Traralgon-based local business, Remi and Florence, sat behind cabinets that were, at the start of the festival, filled with delicious brownies, cookies and the day’s crowd favourite, banoffee pie.

By 2pm, just a handful of sweet treats remained.

“I opened the business, named after my two daughters’ middle names, about three months ago,” Kim said.

Since opening, Remi and Florence has made appearances at Traralgon farmers markets and the Morwell Christmas Family Fun Day.

“The brownies are usually our best sellers at events like these,” Kim said.

“Although the banoffee pie was a hit today.

“Otherwise, the sugar cookies are really popular for events like weddings or parties because they are so personalised.”

The Higgs and Smith families from southeast Melbourne at the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival.

A business meeting in the middle of wine and sweet baked treats is Rosedale-based business, Bearded Bee Meadery.

Nic, owner, mead maker, head bottle washer and chief floor sweeper, founded Bearded Bee Meadery in 2017, turning a home brew passion into industry-leading dreams.

Mead is the oldest alcoholic beverage in human history.

It is made by fermenting honey mixed with water and sometimes with added ingredients such as fruits, spices, grains, or hops.

The Bearded Bee Meadery exclusively uses raw Gippsland honey, making this sweet alcoholic nectar absolutely, positively, 100 per cent local.

With current releases including Gippsland Reserve Sweet, Gippsland Reserve Dry, Dragons Blood, Queens Sack and Viking Blood, there is a different taste to tickle anyone’s taste buds.

Heyfield Food and Wine Festival
The Perpinas and the Jacobs, new owners of The Lodge, Heyfield. Photos by Zoe Askew.

Music played, wine was drunk, food was eaten, and ice cream was licked, and despite the lack of shade to cover guests from the sweltering hot sun, the Heyfield Food and Wine Festival was enjoyed by everyone.