Ready for a week of gourmet dining?

By BELINDA SCOTT

FOOD, glorious food, is the theme for this weekend in Coffs Harbour as the 2004 Coffs Coast Advocate Food and Wine Festival takes over the city.

The four-day Festival will be launched at 11am tomorrow during the fortnightly Coffs Coast Growers' Market in City Square.

A special guest at tomorrow's launch will be the festival's food celebrity, top Sydney chef and restaurateur Matthew Moran, of the ARIA restaurant.

Mr Moran will join Coffs Harbour's Plantation Hotel chef, Phil Cardwell, to present a cooking demonstration at the Growers' Market between 1pm and 2pm.

Tomorrow the Growers' Market will open at 9am and remain open until 4pm. The expanded hours have been introduced to cater for the increasing size and popularity of the market, which recently celebrated its first anniversary.

While Thursday is the festival's launch date, today is the deadline for bookings for the festival's newest event, Saturday night's progressive dinner.

Bookings must be phoned in by today for the progressive dinner, a fun all-inclusive three-course dinner which will see each diner sampling culinary specialties from three different Jetty Strip restaurants, with each course accompanied by appropriate wines, each course served in a different restaurant and entertainment by Floyd Vincent and the Child Brides between courses.

Each restaurant has designed a special menu for the dinner, in which diners will move between The European, the Fisherman's Katch, Scoffs, and The Watermark.

Friday night is degustation dinner night at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus' Osprey Restaurant and Saturday afternoon will see Matt Moran give a master class in the Osprey Restaurant kitchens.

Sunday is the festival's famous Picnic in the Park at the Coffs Creek Reserve, with stalls selling food and wine, seafood cooking demonstrations and a mini growers' market.

Bookings: Progressive dinner, $75 pp, phone Sonja Wallis 6652 9055; Matt Moran masterclass, $75; and degustation dinner $120, phone John Woodcock 6659 3136.



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