Putting South Coast oysters on the map

18th March 2021 | Eativity editors

The multiple award-winning Narooma Oyster Festival is back in 2021 with a top line-up of chefs, oyster farmers and local producers that will put the quaint NSW South Coast seaside town of Narooma on the map as a serious food destination.

Attracting thousands each year, this destination food event will be held from April 30 to May 1 in the stunning surrounds of Wagonga Inlet, Narooma. It celebrates South Coast NSW oysters and the region’s natural quality produce, chefs and rich artistic and cultural talents.

The festival has garnered the attention of foodies, chefs and global media.

The festival’s cooking program is a highlight this year, celebrating the relationship between producer and chef. The program will match local producers with some of the country’s most respected chefs, including Sean Connolly from The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room in Sydney, The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. in Byron Bay, The Wild Flower Bar & Dining in Killcare and Sean’s Kitchen in Adelaide. More headline chefs will be announced this month.

“The festival is going from strength to strength,” says Cath Peachey, Chair of Narooma Rocks, the not-for-profit company that delivers the annual Narooma Oyster Festival.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be able to attract chefs with an international profile like Sean; it confirms that the festival has come a long way from the small community-run oyster festival it was a decade ago. The Long Table Dinner on the Friday night sold out in three minutes, so we have organised a second dinner to keep up with demand.”

Do you have what it takes to be this year’s oyster-shucking champ?

The Narooma Oyster Festival is bouncing back from COVID-19 effectively shutting it down last year with a bigger, better program that offers festival visitors the chance to taste oysters from six local estuaries and indulge in regional wines, craft beer and produce from the huge variety of food stalls while enjoying live music. Festival favourites like the shucking competition, oyster masterclasses and fireworks show are also back.

A new addition to the program is a collaboration with River of Art, the region’s other hallmark event, to grow the festival’s art precinct. Peachey says visitors can expect live painting of murals, cultural dancing and an “arts alley” surpassing offerings of the past.

Chef and producer Kelly Eastwood and Abalone Narooma‘s Stephen Bunny will join the 2021 cooking program.

South Coast chef, author and TV presenter Paul West is back on board as festival ambassador alongside industry great Kelly Eastwood, who will host the cooking demonstrations, and seafood royalty John Susman who will oversee the Ultimate Appellation Oyster Experience and judge the shucking competition.

To meet COVID-19 requirements and streamline entry, all tickets must be pre-purchased online at naroomaoysterfestival.com and visitors are being advised to plan ahead as the event is moving to being cashless.