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Hawke’s Bay’s iconic F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic has today launched a sumptuous programme laden with culinary superstars, award-winning winemakers and truly spectacular events.

In its 12th year, and the first since Hawke’s Bay was named a Great Wine Capital of the World, Summer F.A.W.C! will run from March 15-24 across numerous venues in Hawke’s Bay.

Now a cornerstone of New Zealand’s foodie calendar, Summer F.A.W.C! will showcase more than 30 delicious events, with everything from the F.A.W.C! Grand Long Lunch in its magnificent secret location to intimate dining experiences and summer sundowners.

The line-up of guest and local culinary talent will draw foodies from across the country to Hawke’s Bay, with visiting names including Adelaide’s Callum Hann (Lou’s Place and Eleven Restaurant) and Cuisine Magazine’s Chef of the Year Zennon Wiljens (Paris Butter) joining local legends Casey McDonald (Craggy Range), Francky Godinho (St Georges), Christopher Stockdale (Wallingford) and many many more.

What’s more, wine lovers will delight in the March timing of this year’s festival, bringing with it the opportunity to take part in the region’s 2024 vintage.

A sold-out affair last summer, the Grand Long Lunch will be one of the festival’s hottest tickets. Situated in a secret, picturesque corner of New Zealand’s Food and Wine Country, the Grand Long Lunch will transport F.A.W.C!ers to a vivid world, where food, wine, styling and live entertainment are intertwined.

In 2024, the Gand Long Lunch five-course menu will be prepared by some of Australasia’s leading chefs – Hawke’s Bay’s own Casey McDonald (Craggy Range Winery), Auckland’s Plabita Florence (Forest Restaurant), Cuisine Magazine’s Chef of the Year Zennon Wiljens (Paris Butter, Auckland), Dunedin’s Greg Piner (Marbecks) and South Australia’s Callum Hann (Lou’s Place, Barossa Valley and Eleven Restaurant). Each of the five courses will hero Hawke’s Bay produce and be matched to a different Hawke’s Bay wine.

New to the F.A.W.C! calendar this year are events from BROTHER café in Havelock North, who are throwing Sundowner Groove, an epic late-summer soiree event, and The Farm Shop at Waihua Station in Wairoa, who are running The Late Lunch, a fabulous three course meal with panoramic views from farm to ocean.

Havelock North café St Martha is also making its debut festival appearance as F.A.W.C! celebrates Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

From 2024 onwards, F.A.W.C! will showcase a different member capital at each festival and first up, it’s Adelaide, South Australia.  Callum Hann (Masterchef Australia, Lou’s Place in Barossa Valley, Eleven Restaurant in Adelaide) will collaborate with the team at St Martha’s Cafe for a three course, taste of Adelaide with matching wines from South Australia.

The region’s wineries are jumping on the adjusted F.A.W.C! timing with vintage-inspired events at Trinity Hill and Church Road, a Great Wine Capitals masterclass at Smith & Sheth, music, harvest parties and much, much more.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism Chief Executive Hamish Saxton is looking forward to the first Summer F.A.W.C! since the region was named a Great Wine Capital.

“F.A.W.C! is a fantastic display as to why Hawke’s Bay is a Great Wine Capital and can be considered alongside other prominent wine tourism regions such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley and Adelaide. Our iconic food and wine festival showcases the immense brilliance that comes from Hawke’s Bay’s producers, winemakers, chefs, event manager and suppliers, and artisans and it is the perfect time to visit,” says Saxton.

“We are also taking this opportunity to search for our next F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay Legend. For the third year we are on the hunt for a super-visionary who has helped to shape Hawke’s Bay into a leading food and wine destination, and we’d love to hear from you. Sir Graeme Avery was named the inaugural legend in 2021 for his lasting and momentous impact on the landscape of food tourism, and in 2022, Kim Thorp, of Black Barn Vineyards, was awarded the honours. Now we’re all set to discover the 2024 stories of F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay Legends.”

The full F.A.W.C! menu can be found at www.fawc.co.nz, along with the nomination form for this year’s Hawke’s Bay Legend.

Tickets go on sale on January 31, with Pre-Sale tickets available from January 30. Register for Pre-Sales at www.fawc.co.nz