The Herb and Chilli Festival is turning up the heat for its 12th annual celebration, promising a weekend of mouth-tingling experiences, live music, and entertainment. Held over the weekend of March 16 & 17, 2024, the event is set to be every chilli lover’s dream with an array of sweat-inducing products, competitions, and live cooking demonstrations. Beckoning spice enthusiasts to the scenic grounds in Wandin in the Yarra Valley, the festival boasts a scorching lineup of food trucks and market stalls.
Founded in 2012 by Clive and Di Larkman, owners of Romantic Nursery, the Herb and Chilli Festival serves as a dynamic platform for both indulgence and education, showcasing Australia’s finest herb and chilli products. The festival is an extension of their enthusiasm for exotic flavours and the couple’s dedication to sharing their passion with others. Founder Clive Larkman, comments “Our event is about bringing people together who have a love for flavour and spice. It introduces people to the world of herbs and chillies; not just in their food but also in drinks, general health and the many cultures for which they are basic parts of life.”
2024’s event brings a number of new food vendors, providing festival-goers the chance to explore unfamiliar flavour combinations and to venture out of their comfort zones. This includes new chilli-infused ice creams crafted by Bill Choi from Mrs C Chilli Oil – a chilling but thrilling experience. Boasting its largest participation of vendors to date, with close to 100 businesses within the herb and chilli realm, the two-day festival is a chance to revel in unique offerings and sample the enticing world of spice-infused consumables.
Hot Sauce Alley returns this year, expanding from 8 to 11 vendors and each one will unveil at least one new hot sauce product in 2024. There are also several new stalls, many of which will be experimenting with unseen flavour combinations for attendees to try and buy. One being a new producer from Alice Springs offering a range of hot dried chillies. From established favourites to new innovative businesses, the stalls will showcase an array of sauces, rubs, and herb mixes, with products exploring the whole Scoville scale. The festival doesn’t stop at just consumable products though, with a selection of Renaissance Herbs (including many varieties of chilli plants), clothing and accessories available for purchase too.
The weekend will have a laid-back atmosphere peppered with immersive entertainment and live music, including a 6-piece band, the Harmaniax—a new addition to the 2024 lineup. In line with contemporary trends, the program also features a new honey show, exhibiting offerings from four honey vendors, each presenting a selection of “hot honey” varieties. Attendees can taste and help select the best of the best from the chilli cook offs teams. They can also observe and learn from a range of cooking demonstrations from local chefs. For those looking for a little more adventure, you can register to test your spice tolerance in chilli eating competitions, including the Captain Chilli competition, Shot n Holler and the Stinger Wing Eating Race. A truly inclusive celebration catering to all ages, the festival also ensures that the younger audience is equally entertained, with freeactivities like horse riding, jumping castles and face painting for them to enjoy.
Celebrating multicultural cuisine, the weekend invites festival-goers to taste a diverse range of food and drink, featuring both Australian-grown and imported goods, representing 20 distinct cultures. From West Africa to Tibet, Cambodia to Jamaica, and Sri Lanka, the festival encourages exploration beyond familiar preferences, presenting an opportunity to indulge in undiscovered flavours, with the Larkman’s expressing ”We want those who are new to the world of exotic flavours to move from the bland to the exciting…It’s not just about chilli but about all that herbs and spices can offer”.
Festival tickets can be purchased through Trybooking here, (book on-line and receive a free Herb and Chilli Festival hat) with a variety of pass options including day or weekend passes, individual tickets, and family packages. For added convenience, attendees can consider the Chilli Express Bus option — an exclusive collection and drop off service from Lilydale station, streamlining the journey to this weekend celebration.
For more information and to purchase a day pass or bus ticket, visit https://
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