The flavours of Toowoomba at the Carnival of Flowers | Gourmand and Gourmet

The flavours of Toowoomba at the Carnival of Flowers

  • Food & Booze
The annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers probably doesn’t make you think of drool-worthy eats and drinks, but if you take a look at the run down of events on offer this year, you’ll find there are just as many things to eat as there are flower-arranging classes. Now in it’s 67th year, the carnival will take over Toowoomba from September 16-25 with stunning roses, exotic orchards and a whole lot of delicious food and wine. Because sure, flowers are pretty, but after an hour or so of wandering around looking at rhododendrons, you’ll probably be so hungry you’re almost pushing up daisies. But there’ll be no need to find the edible plant section at the flower pavilion, there’s more than enough food tours, wine tastings, food trucks and even a gala dinner to keep your petals blooming! With so much to see, do and eat, we’ve made a list of the best bites of the carnival. So you better pack your green thumb AND your stretchy pants.
Ergon Energy Flower, Food and Wine Festival
Taking over Upper Queens Park from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18, this foodie event combines food with florals and brews with blooms, putting the spotlight on local produce of both the edible and not-so-edible kind. From wine appreciation tours to cooking demonstrations with Miguel and kids cooking workshops in The Play Space, there’s something for everyone. There’s also the Cellar Doors, with 20 local wineries showing off their boutique wines in one quaint setting. More wine, less walking – we like it!
Beer Buffs 
Can’t tell your pale ale from your pilsner? We can’t either but that can all be solved by the Beer Buffs. Knock back as many craft beers as you can handle while you discover all there is to know about the golden goodness with samples of local brews and food to match.
Gala Dinner
It’s not just the flowers turning Toowoomba into a dazzling destination, the stars are coming out to join them for the opening Gala Dinner on Thursday 15 from 6pm. Dine on four courses of delectable fare from across Southern Queensland, including Butter-poached Murray cod delivered fresh from 9dorf Farm, baby greens grown in the Lockyer Valley and Miguel’s special ‘Paella a la Maestre’. You might even find yourself seated beside the Mayor! Tickets are $160 and can be grabbed here.
Talking Pubs Tour
Ever wondered what the walls at your local watering hole would say if they could talk? Take a tour of four of Toowoomba’s oldest and most famed pubs, the Spotted Cow, Five Ways and Irish Club Hotel, and you might just find out. Along the way, you’ll tuck into a dinner course at each pub, paired with a beverage or two. With a courtesy bus offering lifts to and from dinner, you might want to stay a while and find your favourite brew!
Progressive Food and Wine Tour 
Choose from two tours combining food, wine and the good old days. The first tour explores Cobb & Co Museum’s Carriage Room with mains at the historic Gips Restaurant and dessert in the heritage listed Empire Theatre. Alternatively, enjoy sunset drinks and canapés at Picnic Point Café, with mains at the newly opened Inbound Restaurant in the historic Toowoomba Railway Station and a decadent dessert at Encores adjoining the heritage listed Empire Theatre. You might need a couple of days to get through it all, but believe us, the food baby is well worth the drive. Who knows, you might even see some flowers! Words by Rebecca Grady