Tipi Aperitivo - A special look into the NF&W 2018 Closing Party

Once a year, in our little seaside town of Noosa, something spectacular happens.

The tipis go up, the region’s top-tier chefs put their hats on, Noosa’s quality producers bring forward their finest food and the champagne is popped! And it all comes together to create one of the most epic Food and Wine Festivals this side of the hemisphere.

No detail is left untouched, from the beautiful lunches and dinners, to the festival village, to the most memorable parties. The atmosphere is electric and we all LOVE being a part of it.

NF&W Festival 2018 was as successful as ever and both Splash Events and Noosa Boathouse were honoured to sign off the festivities with the official Closing Party. And it was a task taken seriously - pulling off an event of this magnitude is no small feat.

Presented by Noosa Boathouse and Dal Zotto Wines, the theme was decided as Tipi Aperitivo, with the idea in mind to have the guests dig their toes into the sand of Noosa Main beach while sipping on a Dal Zotto Prosecco Cocktail and watching the sun go down.

The large beach tipi was richly adorned in Italian style decor styled to perfection by Splash Events and the Italian-inspired menu was designed by Noosa Boathouse Chef Shane Bailey and Chef Matt Golinski, offering guests the opportunity to try some of the amazing produce from the Noosa Region.

Watching an event like this come together is as satisfying as a bubbly glass of…well, bubbles… and I was lucky enough to be both a guest and photographer on the night, allowing me to see it all unfold first-hand. I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with you, giving a sneak preview into what happens behind the scenes.

So I put the girls at Splash Events on the spot and asked a few questions on what it took for them to pull their part of the event together - and I did the same to the lovely Sarah Bradford, head of Marketing at Noosa Boathouse. I got some great and insightful answers and can’t wait to fill you in.

So here goes!

Have you done an event like this for NF&W before?

Sarah @ Noosa Boathouse: Although we haven’t done a Beach Tipi event for Noosa Food & Wine, we have previously done large scale outdoor events for the festival including NF&W 2016 “You’re Better on Beef – BBQ by the River,” which saw over 2,000 people on the banks of the Noosa River with celebrity chefs cooking up their best beef dishes, live music, Dal Zotto Wines and beer.

Splash Events: Yes, we’ve worked with NF&W for many years and assisted with the styling to promote Noosa as a destination at various trade shows and exhibitions, as well as at their events.

We were so grateful Noosa Boathouse chose us to style the Noosa Food and Wine closing party! The Boathouse is one of our key venues for Weddings and Corporate events where we’re lucky enough to be able work in such a gorgeous space for sit down weddings, cocktail receptions and corporate celebrations - sometimes styling all 3 levels for an event.

Who decided on the theme of the Closing Party?

Sarah: This event was a joint venture with Dal Zotto Wines, who are the Italian family who brought the first prosecco grapes from Italy to Australia and are currently voted as Australia’s best prosecco. As prosecco was the feature drink at our event, both as a stand-alone drink and also in the 2 cocktails (Aperol Spritz & Royale Mojito), we felt it appropriate to theme the event Italian style. Our brief to Splash Events was fun Italian, beach chic – cocktail style.

Splash: Noosa Boathouse gave us the brief TIPI APERITIVO… Italian theme festival style. We interpreted this to be an authentic rustic Italian style with raw timbers and punches of colour throughout to complement the style of food and wines.

Where did the inspiration for the menu come from?

Sarah: Noosa Boathouse Chef Shane Bailey has always worked very well with great mate and Chef Matt Golinski. Together they share the same philosophy – a good menu should reflect the place in which it was created by utilising the fresh local ingredients our region has to offer, including an abundance of quality beef, fresh seafood and locally harvested produce. Shane and Matt have both created great relationships with local fisherman and farmers, who produced the best quality product available and a menu that is enhanced by what they have to offer.

The menu was inspired by the Italian theme and also the fresh produce available, in season over Autumn in Noosa. Given it was a cooler time of year, Shane and Matt wanted to have some warm hearty dishes and at a Noosa Boathouse event, we always like our guests to be well fed! So it began with cheese and charcuterie grazing tables stocked with plenty local smoked meats, Woombye cheeses and seasonal Noosa produce. The grazing tables were available throughout the event so guests could help themselves to the produce as they liked. Splash did a fantastic job of styling the tables with a rustic Italian feel.

We then served 3 substantial canapes including locally caught swordfish, Rhodavale pork from Gympie and Dal Zotto Barbera braised Qld beef cheek. Dessert was a berry panna cotta from our friends at Cooloola Berries with a local macadamia crumble.

How did you create the style for this event?

Splash: We used florals and plants that reminded us of Italy including olive leaf, ficus and fruit trees in half wine barrels and hanging wicker baskets. Large round rings of olive branches hung from above in the tipi to create warmth and atmosphere.

Natural raw timber grazing tables and timber crate risers and props were used to create rustic and warm tablescapes, enhancing and showcasing the food and beverages. Large wine barrels were used as dry bars for drinks and a place for guests to mingle.

We complemented the surrounds with large rustic lanterns grouped together and strategically placed around the fence line.

What was the biggest challenge in planning the styling for the event?

Splash: To ensure that we created the atmosphere and impact yet placed the furniture so that it wasn’t too crowded for the 500 guests.

Is there anything you would have done differently in hindsight?

Splash: We wish we’d stayed for the party! But after a 2-hour set-up we weren’t really in our party clothes. We were back again at the end of the night to clear it all out. I must say, it looked like an epic event and Noosa Boathouse did a brilliant job of organising it!

Was the event as successful as you’d hoped?

Sarah: The event was a huge success, selling 500 tickets to Noosa locals and visitors from around the country. Guests enjoyed a fantastic feast of locally-sourced Italian style dishes, free-flowing Dal Zotto prosecco and prosecco cocktails, live music from Brisbane based band Honey Music - all with the sand between their toes overlooking Noosa Main Beach and a stunning sunset.

Suppliers involved:

Food & Wine: Dalzotto Wines , Shane Bailey and Matt Golinski
Host: Noosa Boathouse
Styling & decor: Splash Events
Tipis: Tipi Luxe
Organisers: Noosa Food and Wine & Tourism Noosa

Photos and article by: Chevaune Hindley - Freelance writer and photographer.

Born and raised in South Africa, Chevaune had to live in 5 other countries before finding her forever home on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. This is also where she realised that she doesn’t know how to hack it in a “real” job and all she actually wants to do is travel, write, take pictures and tell stories. When she’s not doing that she’s daydreaming about food and travels, planning her next creative venture or spending time with her family (most likely on the beach.) You can follow her work and adventures on Instagram @chevaunehindley.