Herb & Chilli Festival to return to the Yarra Valley for 2024

The Herb & Chilli Festival is gearing up to return to the Yarra Valley next month. Returning for its 12th year, the annual celebration brings a weekend of live music, entertainment, beautiful local food and, of course, mouth-burning chilli experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Set inside the Lovely Nursery in the gorgeous Yarra Valley, the lush green meadows are the perfect setting for this jam-packed weekend.

The festival is held over the weekend of March 16 and 17, with live cooking demonstrations, chilli eating competitions for the brave and the chance to get some truly unique food items you can’t get anywhere else. This year, food trucks and market stalls will be added to the event with new chilli-infused ice creams courtesy of Bill Choi from Mrs C Chilli Oil, which will surely be a highlight. Close to 100 vendors have been added to the festival, boasting the biggest and broadest offering to date.

Hot Sauce Alley will return with 11 different vendors, all full of unique offerings to try. There will be a mix of sauces, spice rubs and herb mixes with some clothing and accessories on offer as well. The highlight is a new producer from Alice Springs offering a new range of hot dried chillies.

Live music is a large part of what makes this festival memorable. This year 6-piece band, The Harmaniax will entertain festival goers with their unique blend of blues.

Also new this year, a honey show with four vendors offering a variety of “hot honey” varieties. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, attendees can taste and help select the best from the chilli cook-off teams. The cooking demonstrations from local chefs were my personal highlight from last year’s festival, and I am happy to hear it is returning. If you want to turn up the heat a little bit more, you can find your spice tolerance in the chilli-eating competition, including the Captain Chilli Competition. Shot n Holler and the Stinger Winger Eating Race.

Families will be catered for as well, with activities such as face painting, jumping castles and horse riding to keep the younger audience entertained throughout the day.

There is a huge range of multicultural cuisine options with a focus on Australian-grown and international cuisines. 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 founders of the festival Di and Clive Larkman saying ”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”.

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.

Day and weekend passes to the Herb & Chilli Festival are available now. Pick up and drop off is available from Lilydale station via the Chilli Express Bus. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Herb & Chilli Festival website HERE.