11 August 2023 · Mazda Stories

Fruit Nerds Enchanting Journey



Professional fruitier and Mazda Australia ambassador Thanh Truong, affectionately known as FruitNerd, recently set off on an invigorating family road trip in his Mazda CX-5 G25 Touring Active, venturing to Victoria’s High Country... Their destination? The delightful town of Bright for the annual Wandiligong Nut Festival.

The festival presented a much-needed chance for Thanh and his family to rekindle their love for adventure, connect with local growers, immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty and indulge in the delights of the local farms.

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Arriving in Bright, Thanh and his family were immediately captivated by the town's charm.

“The moment was beautiful. It's mid to late autumn when the leaves are vibrant yellow and red, and plenty had fallen to the ground. The air is crisp, but the sun is still shining,” he says.

After the effortless drive up from Melbourne in the CX-5, they checked into their cozy room at Bright Velo Hotel, positioned just off the main road.

Its comfortable ride meant they could take the 320km journey in their stride, and the smooth petrol engine left them feeling refreshed and ready for the start of their adventure after a steady cruise.

"The evenings by the fireplace at the hotel's restaurant and the cold and foggy mornings, breaking sunlight, and smell of woodfire are what made the trip memorable,” Thanh said.

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The highly anticipated Wandiligong Nut Festival is an event that celebrates not only chestnuts but also showcases the talents of local artisans, musicians and food producers.

The growers warmly welcomed their visits, cherishing the chance to share their stories and witness the changing landscape of the fruit and vegetable industry through the eyes of consumers. It was a magical opportunity to explore and discover what's growing in the regions around us, while also bringing a renewed sense of connection and appreciation.

With undeniable excitement, Thanh said, “A highlight is the wood fire-roasted chestnuts. Sitting under the big tent, we peeled them with the kids for 30 minutes just listening to bands on stage. The kids have great patience to peel chestnuts now!”

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Proving to be the perfect travel companion, the Mazda CX-5 effortlessly navigated the scenic countryside and provided ample space for the family's belongings with its spacious 438-litre boot space.

As anyone who has frequented the area before would say, no trip to Bright would be complete without indulging in the culinary delights that the region had to offer. Thanh and his family found themselves drawn to the renowned Beechworth Bakery, conveniently located across the street from their accommodation for daily freshly made pies.

From driving through chestnut orchards to reaching remote properties, such as chestnut farmer Lou Sgambelloni's, where she was harvesting the exquisite Bouche de Betizac chestnut varietal, the Mazda CX-5's Off-road Mode added a touch of adventure to their journey.

Through conversations and hands-on tutorials, Thanh learnt harvesting tips such as "scoring chestnuts with pointed scissors proves safer and more effective" and “placing chestnuts in a closed paper towel immediately after cooking, is vitally important or the moisture will escape, and they'll be hard to peel and dry!”.

As their journey drew to a close, anticipation for the upcoming winter months becomes the focus. Thanh said, "Winter vegetables, for me, are all about brassicas, especially broccoli and brussels sprouts, which thrive in the cold and get sweeter when the frost hits."

Additionally, Thanh is looking forward to relishing other in-season produce. “Winter fruit is all about citrus, especially late-season navel oranges grown in Mildura and local Victorian mandarins.”

Thanh and his family's journey through Bright showcased the joy of exploration and connection with local communities and food producers.

“Festivals like these which are organised by the community, are a great way to get out of town and celebrate food, culture and people, and the Wandiligong Nut Festival does this so well!”