Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Taste of Tas 2009/10 summation

Whew! Rita sacrificed a lot in order to write today’s post about this year’s Taste of Tasmania (2009/10). She got quite sunburnt, despite staying in the shade most of the day. She also managed to spend a goodly portion of the day people-watching – not something for the faint-hearted at Taste I assure you!

There were some positives as well though, so it wasn’t all bad!

Overall summation:
it really hasn’t altered that much from previous years, apart from a few cosmetic touches, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Meeting Will Bignall, chatting to him, and tasting his Lamb Kofta plate – not big but a good tasting cross section of his fine products.
Anvers stand – great desserts
Paella at Karen Goodwin-Roberts stand (pictured above)
Hand done chips at Flathead stand
Accidentally tripping over Christina and lovely Phil

Yes – the old chestnuts: the plastic table cloths, the noise factor, eating off paper plates with wooden cutlery, the lack of seating and shade.

I reiterate that the concept behind Taste is sound – let’s have a festival where we can celebrate the fact that as a state, we produce some fabulous food products. What I detest is the food hall mentality. Does it really have to be run along those lines?

We have had Soundscape and Falls being advertised ad nauseum on TV for the past few months. Are those festivals meant for everyone? Definitely not. Why does Taste have to encompass the widest appeal possible? If it stuck to the literal meaning of its title, it would indeed be a taste, or sample, of the best Tassie has to offer to people who genuinely want to try those tastes.

I’m sorry but I stick to my previous opinion of Taste – fine if you like it, but murder if you don’t.

Friends I was with let me try their food, so I sampled Smoked salmon on rosti ($8); Turkish mixed platter ($28) (above middle) which contained grilled quail, 2 meat balls with tomato concasse, 2 felafels, 2 grilled lamb chops, 2 grilled chicken thighs, rice, yoghurt, lettuce and a dolmade; chilli squid ($8) (above top), 2 crumbed scallops in their shells ($2.50 ea) (above); 6 natural oysters ($8); Scallop pizza ($9). All the food was fine, and it was nice catching up with my friends, but, truly - it was just SO hard to enjoy under the circumstances, and I really am not so good at lip-reading (and we weren’t seated near a band or busker, or anything really noisy, except people).
Posted on by Rita


sir grumpy said...

That chippy at kingston looks all the more inviting, Rita.
Taste is just salamanca market without the huon pine bowls.

Anonymous said...

That hall of the taste is chockers with asbestos...

Lucy said...

I rocked up this evening at about 10pm when the hall was blissfully emptying, to check on this year's stalls and I was pleasantly surprised not to see all the Hobart restaurants in stall-form. There seemed to be quite a few new additions this year that were not based on existing local restaurants (my biggest criticism), but rather produce companies.

The Taste, for me, is about trying new boutique beers, wines, local seafood (although I've become less enthusiastic about this the last couple of years through experience), berries, cheeses etc. and I think that this year's Taste caters more to my expectations than the previous couple of years.

The shed, however, remains appalling, and the overall atmosphere soul-sucking.

lemon curd said...

I started working at the Taste as a 12 y/o generally getting in the way at a winery stall, and after a break of a couple of years, worked the next 6 straight.
They were fun years, although I remember when the original formula started to get diluted with fish and chipperies, hardened take away veterans, and can anyone remember the infamous year Coles had a stall serving "Tasmanian" frozen drinks etc??!
Back in the day you used to see a lot more prep on site, local food luminaries actually cooking the delicacies you were deciding on.
But, essentially the format has stayed the same - and lets face it, it works because they get 10's of thousands of punter through the door every year. Doesn't work for me, I can't go anywhere near the place any more.

lemon curd said...

by the way Sir G - loved your comment re: similarities to Salamanca - my personal mantra is "There are only so many Huon Pine rolling pins you can admire.."

Rita II said...

I was surprised to find that this year I knew more people working behind the stands that I did customers! I went on Tuesday lunchtime and it was way too crowded for me and yes, Rita, you are quite right - all the changes are minimal. The biggest one is the fact that there is no entry at the front - but what have they put there - a bar! I like the stand-up tables at that end (and there should be more of them around the place) but perhaps the Council should bite the bullet and do what they do at Festivale in Launceston, charge an entry fee. That way you might get the people who are really interested in trying local products, not those who treat it as an all-day party - not that I've got anything against that either, but as you said, you can't do both.

reb said...

The best thing about the Taste is not going.

Nuf Sed said...

I find you can generally get food of a similar quality at your local McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

...and you'd know all about Maccas Nuf Sed so why dont you just stick to it then, you're not adding anything constructive here, just boasting about your Christmas T/0.
You probably supply all those McCains chips Rita was discussing earlier-if so, good on ya

Nuf Sed said...

Anon 3.07

Well let me see where to get started on this monumentally important and serious complaint. :O

In the past 24 hours I have been locked out of my own internet account and website as my Web Host forgot to re-new the domain.

I finally got access this afternoon, make one comment, and then log back in to see this crap posted in the interim.

Reading you comment really got me thinking Mr or Mrs Anon, where on earth would we be without all these Anons and all there valuable contributions?

After reading the content of the posts made by Anons on this site, I do really wonder who you all are.
No doubt some are promoting there business and others are bitching about other businesses.

So saying that I have not added anything constructive is all very amusing for you I am sure, however I would love to question the integrity of people who trawl through the internet looking for people to harass. Often signing in as an anonymous person.

It's just like someone scraping their key along the side of your car. They have a problem with you, but are too gutless to go about things via more conventional methods.

But lets not use our brains or anything. :O

The facts stated in this blog regarding my Christmas turnover were 100% accurate. Perhaps for some they may be hard to believe.

It was hardly boasting, I am not promoting myself here.

I am deeply sorry if I caused you any heart-ache by saying what my takings were.

And no I dont operate McCains.

But what would I know about hospitality? I've only been working in the industry for 30+ years.

duckleg said...

um.. each one of you go one about promoting tassie food in the best way possible and the Taste is actually giving it a crack! Imagine the NYE on the waterfront with out it?!! Brings in a lot of money for the area. You may not like it but it is doing exactly what its purpose is.
Dont go if you dont like it at least there will be more room for the people that actually really enjoy the food, wine and atmosphere.

Rita said...

My friend Steve (Cumper) has a solution for those at Taste who insist on tipping up chairs at large tables, reserving them for people/friends who possibly haven't even left home yet to arrive at Taste, and are relying on their early-arriving friends to keep their seats: Steve says just take the chairs anyway, and tell them to call 1300-who's-a-crybaby! I love his suggestion, and wish I'd thought of it!

Rita said...

Duckleg - NYE when I was 20 was a fabulous celebration here in the city, at the corner of Elizabeth and Macquarie Sts, and spilling over into Franklin Square, and watching the GPO clock tick towards 12.00. The streets round there were blocked off, and a temporary stage erected outside the Town Hall, with well known mainland entertainers imported to entertain on the night on said stage, and the usual midnight fireworks display. There was no emphasis on food with that party, just everyone seeing in the New Year together.
So - to answer your question - yes, I can imagine Hobart without Taste on NYE.
The simplistic answer is for everyone who doesn't like it to stay away, however if you have friends you want to catch up with over this period, and who insist you eat/meet with them there at Taste, it's extremely churlish to refuse, I think.
So, Duckleg - much as I love you, I need to disagree with you on this occasion!

sir grumpy said...

I agree with Nuf about some of these bleeding anons.
It's better if you know who you are sparring with in some way, like say, Sir Osis (which I decided against at the start to save me thinking of my liver, every time).
While I don't like the madness of it all (Taste) with the throngs, no tables and the ugly shed, funnily enough I like the fact there's something on and people are hooting it up. So Duck has a point too.
Ah, well, set the people free. Or is that free the people set?

Victor said...

Rita - I was there this morning. Early. Before gate opened. Entered through the back. It was quiet. The place as it is - is nothing exciting. It is like eating in a big tin shed!

My main goal - to sample some food and go. And, I did just that. No stress. No fuss. Probably because I am alone too.

Anon2 said...

Just like I do, Victor. I also take my own cutlery to avoid the wooden utensils.
I'm quite chuffed to observe the comparative mellowness of some of the regular bloggers' reaction to the Taste this year.
Cheers and a
Happy New Year to All

Tassiegal said...

Went, ate, and once again was slightly underwhelmed. The food was good, but overpriced, and mother, who is a stickler for food hygiene actively boycotted any stall she saw with ppl using gloved hands to handle money and not changing gloves before touching the food again...and there were a few let me tell you.
Bang for buck is not there in most places....I think it would be much better with a "token" system. You buy tokens from a central booth, and every dish costs so many "tokens" with a dedicated person at each stall collecting them.

Anonymous said...

Wot r we doin for NYE folks?

Rita said...

I am pickling cherries, so it will be bottling time tonight for Rita! I have also made some turkey sausages, processing turkey breasts along with RVL sourdough breadcrumbs, onion, fresh herbs, seasoning and an egg. Yummy.
And that would be NYE 2009 for me. I can't think of a better way to spend it!

Christina said...

Phil and I decided to spend it at home with our loved ones, which would be the dog snd the cats as the kids all had better offers.
I'm so glad we did as we sat on the back deck asnd watched the best firework display ever courtesy of Mother Nature herself.
What an amazing sight,something I'll remember always.
I hope everyone enjoyed theirselves, whatever they chose to do and wish you all a safe and happy new year.

Tassiegal said...

NYE was spent in the dark watching a thunderstorm. We lost power around 9:45 and didnt get it back till 4am.