Saturday, 29 December 2012

Taste of Tasmania 2012

And it’s on for young and old – again! The annual Taste of Tasmania, 2012 version. And who better to report back on it here, again, in the world of reality, than cynical old Rita?

I traipsed around there yesterday, which was the opening day, and, according to today’s Mercury, attracted around 70,000 punters through the doors for the day! A massive amount of humanity, and I think they all managed to congregate around Rita, as it seemed to take half my life to get something to either eat or drink!

  • lots of great, truly Tasmanian food, hence allowing this festival to genuinely live up to its name of Taste of Tasmania
  • ‘cleaner’ feeling to the whole environment (ie not so grotty as in the past)
  • good representation of producers of food and wine, both small and large
  • minimal ‘fast food’ alternatives

  • less general seating, leaving you wandering round clutching your plate of cold food, looking for somewhere to perch in order to eat it! We ended up standing and eating when we had exhausted all possible seating avenues. Eventually we obtained one end of a table, but definitely had to ‘serve our apprenticeship’ in order to do so!
  • so difficult to make your way around, due to crowds – but Bec and I found the ideal way to tackle this problem! We walked down the middle of the main eating area, between the tables containing everyone sitting down and eating at the bench tables, instead of around the periphery of the ‘room’ as everyone else was doing which was resulting in a walk anywhere in the building taking 20 minutes not 4 seconds! You could SEE where you wanted to go, but just couldn’t get there!

Will I go again? Not sure, but I’m pleased they at long last seem to be getting it right there, in some ways. Fix the seating and you’ve got a firm fan for life!
Posted on by Rita


duckleg said...

but more so what about the food?
my highlights - Smolt Lamb Shoulder, the never changing waji cajun calamari, Mt Gnomon pork taco.

Very very disappointed in Matthew Evans Food - Pork roll for $10 was dull and lifeless :(

We managed to find a seat on the three occasions we have been - maybe its luck? Happy New Year Rita!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I've been following your blog on and off over the years and always enjoy your reviews.

It was interesting reading your appraisal of The Taste. I could have sworn there was actually more general seating available this year..?? I felt that last year there were a lot more areas down the wharf side that was standing room only with those chest high circular tables to place your food onto, whereas this year they seemed to have replaced much of that with seated tables, as well as cramming a few extras in...?? Could be my memory going on me though! :)

Good suggestion regarding walking through the middle! I hadn't thought of that.

You also make a good point regarding the cleanliness of the event. I hadn't noticed it at the time, but in hindsight you are quite correct, it was definitely a lot cleaner than in previous years.

If you're interested, you can check out my review of our day at The Taste over here


Anonymous said...

I think the Taste looks much cleaner, well-presented than previous years -- it really adds to the vibe of the whole event. However, one downside is the fact that you're 'caged' in. Access to Salamanca and Castray Esplanade is cut off except for a few exits. This really doesn't support other restaurants/cafes etc. that are in this area. It doesn't have as much as an open, airy feel to the whole area.


Rita said...

Hi Duckleg - happy new year to you too! Lovely to see you're still checking in here! Yes - I totally neglected to comment on the food I sampled there.....
I really enjoyed the Mt Gnomon pulled pork taco, lamb souvlaki (or whatever they call them) from Taste of Persia and chargrilled octopus from (yes, I'm disclosing the family interest in them, but did genuinely love the product!) Cable Station/Graze@North West stand. I returned three times to Taste, and had repeats of all the above twice. I had a sherbet soft serve from Alastair from Sweet Envy. It was OK but I couldn't really go silly about it. I love that he makes his own soft serve, but a soft serve ice cream is a soft serve ice cream is a soft serve ice cream! I don't really like soft ice cream so basically it was pretty lost on me personally, but many have raved about the various oddly assorted flavourings on his soft serves (ie bacon/marmalade), so I'm happy for them. The queues were horrendous at Big Bessie every time I was at Taste. Vanidols thai beef salad was reputed to be good, but as I watched my chilli-freak brother last night gasp with oral chilli-burn and grapple with the chick innocently walking past with the water trolley, I wondered if maybe it was a bit too spicy for even the biggest of fans! I had sampled a mouthful on a previous visit but hadn't been bowled over by it, so didn't even bother when bro tried to urge me to have some.
Hi Andrew - good to read your comments. I will whizz over and check out your appraisal in a minute! Thanks for being a Rita-follower too!
M - you're right about the 'caged in' feeling of Salamanca. I deliberately didn't go to any Salamanca businesses over this period becuase of that closed off aspect - so I suspect many others, like me, avoided the hassle too, and didn't bother attempting to shop/eat there, so I daresay the businesses there have suffered as a result of Taste. Well, after today (Thurs) when it finishes, they will have the chance to recoup so let's hope they offer some great holiday service to entice us back there!

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be a surprise to anybody that the full time professional food businesses are the venues that are delivering the best food at the Taste. This is where people like the Gourmet Farmer just don't measure up,
the exception being the Mt Nomon Farm crew who did an awesome job with the tasty taco-BT

Anonymous said...

Some friends returned from Cygent disappointed that the Lotus was closed, again over the busiest time of the year. It seems they dont care about their customers? As Winsor Dobbin says-take holidays in winter people

Christina said...

Hi Rita, glad you enjoyed the taste this year...more or less anyway. We went for our usual new years day and enjoyed it heaps.
I splurged and had half a cray with salad from Red Dragon?? At $25 a bargain and absolutely beautiful. We too loved Mt Gnomans pulled pork taco and the lamb shoulder from Smolt.
We deliberately stayed away from what we'd had in previous years but I found the quality of the food we had first class. A little more expensive but give me one plate of crayfish instead of three of muck any day.

Anonymous said...

The Lotus Eaters is always busy, we take our holidays when we can, and when it suits our staff and ourselves - there are many other eateries in Cygnet - I am sure I wrote this reply or something like this last year -boring! Giselle

Anonymous said...

Red Velvets better anyways....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Lotus hater, not sure how you conclude that they don't care about their customers? If your only reasoning is that they've closed for a while over Christmas/New Years then I think you might be being a little quick to judge, I myself would like a little more information than that to make an assessment like that but that's just me! Over and above your dubious assessment is the concept that as a business, the lotus eaters crew and any other privately owned business have the right to open and close whenever they see fit, the situation being that they closed over HOLIDAY period makes perfect sense to me, I'm quite sure the owners and staff have family and friends and also enjoy beaches and sun and festivals like the rest of us and if they can afford to close for a while to enjoy these things then good luck to them, I would even hazard a guess that this recharging of the batteries will help them deliver a better experience to their customers, I know I'd rather be served by a chilled out happy waiter than a stressed out workaholic one, but again that's just me!

Now Giselle, lotus management? On reading back through past comments on this blog site you seem quite passionate about your business and well you should, BUT, as an observer of your comments only (I've not eaten there yet but will be there soon), I've got to say you come across as overly defensive and at times a bit petty, and have again engaged in fairly unproductive and silly banter with blog world, maybe try and soften your tone if you feel the need to reply to these people, if I were you I wouldn't bother though, you've been there a while now so you must be doing something right!

And finally Rita, are you able to screen comments before they're posted? If so why did you post that first, totally unnessessary and unrelated comment about Lotus Eaters? Did you genuinely believe blog world needed to know that Lotus had holidays over Christmas and this persons friend had to find food elsewhere? There's a place for ridiculous public postings about daily activities and petty first world problems, it's called Facebook, maybe try keep your blog constructive, for the good of the industry and businesses you claim to be a champion for!!!!

Anonymous said...

Last anon-you made some good points but how you conclude that I'm a Lotus hater just because I wrote my comment?
You on the other hand sound patronizing,its Ritas blog and she should be able to publish whatever she wants?

Anonymous said...

It does seem weird to close over the busiest time of the year, but again thats just me.

Anonymous said...

To - Anonymous Jan 4 2013 9.19pm

Feel I must again reply - thanks for getting the holiday thing - I definitely am passionate, and definitely defensive - petty ? I think perhaps protective and indeed I do engage with silly banter when I know it to be untrue and unfair - that is my right as a business owner and indeed all business owners - my tone is a reflection to their comments !Giselle

Anonymous said...

You go Giselle . It's your business . It's is also your life. It is a pity that these anonomous bloggers do not have a life also . Keep up the good work as all businesses in cygnet are doing . Cygnet businesses are a success despite all the haters and rednecks.

Anonymous said...

Giselle you rock, congratulations in a fantastic venue, hope you get a rest to be able to pump out the deliciousness we have all come to love when you're back