Taste Festival

TASTE FESTIVAL– Hobart, Tasmania. 28th December- 3rd January

A wonderful week long foodie festival that I was lucky enough to enjoy for the first time, I was there over two crammed days and one night. A festival showcasing some of Tasmania’s delicious locally produced foods, with a dash of music, busker action and children’s area thrown in for good measure.

Why was I there for such a short time and where on earth were my usual entourage of The Monkeys? Back home stepping out with Dadda for the weekend. Mama was having a little ‘me’ time and enjoying the best Christmas present ever from her husband.

So many tastes to linger on… but where to start?

Taste Theatre– Running sessions throughout the day. Presenters talked of whatย they know and love best. From local chefs, artisan food producers, and wine makers. Tetsuya Wakuda even popped in. I managed to catch two presentations. One with Sally Wise demonstrating how easy it is to make your own preserves and scones. The other, an interesting talk on Slow Food within Tasmania. Both great and well worth the tiny entrance fee ($5 and gold coin donation respectively).

Another great thing to do at the festival was the Red Hat Tours. Run by volunteers, (mine was done by the lovely Peter and Margaret, members of Slow Food). $15 for a guided talk around some of the stall holders, whilst also sampling some of the deliciousness they have to offer.

I did ‘Mad about Cheese’ which covered four local food producers. Two of the stand outs being, Bruny Island Cheese Co. and Tasmanian Highland Cheeses.

Bruny Island Cheese Co. is run by Nick Haddow, artisan cheese maker. He’s taken his back ground of cheese making around Europe, and put in to his Bruny Island business with a Tasmanian touch. These were some seriously delicious cheeses. From day old soft cheeses (O.D.O.) to the ย rather exciting new Raw Milk C2. This was the first time at the festival, that a raw milk cheese (that had been legally recognised) has been available to the public in Australia. I can only hope that this opens more doors in the raw milk industry as this was a truly wonderful cheese. (You can read more about raw milk within Australia here.)

If only I had an esky and larger hand luggage allowance, I think I would have been coming home with rather a lot of cheese goodies.


Thorpe Farm- Tasmanian Highland Cheeses is a family run business that has seen 7 generations of family members passionate about farming. John Bignell recognised the fact that his family needed to diversify from farming just sheep, and started expanding with wheat, wasabi, horseradish, venison and also on to cheese. Now perfecting their cow, goat and sheep milk range of cheeses, the charismatic Will (his son) was selling at the Festival. Also truly tasty cheeses. Marinated fettas and secret recipe Blue Cheese being amongst the tastings. There was also the aptly named “2 Sexy Twins” goat chevreย which was a perfect way to end the day with a cracker or two. (Again, the esky!)

This stall was 50 people deep every time I went by. I still didn’t get to taste them, but judging from the keen crowds, they were good, really good.

If you like your wine, Taste was certainly the place to be. Buy a glass at the start, (or bring along last years one) and off you go. (As a greener option, I loved this. No plastic glasses!) With more stalls then you can shake a wine glass at, there was plenty to choose from.

A stand out wine maker for me was Bream Creek Vineyard. The winery is located on Tasmania’s South East Coast, and produces some excellent cool climate wines. Talking with the lovely Fred Peacock, (it had been a long day/week and he was still more than happy to answer all my questions). He has owned the family run vineyard for the past 20 years. My favourite drop was the rare variety, Schonburger…”rose petal and subtle tropical fruit/lychee characters. The palate is persistent…” (Just like me, I persistently came back the next day to buy a bottle.) All grapes are hand picked and with the offer of a set aside pair of secateurs for me, I say who needs to go to Italy or France for a working holiday?

The over whelming feeling I got from the festival, from the producers and volunteers involved. Was passion, and a whole lot of it. Passion for the area in which they are in, and the world class foods that are coming out of it. I can’t help but feel a little in awe of someone that is willing to put their everything into food and wine they so obviously believe in. From trialing, diversifying, willing to risk and perfecting. I think they are on to some bloody great winners here.

Most of these products I focused on at the festival aren’t readily available on mainland Australia. However there are a few ways and means, and availability in a few selected mainland stockists. This to me just makes it even more special. More of a reason to come down and seek them out. Everyone knows things are enjoyed more if you have to make an effort to get it. If that means a flight, a ferry, a day long car trip, a mail order system or a holiday that factors in a food festival. Well then that’s what it takes. But.. to be honest, I think it’s definitely worth the effort, and your belly, mind and palate will thank you for it.

42 thoughts on “Taste Festival

  1. Damn that looks like fun – thanks for sharing those pictures and your notes – we have food festies here all summer long and I rarely go to them, they are so crowded and I am not good at crowds so it is great to see your pics and read your diary about the trip. Thanks!


  2. I love these food festivals. It is a bit of a problem if you don’t live nearby, as there is only so much food you can take home with you on a plane. Anyway, it is great to know that people are so passionate about making lovely things for us.


  3. Too much deliciousness to have in one day! Fantastic! Those crowds would have been too much for me these days but I *might* have persisted for all that scrumptious cheese and wine. Glad you had a break! Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Wowee girlfriend, now that’s a Christmas present. Serious brownie points earned there by your fab hubby. Tasmanian food producers are hugely passionate about their awesome produce aren’t they, the Tassie Chilli beer sounds wonderful (even without the kick). I’m a big old fan of the Tasmanian cheeses, some of the best in the world.


    • That particular ginger beer had also honey added to it. An odd drop that I couldn’t decide, whether it was delicious or funny tasting…
      They are definitely passionate about their produce, and rightly so!


  5. What a wonderful couple of days…I’ve visited Tassie myself and had a great time travelling around, a very interesting place…looks like you had a great and interesting stay.Meeting an array of passionate people and their products.A great way to start the new year!


  6. Oh wow you made it to the Taste. What fun! Personally as someone from the North of the State, Festivale is heaps better ;-P but looks like you got to experience many of our best, Breams Creek is definitely one of my favs and Bruny Island cheese, mmm yum yum! Grandvewe cheese is also delish. We are hoping to go visit the farm soon, my little animal lover will love it! Tassie truly does have amazing food, very spoilt.

    ps The mushrooms are wonderful – we head there first at these food events. Perhaps a family visit next time to coincide with Festivale. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Ah Katie, you lucky thing. You get to experience all of those goodies when ever you want. Lucky, lucky woman.
      Grandvewe Cheese I did get to sample, (look out for my post on Friday). Really delicious cheese and I’m rather taken with their vanilla whey liqueur.


  7. brydie, I think you need to put your husband in touch with mine!! tassie is such an amazing place, would love to go back, especially if i could go to that festival!!


  8. What a loving gift!
    Did you go by yourself entirely?
    I think you are very brave and passionate, indeed!
    Thanks for sharing – I’m looking forward to your Friday report-as well!
    The thought of that cheese is making me want to go out and buy some from the local cheese shop. Alas- no cheeses from Tasmania here!


    • Ah Heidi, my condolences… no cheese from Tasmania.
      I did go by myself which was a rare treat. I was also lucky enough to catch up with a friend for a couple of hours at the festival, as by good fortune she was down there as well.


  9. That’s really exciting about the raw cheese. I knew there was a campaign to allow it in Australia, but didn’t know they had won. And what a lovely present for you to have a couple of days to yourself to explore the festival properly. Sounds like you had a deservedly good time.


  10. It is a big thing regarding the raw milk. I don’t think the green lights are showing yet, but the fact that Bruny Island Cheese Co. has started the process will hopefully open more doors for others.
    And yes, it was a lovely present ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Well hippy girl thanks so much for your kind comments on our Festival. I organised the Taste Theatre and the Red Hat Tours, both new initiatives at this years Taste Festival. All feedback so far has been very positive, and frankly I thought it the best Taste so far! Great to host visitors to Tassie and turn them on to our food. As an artisan food producer I can assure you the work versus financial reward is not equitable, but we do it for the food!


    • Sean thanks for stopping by. It was a great festival. You should be really proud. I’ll definitely be spreading the word to people letting them know how great it was.
      Keep up the wonderful world of artisan food producing, it’s certainly appreciated!


  12. Wow! What a lucky, lucky girl you are!! I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall at the Sally Wise demonstration and the slow food talk! Tassie is the one state I haven’t ventured yet, so I’m doubly envious!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. The Sally Wise talk was jam packed in an hour and I learnt so much in it. I’ve made two things already from her demo and will be making a third today.
    The Slow Food talk was wonderful, and inspiring but didn’t help with my wanting to move to Tasmania. It’s a very desirable state!


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  15. I love the story of seven generations of Thorpes working on their farm and continuing the tradition of lovingly produced food. This certainly is a tasty showcase for Tasmania. I’ll say it again…need a partner in crime the next time you go??


  16. PS – what in heaven’s bells is that final photo with the oodles of ?clotted cream and bright jam?? Yikes. Now we’re cookin’ with gas!


    • Ahh, that last piece of deliciousness is how I ended it all. An apple pie with raspberry sauce and cream. Looking out over the harbour. I had to end nicely didn’t I? It tasted amazing, and it tasted real. Every mouthful was a delight ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Lovely to meet you cityhippyfarmgirl and I am glad to read you had a top time at the Taste! I am about to restore our shearer’s quarters so people can come and stay on the farm and experience everything we do. Basically you can tend the market garden, make cheese, milk sheep etc and at the end of the week you can load up the ute and take it down to the farmers market and keep the profit! Bring the family as many hands make light work!


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