Tasmania’s premier food and wine event Festivale is once again gearing up to be a food-tabulous, summer party in Launceston’s City Park.
The park buzzes with atmosphere during the three-day annual event, set under the shade of the 100-year-old oak trees.
In February more than 80 food and beverage stallholders, cooking presentations, masterclasses, kids activities, and a stage offering continuous live-entertainment will set the scene for relaxing days or fun-filled nights.
This year the event coincides with the KFC Big Bash League game between the Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers on January 31 at the UTAS Stadium, with Festivale starting the next day.
Festivale, in conjuction with Cricket Tasmania and Tourism Northern Tasmania, have a national competition where a lucky winner will get to travel to Launceston and experience Festivale.
The winner will receive two three-day-pass Festivale tickets, choice of masterclass for each person, reserved seating at a cooking class, a $150 Festivale food and beverage voucher, three nights twin share accommodation at the Grand Chancellor in Launceston, two Hurricane Hub hospitality tickets to the Big Bash game (valued at $320), and a $600 flight voucher. The trip is worth more than $2000.
Festivale chairman David Dunn said stallholders arrive from all over Tasmania to serve locally-produced meat, seafood, fresh produce, and boutique wine, beer and spirits.
“If you are a foodie Festivale is the perfect place to be. Tasmania is very unique. We have such an array of high quality produce, and are now seen as one of the best food bowls in Australia,” Mr Dunn said.
“When you come through the gates the options are there to enjoy. Whether that be enjoying a glass of wine and something to eat, getting involved in the the event’s full offerings such as the masterclasses, grazing around the park to sample a variety of exciting foods, or just enjoying the party atmosphere.”
This year The Tasmanian Food Co will host eight Cooking in the Park demonstrations from stand-out local and national chefs. Celebrity chef Matt Preston, co-host of Masterchef, will serve his famous “baked not fried” chicken nugget Katsu sliders and san choi Wow, which is a mini-schnitzel served in a salad leaf with tasty Korean mayo dressing.
Local chefs include Grain of the Silos head-chef Peter Twitchett, will be cooking ocean trout with whipped Robur goats chevre and baby beets and Tibre executive chef Matt Adam will serve his crispy skin chicken with goat’s milk dressing.
Mr Dunn said the demonstrations were about teaching the humble home cook what can be achieved in their kitchens.
“It is not about having the biggest and best equipment, Matt and our local chefs will literally be using a barbecue, a hotplate and a small oven to create fantastic food,” he said.
In terms of the entertainment, Mr Dunn said everyone in the family was covered.
Live-music will include Jon Stevens, the Hoodoo Gurus, multi- ARIA award-winning artist Kate Ceberano, top 40 singer, songwriter and producer Ross Wilson, and ARIA Hall of Fame artist Brian Cadd.
Fresh Comedy will bring the laughs thanks to Dave O’Neil, Fiona O'Loughlin and Randy.
“On top of that we have a whole heap of local entertainment, bands like Agent 99, and we are also doing a Raw Talent competition with Theatre North, where we have musical or theatrical raw-talent acts competing in the finals at Festivale,” he said.
“We also have a kids park area designed for kids aged two to three-year-olds and up, with face painting, jumping castles, fairy dancing, and Taiko drummer workshops.”
Lost Pippin Cider creator Mark Robertson will be again manning the Lamb Baa, which marries craft cider with locally produced meat.
“We use our own fat-lambs that are grown on site where we make Lost Pippin to create foods inspired by different cuisines, including modern Australian, Mediterranean and this-year Middle-Eastern,” he said.
“The idea is to match our cider with food, which works extremely well.”
Hubert and Dan, Launceston’s premier catering company, which caters for the event’s cocktail party, is also returning as a stallholder for the second year.
French-trained chef Danielle Lefrancois said her food was big on flavour, with everything made in-house using local produce such as Scottsdale pork, 41 Degrees salmon, and North-West potatoes.
This year her stall will serve smoked bacon, leek and cheese croquettes, hot smoked salmon, zucchini and haloumi fritters with creme fraiche and row, crispy pork belly with chilli caramel, lombok and apple slaw and pickled daikon, and pear tator tots with confic garlic aoilli and celery salt.
“It is food that I would want to eat myself,” Lefrancois said.
“Last year’s Festivale was a lot of fun. It is such a diverse festival, really showcasing the best of what we have to offer in Launceston, and it is such a great opportunity to bring as many of the great Tassie producers together, for fun in the sun with friends and family.”
Veteran stallholder Natasha Nieuwhof, of Goaty Hill Wines, said Festivale provided a good introduction to what is great about Tasmania, and was a celebration of all the things that she and other Tasmanian producers worked hard to achieve.
“Whether you have an interest in food, wine, music, comedy or live music, or just want to get a feel for what Launceston and greater Tasmania has to offer, Festivale allows you to do it in three days in a whirlwind of fun,” she said.
“I really look forward to it every year, from seeing the people that I haven’t seen for a while, to talking to people about our products and what we do with our business, and to seeing the tourists. It also a great opportunity to catch up and see what other producers are doing, with food, wine, ciders, gin, whisky – all of the good things in life.”
The Hurricane Festivale Competition begins on October 6 and runs until November 16. To enter visit northerntasmania.com.au and follow the links.
Festivale tickets range from $15 to $25 depending on the day, with family passes from $40 and three-day passes from $45, with children aged nine and under free, and can be purchased via www.festivale.com.au
Festivale will be held February 1-3.