The Taste of Tasmania is one of Australia's most popular food festivals. Stallholders use their creativity to present a variety of dishes such as wallaby burritos for those a little more adventurous to the family favourite, freshly cooked fish and chips. The festival also hosts a vibrant New Year's Eve party for all to enjoy from the live entertainment to the midnight fireworks to welcome in the New Year.
Reasons to attend
1. Tasmania might be small in size but it's a giant of the Australian food scene. The island state shows off its incredible produce and sophisticated culinary outlook at The Taste of Tasmania - a buzzing waterfront event that attracts 300,000 hungry patrons each year. With opening hours of 11am-11pm (on New Year's Eve it's open until 1am), it's possible to drop by to enjoy brunch, lunch, afternoon nibbles, dinner or even a late-night supper.
2. Discover something dazzlingly different: providores let their imaginations run wild when thinking up new taste sensations for this event. Past offerings have included everything from slow-cooked wallaby burritos to Bruny Island possum cooked with duck fat, garlic and Tasmanian pepperberries. Seafood fans can try oysters dressed with Pernod, shallots, tarragon and olive oil, ocean trout and salmon sausages, or Thai mussels poached in cider.
3. Got a sweet tooth? Try a cannoli stuffed with cherries, toasted coconut, milk chocolate and hazelnut ricotta, then another filled with balsamic strawberries, pepperberries and basil. Or head to the gorgeous green and white 1960s ice-cream truck for a sublime sundae: think chocolate brownie chunks, salted peanuts, chocolate fudge sauce and a dusting of sherbet atop freshly churned ice-cream.
4. Learn all about Tasmania's cool-climate wine, peat-distilled whisky, cider and craft beer scenes. The event showcases the delicious work of producers ranging from boutique-size through to larger-scale operations. It's a chance to see and taste Tasmania's world class treats and experience why Tasmania is gaining a global reputation for its whisky production. Explore the newly formed Tasmanian Whisky Trail (www.taswhiskytrail.com) and meet the passionate people behind the world-class whiskies. Cider is also booming so much in the Apple Isle that the state recently developed an official “Cider Trail” (www.tascidertrail.com). Cider makers are clustered around Launceston in the north and Hobart in the south-east - but The Taste of Tasmania brings both Whisky and Cider producers together.
5. For a more in depth festival experience you can get a look behind the scenes by booking into a Taste It Tour or learn about Tasmania's wines, beers and ciders directly from the makers at Tasting Table events. Kids in the Park presents scheduled activities for children including cooking and grow your own vegies demonstrations. Each evening family friendly movies will be shown at the festival's Twilight Cinema.
6. Explore the surrounding areas as the magnificent harbour side location of The Taste of Tasmania is within walking distance to the historic precinct of Salamanca Place, the old maritime village of Battery Point and Hobart city.
7. Find a spot at the picturesque Salamanca Lawns precinct as it's the perfect place to move, mingle and relax under the Plane trees and enjoy the outdoor festival experience.
What to look out for
There's no better place to enjoy Hobart's two spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display than the city's waterfront. The family fireworks happen at 9.30 and at midnight, the New Year is welcomed in with a second blast of fireworks. Against a backdrop of sailboats and historic sandstone streets, The Taste of Tasmania is perfectly positioned to offer patrons a great view of the fireworks over Sullivans Cove. Grab a ticket for the New Year's Eve celebrations - they kick off at 7pm - and dance the night away while enjoying even more fabulous Tasmanian food and wine.
How to get there
Fly to Hobart from Melbourne (75 minutes), Sydney (about two hours) or other Australian capital cities. Pick up a rental car, or take a shuttle bus or taxi into the city centre.
The Spirit of Tasmania leaves from Melbourne, sails overnight, and berths in Devonport. Hobart is a 2.5 hour direct road trip. Or you can choose to explore a little of the state and start your The Taste of Tasmania experience by travelling down the east coast where can sample some the state's wines directly from producer's cellar doors or fresh oysters straight from the sea.
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