The Taste of Tasmania

As I had some time before my bus went after photographing the yachts I decided to visit The Taste of Tasmania. The Taste as we usually call it is held in and around one of the old wharf sheds every year at this time. As the name implies it is a food festival. Admittance is free, they did toy with an entrance fee a few years back but it was very unpopular. 

When I first visited the Taste in the early 2000’s it was contained in the old No. 1 shed and the adjacent waterfront area. Over the years it has grown so much that it has spread on to the adjacent Salamanca and Parliament lawns. 

I was pleased to see that there was lots of seating in the shade in these areas as in fine weather they are a great alternative to the big shed. I don’t go to The Taste every year. I’m not what you would call a foodie and I don’t like queueing for food when it is busy although I like to support the local producers. The shed can be humid and noisy and the seating is at long communal tables. I really dislike eating with strangers. However, all the new seating options meant that it was not as crowded and I was even able to grab one of the coveted waterside tables and have it more or less to myself.

Eating area at the Taste of Tasmania
In the Atrium.

I was also pleased to see that the venue had plenty of recycling bins and that most of the plates and cutlery were the recyclable type. There was also free drinking water available so people could fill their water bottles.

The food, well there was a huge variety, locally made smallgoods, seafood Ethiopian, Korean, Indonesian, you name it and it was probably there.  There were also locally made ice creams, individual Pavlovas, cakes, and of course beer, cider, wines etc.  It was rather expensive for me though. I certainly can’t afford to stay all day trying different things when hardly anything was under $10 a serve. In the end, because I was hungry I had a Korean pork belly bun which was nice and a Raspberry Delight, local raspberries with locally made Valhalla ice cream and whipped cream on top. I love these ice creams with fresh fruit and usually treat myself to one in the summer.

There are stages set around the area where live entertainment is presented and there are things set up for kids to do so it is a good day out especially combined with the other activities on the waterfront, harbour cruises, motorcycle rides, horse and carriage rides and the yachts of course.

Dark Mofo-Hobart’s Winter Solstice Festival

Hobart was very busy last week. Each time I went to town I would notice that the car parks were full and there seemed to be a lot of people about despite the fact that the weather was, shall we say, ordinary. On Saturday afternoon when I went for a walk along the waterfront there were tourists everywhere, well wrapped up in scarves and beanies but enjoying a cold clear winter’s day.

The reason for all of this activity was Dark MofoHobart’s popular winter festival which ran all last week. There has been a winter solstice festival in Hobart for most of the years I’ve been here but Dark Mofo is a more recent idea. It was started  about three years ago I think and is hosted by MONA, Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art.  Winter is a slow time in Hobart and the festival fulfills the dual roles of celebrating the winter solstice and creating an event that will bring tourists to Tasmania during the  colder months. This is what the Discover Tasmania website has to say about it.

Since Neolithic times, seasonal winter solstice rites have been held to face the darkness and bring back the light. Mona’s winter festival Dark Mofo celebrates both ancient and contemporary mythologies, birth and death, fire and laser light – with some good music, art and food thrown in. The festival in 2015 will feature a number of large-scale public artworks to awaken the stygian Hobart nights, a longer and lustier five-night City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast, a late-night ceremonial death dance called Blacklist, a new, gritty and gripping Dark Mofo Films program and a wild assortment of music, theatre, performance, exhibitions. And there will be a lot of fire.

It all builds up to a celebration of the longest night, with all-night performances during the winter solstice from dusk until dawn, finishing with the annual Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim to greet the return of the sun.

Here I have to confess that I have never been to any Dark Mofo events myself. The reason for this is that most of them take place at night. One of the few things that I miss about not living close to the city is that I can’t attend plays, concerts and other night events very often. We don’t have a night bus service and even when Hubby was well I didn’t like to ask him to drive 60km to pick me up after an event too often.

Like the exhibits at MONA itself some of the events connected to Dark Mofo are a bit too way out for me but I would dearly have liked to have seen the light and sound installations around the city and taken some photos of them.

My friends Ally and Matt Clark, my summertime cricket buddies, came to my rescue. First they offered me a bed for the night at their place which I had to decline because it would have meant leaving Cindy locked in the house alone for over twelve hours. I would never do that to a dog. However I did ask Ally and Matt if they would allow me to use some of their photos on this post and they were kind enough to say yes. The following pictures were taken one evening last week on iPhones. I have cropped a couple of them a little bit but otherwise they are as they were taken.

This is one of the lighting installations which looks like it is coming from the old Mercury building-photo by Ally Clark 2015
This is one of the lighting installations which looks like it is coming from the old Mercury building-photo by Ally Clark 2015

Illuminated building on Murray Street. -Photo by Matt Clark
Hobart Town Hall . photo by Matt Clark

The Grand Chancellor Hotel Hobart -photo by Ally Clark
The Grand Chancellor Hotel Hobart –  photo by Ally Clark

Brooke St Pier - photo by Matt Clark
Brooke St Pier – photo by Matt Clark

The Princes Wharf Shed No. 1 was the venue for the Winter Feast- Photo by Ally Clark
The Princes Wharf Shed No. 1 was the venue for the Winter Feast – Photo by Ally Clark

Winter Feast venue- photo by Ally Clark
Winter Feast venue  – photo by Ally Clark

Next winter I hope that I will be able to attend myself as I would like to have visited “Dark Park” where there were installations on the site of the old rail yards or the one at the old Mercury newspaper building which a bus driver told me about. This installation apparently responded to touch and was set up so that patron’s pulse rate controlled the flickering of the lights.

If you are interested in reading a bit more about the event, written by someone who was actually there; here is a link or two.


Thanks again Matt and Ally for your photos. Maybe I can take you up on that offer next year. Here’s Ally rugged up for the cold.

Ally Clark Hobart 2015- photo by Matt Clark
Ally Clark Hobart 2015- photo by Matt Clark