Sunday, 22 March 2015

Wellington Wine and Food Festival

The Wellington Wine and Food Festival hit town this weekend. Frank Kitts Park was the venue for this newly revamped event, a huge step up from similar events held at the soulless Westpac Stadium years ago.

Everything we ate last night was delicious - and that's not something I say very often. Or maybe I was just really good at picking the best stuff? I'll admit it wasn't easy with so much on offer. My strategy was to try things outside of the usual market offerings and seeking out vendors I'd not been to before. It paid off.

Here is our main course menu for the evening. We divided each serving in two so we could try as many dishes as possible before getting too full - and avoid arguments over who had taken a bigger bite.
  • Tom Khem, (caramelised braised pork belly with cripsy rice balls), steamed pork buns and beef meatballs with sweet sticky sauce from Taste Lao (Dai and Dal). So yummy! Pork buns are my new food obsession.
  • Beer battered warehou with chips and tartare sauce from The Chippery. Absolutely delicious! (This is high praise from someone who doesn't eat fish and chips.)
  • GChả Gio` from Nam D, which is crispy ground pork and glass noodle spring rolls, served with tangy dipping sauce. We'd already tried these before at City Market so knew how good they were.
  • Whitebait fritter sandwich in white bread with tartare sauce from The Tasting Room. Oh my! Actual whitebait inside and not too much egg. Divine.
  • Pulled pork long dog with hot siracha sauce from Zibibbo with really tender pork. Nom!
Dinner was washed down with Tuatara Hefe and Black Dog Chomp. (Good to keep the whānau gainfully employed, lol.) I think there was also a glass of sav somewhere along the way.

We tried some samples of Heavenly Fudge but were too full for dessert. Instead, I got a takeaway box from Sweet Release Cakes and Treats to waddle home with. Here is their salted caramel rum cookie and Kit Kat brownie, an idea I might try baking myself.

Salted caramel rum cookie and Kit Kat brownie
Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about the event itself, more specifically, the $39 entry fee. I am really lucky to have won free tickets, which was the difference for me between going or not. Although I'm a foodie who is always keen to support local producers and vendors, I didn't see much bang for buck on entry. I wasn't alone; friends I bumped into made similar remarks. Given the number of giveaways from vendors and last minute $29 discount deals, it looks like numbers of paying punters were low.

We spent quite a bit of money buying food and drinks, which I am really happy to do in support of local businesses. Sure, we may have spent a similar amount at a restaurant, but a restaurant or bar wouldn't have charged almost $80 for two of us to walk in the door, even one with a band. Once inside, we faced many of the usual suspects that we would find at City Market each Sunday and other free events and fairs around town. I understand that events like this need organisation and promotion and that there are expenses involved, but I wouldn't have been in a position to go if I had to pay the expensive entry fee.

A huge thank you to New World Thorndon for the complimentary tickets. We had a fantastic time and have made lots of food discoveries to follow up next time we go to the markets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is exactly why I didn't go. Knowing I would have had to pay $29 at least just to get in. Then pay for food at drink on top really put me off. Especially since, like you said a lot of them seemed to be at free markets or places I could visit on my own.