Ho­bart’s Feast for the senses

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

WOW at that mys­ti­cal light beam in the sky. Wow too at the mind- bend­ing laser and sound play­ing on the trees in Sala­manca. Not too many wows at the swim, I’m afraid. But wows aplenty at the fab­u­lous Dark MOFO Win­ter Feast events.

Al­to­gether, it was an in­cred­i­ble show of food, lights, mu­sic, fire, art, in­spired cre­ativ­ity and Ho­bar­tian’s love of a party.

You’d think af­ter the al­most con­tin­u­ous string of fes­ti­vals and events in the city over the past six months that Ho­bart would be par­tied out.

But no, there we were again, rugged up and in our thou­sands, queu­ing for the food, sit­ting around fires with the mu­sic, sip­ping wines and ciders, tast­ing whiskies, snap­ping pho­tos or sim­ply oohing and aahing at the spec­ta­cle of it all.

What a show. Not quite Pan and his nymphs, but bac­cha­na­lian like Ho­bart has never bac­cha­nal’ed be­fore, ap­pro­pri­ately fin­ish­ing with Satur­day night’s big clos­ing Satana­lia gig.

By any terms, it was all an­other enor­mous suc­cess for the MONA team, for David Walsh’s amaz­ing gen­eros­ity in both dollars and com­mu­nity spirit, and for the Syd­ney- based or­gan­iser of the Win­ter Feast, Gil­lian Min­ervini, sis­ter of Scott Min­ervini of Le­b­rina restau­rant fame.

“It’s a year to the day since I was ap­pointed”, Min­ervini said as Feast opened.

“And be­hind me has been a team of around 110 oth­ers who helped pull all this to­gether, from Jo Cook who cu­rated the stalls to the guys who col­lected the fire­wood.

“And MONA has been fan­tas­tic to work with. I’ve only had to sug­gest an idea and they’ve made it hap­pen.”

And, for me and I’m sure for many oth­ers, it was a re­fresh­ing change to see the mix of op­er­a­tors that Jo Cook se­lected to man the food stalls, es­pe­cially some of the smaller ones like the ex­cel­lent Rin, Ol­lie Bella, Ur­ban Bounty, Bot­tego Ro­tolo, Cyg­na­ture and Hejo’s, plus Cof­fee Repub­lic from Launceston, the Ca­ble Sta­tion van from Stan­ley and Peter Bignell’s rye whiskey.

Then, of course, there were the sig­na­ture dishes by Feast’s in­vited chefs.

The fab­u­lous beef and lamb, splayed and spiked round an open fire in true Ar­gen­tine as­sado fash­ion by the boys from Porteno, in Syd­ney, fol­lowed by Chris­tine Manfi eld’s and Frank Camorra’s spiced and Span­ish foods on Fri­day and Satur­day nights re­spec­tively.

Equally im­pres­sive was the light­ing and lay­out of PW1 it­self, the fewer kitchens look­ing cleaner and less clut­tered than the same kitchens at Taste, the in­te­rior seem­ing more spa­cious al­though no less crowded and the won­der­ful, ex­pan­sive use made of the out­side with the al­fresco kitchens, scat­tered din­ing and seat­ing ar­eas, mu­si­cal group­ings and the sit- around fire pots spilling out onto Castray Es­planade.

As an in­ter­est­ing aside, de­spite the thou­sands of peo­ple at Feast across the road, and in the mid­dle of win­ter, the eater­ies along Sala­manca were nev­er­the­less pump­ing. And ac­com­mo­da­tion houses were full. So where do we go from here? MONA, State Govern­ment and Ho­bart City Coun­cil fund­ing for Dark MOFO is com­mit­ted for an­other two years.

MONA will no doubt ramp things up even fur­ther next year and Gill Min­ervini has promised to de­liver an even big­ger and bet­ter Win­ter Feast.

And, for the Taste and Savour Tas­ma­nia, it might be back to the draw­ing board.

SMOR­GAS­BORD: Mimi, left, and Marta serve up a se­lec­tion of Ethiopian food at the Dark MOFO Win­ter Feast; inset left, Anna Dunn ( left) and Corinne Liew dig into their plate of Global BBQ; inset right, Thou­sands pack Princess Wharf 1. Pic­tures: SAM ROSEWAR

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