During the coldest month each year a great feast is held to draw the people from their homes, to celebrate the season with fire and dancing. Thousands gather around the flames to reunite or make new friends with an array of beverages in hands. Teams of chefs from throughout the country work over coals hauling beasts and bounty from the local lands to be charred by their heat. Welcome to Winter Feast.
Not content to simply follow past successes, the feast is ever changing. This year brings 15 stallholders making their first appearances at the festival, joining another 57 to ensure something for all tastes and encourage multiple visits to sample them all.
For me the most exciting part, and what sets this Winter Feast apart from similar festivals, is the collaborations. Food curator Jo Cook has teamed up local chefs, visiting chefs and local producers to create dishes specifically for the event. The teams will work with ethically sourced and local produce mostly cooked over the charcoal fires that dot the outdoor area.
Alistair Wise worked desserts for Gordon Ramsay before opening Sweet Envy in North Hobart with a stunning range of cakes, pastries and icecreams. He’s joined by Asher Gilding & Franca Zingler from Port Cygnet Catering who specialise in seasonal and sustainable cooking. Sabine Spindler from Cornersmith in Sydney rounds out the team. Their menu makes use of Huon Valley produce and is described as taking inspiration from campfire cooking.
- Shiitake Mushroom Skewers – basted in smoked chicken fat, chicken skin crackling, wakame, black garlic mayo (vegetarian option available)
- Grilled whey flatbread, Bruny Island Wallaby Kofta – with quince yoghurt, fermented beetroot relish, pepita crunch, pickled beetroot stems
- Campfire Inverted Polly Waffle – chocolate mousse filled eclair with toasted marshmallow
- Spiced quince and pepperberry fizz with Vermouth
Amy Chanta & Palisa Anderson cook up both innovative and traditional Thai food at Chat Thai and Boon Cafe in Sydney. Matthew Evans is the once feared restaurant reviewer turned gourmet farmer. Josie McKinnon is a local chef whose pickles will compliment the dishes. Together they will work with produce predominately from Matthew’s Fat Pig Farm to create a range of Asian inspired plates.
- Smoked and caramelised pork hock braised in five spice master stock with pickled mustard cabbage, fresh steamed greens, and pickled ginger
- Sai Oua, a turmeric and lemongrass pork sausage & nahm prik nuum, a smoked green chilli relish with pickles and herbs
- Beef massaman curry with Australian grown rain fed rice
- Hot toddy, ginger and lemon, with Belgrove Distillery Ginger Hammer
Danielle Lefrancois from Hubert & Dan in the Tamar Valley specialises in French cuisine using Tasmanian ingredients. She’s joined by Lilly Trewartha from Franklin in Hobart and Analiese Gregory from Bar Brose in Sydney to create dishes with elements of European and Japanese cuisine.
- Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake with cabbage, grilled octopus, local ferments and bulldog sauce (vegan option available)
- Fried apple and miso hand pie
We asked food curator Jo Cook to pick who would be on her own dream team to work such a collaboration with:
Ooh that’s such a hard question! There are so many amazing chefs that are doing delicious food and using interesting ingredients. I love people who cook with exactly what’s around them and are conscious of zero waste. So, I think my dream team would include James Ashmore – from Ashmore seafoods. James has an amazing knowledge of the fishing industry and what is ethical to catch and delicious to eat. He also harvests sea vegetables which are nutritious, tasty and abundant. And for a chef I’d ask Thi Li – from Anchovy In Melbourne to collaborate with us. I haven’t met her but I love her food AND she serves excellent teas brewed gong fu style. Between these talented two I imagine the food would be pretty sensational! I might work on this for next year!
There’s also more guest Chefs popping up throughout the festival. Dave Verheul from Embla in Melbourne will be cooking braised Cape Grim Beef with Celeriac, Walnut and Winter Greens at the Heavy Metal Kitchen from the 9th-11th while Danielle Alvarez from Fred’s in Sydney will present Lamb with Wakame Chimmichurri and Fire Baked Nicola Potatoes from the 15th-17th. Massimo Mele will work with students from TasTAFE grilling half wheels of Ashgrove Farm Lancashire Cheese over a specially designed five metre long BBQ on the 15th and 16th.
There is, of course, so much more with entertainers and dazzling decor exciting the other senses. Go check it out and discover why it’s one of the most exciting food events in Australia.
Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast, PW1, 9-11 June and 15-18 June
Other Stall Holders: Asahi Bar, Villino Coffee Roasters, Last Rites Brewing Company, Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company, Willie Smith’s Organic Cider, Ashbolt Farm ,Derwent Estate Wines, Saint John Craft Beer, Red Brick Road Cider, Tasmanian Craft Distillers Bar, Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory, Seven Sheds Brewery, Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co, Mount Gnomon Farm,T-Bone Brewing Co, Raspberry Fool, Milton Vineyard, Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider, Get Shucked, Sud Polaire, Women of the Vine, The Creperie, Barringwood Estate, Tuckshop at Barringwood, Chikko Cafe, Sailor Seeks Horse, Henry’s Ginger Beer, Frank, Daly Potato Co, Sirocco South, Coal River Farm, Adane’s Ethiopian Restaurant, A Tiny Place, Lost Pippin & The Lamb Baa, Black Mountain Ice-Cream, Lucky Sri Lankan Kitchen, Shoebox Cafe, Hejo’s Chinese, Lady Hester, Bream Creek Vineyard, Truckle & Co, The Splendid Gin, Straight Up, Three Japanese, Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers, Mint Fast Fresh Food / Macarons by Ruby, Soup Stop, Pacha Mama, The Porky Duck, Domaine Dawnelle, The Tea Bar, Poltergeist Gin, Forty Spotted Gin, Vineyard Seafood Restaurant, Spring Vale Wines, Gillespie’s Ginger Beer, Urban Bounty Paella, Tombolo Freycinet Wood Fired Pizza, Cantina Latina, The Quartermaster’s Arms, William McHenry Distillery, Soufra, Cape Bernier Vineyard, Spreyton Cider, Flamecake, Krumbies, Huon Salmon