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Friday 15 January 2016

Hit the park for Tasmania's best food and wine festival

Held annually over three days in Launceston's delightful City Park, Festivale is Tasmania's best food and wine festival by some considerable margin. 

Unlike the recent Taste in Hobart, where you can struggle to find a table, where the costs are too expensive for many boutique producers, where the lines can be long and the payment system is unreliable at best, Festivale offers the chance to spread out on the grass while enjoying gourmet food, local wines, ciders and beers and live entertainment from the likes of Kate Ceberano and Wendy Matthews. 

More than 30,000 people are expected to flock to Festivale to enjoy the offerings of over 70 stall-holders, ranging from boutique wine producers like Wines For Joanie, Hillwood Estate, Barringwood Vineyard and Gala Estate to big names like Josef Chromy, Jansz, Pipers Brook, Tamar Ridge and Bay of Fires, as well as regular award winners Goaty Hill and Moores Hill. 

Ciders from Pagan, Little Rivers, Willie Smith's and Red Brick Road and craft beers from Seven Sheds, T-Bone, Morrison, Two-Metre Tall and Van Dieman Brewing will be on offers and food purveyors range from Jahan Paterson-Were's Mahasti tapas to Fingal Valley Bratwurst, Mount Ghomon Farm's porky delights, Ashgrove Cheese and delicious Flamecakes (try one if you haven't already).

Festivale’s outdoor theatre will feature a non-stop local and interstate entertainment line-up from two stages around the park throughout the weekend. Ceberano will headline on the Friday night. Wendy Matthews will bring Saturday night alive and also be singing jazz on Sunday. 

Roving acts and internationally renowned buskers will be on hand to keep the crowd entertained, including The Tiny Top Circus Tent for younger attendees

While entry to the Taste is free, you pay to attend Festivale, which keeps out the hooligan element and assures a family atmosphere. 

This year's Festivale runs from Friday, February 12 to Sunday, February 14, and visitors can choose between paying for daily entry or being season passes. 

Chef Greg Malouf is this year's special guest and Greg will talk about his passion for cooking, knowledge and experience at the Festivale Lunch at Stillwater on the Friday. Working with head chef Craig Will, Malouf will showcase his Middle Eastern cuisine using Tasmanian produce. 

It might pay to book early for both Malouf's lunch and some of the masterclasses to be held over the final two days of Launceston's favourite gourmet event.

The Tamar Valley Wine Route Experience tastings will be held at Design Tasmania, just outside City Park and tickets are on sale now.

Classes include a look at colour in Tasmanian rosé sparkling wines with Dr Andrew Pirie from Apogee and Fran Austin from Delamere and an examination of the difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio with Penny Jones from Bay of Fires and Stewart Burns from Josef Chromy.

Also look out for beer and cheese matching class presented by Nathan Calman, head brewer at James Boags and veteran cheesemaker Uli Berger, and a look at wine and chocolate with Natasha Nieuwhof from Goaty Hill and Theresa Streefland of Cocobean Chocolate.

On Sunday, the highlights include a tasting of the Festivale Awards winners with
James Welsh, Curly Haslam Coates and wine writer Jane Faulkner, who has taken over my judging role at the event.

Also consider a cider workshop with Karina Dambergs of Red Brick Road Cider and Tim Jones of Willie Smiths, and a look at whether to age Tasmanian pinot noir with Tom Wallace from Tamar Ridge and Pete Caldwell from Dalrymple Vineyards.

Entry prices are $20 for Friday night, $25 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday. Three-day passes cost $48 (pre-sale only). 

For full details see 

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