A Taste Sensation
By: Christopher Cookson
Last Modified: 31-12-2020 21:35
I’m an introvert, and I guess this reflects in the fact that I much prefer living in Blenheim to a large city like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. I like people, but I prefer them in small doses, and spread out. Some people’s idea of urban development, cramming ever more people into smaller spaces seems like a nightmare to me, and I regard it as regression rather than progress.
My wife by contrast, comes from a city with a population almost equal to half of the entire South Island. She’s adapted well to Blenheim, and is content not to be in a large city now, but after more than a couple of days in a rural area more than five minutes drive from a town, starts to get unsettled.
One thing we both enjoy is food. My pizzas and home made bread have become a bit legendary amongst our circle of friends, and my wife can do a mean feijoada and pão de queijo, traditional Brazilian dishes.
When my wife suggested we go to Feast Marlborough, I did my best to put aside my fear of crowds, and thought of the food. I also thought of the photographic opportunities. Photography is a passion for me, and although street photography makes me nervous being an introvert, it’s a genre that really appeals to me when I see it well executed by other photographers.
Sure enough, there was plenty of food, crowds, and photographic opportunities. It seemed like half of Marlborough was there, and ironically I encountered a good number of fellow members of the Marlborough Camera Club, although I was the only one who thought to take a camera. Trying to capture memorable images in a seething mass of people without losing your wife and daughter, and actually sampling some of the food on offer is an interesting exercise, but I think I came away satisfied. With so many people, I found it challenging to work out exactly where to point my camera, and with everyone with smartphones, I had to work out how I could capture images that would be more memorable than the thousands of casual phone snapshots.
The whole experience was all a bit surreal when the rest of the world is still struggling with Covid-19, and here were Marlburians out in a massed gathering where you were ‘social distancing’ if you could find enough space to be more than ten centimetres away from the next person. Black, yellow, and white Covid-19 QR code signs were a reminder that there is still an invisible menace out there in the world, although hopefully not on the loose any more in New Zealand communities. I was reminded of how privileged we are to be able to have events like this where people can enjoy freedom of movement as I overheard the conversation of someone mentioning that they’d only just completed quarantine in the last few days in time to make it to Blenheim for Taste Marlborough.
Looking around at the diverse variety of local food on offer made me realise how much more than just a wine region Marlborough is. There’s a bonus to gourmet food in that it is family friendly whereas wine is very much an adults only indulgence. Kids were well catered for and in a smart marketing move, there was a kids’ colouring contest which of course had my daughter insisting we go so that she could put her entry in.
It’s hard to say what my favourite would food would be as I’m very much an omnivore, and enjoy most things apart from lambs fry and parsnips, neither of which were on offer as far as I could tell. I am a big fan of seafood, and there was plenty of that on offer. It wouldn’t be Marlborough if there weren’t some wine available, however wine and cameras don’t really mix, so I decided to give that a miss.
It was great to know that the proceeds of the event were going to local charities, with each food outlet nominating their own charity. Well done Marlborough.