25 Mar 2015

A Festival Food Tour

From New Zealand Society, 3:25 pm on 25 March 2015

womad bottom
Gallery: Out and about at WOMAD

There are three days of music, dance, art, socializing, relaxing, wondering about the stunning grounds at Brooklands Park in New Plymouth – and eating.

Whether you’ve bought your own food, or choose to indulge in the myriad cultural foods on offer at the venue, enjoying eating is integral to the WOMAD experience.

Amelia Nurse joins the feasting throngs, and talks to CEO Suzanne Porter to experience an array of festival food. 

WOMAD 2015 statistics:

300 artists representing 22 countries across 4 stages
22 000 people in attendance.
Over 40 food stalls
See the WOMAD website for some recipes.
Visit Radio New Zealand's recipe collection

People at WOMAD

If you choose not to bring your own food to a music festival, you are at the mercy of what the assembled vendors have to offer – and it may not always work out as you wish.

Amelia Nurse asked a few folks at RNZ for their best and worst festival eats:

Lynda recommends the raw rock oysters and lemon juice (with a little smuggled-in bubbles!) at The Gathering Festival in Takaka – and also the blue cheese wood fired pizza with red wine at A Day on the Green. She does not however recommend cold, leftover chop-seuy at The Gathering.  

Emma simply advises that bean sprouts are not an ideal festival food, noting that she speaks from experience.

Kate confesses that hash fudge at Glastonbury is the pinnacle of yummy for her, especially when sold by a beautiful Hari Krishna man. She adds that afterwards she listened to some kind of drumming event with women naked to the waist – best enjoyed with eyes closed, in the dark, lying under a gypsy caravan.

Justine says nothing beats a half watermelon scooped out and then filled with a mix of watermelon and vanilla ice cream on a hot summer’s day at Te Ra o te Raukura in Lower Hutt - though it does require rather a lot of napkins. At the same event however, the Spud Spiral Stick (intended as a hangover cure) tasted of pure fat – and not in a good way.

Gözleme is a Turkish flatbread which is hand-rolled, filled with various toppings and cooked on a griddle. Ruth reckons no festival is complete without gözleme.

Danielle liked the steamed/fried pork dumplings at WOMAD – crispy on the bottom and chewy on top with beautifully flavoured pork inside: hearty and filling. The soggy, cold, flavourless Thai noodles at the Vancouver Folk Festival did not earn equal esteem.

Meanwhile Daniela happily remembers the chicken curry at the Wellington Pasifika Festival as tastiest chicken dish she’s ever eaten – even though she was cowering from a deluge of rain under a concrete awning at the time.

Around the world

Michael Roffman, editor of the website Consequence of Sound, surveyed his staff of veteran festival-goers about memorable festival food. Here are some high – and low lights:

Alligator nuggets at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Michael Zonenashvili gives them a 5/10 saying “Not terribly tasty, but definitely a textural heaven. Also, it’s made of alligators.”

Michael Roffman reckons the Cajun Duck Po Boy at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival deserves a 7.5, best enjoyed “as a pre-headliner snack right as the Louisiana sun is cutting you some slack.”

At South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Alex Young gives something called Coolhaus a 12/10, and describes it like this: “Two freshly baked cookies barely hold together a heaping amount of gourmet ice cream. Create your own (double chocolate cookie + peanut butter ice cream is heaven), or rely on the menu options. Either way, be sure to eat the paper, because it’s edible.”

Staying with ice cream for the moment, at the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago, Derek Staples recommends the Irish Whiskey infused soft ice cream waffle cones on a sliding scale - starting at 6, but approaching a 9 after a few cones, adding, “If you can’t handle a shot, stick to chocolate swirl.” Thanks Derek.

Finally, heading back to the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, Frank Mojica thinks Le Super Royal royally deserves 10/10: “Consisting of a jumbo sausage simmered in a white wine sauced served atop a bowl of sliced potatoes roasted in the creamiest of French cheeses and smoked bacon, Le Super Royal puts your typical festival food stand to shame.”

Bon appétit!