Queenstown food fest goes down a treat (with slideshow)

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Hundreds of food lovers basked in the spring sunshine over the weekend at the Taste Queenstown Festival. 

They sampled and savoured the best fare the region has to offer – from its finest delicacies and wines to traditional pies and beer. 

Ahead of the weekend’s two big Rugby World Cup semi-finals, there was a true festival feel on both afternoons in Earnslaw Park. 

Groups of friends and young families relaxed on the grass in front of the main stage. They grazed on tantalising treats while listening to music and watching cookery demonstrations and entertainers. 

And the food vendors and wineries also enjoyed the event – many sold out of goodies several times over the two weekends. 

Jaimie Stodler, of Cup & Cake, said: “I sold out my stock within an hour on the first day. 

“I had to call in all three of my staff to start baking. 

“It’s been awesome and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The music, entertainment and other stall holders have been wonderful.” 

The town was voted the best food and wine destination in New Zealand in the Travellers’ Choice 2011 Food Awards announced last week. 

It also placed third overall in the south pacific region. 

Organiser Jono Sutherland says: “It shows what we have got to offer. 

“We’ve been really lucky with the weather and the crowd has been phenomenal, with many coming both weekends. 

“The vendors were extremely impressed. The market and really good performances by local acts also brought the crowds down.” 

An award is well-deserved according to many festival-goers. 

Roland Allen, from Essex, says: “It’s been lovely. The food is delicious. We had the lamb wraps. 

“We’re down from Auckland and have just been relaxing in the sun and enjoying the show.” 

Thousands are expected next weekend for Queenstown JazzFest – before the nail-biting begins for the Rugby World Cup Final. 

“I think it will continue next weekend,” Jono says. 

“Both the JazzFest and the market will be a great entrée to the rugby.” 

Humble Pie, on Camp Street, won both first and second prize from a 12-strong field in the pie competition. 

But there were only two entries to the cupcake competition. Melissa Davidson, of Cherry Blossom Cakes in Arrowtown, won with her raspberry and white chocolate cake.