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HomeGeneral Tourism'Tis the season for food and wine tourism in Central Otago

‘Tis the season for food and wine tourism in Central Otago

Central Otago restaurants, cafes, cellar doors and bars celebrated a successful wrap up for the annual month-long Eat.Taste.Central campaign in Cromwell on Wednesday evening.

Wanaka-based chef Lucas Parkinson was the guest speaker on the evening. He talked openly about the positives and the challenges of establishing and running a venue with a truly local organic and seasonal food philosophy.

Organised each year by Tourism Central Otago, the E.T.C event transitioned from a competition into a celebration of local food and wine experiences for 2020, with venues highlighting local producers and flavours through their dishes. According to venues who participated in the month-long celebration, the shift in focus was positively received by their customers.

"We’ve been hearing stories of people visiting venues with their new ‘E.T.C Passport’ in hand ready to try their highlighted dishes and collect their ‘stickers’. Also we’ve heard that the wide range of local events and experiences that were incorporated into the programme were a popular addition," says Tourism Central Otago’s campaign manager Anthony Longman.

"Our task now is to collate feedback from venues to guide our planning for future editions of Eat.Taste.Central."

Tourism Central Otago general manager Dylan Rushbrook says in addition to encouraging people to get out and explore around the region during spring, Eat.Taste.Central had "set the scene for what we anticipate will be a busy and challenging season, not just for the hospitality venues, but also our local growers and producers as they transition to a new ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future".

"It also gives those across the food system network an opportunity to connect and engage with each other, and gain a greater understanding of just some of the amazing and talented people we have here."

Earlier on Wednesday, Tourism Central Otago held a workshop facilitated by TCO Tourism Advisory Board member Mark Frood, and representatives from a wide spectrum of sectors including farmers, growers, winemakers, restaurant owners, education and associated visitor experiences.

The workshop is the first step in a programme of work toward developing a stronger and more integrated food and wine, and beverage story that can be told for the region.

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