It was the perfect day for lunch on the Fishpen foreshore and visitors, enjoying the Canberra and Victorian long weekends, took advantage of the opportunity, alongside plenty of locals, to sample the best the region has to offer at the 6th EAT Merimbula.
The annual food festival is a showcase for local chefs and providores with seafood, fish, meat, local fruits, bread, pastries and ice cream all on offer. Over 30 stalls offered a range of tasting dishes for $7 to $8
Organising committee member Anthony Osborne said the new layout with more tables and chairs along with the road closure helped to improve the experience.
“It felt significantly busier with extra stalls and we’ve had information back saying there were increased numbers,” Mr Osborne said.
“There were people queuing to buy food at 9.30am before it had opened and still people there up to the end. Only a handful of stalls had closed before the end because they had run out of food,” he added.
Another member of the organising committee Anthony Daly said that each year it gets better. Mr Daly also participated as a stallholder and owner of the The Wharf Restaurant and said even with the extra stalls this year, the amount sold was similar to last year.
Owner of Wheelers, Jacqui Smith was ecstatic over the event.
“I couldn’t speak more glowingly, it was a really lovely, rewarding day and the team really enjoyed it,” Ms Smith said.
We took 4850 items, four different types of mini pies and sweets, and sold over 4600.Matt Crossley, Wild Ryes Baking Company
They kept their menu simple with a Thai fish burger, Ms Smith said, and sold “close to 700 burgers”.
Matt Crossley, part-owner of Wild Ryes said it was a great day that promoted the area.
“We took 4850 items, four different types of mini pies and sweets, and sold over 4600. We also sold 75 litres of locally roasted draught iced latte. It was a good day and the weather was perfect,” Mr Crossley said.
Lynne O’Donnell at Cheeky Mango Catering has been at all six events and said she loved them.
“It went really well. It’s good for the town. I had 350 serves and sold them all,” Ms O’Donnell said.
CEO at Club Sapphire Damien Foley said the Rockpool Cafe team had a terrific day selling 600 serves of the steamed bao buns and 200 serves of salted caramel tart.
“They received glowing praise and several customers came back,” Mr Foley said adding that it could end up as a special on the cafe’s menu.
The staff and the event organisers did an outstanding job,” he added.
To assist with clearing up, From Little Things Parklands volunteers helped identify the right bins for different waste. They took away a number of bins of food and paper waste which will be composted for use in the community gardens on Club Sapphire land.
There was general agreement that the new layout and extra tables and chairs worked well and helped to produce a more relaxed atmosphere with less congestion. The early morning long punt seafood tasting went well too and Mr Osborne said it was something the committee might look at expanding but stressed as EAT grew the focus was on maintaining quality above quantity.