Food a hit at Marlborough wine festival
SCOTT HAMMOND/The Marlborough Express
MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: Errol Wilkinson and Kylie Cornelius of Vavasour Wine and Mark Heard of ORA olive oil, from left, won a wine and food match competition at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival with a Vavasour pinot noir and smoked venison pizza combination.
Lovers of food as well as wine were spoiled for choice at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival at Brancott Estate near Fairhall today.
A crowd of about 8000 chilled out at the festival site amidst the vines. A cool wind and cloudy skies saw summery sundresses hidden beneath jackets and jerseys but people warmed up by dancing and eating hot food.
Blenheim chef Chris Fortune said the best thing about this 29th festival was seeing the word 'food' back in its title, and quality wines complemented by quality foods.
The return of a chef's table where Nelson chefs Matt Bouterey and Grant Dicker demonstrated beef, lamb and salmon dishes for serving alongside Marlborough wines was a healthy sign, he said.
Allison Cody of the Netherlands said she and her husband were foodies so enjoyed tasting some of the 17 wine and food matches listed in the festival programme, starting with venison burgers for breakfast.
This was Mrs Cody's fifth trip to New Zealand and first time at the Marlborough festival. A highlight was seeing and photographing eccentrically dressed people in the crowd.
Back in force were more than 20 members of Girls on Tour, at their 21st festival. Their leader, alias Raquel, said the group of friends claiming to be ''proctologists from Bluff'' came from towns and cities including Christchurch, Dunedin and Hanmer for this annual get-together. Proctologists test men for prostate cancer.
Sergeant Dan Mattison of the Blenheim police said the police, St John Ambulance and security staff worked well together, especially towards the end of the day. By about 5pm, the police had arrested three people for assault, fighting and obstructing the police and a fourth person for re-entering the festival site after being ejected.
About 11 additional people were held because they were drunk, likely to cause trouble outside the gate and had no ride home, Mr Mattison said.