According to The Blenheim Daily, the Havelock Mussel Festival is ranked number 1 in the top 10 food festivals IN THE WORLD. Or maybe it’s The Blenheim Times; and come to think of it, I might be confusing the Havelock Mussel Festival with the Marlborough Food and Wine Fair.
ANYWAY, the point is – apart from The Blenheim Grapevine’s journalists being regrettably provincial – that we don’t have much happening in our lives these days apart from walking, biking, fishing, general exploring, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, gardening, cooking, writing and picking wax out of Jed’s ears. So we decided to participate eagerly in this local day of festivity.
I’ve never attended an event where hairy shellfish are the main feature. Indeed, mussels play a prominent role in the Havelock Mussel Festival. There was a mussel-shucking competition; mussel sculptures; and a cooking show featuring cockles – only kidding! Food stalls offered mussel-centric cuisine: marinaded mussels, deep-fried mussels, mussel fritters, mussel pate, mussel shakes.
I was particularly impressed by the Fire Department’s stall, where they demonstrated what happens when you throw half a cup of water on a burning deep fat fryer. Although the visuals were impressive, it was lacking the element of danger. They could have made it a real spectacle if they’d chucked a kid in and rescued him, or set someone’s face on fire and then bravely put it out.
I’m just saying.
Vendor: Have you tried our smoked garlic salt?
Me: Can’t say I have. Here, sprinkle me.
Vendor: What d’you think?
Me (licking my wrist): Mmm. Not bad.
Husband: She doesn’t like to overstate.
Me: How much?
Vendor (embarks on major sales pitch, ending with): $20 for three bags of salt, a smoked head of garlic, and a salt shaker.
Me: Meh. Could be worse.
Vendor: So perhaps I’ll see you later.
So nice to come across a vendor who recognises and accepts non-committal. That said, I highly recommend The Original Smoke & Spice Company’s salt to anyone who would consider paying $20 for a condiment.
Husband and I wandered around looking at stalls and occasionally held hands. For lunch we bought a couple of plastic cups of wine and a seafood platter, and sat out on the grass in the sun listening to The Ladykillers.
As outings go, it could have been worse.