Splore Festival is well-known for its quality food truck fare but this year stepped things up another notch with the introduction of a Splore Banquet dinner in a shady forest dell near the park’s lookout point.
As festival goers filed into the pretty dell for a feast prepared by Mint Kitchen’s chef James Miller it looked like a scene from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Each year Splore has a dress-up theme for the Saturday night – this year was ‘Mystic Ritual’ – and fairies were a popular choice, flitting all over the park in colourful tutus and wings.
The dell provided much-needed shade for guests on the hot summer’s night, while the 6.30pm sitting allowed for a beautifully indulgent experience in the glow of the early evening light before it began to fade.
Festival goers sat side-by-side at shared tables in costume to enjoy an incredible buffet of locally sourced food at this proudly #leavenotrace festival (reusable china plates and stainless-steel cutlery were supplied by Mint Kitchen).
Mint Kitchen is based in Parnell and specialises in offsite catering so setting up a plush banquet in the bush was a challenge Miller was happy to take on.
The magical spread was thoughtfully created by Miller to satisfy most diets including vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free.
It was also the second year that Splore Banquets brunches have been held at the festival at the Beach Bar. There’s nothing quite like enjoying that first cup of coffee in the morning looking out over a beach peppered with early morning swimmers and yachts gathered offshore. In fact, an hour after breakfast we joined the swimmers in the bay at Tapapakanga Park.
The open-air restaurant/bar space offers a sit-down dining experience while enjoying the surrounds of this beachside setting. The brainchild of production company Myken in collaboration with Mint Kitchen. Dishing up a hotel-worthy banquet at the beach with service to match. It’s definitely nice to mix up it up with a bit of luxury when camping!
The synergy of the local suppliers brought together for the banquets also ticked all the right boxes – delicious vegan and gluten-free artisan breads by Vernedi and Freedom; melt in your mouth cheeses from Food Snob; gluten-free Marcel’s pancakes served with salmon or fruit; Living Goodness raw sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented beetroot and Culley's sauces – the perfect accompaniment with scrambled eggs or cheeses; fresh museli mixes by Pucka health foods; plus an Instagram-worthy fruit selection. All washed down by steaming hot plungers of Jed’s coffee and Hummingbird coffee, or crisp Batchwell Kombucha (vodka shot optional).
The Banquets offer this already incredible festival an additional reason to go next year. This annual family-friendly boutique music and arts festival at the beach is really like no other.
Sustainability is also at the heart of Splore by eliminating single-use plastic cups and water bottles, providing compost and recycling on site with the goal of being as close as zero-waste as possible and definitely #leavenotrace on this beautiful park. Splore is a member of the Sustainability Business Network too and was the first festival in New Zealand to win the international ‘A Greener Festival Award’ for its trailblazing sustainability initiatives.
Bring on Splore 2019!
For more incredible highlights from Splore 2018, visit splore.net