MORE than 100 diners enjoyed the inaugural Long Lunch event in Te Anau last Saturday.
The event was the first in the Southland food festival Savour the South, a month-long initiative run by Hospitality New Zealand and Great South to highlight Southland food
Run from noon to 4pm in the upper Te Anau Town Centre, six Te Anau restaurants, The Fat Duck, Thai Te Anau, La Toscana, Bao Now, Redcliff Cafe and The Ranch Bar & Grill, created menus to feature in the lunch.
Savour the South regional manager Darelle Jenkins said the long lunch was a great way to launch the food festival and it was planned to hold the Te Anau event yearly.
“It was a really successful day with many out-of-towners travelling to the region to attend. The locals were in full support and the weather played its part, being the cherry on top. We are looking forward to this event growing year on year and being a highlight on Te Anau’s calendar.
“All restaurants in Te Anau were invited to participate. Staffing was the main barrier this year but we are hoping that next year everyone will be in a better position to participate,” she said.
Fiordland Business Association chairman Nathan Benfell said he thought it was something amazing for the town and highlighted produce from throughout the province.
Te Anau business owners attended the lunch with Te Anau Harcourts Real Estate owner Lloyd Anderson saying he thought it was a great day out for Te Anau hospitality and locals.
‘‘There will be a lot more people coming next year as it appeared that a lot of people were not aware that this function was on. It was a good place to catch up with some of our past friends.’’
Te Anau Auto Services owner Nathan and Mel Botting said: “Great day out in Te Anau, with amazing food and beautiful weather. I’m sure it will be an annual event.’’
Ms Jenkins said organisers were ‘‘delighted’’ Chard Farm Winery and Emerson’s Brewery had come onboard as sponsors.
■ Savour the South events will be held at various locations until the end of April. For more information on events and cuisine, go to www.savourthesouth.nz