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Crunching the numbers

May 25, 2017

When my friends who live in other cities and countries ask me what Visa Wellington On a Plate is, it can be a little hard to describe. It’s like Christmas but it lasts 17 times as long? It’s literally the best thing about the generally miserable month of August? It’s the reason I never have any money left come September? It’s two weeks of dizzying highs, wine matches, belt-loosening, excessive cheersing of glasses and forgetting how to cook for myself?

If you’ve never been to the festival (or even if you have), it may seem overwhelming, and that’s because Visa WOAP is even more huge than most people think. To add a little awe to your day, here’s a few top line figures that are a little more saucy than your average stats:


The Burger Wellington platform is a total behemoth that sees Wellington's eateries and food trucks competing for burger supremacy, and 82,000 is the frankly ridiculous number of burgers scoffed during last year’s Festival. Not bad for 17 days eh?


That’s what CoCo at the Roxy's Cocktail Wellington entry's average score was out of 10. That's a pretty universally-loved cocktail, but would you expect anything less from mixologist magician Ray Letoa? Let’s see who takes on Ray this year.


Festival Events are a huge part of Visa WOAP – these are your ticketed feasts, workshops, degustations, banquets, classes and talks. In 2016 there were 127 unique events (many of which have multiple sessions). Tickets go on sale 19 June and the most popular can sell out in minutes.


It’s awesome to see Welly’s food trucks making their mark on the festival. 19 food trucks toured the region across 8 nights for last year’s Food Truck Rally, with an average of 15 different trucks per location.


Beervana is without a doubt a highlight of Visa WOAP – it’s an absolute must-do for beer geeks, fairweather beer fans or even people who don’t know their hops from their malt. In 2016, 14,000 litres of beer were consumed across the four sessions. I probably consumed about 1000 of those litres myself.


There are 3 Festival Awards to keep in mind during your eating odyssey this August: Best Festival Dish (part of the Dine Wellington set menus presented by Wellington Wine Country), Best Burger (part of Burger Wellington, presented by Garage Project) and Best Cocktail (part of Cocktail Wellington). When dining and imbibing, don’t forget to rate those Festival Dishes/cocktails/burgers out of 10 right here on


That’s how many pages this year’s programme guide is. It’s sort of like a gripping novella exploring all your wildest foodie fantasies. Get your highlighters, Post-it notes and group chats ready.


In last year’s Doughnut Pop-up, 5000 doughnuts were enjoyed over the festival. That is a lot of delicious cream filling. I hear that this year will see an exciting new pop-up, so keep an eye out.


Assuming you go out for both lunch and dinner every day during Visa WOAP, you could fit in 34 meals out across the festival. That doesn't include pre- and post-dinner forays into Cocktail Wellington, plus the occasional Pop Up visit for snacks on either side of meals. And trust me, you won’t be hungry for breakfast.


That’s the date the programme is announced this June – you’ll get to see it from 5pm at