Blue Mountains businesses are adapting to the “new normal’’ by creatively embracing new business practices and digital technology.
Blue Mountains Tourism president Jason Cronshaw praised the ingenuity and flexibility of businesses, especially small enterprises.
“The response has been fast and enthusiastic,’’ he said.
“Of course there’s been tears and tantrums as people are understandably upset to see their business and livelihood evaporate literally overnight as government restrictions come in that they weren’t prepared for and can’t control.
“But we’re so blessed to have a creative community that is pragmatic and innovative and steps up to a challenge.’’
“[But] we’re so blessed to have a creative community that is pragmatic and innovative and steps up to a challenge.”Jason Cronshaw – Blue Mountains Tourism
Many Blue Mountains businesses sell online vouchers to redeem when restrictions are lifted, encourage forward bookings and direct customers to online sales platforms.
Here are just some examples of how tourism and hospitality businesses in the Blue Mountains continue to operate under the strict new opening hours and social distancing regulations:
– CafeXpresso (Katoomba) station is one of numerous examples of fast food shops, cafes and restaurants offering takeaway food only.
– Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (Katoomba) has a Virtual InSight program featuring staff insights, tours of the space, art classes with local creatives, tutorials, recipes from the cafe and more. Details: BlueMountainsCulturalCentre Facebook page (a new page will be available on the bluemountainsculturalcentre.com.au website soon).
– Mount Vic & Me (Mt Victoria) takes online orders and posts a swag of quirky Australian Made items, including the Blue Mountains Socks range, tea towels and greeting cards. Details: www.mountvicandme.com.
– Avalon Restaurant – Katoomba (www.avalonkatoomba.com.au) offers takeaway meals, along with most cafes in the Blue Mountains. Several such as the Ori Café & Bistro (www.oricafe.com.au) and Finn & Co (www.finnandco.com.au) at Springwood offer a home delivery service.
– GalleryONE88 Fine Arts – Katoomba (www.galleryonefinearts.com), Talisman Gallery – Hartley (www.talismangallery.com.au) and other galleries have uploaded many photos of artwork to their website and social media and have restricted sales to those platforms or email.
– Blue Mountains Chocolate Company (Katoomba) serves takeaway food and drinks, with a home delivery service within a 20km radius of Katoomba. Details: http://www.bluemountainschocolate.com.au/.
“New normal” for Blueys
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Photos: David Hill
Retro foodies can indulge in some of the most delectable regional fare in true Roaring 20s style when the Hydro Majestic Hotel hosts the Majestic Long Lunch on Saturday, February 6.
Dressed in their most elegant 1920s-style finery, guests can indulge in a generous picnic hamper packed with scrumptious locally-made and sourced fare.
The Majestic Long Lunch will be one of four Roaring 20s-themed events to be held at the original Blue Mountains party palace, including a Gangster Casino Night on Friday, February 5, and the Hydro Charleston Challenge and Shanghai Nights on the Saturday.
The festival will celebrate the sumptuous architecture, saucy clothing, outrageous dancing and jazz music of the hedonistic heyday of Australia’s first tourist destination, the Blue Mountains.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The food and wine of the Greater Blue Mountains region is absolutely on a par with anywhere in Australia.
“With some of the best chefs in the country, it’s no wonder – and we have more than thirty of them working with us across our four Escarpment Group properties including Mate Herceg who is creating the main course for the Majestic Long Lunch.
“Many of the chefs in this region bring to their menus influences from multicultural backgrounds and training but incorporate the local and regional produce found from a one hundred mile radius of the Blue Mountains. That all creates a flavour unique to the region.’’
Goodies packed into the luxury picnic boxes at the Majestic Long Lunch will include antipasto by Princess Pantry; a main course of Holmbrae chicken marinated in Pig In The House cabernet sauvignon certified organic wine from Orange for 24 hours, house-cured speck, local braised champion mushrooms served with Bakehouse on Wentworth four-hour garlic croutons, crusty French baguette and fresh tossed salads created by Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg; mouth-watering regional cheeses from The Carrington Cellars & Deli; and a wickedly indulgent dessert by Josophan’s Fine Chocolates.
Each course will be matched with locally produced wines available for purchase from The Majestic Marquee Bar.
Add the most famous hotel in Australia and the magnificent Megalong Valley as a backdrop, a line-up of special guests and leading food identities Lyndey Milan OAM and Joanna Savill, live jazz music, dancing and a fashion parade, and Majestic Long Lunch diners are set for the most deliciously saucy event of the season.
The Roaring 20s Festival will continue throughout February at other venues around the Blue Mountains.
Go to hydromajestic.com.au to book the Majestic Long Lunch ($95 per person), other Hydro Majestic Hotel events and to register for the Hydro Charleston Challenge.