December to March is Hobart’s visitor season.
A modest progression of interstaters have crossed This Girl’s threshold already.
The last posse to leave was repetitive in their appreciation, so I asked them what made for such a highly recognised hostess. This is what they said.
1. It’s the little things
The bed dressed neatly, folded towels, and perched on top, a little chocolate treat, preferably something Tasmania, greets my visitors on arrival. It’s a little way I tell them they’re welcome. It’s the little things.
2. A visitor is a gift
Getting that email to say ‘we’re booked our flights’ says someone loves you enough to spend time with you. It’s a gift. And when you’re given a gift, don’t kick that horse in the mouth. Give something back.
Being accommodating, open, and smiling, shows your visitors that nothing’s a problem, and again, that they’re welcome.
Laugh when they tell you they’re going to polish off your bottle of champagne when you’re out. All’s fair in love and holidays. You might find they’ve left you with a swag of beer.
3. Know your audience and your locale
Every visitor is different. Some don’t want to do much, others will go with the flow, and there are those who already have it worked out. Regardless, know what’s going on when they’re due to visit and think about what will engage with their interests, motivation and capacity.My last visitors set out independently for some of their stay. They were relaxed the rest of the time; cutting me slack so I could get a couple of swims in, even though they’re not particularly beach people. The compromise: a quick swim followed by a meal with a great view (Blackmans Bay, The Beach, and Peppermint Bay Bistro). They also loved MONA (of course), our weekend markets (Salamanca and Farm Gate) and The Nant Cellar and Bar (at 10.30am on a Saturday, I’ll drink to that).
4. Dosh up some awesome nosh
I hit the kitchen a few times during their stay but I had a plan of fast meals that could be pretty much pre-prepared. With an 11 something a.m. flight arrival, I whipped up a tray of meringue with crushed raspberries, added brown sugar to yoghurt and set it in the fridge to drain and marinated quail in honey and spices, then sped off to the airport. Fortunately I got there early. Unfortunately, I still managed to miss their arrival. Truth be told, I was playing on my smartphone (duh!). Never fear, I found them before all their bags were lifted from the carousel.
By the time dinner came around, I threw together flathead and lime for ceviche, accompanied it with green chilli, mango and coconut cream for entrée. To accompany the roast marinated quail I made lemon cous cous and roasted pumpkin with a mix of seeds and spices. I adorned the meringue and yoghurt with grilled nectarines for dessert. Dinner done. Check out Gourmet Traveller for recipes.
The subsequent evenings’ meals may not quite have met the standard but they were meals prepared with minimal time in the kitchen and away from my friends. And there was sufficient oohhinng and ahhing to know the meals had hit the mark.
5. Make a plan and stick to it
When you have old friends. I mean, when you have long term friends visit, you could easily sit around shooting the breeze and let the day get away from you. Once you’ve agreed on how you’ll spend the day, set your timeframes and work to it. My catch cry became ‘ETD 10 minutes.’ These guys told me they liked that we were organised and they liked knowing what was expected.
Of course, being spontaneous is a good thing too, but that’s another story, or another thing that can make you the hostess with the mostess but I’ve filled the quota for today.
All my visitors have been great and I miss them! They can come back anytime.
What are your hostess tips?