Hannah St James, Ashleigh Rumble and Paris Zorzit try an alpaca burger that will be available at the Canberra Show. Photo: Colleen Petch
Hate to say it but the alpaca tasted yum, if with a little guilty aftertaste. Alpaca burgers, alpaca sausages, smoked leg of alpaca and alpaca kofta were served up at the launch of the Royal Canberra Show, which opens on Friday.
The reactions included ''quite light in taste'', ''not at all gamey'' ''a bit like lamb, only lighter'', ''very nice, very sweet'' and ''I would eat it again''.
Ian Frith, from Illawarra Prime Alpaca, is serving up alpaca meat at the show for the first time. He sells the meat to restaurants, pubs and delis and says people are usually surprised by the taste.
''People think it's a gamey meat, but it's not at all,'' he said.
A new taste sensation is only one of numerous attractions at the show this year.
Royal National Capital Agricultural Society president Rod Crompton said about 100,000 people were expected to visit over the three days.
''With all that is happening here, I'm sure we will get that number,'' he said.
This year's show has a heritage bent to recognise Canberra's centenary.
The old-school attractions include the live boxing of Roy Bell's Touring Boxing Stadium, not seen in Canberra for 10 years. There is also a working bullock team with beasts weighing up to 1300 kilograms.
A showmen's museum has illusion mirrors and puppet theatre. There is a milking barn with hand-milked cows. And the intriguing Tea Side Saddle Challenge where competitors will ride a horse side-saddle, eating a scone and sipping tea, while navigating an obstacle course.
A Centenary of Fashion parade, styled by Sofia Polak and featuring hats by Christine Waring, will show Canberra's fashion evolution.
Mr Crompton said the Canberra show was ''a great opportunity to bring the country into the city''.
''Within a 100-mile radius of here, there's all sorts of agricultural activities,'' he said. ''And as part of that, we've got the president's award for the first time recognising the best agricultural exhibit, from a bottle of wine to a Murray Grey bull.''