From hand-harvested Adelaide Hills macadamias and ocean-fresh Coffin Bay oysters, to beer brewers, winemakers and distillers, Adelaide marinates in a cauldron of flavours at the annual Tasting Australia festival.
Attention: calling all gastronomes! Imagine a venue where world-renowned chefs rub shoulders with acclaimed winemakers, craft brewers and gin distillers. Where gourmet food growers showcase and cook before you their prized farm-to-fork produce. And where live musicians and DJs send melodious beats through the autumnal air while you dine. If you’re a locavore with a discerning palate, then the Tasting Australia festival is your serve.
Adelaide’s Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga is the vibrant hub to this 10-day festival of flavours. During this culinary adventure, you can sip and chew from stall to stall on a journey through South Australia’s premium produce, on dishes dictated by the crop of the season.
The pre-eminent Tasting Australia event has been running since 1997, and is a celebratory collaboration of chefs and restaurateurs, as well as beer, wine and spirit-makers. It is also synonymous with famous names, such as Barossa Valley cook and author: Maggie Beer and chef and TV presenter (and festival director): Simon Bryant, both of whom work closely with Events South Australia to create this gourmet festival.
Alongside Bryant and fusion cuisine maestro Cheong Liew, the festival comes curated by Adelaide chef, Jock Zonfrillo: owner of Restaurant Orana in Rundle Street. Now an Australian institution, Orana’s cultured menu features indigenous bush foods sourced direct from Aboriginal communities. No stranger to food festivals, Zonfrillo has also sent taste buds into a spin at South Australia’s renowned WOMADelaide festival, where he ran Street in the Park restaurant.
The centrepiece at the Tasting Australia festival is the pop-up Glasshouse Kitchen. Here, Michelin-starred and World’s 50 Best Restaurant chefs from across the world come together to taste-test the plated delights. Innovative in design, the dining space comprises six intimate glasshouses. Dishes rival those of Europe’s gastronomic best as epicurean tongues drool around sophisticated flavours, such as Rapid Bay seaweed, Ayslebury duck, heirloom cauliflower and more.
Around the Glasshouse Kitchen, vendors in the relaxed eating and drinking precinct, Town Square, dish up copious barbecued chicken and lamb skewers, wood-fired pizzas and goat curries. And glasses also chink further afield…
Tasting Australia is so much more than the sum of its food and beverage parts. Adelaide’s East End Cellars host a comprehensive program of spirit-making classes from grape to glass. Cheers echo during Tasting Australia’s Spirit Awards, which celebrate an emerging local industry and give festival-goers the chance to try gold medal winning nips from the country’s finest distillers – Tasmania’s Southern Wild Distillery coming out tops for 2018.
Adding luxury and adventure to the event are the Tasting Australia Airlines daytrips. In partnership with Alliance Airlines, chartered flights enable long, lazy lunches in regional South Australia, including the Limestone Coast, Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula: home to the country’s best oysters.
And even more destinations and immersive experiences will feature in 2019. Next year’s Tasting Australia festival (5 to 14 April 2019) is already set to sizzle and fizz. From the buzz of South Australia’s fair city to the fertile waters of the Eyre Peninsula’s Coffin Bay, Tasting Australia celebrates people, place and produce from every corner of the state. Culinary tourism: it’s the special on South Australia’s menu!