South Australia is set for 10 days of feasting and fun as the 2019 Tasting Australia festival officially opens across Adelaide and regions today.
Running April 5 to 14, this year’s Tasting Australia program features more than 160 events in more than 120 venues across 12 regions, from the Barossa to the Fleurieu, Riverland and Kangaroo Island.
For the next 10 days, more than 70 Michelin-starred and award-winning chefs, winemakers and other culinary experts from around the world will gather in South Australia to work alongside local food and beverage stars in a packed program of intimate dinners, long lunches, cooking classes, culinary day trips, wine tasting sessions and more across the state.
The festivities begin today with the official opening of Tasting Australia’s eating and drinking hub Town Square, in Victoria Square.
Free to enter and open daily until late (excluding Monday April 8), the buzzing festival hub features five unique bars, including four rooftop bars, and 14 food stalls offering a range of delectable dishes suiting this year’s theme of “Small Plates”.
New attractions for this year include a recreation of a traditional pub Front Bar under the stars complete with pinball, pool tables and daily meat tray raffles; a gourmet take on the iconic Aussie chicken and chips shop from award-winning chef and Tasting Australia Programming Director Jock Zonfrillo; a rooftop Bubbles Bar serving bubbly beverages of all sorts; and a double-decker cocktail bus.
Small plates food vendors include Adelaide spice queen Ragini Dey; La Popular Taqueria; Tarte Gourmet Flammekueche; Boston Bay Smallgoods; The Greek Secret; Bao+; Moi An; Gang Gang; Electra House; the Hilton Adelaide’s Coal; Soza’s Sri Lankan street food; Gelista artisan gelato and Shibui Dessert Bar.
Also on the menu in Town Square are the popular East End Cellars Masterclasses with 24 expertly guided tastings of wine, sake, whisky and more taking place right across the festival, and the Superette, Tasting Australia’s own mini gourmet market selling everything from artisanal produce to gourmet cookware.
Acting Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Tim Whetstone said last year’s Tasting Australia event attracted nearly 8,000 international and interstate guests, with more than 54,000 people attending Town Square.
“Every year Tasting Australia continues to strengthen South Australia’s reputation as a world-class food, wine and tourism destination, serving up the best of our state’s culinary talent and produce in an exciting and diverse program,” Minister Whetstone said.
“I congratulate Director Simon Bryant, Program Director Jock Zonfrillo and Beverage Director Nick Stock on this year’s program and look forward to what’s in store over the next 10 days.”
Today’s opening celebrations continue into the evening with Of the Moment – The Opening Night Party in Town Square where guests will be treated to a surprise menu of once-in-a-lifetime dishes of local ingredients sourced on the day by chefs Jock Zonfrillo (Restaurant Orana, Adelaide), David Thompson (Aaharn, Hong Kong), Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney) and Darren Robertson (Three Blue Ducks, Sydney) with wines from the newly released Samuel’s Collection by Yalumba.
Tonight also sees the first of the popular Glasshouse Kitchen banquets – Fire, featuring Poul Andreas-Ziska of Michelin-starred Faroe Islands restaurant KOKS, followed on Saturday by the first of this year’s Tasting Australia Airlines flights: a sold-out adventure to Coffin Bay, with lunch by local legend Maggie Beer.
Festival Director Simon Bryant said the 2019 Tasting Australia program highlighted the extraordinary food, wine and tourism experiences that can only be found in South Australia.
“Tasting Australia is more than a food and wine festival, it’s a fully immersive eating and drinking experience with a uniquely South Australian flavour,” he said.
“From Michelin-starred chefs serving up local produce in the middle of Town Square, to fine dining under millions of stars in the Flinders Ranges, sparkling wine and oyster cruises in Coffin Bay and more, Tasting Australia is all about putting South Australia on a platter – literally.”
Program Director Jock Zonfrillo said Tasting Australia had become a popular event on the international culinary calendar among industry leaders, including Michelin-starred and World’s 50 Best Restaurant chefs.
“Not only is Tasting Australia the country’s longest-running culinary festival, internationally within the industry it’s also seen as one of the most interesting and exciting,” he said.
“South Australia already has a great reputation for its food and wine, and every year the world’s top chefs are excited to come and see what we have on the menu.”
Beverage Director Nick Stock said the festival was unique in showing a range of drinks across the program.
“Tasting Australia is really unique in putting wine and drinks at the same level as the food on the program; we’ve really considered the beverage offering this year so the wine, spirits, beer and other drinks will be as much of a show-stopper as what’s on the food menu,” he said.
Other festival highlights include a celebration of the classic Australian pub schnitzel in SchnittFest (April 8), a Saturday Soiree with Champagne Bollinger (April 6) and the second annual Spirit Awards (April 6). Regional highlights include the Legends in Clare Valley at Pikes Wines (April 13) and premium Barossa wine dinners Due Volte at Yalumba (April 13) and the Great Henschke Vintage Dinner (April 12).
Tasting Australia runs across Adelaide and regions from April 5 to 14, 2019. For tickets and more information on all events go to tastingaustralia.com.au