In April each year, Adelaide becomes the hub for a series of serious foodie experiences either in Adelaide or nearby. Local and international chefs, cooks, winemakers, critics, writers, journalists and photographers, and food lovers all participate during 10 days of delectable delights and discovery.
Food is everywhere.
In 2018, my husband and I signed up for three events which required pre-booking. Some you can wander in to, while others sell out ahead of time.
The 2019 program boasts more than fifty "Festival Stars", i.e. people who will make or already have made their marks on the food industry.
Some are local to South Australia, others travel across the globe for the event to work with South Australian people, produce and wines. They work and we experience their creations.
Tasting Australia Airlines - tasting Wagyu Beef during our flight to Mayura Station
Apart from fabulous food cooked as we watched and wines matched to each course, this was a true education as we learned about the high omega 3 content of Wagyu Beef, how the cattle are raised, and what they are fed. According to studies wagyu can contain up to 30 percent more unsaturated fatty acids than other cattle breeds and is considered one of the healthiest kinds of beef.
Australia's third largest island is situated a short ferry ride off the south coast of South Australia, and 112 kilometres from Adelaide. This jewel in the southern ocean is a tourist outpost often overlooked.
KI, as it is affectionately known, offers unique wildlife, mouth-watering food and wine, a laid-back lifestyle, breathtaking scenery with towering cliffs, wild plains and clear waters.
Morning Wine Tasting at The Islander Estate Vineyards
Our first call was to The Islander Estate Vineyard where owner and founder Jacques Lurton creates beautiful wines. Raised in Bordeaux in France, and having produced wines in Griffith in NSW, Lurton fell in love with KI in 1997, he recognised the viticultural potential here and did something about it.
Pre-lunch cocktails and canapes were served at The Cliff House, which is one of five properties owned by Lifetime Private Retreats. None of us wanted to leave as flavours of clams and foraged foods danced on our tongues, and sea breezes kept us cool.
Clams accompanied by Wild Foods foraged locally by our visiting Irish Chef
With more food experiences awaiting: pheasants, pork, fish, cabbage, potatoes and everything else roasting over the hot coals on the massive "BBQ" for want of a better term, happy snappers were in full swing with their cameras and smartphones, me included.
Pheasants, Fish, Cabbage, and Apples were some of the foods cooked over the hot coals of this BBQ
There are several other Tasting Australia Airlines events to Coffin Bay, the Barossa, and to Flinders Ranges.
The cost for such an outing is not small, but is well worth doing once! Nevertheless, you don't need to leave town on a charter flight to participate. There's a lot of free stuff happening too.
Victoria Square in the heart of Adelaide becomes "Town Square" for the event. It is here that, the Glasshouse Kitchen showcases the world's best, Michelin-starred and Australia's hottest chefs coming together to create one-off menus and unforgettable dining experiences.
There are eight Glasshouse Dinners, showcasing South Australian produce accompanied by matched wines presented by guest sommeliers. Any one diner might have chefs from Paris, Albania, Byron Bay and Adelaide, working alongside for one night only.
Even if you don't book in for the dinners, it's fun to head down to Town Square. There's something on almost every day and night. Locals and visitors filter through the gates, following the smoky smells of delicious South Australian produce cooked over flames.
There's usually plenty happening in the streets of Adelaide too with pop-up tasting stalls in places like Rundle Mall offering free crackers, cheese, pastes, dips & relishes, ice-creams and cookies, and wine & bubbly.