Autumn in South Australia is the perfect time for food-related indulgence. Think crisp, sunny days, a wealth of seasonal produce and vineyards cloaked in the red-gold hues of deciduous leaves. Most importantly, there’s the gourmet extravaganza of the Tasting Australia festival. This biannual festival is held over eight days in April and May. Take your pick from more than 40 events running across Adelaide and iconic wine regions such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Adelaide Hills. Take a cooking class with celebrity chefs or match your food and wine at a long vineyard lunch. Visit farmers’ markets, listen to debates about the future of food or join a festival of the senses on Adelaide’s riverbanks.
Kitchen wizards will love the hands-on cooking classes with celebrated chefs from Australia and around the world. In past years, these class acts have covered everything from cooking pizza in a wood oven to creating the perfect cheese platter or French cuisine. If you prefer eating to cooking, sign up for one of the many celebrity chef events. Enjoy a five-course degustation dinner prepared by five different chefs. Or meet your kitchen idol over a long lunch in a picturesque winery.
Wine is a big focus of the Tasting Australia program, with wine buffs able to test their palate on the top-quality wines entered in the Royal Adelaide Show or explore the world of biodynamic winemaking. There are also wine auctions, beer appreciation dinners, cocktail shaking sessions and champagne masterclasses.
The biggest challenge at Tasting Australia is choosing your next dining experience. Whether you want lunch, dinner or supper, the dizzying array will take you around the world in a few days. Taste traditional Aboriginal tucker or savour the marriage of Italian food and South Australian wine. Have a yakitori degustation and sip champagne or earl grey tea at an elegant high tea. Pick at a tapas banquet or go back in time in a 19th century supper club. Go casual with organic pizza or enjoy an 8-course degustation menu at one of Adelaide’s most celebrated restaurants. From an Australian barbeque with live bands to a 1950s cocktail party in Adelaide’s Carrick Hill, the ambience is created as carefully as the food.
All this culinary excitement is bound to inspire discussion, hence the lively Word of Mouth debates held over the first weekend in May along the Adelaide Riverbank Precinct. Head down to hear high profile chefs, brewers, winemakers and food writers discuss issues surrounding food, wine and beer. The same weekend, you can enjoy fine South Australia cuisine and entertainment at Feast of the Senses on the banks of the River Torrens. Listen to musicians, watch cookery demonstrations or take part in hands-on activities for aspiring cooks.
Throughout the festival, South Australia’s bountiful fresh produce is on show at special fetes and farmers’ markets. Buy direct from the producers, growers, bakers and cheesemakers at the enormous Adelaide Showground Farmers Market, or at markets stretching from Barossa Valley to Riverland. Buy handcrafted arts at the Adelaide Festival Centre and see Adelaide’s stylish Rundle Street transformed into an outdoor street market, selling gourmet produce, local wine and signature dishes from the city’s famous restaurants.
With so many food and wine experiences to fill your senses this autumn, make time to join the culinary events at Tasting Australia.