A guide to South Australia’s gastronomic knees-up

Here’s a fast trivia quiz.

1. Which is the one state in Australia to boast a former premier who wrote a cookbook? Answer: South Australia (The pink shorts-wearing Don Dunstan, because you ask.)

2. Which state led the nation’s revolutionary eating scene within the ’70s and ’80s? Answer: South Australia – with ground-breaking eating places like Neddy’s, Possums, Mistress Augustine’s and The Pheasant Farm.

Wines from the Taste the Alphabet dinner. Photo: provided

three. Which hills of which state are at present alive with bearded hipsters making pure wine and establishing quirky cult eateries just like the Summertown Aristologist? (Answer: that may be the Adelaide Hills, and is not it good that stated eatery’s identify pays its respects to the state’s trailblazing meals and wine forebears?)

Easy, huh? So it is hardly shocking that Tasting Australia, the state’s annual gastronomic knees-up – operating for 10 days this yr, April 13-22 – is simply that little bit totally different from all the opposite meals and wine festivals. It’s quirkier; extra particular person; in some instances, dare we are saying, even distinctive. I imply, the place else in Oz are you able to go right into a pub (the legendary Exeter, Rundle Street, house to the pageant’s sell-out Curry Nights) and drink Krug out of a butcher glass, just like the wine guys do?

One final query: Which is the one pageant in Australia to boast its personal airline?

Out of the square: The d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale.
Out of the sq.: The d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale. 

Here’s a take a look at a few of the very Adelaide points of interest at Tasting Australia.

TAA – Tasting Australia Airlines

A stroke of genius, this one: a 50-seat chartered aircraft that whisks you off to regional nosh-ups at both Kangaroo Island, Coffin Bay or the Limestone Coast. You’re too late to hop on board TAA this yr, however there’s all the time subsequent (memo, organisers: the underrated Clare Valley can be good). And, in the meantime, in the event you’re within the Eyre Peninsula area on April 18, it isn’t too late to be a part of the pageant jetset slurping oysters on the Coffin Bay Yacht Club lunch with Adelaide chef Duncan Welgemoed (Africola) and Melbourne chef Morgan McGlone (Belles Hot Chicken, Natural History).

Vale to Sea – and dinner in a limestone cave

McLaren Vale by helicopter – now there’s an concept. So lengthy as you do not thoughts serving to collect elements in your degustation lunch alongside the best way. Here’s the way it works: you meet at third-generation vineyard Maxwell Wines for a barrel-tasting earlier than taking off on a coastal flight to go to a few farmers (that is the place the lunch prep is available in). Then, it is again to the vineyard’s restaurant to learn how a chef with a Michelin-starred CV – German-born Fabian Lehmann – can whip up a nine-course lunch based mostly round stated components. Maxwell Wines can also be grabbing the limelight with a six-course dinner held within the property’s Lime Cave, hand-carved right into a hill 100 years in the past to develop mushrooms for the house owners.

Taste the Alphabet

Not even the winemakers have but accomplished a comparative tasting of all 21 wines produced up to now by McLaren Vale’s Alpha Box & Dice. Join them in sampling the boutique vineyard’s full catalogue of small-batch, minimal-intervention wines, every named for a letter of the alphabet (no phrase but on which 5 letters have not received a run but). Taking care of the night eats can be Adelaide chef and native-ingredients champion Jessie Spiby, who’s finished fairly a bit “since leaving GraspChef” in 2015, as her web site places it. Oh, and when you’re in McLaren Vale, ensure you take time to take a look at the opposite entire field and cube, the extraordinary D’Arenberg Cube, with its Alternate Realities Museum and different belongings you would not usually anticipate to see at a vineyard. (Note, the Surrealist Ball on the Cube, the launch occasion for the pageant, is bought out.)

The Glasshouse Chefs

It’s a bit like having dinner in a goldfish bowl – and all of it went so swimmingly final yr, it is on once more for 2018. The Glasshouse Kitchen, a collection of see-through cooking and eating areas on the pageant’s hub in Victoria Square, will as soon as extra play backdrop to a line-up of main international, homegrown and interstate cooks. And the clincher? A few of the abroad guests shall be setting foot on Australian soil for the primary time. Chefs like Carlo Mirarchi, acclaimed by The New York Times for creating “kitchen poetry” at his 12-seat, two Michelin-starred Brooklyn restaurant Blanca. Mirarchi additionally co-owns a hip pizza joint (which spawned a line of frozen pizzas) however his type cannot be pigeonholed: for his Australian debut, the chef has sourced recent sea lettuce, a coastal plant native to South Australia, amongst different hyper-local elements for his Naturale dinner on April 20.

Then there’s JP McMahon, the Irish chef with extra hats than a Melbourne Cup. Chef, restaurateur, culinary director, educator, writer and founder/host of influential international cooks’ symposium Food on the Edge, McMahon can also be founding director of the Galway Food Festival, an envoy for Irish meals and an envoy for Spanish meals in Ireland. And now he is sure for South Australia, the place he’ll be working with Coffin Bay oysters, tuna and Murray cod at his debut Glasshouse gig, Rivers and Seas.

Maggie Beer in Tasting Australia's spectacular Glasshouse Kitchen in Victoria Square.
Maggie Beer in Tasting Australia’s spectacular Glasshouse Kitchen in Victoria Square. Photo: provided

And within the Italian nook? Meet the Costardi brothers, Christian and Manuel, well-known for taking risotto to Michelin-star standing at their eponymous restaurant in Vercelli, west of Milan; and patissier Andrea Tortora, from three Michelin-starred Dolomites restaurant St Hubertus. Named Italy’s Pastry Chef of the Year 2017, Tortora is best recognized for perfecting panettone.

But Tasting Australia isn’t all concerning the new kids on the block. Taking us full circle, again to the pioneering days of the ’70s and ’80s, can be one in every of South Australia’s best-known cooks – and she or he hasn’t missed a beat since then. You can catch Maggie Beer, with daughter Elli, at a dinner on the Barossa Regional Gallery reprising favorite dishes from The Pheasant Farm (assume native hare with hand-rolled pappardelle, and wine grapes baked into bread).

History repeats, because the saying goes, and typically that is a rattling good factor.

Tasting Australia, a celebration of South Australian meals and wine, runs from April 13-22.

For bookings, see tastingaustralia.com.au

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