From Sunday April 30 to Sunday May 7, Tasting Australia will commandeer the city of Adelaide, its suburbs and outer regions.
The celebration of South Australian produce has been a biennial event since 1997, but this year is its first annual instalment – and it’s bigger than ever. The eight-day program is packed with tastings, masterclasses, dinners, parties, long lunches and a disco, and they’re selling out fast. Here are our top picks of the bunch.
Tasting Australia’s “Town Square” restaurant Glasshouse Kitchen is a hot ticket. There’s only one dinner yet to sell out so you better get booking. Sydney’s seafood king Josh Niland (Saint Peter), French-inspired chef Analiese Gregory (Bar Brose and local food champion Karena Armstrong (The Salopian Inn) will celebrate the flavours of the Fleurieu Peninsula with a four-course meal and drinks to match.
Monday May 1, 7pm–10pm
Glasshouse Kitchen, Town Square, Adelaide
Sample the food of Tasting Australia’s most formidable guests all in one place. Featuring 20 snacks from 20 of the world’s best chefs – including Slovenia’s Ana Ros (Hiša Franko), Jock Zonfrillo (Orana, Blackwood), Mitch Orr (ACME) and Sean Connolly (Sean’s Kitchen) – it’s the ultimate Tasting Australia showcase. East End Cellars is curating the beverages, so you’re in good hands. You’ll get a drink on arrival and seven matched wine tastings.
Saturday May 6, 7pm–11pm
Glasshouse Kitchen, Town Square, Adelaide
Dress code: cocktail
From the team that pioneered the concept of Australian “yum cha” in Adelaide, The Henry Austin, comes this long lunch celebration of all things SA-made. Smack-bang in the heart of the city, the “picnic” will pay homage to Chesser Street’s long history as a host of culinary events. It’ll also open up a conversation between diners, producers and winemakers.
Saturday May 6, 6pm–11.30pm
The Henry Austin, Adelaide
Recently opened marketplace Plant 4 Bowden will become a “day club for foodies”, curated by MasterChef alumnus Jessie Spiby. McLaren Vale innovator Alpha Box & Dice is on-board in the wine department, with brews courtesy of Mismatch Brewing Co. The ticket includes food, with drinks available to buy on the night.
Sunday May 7, 3pm–8.30pm
Plant 4 Bowden, Bowden
McLaren Vale’s The Salopian Inn is among the state’s leading regional kitchens; in large part because of chef Karena Armstrong. Join her, and some of the country’s most influential women in food, for an evening that’ll break down the stereotype that the industry is still male-dominated. Your three-course meal will be made up of shared platters. Drinks are included.
Thursday May 4, 6.30pm–10.30pm
The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale
There’s a new wave of low-intervention Adelaide Hills winemakers, and they’re ringing in the end of vintage to a soundtrack of ’70s and ’80s disco. Sample the fruits of their labour (siphoned straight from barrel to glass), with Sydney institution Mary’s flipping burgers all night. Beats will be courtesy of DJ Boogie Monster (aka actor Alex Dimitriades), Skin Contact DJs and Driller Jet Armstrong.
Saturday May 6, 4pm–11pm
Uraidla Show Hall, Uraidla
In 2016 Adelaide was added to the esteemed Great Wine Capitals global network. To celebrate, The Fruitful Pursuit is curating a “blind” tasting. See how South Australian wines fare against their global equivalents from regions such as the Napa Valley and Bordeaux. Each of the nine city stops will be pouring two (50ml) tastings.
Sunday April 30, 3.45pm–8pm
Adelaide East and West End, Adelaide
Some of South Australia’s best winemakers (who just happen to be women) will come together at this one-off event on the Fleurieu Peninsula. You’ll be in good company with industry-leaders from McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Enjoy a twilight wine tasting and a chance to sample the region’s award-winning produce.
Friday May 5, 5pm–9pm
Fall from Grace, Aldinga
It may not be as orthodox as wine pairing, but a well-chosen spirit can enhance the character of a dish, and vice versa. The West End’s Bibliotheca Bar and Book Exchange will reconcile dining and spirits with a three-course degustation. Each course will play on the versatility of South Australian produce, and be matched with a locally brewed spirit.
Sunday April 30, Monday May 1 and Sunday May 7, 6.30pm–8.30pm
The Bibliotheca Bar and Book Exchange, Adelaide
Chefs Jock Zonfrillo (Orana, Blackwood), Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney), Mitch Orr (ACME) and Jessie Spiby (Botanic Gardens Restaurant) will go back to basics in an off-the-cuff evening of culinary trivia. Audience participation is inevitable; so round up a table of 10 or join a table on the night. It’s a rare opportunity to see how you stack up against some of the country’s best chefs.
Friday May 5, 7pm–10.30pm
Town Square, Adelaide
$69 or $690 for a table of 10
After 20 successful years in the wine business, East End Cellars is one of Australia’s most respected traders. They’re hosting 14 masterclasses during the festival. Some are dedicated to our favourite red, white and sparkling varieties. Others get into the nitty-gritty with a look into chemical-free winemaking or the role grape skins play in developing wine.
Head a little further out this Tasting Australia season, to a special culinary experience in the Riverland. Set at a secret riverside location, your evening will start with a grazing table on the riverbank. A four-course feast with matched wines will follow. Native ingredients will be at the forefront, including a not-often-seen take on Murray Cod. Your ticket includes a transfer from any major Riverland Town.
Saturday May 6, 5pm–11pm
Secret Location, Riverland
Looking out onto the Flinders Ranges’ natural amphitheatre – Wilpena Pound – Rawnsley Park Station is one of South Australia’s premier lamb-producing regions. You’ll experience the Woolshed Restaurant’s “paddock to plate” philosophy with lamb three ways. There will be rolling notes from the station manager on how each dish has been paired with a Clare Valley wine. Finish with a selection of the state’s best ports and cheeses.
Sunday April 30 and Friday May 5, 6.30pm–10pm
Woolshed Restaurant, Rawnsley Park Station, Hawker
Tasting Australia runs from Sunday April 30 to Sunday May 7. The full program is available on the Tasting Australia website.
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