South Australia has long been regarded as a playground of sorts for discerning gourmands and wine enthusiasts the world over.
Alongside the plentiful key regions of Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, the capital of Adelaide maintains its reputation for compact travel, artisan outlets, world-class restaurants (bolstered by the iconic Adelaide Central Market), and some of the country’s most inventive arts festivals. It’s no wonder then, that the state is also the setting for the long-running Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel.
As one of the country’s most highly regarded food and wine festivals, Tasting Australia has been tireless when it comes to establishing South Australia as a leading culinary tourism destination. Since 1997 it has been a magnet for lovers of all things delicious, with international and local chefs climbing on board to help curate immersive experiences for the public, all of them aimed at flexing SA’s considerable influence over Australia’s culinary history.
For 2020, the now yearly festival is set for a meaningful and expansive change following the departure of Restaurant Orana’s Jock Zonfrillo (and new MasterChef judge) as Program Director. Now, festival director since 2014 Simon Bryant and beverage director Nick Stock, along with event manager Ross Ganf and chef veteran Cheong Liew, have opened the programming up to multiple industry leaders. As such, the steadily growing program is one of the most diverse, insightful and exciting an Australian food festival has ever seen. There are even events that have their own chartered flights from other Australian cities.
2020 Program – Be Prepared
Anyone planning on heading down to Tasting Australia across late March and early April has some hard work ahead of them. Whittling down more than 140 events into the ultimate food and drink itinerary is not going to be the easiest of tasks, although you check back on the AU for our top picks of the program in the new year and we’ll hopefully make it a bit easier.
For now, it’s best to scroll through the very long list of long lunches, exclusive dinners, farm tours, tastings, masterclasses, and engaging conversations, all of which will highlight the many sides of why South Australia is just so damn delicious.
To view to entire program and start putting together your itinerary click HERE.
All Aboard Tasting Australian Airlines
Although one event you should get in early for – as it’s definitely going to be a sell-out – is one of several events that have chartered their own flight. If you’re based in Brisbane, make sure you’re looking into the inaugural Tasting Australia Airlines: Brisbane to McLaren Vale flight straight to the heart of the famous region, where guests will be zipped from touchdown (after a Champagne breakfast on the flight) to the serene Coriole winery, cellar door and restaurant.
It’s here that the rolling hills of McLaren Vale will preside over a feast curated by none other than Africola legend Duncan Welgemoed and Coriole chef Tom Tilbury. Guests flying in for the day-trip from Brisbane will sit down at Gather at Coriole, the winery’s beautiful on-site restaurant and enjoy a day of al fresco dining, complemented by Coriole’s celebrated wines and, we assume, some Champagne – a reasonable guess seeing as Laurent d’Harcourt, President of Pol Roger, will be involved in the event.
After lunch, guests will be taken to the spectacularly eccentric d’Arenberg Cube nearby for a tasting and tour. Guests can either spend the night in Adelaide or hop back on the return jet to Brisbane (included in the event price) straight after.
That particular event will be from 4th to 5th April and last from 7am on the Saturday to 6:15pm on the Sunday. Guests must be able to organise their own accommodation. It will be priced at $785pp.
For those based in Melbourne, there will be a similar event coming from your city, encompassing stops at Yangarra Estate, Star of Greece restaurant in Port Willunga, and Port Willunga Beach. Full information can be found HERE.
Mount Lofty House
Undoubtedly one of 2020’s biggest Australian openings will be the long-awaited, ultra-luxurious Sequoia lodges. An extension of the iconic Mount Lofty House in Adelaide Hills, it will be opening to the public in September with exceptionally curated guest lodges overlooking one of the greatest views in South Australia.
For Tasting Australia, anyone with the money to burn will be able to preview the lodge in advance as well as get in on a special collaborative dinner at three-hatted Hardy’s Verandah led by chef Jin Choi who will be welcoming either Jared Ingersoll (on 31st March) or Duncan Welgemoed and Paul Bentle (1st April) to the acclaimed kitchen.
Just to play up the luxury bent of it all, the event(s) will also feature premium brands like Penfold’s, Paroo Premium Kangaroo, RM Williams, and Jurlique.
That particular event will be priced at $3,000pp and all information can be found HERE.
Town Square will be back from the festival’s beginning (27th March) to its end (5th April), taking over the Adelaide meeting spot of Victoria Square with rows upon rows of stalls showcasing regional produce. Every festival needs a central hub, and this free-entry pop-up is consistently one of the most frequented parts of Tasting Australia.
All images supplied by South Australian Tourism Commission.