Foodies flock to Adelaide for an event to dine for
FOOD is about tasting, sharing and coming together. It's about smells and texture.
There is a satisfaction that chefs and at-home cooks receive from taking their home-grown or locally sourced vegetables, making simple additions with herbs or spices and leaving a true taste sensation in your mouth.
Adelaide's Tasting Australia festival was a coming together of foodies, encouraging people to get out into the city's restaurants and even trying a bit of home cooking.
Tasting Australia began more than 15 years ago. The event is held biannually and has become one of the most-influential and best-attended culinary festivals.
This year, the South Australian Tourism Commission took it on with support from Thomas Foods to give people an exciting program of events presented by the nation's best chefs, winemakers and producers.
The festival's physical location centred around a "Town Square" in the heart of Victoria Square, where smaller marquees laden with produce from the nine regions surrounded a sharing tent of cooking stations for chefs to show keen learners how to work with herbs, make gin and enjoy numerous other hands-on activities.
Events South Australia's Hitaf Rasheed said the Town Square had encouraged locals and office workers to venture out and try different foods at the stalls, but the many ticketed events involved a gathering of "real foodies" wining and dining over five-course taste sensations and perfectly matched drinks.
The official theme of "Origins" was best explained by chef and creative director Simon Bryant.
"We wanted everyone who comes and participates in this festival to help us celebrate the importance that a sense of place, history and culture has had in informing this state's renowned food and wine identity," he said.
The aim wasn't to take people away from the city's already great restaurants, but to encourage them to learn what was on offer every day.
Creative director Paul Henry said Australia was still finding its voice with regards to food and wine.
"We've been very reliant on European methodologies and spent the last 10 years unlearning," he said.
A fact all of the festival presenters were keen to be let known - Adelaide is growing up.
The week's program was separated into eat, share and think sessions.
Eat sessions were about spending time with some of Australia's well-known chefs as they shared personal journeys and cooked their favourite recipes - from the quirkily named My Bloody Valentine, where Philip Whitmarsh took guests through the art of savoury and sweet dishes cooked with blood; to Meat your Meat with butcher Doug Piper, who demonstrated how to get the best from meat; and Three Generations of Beers, where daughter Saskia and granddaughter Rory shared their family love of the Barossa with Tasting Australia patron Maggie Beer.
Share sessions were hands-on cooking classes where chefs such as Poh Ling Yeow taught how to ferment kimchi, John Lark from Kangaroo Island Spirits taught how to blend your own gin and Dan Moss showed how to clean and prepare yabbies.
It was announced that from 2016 onwards, the festival would be run annually.
South Australia welcomes all to "come join us at our table".
- The writer was a guest of South Australian Tourism