Eat My Street was invited to attend the Tasting Australia Words To Go 2016 Festival in Adelaide this year as part of the bloggers contingent for the Words To Go Conference. I was very excited and honoured to be invited along to hear some wonderful presenters talk about food writing and blogging and also to taste and see all that South Australia has to offer at its premier food festival.
The Tasting Australia Festival ran from the 1st to the 8th of May in the town square in Adelaide and it is a free event open to the general public. Food trucks, regional kitchens and produce stores, cooking demonstrations, classes, dinners and much more combine together to create the program for the Festival.
In town square the opening of Tasting Australia 2016 was marked via the lighting of the eternal coal wood oven that was then kept running for the duration of the festival.
To see the full spectacular program you can visit the Tasting Australia website. If you are an enthusiastic foodie I recommend you lock this date in your diary for next year as there was so much on offer.
Here are my highlights from the events that I attended.
Introductory drinks with Jock Zonfrillo and Matt Orlando
On the opening night, after I had taken a little wander around town square and indulged in some sunshine, paella and views of the nearby Adelaide Hills, we were treated to a seafood and cider feast and a chance to hear from Matt Orlando and Jock Zonfrillo.
Matt has previously worked at the Fat Duck in the UK, the critically acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen where he was Sous Chef to Renee Redzepi and has now established his own restaurant Amass, in Copenhagen. He spoke to us about his interest in charring, burning and smoking food in order to create unique flavours and textures. He was joined by local chef Jock Zonfrillo who spoke with us about his passion for local, native, indigenous ingredients and his desire to incorporate them into his cooking in a way that acknowledges and honours the traditional owners of the land.
Jock tells us that there are more than 2000 edible foods that grow naturally in Australia but only a handful of them are currently part of the conversation of cooking in Australia.
It was wonderful to hear two leading chef’s share briefly about what keeps them passionate and engaged in their industry. If that was not enough though, this conversation was set against the backdrop of a delicious spread of local Hirama SA Kingfish, LOBO Cider from the Adelaide Hills region and slow cooked lamb sliders from Thomas Farms.
Words To Go
On day two it was time for the Words To Go food writing one day workshop. Excitement levels were high and so was my blood sugar as we were to treated to non stop sweets and treats and had our very own barista on hand to keep caffeine levels high. Good company, great food and non stop coffee would normally be sufficient to keep me happy but today I was also enjoyed talks from a range of great speakers.
Matt Kurlansky, international journalist and author of Cod, Salt and The Big Oyster spoke with us about how to get to the heart of the story in food writing.
Telling a story is what makes food writing work.
and this gem
After 40 years of travelling the world writing about things I have learnt this, always eat your breakfast.
Matt encouraged us to always do our research and engage with the history, politics, key texts and stories of a local community before attempting to write about it. He also shared a little bit about the background to his renown book “Salt” and story about the day he received a phone call from George W Bush. Salt was once an extremely valuable and rare commodity and yet through changes to farming and industrialisation it is now worth very little.
Your way of reaching a reader is through the story you tell. This is true for a paragraph on food, a 140 character tweet or an academic text on Cod.
Food has an amazing aesthetic capacity to link us to history, meaning, family, society and the world.
Dr Haden wrote his academic thesis on the topic of “taste” and he spoke to us about the ever shifting importance of taste and its recent commoditization. Did you know that if you colour a glass of white wine red, it will change the overall taste experience for the drinker of the wine, even if that person is an experienced expert (prank alert)? This is because we now know that taste is effected by all the senses.
I cannot forget to mention the important parts of the day though.
Afternoon tea was provided courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu Cooking students and for lunch we were asked to peruse the different regional offerings available in town square and select whatever we liked to eat. (Excitement!)
There was an amazing selection of regional food and I eventually settled on lamb ragout from the Fleurieu peninsula. Delicious.
At the end of the day my tummy was very full and my brain was too, but probably the highlight of the experience was hanging out with some very awesome food bloggers and writers from across Australia.
We celebrated our excellent day of activities with an amazing delegate dinner at Coal Cellar and Grill at the Hilton Hotel.
Sign up to Eat My Street to read more about that in my review.
Day three was taken up with a tour of one of Australia’s oldest fresh food markets, Adelaide Central.
You can read about Adelaide Central Market by going here. Suffice to say there were gin tastings, a 6 course breakfast with Poh and an Italian feast under the market rooftop at Lucias Fine Foods.
Le Cordon Bleu Chocolate Masterclass.
Our final stop before returning to Melbourne was a tour and chocolate master class at Le Cordon Bleu, Regency Institute of Tate. We learned about how chocolate is farmed and processed and we tasted our way through the a number of different styles of couverture chocolate.
It was interesting to experience the different flavours and textures that come from the cocoa bean depending on how it has been conched, processed and tempered. We were even invited to taste a sample of local SA wines to experience how different wine will affect the taste of the chocolate.
When it comes to chocolate, the photos speak for themselves. Warning, drool worthy photos ahead.
Overall Tasting Australia Festival and Words To Go 16 was a wonderful experience. Adelaide is a beautiful location and its proximity to its nearby food regions meant that we were able to access such great regional SA food experiences all from the simplicity of the Town Square. A must do foodie experience for any enthusiastic food lover, cook or connoisseur.
Eat My Street is a website dedicated to good food for the good life. If you are an enthusiastic foodie or home cook then come hang out with us for reviews, food news, recipes and more. Sign up for our newsletter or keep up to date on Facebook. Thanks for stopping by! Dani xx
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