Things To Do

We Went To Tasting Australia, And Here’s Why It’s Australia’s Most Iconic Food Festival

By Cassandra Charlick
24th May 2023

Ever wondered what Australia's longest-running food festival looks like?

Tasting Australia has wrapped for 2023, and this year saw over 68,000 visitors through the Town Square across ten days with more than 150 events. 

Before the dust settles, here are five reasons why you need to add next year's event to your bucket list.

There's Something For All Budgets

Tasting Australia is a festival for the people. Families, couples, solo foodies and punters who are just popping through the city. The Town Square is the heart of the festival, and with free entry, anyone can drop in for the festival vibe and a bite to eat or a bevy; vendors' goods range from pizza, burgers, Filipino goodies, Greek doughnuts, slow-cooked meats, middle eastern grills, and seafood deliciousness.

The bars are well stocked with craft brews and cocktails, plus a diverse wine list starring some of South Australia's finest. The Storytellers Series is free to all, and you'll get a chance to get up close and learn the personal journey of some of our rising culinary stars.

Bump things up a notch with a booking at a drinks masterclass or a highly sought-after spot at one of the Chef's Table meals in The Dining Room. Alternatively, loosen your belt for brunch or dinner at the Town Square Kitchen. Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to South Australia without a visit to one of the beautiful regional destinations. From Adelaide Hills on the city's doorstep to a day flight to Kangaroo Island, the program is packed full of dining destination events.

tasting Australia eats

It’s All About The People

Following the above point, this festival is for the people, but it also stars some pretty epic culinary and wine talent. Most importantly, a serious lack of ego is present here, and you'll be privy to some once-in-a-lifetime culinary collaborations. Think Danielle Alvarez and River Cottage's Gill Meller. Or how about Jake Kellie, Tom Tilbury and Aussie icon Christine Mansfield? There's more talent than you can poke a (well-seasoned) stick at, and it provides a unique opportunity for our local homegrown talent to network and learn from international guests. The organisers and festival directors are in the thick of the action, making the magic happen and ensuring things are running to plan.

So what about the drinks? The wine talk at Tasting Australia is about more than wine, it's for everyday drinkers and industry pros. From winemakers to artists and wine writers through to some of the world's top sommeliers. The best bit is you'll find all kinds of wine lovers in the room, just like you.

A chef at Tasting Australia

There's Endless Good Stuff To Check Out

You know it's a good program of events when there are clashes, and you can't choose. FOMO is real. The festival runs for almost two weeks, and with good reason, there's just too much to fit into one weekend. The good news is, you'll have loads to choose from and won't be upset if you miss out on a particular session like you might at smaller festivals with one major headline event. Cheers to that.

Endless Opportunities To Learn

It's not all about eating and drinking to max capacity. Though you can, of course, do that too. But you'd be much better off balancing the calorie intake with some calorie burning of the mental kind. Hit up the interactive drinks masterclasses, ask questions at the Chef's Table, and take notes at the Storyteller Series. Get your bake on at Beerenberg Farm, or try blending wine at Mallee Estate in Riverland.

Wine tasting at Tasting Australia

It Solves The Battle Of Summer Vs Winter Festivals

And how does it solve them? Simple: take the best bits of both and throw them together in a trans-seasonal extravaganza. South Australia's daytimes are warm enough to wear a hat and sunnies out on the lawn, sipping vino amongst vineyards. Then rug up with winter woollens for an evening of fire pits and DJ sets to warm up boogying on the dance floor. Smokey eyes, a full belly and a heaving dancefloor. Sounds like a pretty epic festival to us.

It’s An Expression And Education Of Australian Flavour

Christine Mansfield says we need to be eating more sea urchins. What do you mean sea urchin is not part of your regular diet? Well, it should be – it's a parasite responsible for destroying much of the biodiversity in Australian oceans. Also on the menu: crocodile. "We need to get over our phobia of eating our own native animals", she adds. We should be using a lot more of our native meats in our diet. Where beef and lamb ruin our environment, many of our native animals have a minimal impact on the land. 

Image credit: Meaghan Coles

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