Tasting Australia Throwback: 2016


My first introduction to Tasting Australia was receiving a phone call from Soul Projects Director; Kirby Shearing. He was going to be representing the Limestone Coast at the event, and required extra hands.

And who better to help out than his most loyal anddedicated ex-minion … me?!

Last year the formatting was a little different, with all regions of SA participating in stalls dedicated to food and wine of the area. Apart from the Limestone Coast, other stalls were Kangaroo Island, Eyre Peninisula, Flinders Ranges, Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Fleurieu Peninsula.


The menu was in typical Kirby fashion: wholesome, healthy and real food; put simply together and using the freshest ingredients from the Limestone Coast, adhering to his Loco Omnivorian principles of cooking and eating. Here is a copy of the menu Tasting Oz Town square FINAL

I had an absolute blast at Tasting Australia, and that is what ultimatley lead to my application for placement with SATC for this year. I met so many wonderful people and sampled delicious food from places I had never visisted before, I also learnt about many different seasonal products and cuisine styles from the regions.

Kirby also held an associated event for Tasting Australia back in the Limestone Coast: From Little Things Big Things Grow, a progressive day starting at Kalangadoo fo breakfast, and moving onto Bellweather Wines in Coonawarra for lunch. The lunch, held on 7th May, included all things South-Eastern, and was a sold out event. I still have a copy of the menu, despite missing out!

from little things big things grow

@ kalangadoo


fresh organic apple pastries designed by chef kirby shearing, hand crafted by local artisan bakers @ metro bakery, mt gamibier

spiced mulled apple juice

@ bellwether wines


jaffle by the fire, join paul west for a hot toastie around the fire

cup of seasonal soup in the veggie garden


shared table mains

apple wood smoked mixed grain, roasted beets, merlot vinegar reduction, ROBE DAIRY labnevo gf

MALONES lamb spit roasted over foraged wood, MULLINGER PARK lentil salad, soul kitchens curried almond granola gf

crisp CULBURRA pork belly /w soy, KALANGADOO ORGANIC spiced apple gf

shared table sides

green garden fry up with chilli, ginger and ANANDA organic garlic vo

mt gambier potato puree, fried salt bush vo gf

russet burbank potato from COONAWARRA FRESH, bronzed fennel gribiche gf


shared table after lunch food

roasted leek, rosemary oil, baked LIMESTONE COAST CHEESE CO’s lady musgrave brie, organic golden linseed + quinoa wafer gf

KALANGADOO ORGANIC apple crumble, hay infused custard

baked chocolate, soil, caramel, DICKENS DELIGHT toffee gf


ROBE DAIRY- http://www.robedairy.com

MALONES- http://www.malonewines.com.au/lamb

CULBURRA- distributed through RGFM (www.feastfinefoods.com.au )

KALANGADOO ORGANICS- http://www.kalangadooorganic.com.au

ANANDA- http://www.anandaorganicaustralia.com

COONAWARRA FRESH- http://www.coonawarrafresh.com.au

LIMESTONE COAST CHEESE CO- can be bought at Foodland Naracoorte, IGA Penola, She’s Apple Mt Gambier

DICKENS DELIGHT- http://www.dickensdelights.com.au



Tasting Australia Day 2


After a luxurious sleep in, I was back on the bus to Victoria Square, the Hilton Adelaide, and Day 2 of Tasting Australia. Today was going to be about reporting on the previous day events and putting a plan together for the week. Although I was very busy following up with the Great Wine Voyage wine details, getting feedback from the venues, and sending out wine lists to guests; there is not too much to report other than being a desk jockey!

I did escape for lunch with Ashley, to Charred. I stopped in to Coal + Cellar, and grabbed their Coal Burger and a handful of hand cut fries. Ashely visited Ragini Dey and Spice where she grabbed Lentils with Spinach and Rice. After a good catch-up about our progress with study and employment this year, we decided to head back to Ragini’s for dessert. We had been sold on a chocolate and chilli naan, and it was ah-maze-ing. Highly recommended if you’re visiting Charred!

Other events happening throughout the day included:

  • Flavours of Campbelltown
    • A tour of Adelaide’s Little Italy visiting local businesses Elbios, Bread + Butter, Mercato, Continental Tiralli, and Gelato Bello.
  • Le Cordon Bleu Professional Food Writing Workshop
    • A 5-day mini-course in capturing culinary captions and delighting the wordsmith senses.
  • A Few of My Favourite Things with Sharon Romeo
    • A tour of the Barossa with Sharon, getting the inside scoop on local history and lifestyle, the best places to eat and drink, and visiting the region’s heritage sites.
  • Feasting in the Garden
    • A vegetation delight of tours in the kitchen garden, different cultural uses for various vegetables, and sampling of meals cooked with ingredients straight from the soil.
  • Eat Edicara
    • A degustation inspired from the ancient seafloor
  • Josh Niland, Analiese Gregory and Karena Armstrong at The Glasshouse Kitchen

My day in the office was short, and I has completed my work by 4pm. Jess graciously came to pick me up (after I got pelted with rain going to get Guinness for Paul Carmichael!) and we went to see F8 at Arndale. Glee xo


Tasting Australia Day 1 and The Great Wine Voyage

Sunday 30th April we kicked off Day 1 of Tasting Australia! Town Square opened at 11am and the sun was out to greet us. There was a fantastic turn out, plenty of vendors with a host of incredible food, and good vibes to get the party started.

Sunday was also the date for the Great Wine Voyage, which Maddie has been planning with Jimmy Hopkins from the Fruitful Pursuit. The aim of the game is to visit nine venues in Adelaide’s East and West End; blind taste two different wines at each venue; one South Australian and the other internationally produced; and guess which of the two, the SA brew is. At the end of the journey, guests submitted their votes on line at The Great Wine Voyage, and two winners were selected to win two amazing prizes: all nine bottles of SA wine OR all nine bottles of International wine (some of which were magnums!).

This event was created in celebration of Adelaide becoming a Great Wine Capital of the world; and is now named alongside previous international recipients such as Mendoza, Argentina; Bordeaux, France; Mainz Rheinhessen, Germany; and Verona, Italy. It was sponsored by Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, organised by Fruitful Pursuits, and managed by Events SA. Our SATC team consisted of Maddie (Event Coordinator), Anne-Marie (Sponsorship Services Manager), Cassie (Sponsorship Account Manager), Ashley (Sponsorship Services Placement Student), and myself.

The SATC team left the Event Office at 1:00pm to meet at Lindes Lane, in Rundle Mall, where we held a debriefing with the volunteers and hosts of each nine venues. Jimmy had organised nine of his closest contacts and professionals in the hospitality industry, some of which were wine makers and sommeliers themselves. We handed out the volunteer kits, shirts, and looked through the run sheet, going over the specifics of the event. Particularly; all 110 guests had been given a starting point in either Adelaide’s East or West End; this event would start at 4pm in both the East and West End; no host is to reveal the identity of any wine; no volunteer is to pour wine; guests consumption is to be monitored; guests are to be encouraged to move through all nine wineries; food will be served at six venues; transport facilities were available; guests should be encouraged to vote for their wine section; this event would end at 8pm; and guests would be encouraged to attend the after party at Victoria Square to see the wine identities revealed and prize winners announced.

After the briefing I took four volunteers down to the East End, past their respective venues. These were; Iberia representing Portugal; Mr Goodbar representing South Africa; Mother Vine representing Germany; and East End Cellars representing Italy. Over in the West End, the five venues were; Lindes Lane representing Argentina; Alfred’s Bar representing USA; Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino representing Spain; Apothecary representing France; and Haines & Co representing Chile. We met Maddie at East End Cellars and began setting up the registration area for 55 guests including: gift bags, a wine glass each, and a Great Wine Voyage lanyard with a scorecard on the back. We then moved onto each venue to set up the tasting areas.

Guests started to arrive at 3:30pm. Check-in went very smoothly, run by two volunteers (Elizabeth and Lydia) and myself. All guests were keen to participate, and curious about the sequence of events; it provided an exciting buzz amongst the team. Vibrant, gorgeous and engaging sommelier, Liina, addressed the group with the event particulars and the created excitement for the blind tastings. She mentioned the score card on the lanyard and encouraged everyone to catch the bus back for Town Square before 8pm for the after party and reveal. We then broke the group up into 4, and each volunteer took their guests to their venues: the game had begun! As guests blind-tasted the wine at each venue, our volunteers stood outside each venue with a small flag representing the international country featured, and gave attendees general information and directions.

As the crowd dispersed, Maddie informed me there was someone who has checked in to the West End, when they were registered for the East End, therefore they were without a wine glass, lanyard, and gift bag. So I grabbed the goods, and legged it through Rundle Mall over to Peel Street. I also did it in 7 minutes, when Google Maps told me it would take 15. Boom. Take that satellites. Owned ya. I hi-fived Emma, who was waving a USA flag, and headed back to the East End.

By this time people were starting to move around, and each volunteer was mingling with guests and chatting about their thoughts on the tastings. I popped into East End Cellars first, where a white wine was being compared, and found the guests in a spirited mood, all eager to share their thoughts on the tastings and debate which they glass they preferred. Evidently, the consensus was, the wine they liked most was clearly the South Australian produced. Interesting theories. Having no idea which was which, I decided to play devil’s advocate and give questioning glances every time someone proudly named their selection between Wine 1 and 2. I was met with shocked faces, and expressions of disbelief, leading the guests to turn away and begin analysing their choices with their companions. Great fun!

I moved on to Mother Vine and chatted with Jessica, the venue was empty at this stage, so I didn’t stay for long. She reported the guests were excited to compare the wine which was a red variety. Many expressed it was difficult to determine any differences between the two, therefore both were favoured as the SA blend.

Not having visited Mr Goodbar before, I skipped over past the Belgian Beer Cafe to see Lydia proudly waving two South African flags and chatting to guests entering the venue. Inside, a heavy debate was going on between the guests, and the host who was taunting each person with their choices and recommending pairings with the delicious boards of charcuterie, pickled vegetables, cheese, and olives, being passed around. I met Ben, the Bar Manager, who informed me the evening was proceeding very smoothly. . I stayed for 15 minutes to chat and taunt the guests a little. Particularly I was amused by two husband and wife couples who were playing an interesting sport of retaliation; for every comment the females made about the wine flavours, aroma, and body, the gentlemen counteracted with the entirely opposite thought. It was hilarious to watch. This was clearly a regular game between these couples; the men certainly didn’t miss a beat, chiming in with their opposing responses immediately.

Overall the feel of the event was very jovial and pleasurable. Guests were thoroughly enjoying themselves with guessing the wine and choosing their next destination. The feature of volunteers at each entrance with a flag, welcoming the guests into a different country was also delightfully received. Each location was a new destination and adventure to be discovered, giving the atmosphere a buzz of excitement and intrigue.

It was sad to begin to wrap things up at 7:45, and encourage guests to move onto Town Square. The volunteers and I began to pack up the tasting areas and collect any leftover items. We thanked each venue and moved onto Town Square for the after party and reveal of the wines. Arriving at 8:20pm we were delighted to see the majority of guests seated and patiently awaiting the reveal. Liina and Jimmy took to the stage in an entertaining manner discussing their selections and origins of their favourite drops, as well as sharing the lively history of their friendship.

Feeling the weight of the day, I was off to grab some dinner. Navigating through charred, there was a great selection of culinary dishes. These included Coal Cellar + Grill, MBC Foods, Ragini Dey, Gelista, Pizzateca, Cafe Chennai, Little Adelaide Catering, La Boca, Brett & Alex, Andrew Fielke, The Henry Austin, and fabulous festival star Analiese Gregory. Mouth-watering and unable to decide, I heard someone call out to me from a booth; “Hot balls! Come grab our hot balls!” Bursting into a fit of laughter, I had to ask the outspoken gentleman, how on earth did he expect to get guests over with a line like that? Smirking, he replied that it had worked, as I was now there. I looked up at the signage and decided to order my meal from Coriole; they served up three delicious hot meatballs covered in home made tomato sauce, and an indulgent kranksy made by their talented team. After a long day running around, I did not feel the slightest bit guilty digging into this hot comfort meal.

I joined Maddie and the team at the after party tent, which had begun to break up. Jimmy and Liina cheerfully headed off to enjoy the remaining wine from the tastings and we proceeded with pack down. Ashley joined us and we exchanged our stories from the event. By the time 10pm had arrived, we were feeling the chill but still glowing from the euphoric feel of the day. Overall, this was a very successful first event, and will most likely feature in the future. For me, this was a knock-out start to Tasting Australia

For eight days, Town Square will be buzzing with activity including cooking demonstrations from some of Australia’s best chefs, the Taste Buds kids kitchen, chargrilled meals, chef and winemaker ‘meet and greet’ sessions, DJ’s and beverage masterclasses. With FREE entry every day, make sure you drop in for a quick bite or stay into the evening to enjoy a beverage in front of the firepits.

For those interested, here are links to each venue featured at the Great Wine Voyage, as well as the wines on tasting. All drops can be purchased from East End Cellars. Salute xo

Apothecary 1878



2016 Charlotte Dalton ‘ÆRCHANGEL’ Semillon (SA)

Peybonehomme Les Tours ‘Le Blanc Bonhomme’
Alfred’s Bar


2015 Matthiasson ‘Linda Vista’ Chardonnay

2015 BK ‘Swaby’ Chardonnay (SA)
East End Cellars

2015 Giovanni Armani Giorgio ‘Bianco Superiore’ (AKA ‘GAG White’) (SA)

2014 Pra ‘Monte Grande’ Soave Classico
Hains & Co

2014 Refugio Pinot Noir

2015 CRFT ‘Chapel Valley’ Pinot Noir (SA)

2011 Quinta Do Alaíde
2012 Coates Touriga Nacional (SA)

Lindes Lane

2015 Karatta ’12 Mile Vineyard’ Malbec (SA)

2014 La Posta ‘Paulucci’ Malbec

2016 ARTIS Riesling (SA)

2015 Juwel Trocken Riesling
Mr Goodbar

2015 Natte Valley Cinsault
2015 Vanguardist MVG (SA)

2011 Laderas de Cabama

2015 SC Pannell Temperanillo (SA)


Bar Mercato is turning 2!

Have you come to see me at my place of employment yet?

Yes I know, there is actually someone out there who wants to pay me! Once you get over that, head over to Mercato in Campbelltown and grab a cappuccino and a cornetto, or a Spritz and a slice of Margherita from the Bar.

Maria Munari is my wonderful manager and we opened the bar together, the first day of trading was April 27th 2015. We were stationed in the demo kitchen (ask me, I’ll show you) with one rack of bread, three pastries on display and a menu of five panini.

Humble Beginnings! The Pop-Up Bar with Marlene, Dimi, and Vincenzo

Since then we have exploded into a full breakfast and lunch service, a dessert cabinet, extensive daily specials, all day alcohol service, pizza a taglio, and the most delicious Italian pastries in Adelaide. We have a full kitchen making meals, pizza, pastries and cakes from 7:30am until 2:30pm, a Front of House team of over twelve and a massive clientele.

Raffaella in the fully opened and thriving bar on our first birthday, 2016.

As we are turning 2 in the next week I thought I’d share some photos and laughs we’ve had together.


Our first breakfast dish! Uova alla Napoletana




Domenico’s going away present: an apron signed from all of us!
That one day Nat was right and I was wrong …
Raffaella cutting the cake for the staff Christmas Show in 2015.



Pastry Chef John doing a Cannoli and Rum Baba Demonstration
The crew playing Dictionary for Marco’s farewell
The gang gathered at Africola for Domenico’s farewell

I am truly blessed to work in such a fun supportive environment with such amazing people! Thank for the great memories everyone, and being part of my family xo


Tasting Australia Placement Week 7


Ok. Here is some big news. There are only 8 days to go until the event kicks off! Can you believe it! It has come around so fast! Countdown is on …

I was in the office both Wednesday and Thursday this week, post Easter break, as was Yi, and I finally got to catch up with my peer Ashley, who has been undertaking placement at SATC too, but in the Sponsorship division. Very exciting stuff, she is learning a lot and having an absolute blast. The last two days were very busy so I have a lot to report!

Wednesday was a huge day for me, in the morning I sat down with a confirmed list of DJs playing at Victoria Square throughout the event, and was required to collate their names and schedules into a larger schedule aligning with the other events running through the week. This was a big job because they had changed drastically from the format we had put together a week ago! I attended meetings for the remainder of the day, starting with an ‘All In’ Town Square Work In Progress meeting, to cover run sheets and logistics throughout the week. Starting with Maggie Beer’s Tribute Dinner Marco Pierre White’s FINO Feast events in Barossa, then moving onto Great Wine Voyage, Glasshouse Dinners and Chef Supper Club.

After this, I dashed off to a volunteer briefing with Yi, Ali, and Tamara where we received White Level Training from SAPOL, Occupational Health Safety and Welfare update from Josh, and a training session on disability sensitivity. There are so many volunteers for Tasting Australia this year, which is absolutely incredible, the event couldn’t happen without them and I think it such a wonderfully kind gesture for people of the community to do – taking time out of their busy lives to help at a community event. Its truly a wonderful thing, and I value every volunteers time, energy, and patience.

After the volunteer briefing, I whisked off to a meeting with Maddie and Jimmy from Fruitful Pursuits. Jimmy is managing The Great Wine Voyage – a very exciting event being held to celebrate Adelaide’s recognition as a Great Wine Capital. Guests will roam through Adelaide’s East and West End, sampling one variety of wine, but made by two different producers : one South Australian, and the other International. Then we will put them to the test, and see who can tell which is the local drop. There are 9 different venues selected, each will showcase a different country, all of which are current Great Wine Capitals. This includes Spain, France, South Africa, Portugal, Italy, and Argentina. After guests have circulated the rounds, a bus will take them all back to Town Square where there will be an after party.

My responsibility during this event will be to look after the volunteers and venues, as well as assist with set-up and break-down of the event. At some stage I’m even going to be filling in for the volunteers, so if you’re attending this event, be sure to say hi!

That essentially wrapped up Wednesday. I dashed off at 5pm to meet my conference group at the State Library, and find some food (no time for lunch!).

Thursday I hit the ground running with two boxes of volunteer t-shirts for stocktake and allocation. Maddie was tied up, so Nunz gave me an interesting job. I created a Talent Snapshot for Hitaf – a document with photos of each guest, their events being held at Tasting Australia, and a small biography of their history and achievements. This was a great exercise for me because it helped me to get really familiar with each festival star and learn more about them myself.

Particularly I will be interested to get to meet Thi Le. She owns Anchovy in Melbourne, and was named Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent in 2016. Her cooking style blends Vietnamese and Australian Cuisines. Thi will be cooking in the Glasshouse Kitchen, with Lennox Hastie and Duncan Welgemoed, but she is also featured at Makers at the Market Demo Program taking place in Adelaide Central Market, Tuesday 2nd May.

If you know me, you know I loooove Spanish food, so Frank Camorra was another profile that stood out for me. Frank is from Barcelona and has brought a Southern Spanish style tapas culture to Melbourne in his restaurant Movida. Frank’s first event at Adelaide Central Market is unfortunately sold out BUT there is another opportunity to see him alongside Mitch Orr (The Prince of Pasta!) for The Market Kitchen Chef’s Table.

Steve Flamseed’s kind face has been popping up for me constantly though my work, and I have seen his profile and though ‘gee, he looks like such a nice guy!’. Now that I have had the chance to sit down and read a little more about him, I am looking forward to meeting him at Tasting Australia. Steve is a winemaker and studied at Roseworthy Agricultural College. During these years, he worked for Maggie Beer, as a chef, at Pheasant Farm Restaurant. He was also named Gourmet Traveller’s Wine Maker of the Year in 2016. Steve is co-hosting Two Good Looking Roosters Showcase at Town Square on Sunday 30th April.

After lunch I sat down with Maddie to talk Great Wine Voyage. I am taking on a lot of responsibilities for this event, mostly behind the scenes stuff, but it is crucial non-the-less. At the moment I am putting together a volunteer kit with information on the event, their responsibilities and instructions. This document is being completed completely from scratch, so there is a lot of work involved! I’ve also organised a roster for volunteer breaks, to be covered by the Events SA team.

Next week I will received more information to finish the kit, finalise the volunteer run sheet and be advised of all the venues involved for volunteer allocation. We will also hold a volunteer briefing in the office. Excitingly, from Wednesday onwards, we will be operating from the Hilton Hotel, much closer to Town Square as it goes up next week.

Getting so much closer now, everything is feeling so real! There is so much buzz going on  around town about Tasting Australia, and this is going to be a fantastic event. I really hope you’re keen to get involved, and check out the wonderful demonstrations, shows, and feasts taking place.

Till next week xo