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


Tasting Australia Placement Week 6


Autumn is here, and Easter is just around the corner!

Today SATC took us out on a pre-Easter treat to the “Sparkle Shop” otherwise known as the Christmas Pageant warehouse. This where all the magical floats live! Here we met the operations team responsible for all the behind-the-scenes Christmas magic such as float maintenance, front car design and decoration, costumes, office management, and construction hands. We got a lovely tour of the site and I got to pretend I was Alice in Wonderland! We also got the exclusive scoop on two new float designs for 2017, one I am particularly excited about because it has a certain Muppet theme …

After this exciting adventure, the day got incredibly busy for me!

First up was the Work In Progress Meeting for Town Square where we are starting to really finalise everything. Today I learned Oz Harvest will be involved, and we will be raising money for their organisation, which I truly support. We also provide donations at Mercato, so it’s great that this incredible initiative is getting the support it needs to continue their brilliant work.

The menus for the Glasshouse Dinner events are being drafted. They are very simple and elegant in design and provide a smooth touch to the formal evening. Also, we are not having table runners (previously designed with a Tasting Australia logo and funky food and beverage design), but the Food and Beverage Manager will put together something simple and elegant using a plain black base. I also picked up that Austin Bloom would be involved, and they will surely provide a fresh, and vivacious feel. Finally, we will be trialling vinyl on the Glasshouse floors for reduced acoustics and heat insulation.

Onto the event festivities update!

Thursday 4th May is being themed as “A Taste of Asia” in Town Square. In Charred the featured chefs hail from a variety of eateries including Coal Cellar + Grill, Adelaide Casino, Comida, and La Boca.

This is also now the only time to get your hands on Paul Carmichael’s food. Originally from the island of Barbados, he is passionate about preserving tradition and bringing people together over food. Paul studied at the culinary institute of America before moving to New York City where he worked in kitchens at WD-50, Asiate and Aquavit. He took the plunge and moved to Sydney in 2015 and became executive chef at Momofuku Seiōbo, where he is at home experimenting with Australian ingredients to discover, learn and celebrate new flavours. Momofuku Seiōbo was named 2016 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year under Paul’s leadership in the kitchen.

Paul’s Glasshouse Kitchen Dinner with Ana Ross and Jock Zonfrillo is completely sold out, so if you want the chance to try this incredible chef’s work without spending your Frequent Flyer points, this is the night to do it!

Additionally, Thursday night will host two of my favorite celebrity chefs: Sammy and Bella, and I’ve discovered someone new and interesting: Ragini Day. Ragini is the genius behind Naya Bar Adelaide, the creator of Ragini Spice products and has developed a spice appreciation and Indian Cooking school. All these incredible talents can be found in Charred in Victoria Square on Thursday 4th May. You don’t need a reservation just rock up and be hungry!

Play time is over, next week I am hitting the ground running with TWO WHOLE DAYS in the SATC office after Easter, then we move into the Hilton Hotel while the site goes up at Victoria Square! Very exciting, we are getting so close!

Here are some pics I snuck in while at the Sparkle Shop. Have a great Easter long weekend xo



Tasting Australia Placement Week 5

Tasting Australia Brochure - Glasshouse Kitchen

We are getting sooooo close! Can you feel it?! There’s magic in the air … and layout plans in my hands. You know this is getting so real. Come on people, get excited … theres less than 4 weeks to go!

This week has been focused on tying up lose ends. My first dutu today involved a meeting with Maddie and Ross to discuss DJ scheduling and contacts for the two stages in Town Square. We plotted these names and timeslots onto a spreadsheet which I took to create a roster. The contacts are all personal friends of Ross, so he has done the hard work, and next week I will follow up. Securing these guys is going to provide a decent vibe for the entire event, they are playing essentially all day, and will only break when the Chef’s Journey takes over. Speaking of which, a small schedule has been released for Chef’s Journey paritcipants. Yes Maria, there is still a chance to see Marco!

Sunday 30 April

12:00pm – Duncan Weigemoed

2:30pm – Lennox Hastie

5:00pm – Sophie Zalokar

Wednesday 03 May

5:30pm – Analiese Gregory

6:00pm – Alex Herbert

6:30pm – Marco Pierre White

After the weekly Work In Progress meeting, I was invited to attend a newly formed meeting committee: Glasshouse Logistics and Operations. Headed up by Simon and Maddie, the focus of this group is to work out the nuts and bolts of the Glasshouses. This is no small matter, some of the topics on the table include: Front of House, Back of House, Cleaning, Uniforms, Linen and Napkins, Table Settings, Table Runners, Wine and Food Pairing, Menu Designs, Insurance, Resposible Persons, Accesisbility Plan. And this is just skimming the surface! Thank good ness for my hospitality background, I actually understood, and was able to keep up with the speedy conversation. Also, this is a major relief that I actually get what is going on in this part of the festival, because as of next week I will be liaising with Simon and Janette to write the meeting minutes and agenda.

Chef’s Supper Club is the only Glasshouse event which still has tickets available. This is the Gala Event of the festival with a line-up of 20 chefs cooking 20 different canapes combined with a selection of 7 wine pourings from East End Cellars. Featured stars on the night include Ana Ros (Hiša Franko, Slovenia), Mitch Orr (ACME, Sydney), Nic Watt (Madame Hanoi, Adelaide) and Sean Connolly (Sean’s Kitchen, Adelaide). This going to be a gorgeous cocktail evening and final hurrah to Tasting Australia 2017, so clear your calender for Saturday 6th May, get out that gorgeous evening dress, and join us for a crisp elegant bubbly matched with some sensational snacks.

Actually, tickets for all events are selling really quickly. Even the Flavours of Campbelltown event is nearly sold out with Tuesday 02 May completley gone, and Monday 01 May not far behind. This unique tour starts with pick up from Victoria Square and onto Elbios in Newton for morning tea; next stop Bread Butter for a bread making demonstration; Mercato for a pasta masterclass, lunch and a glass of wine; on to Continental Taralli for a look at factory and tastings; and round off with gelati from Gelato Bello. Each producer will share intimate stories of their history and heritage before departing back to Victoria Square. How amazing does that sound? I would love to be on this tour!

I’ve discovered I will have Thursday 04 May to myself so I’m defintley checking out what is happining, right now I can’t quite decide between these awesome options:

  1. Heroine’s Table

Held at The Salopian Inn, this evening celebrates incredible female chefs in the industry. Esteemed Fleurieu Peninsula chef Karena Armstrong, and popular Sydney chef and Maggie Beer alumna Alex Herbert,  will be hosting this 3 course meal and beverage regional package, showing that while men may have more public profiles in the industry, women certainly match them in skill and finesse. In addition to these fabulous talents, the panel speakers include Analiese Gregory (Bar Brose, Sydney), Sue Bell (Bellwether Wines) and Michelle McColl (Kalangadoo Organics). How can I say no to some incredible home-grown heros?

2. Taste The Market Dinner

As one of my favourite places in Adelaide, I would love to attend the Central Market for full-blown foodie event. This four-course tasting menu will showcase South Australian artisan food from the market and the best of local seasonal produce, with the opporunity to mingle with the market personalities and learn their connection to the food prepared. The Adelaide Farmers’ Market is passionate about ensuring our market goers are connected to the food that they eat, and it’s such a joy to visit the market on any ordinary day, I can imagine an evening with them will be a great way to enjoy great market produce and learn the story behind each dish.

3. Experience Chocolate

If you know me, you know I love chocolate and this event would give me a whole hour with the boutique, artisan chocolatier of the Adelaide Hills, Red Cacao, gaining a first-hand introduction to the wonder of chocolate making. The master chocolatier and founder of Red Cacao, Marcus Booth-Remmers, will lead the event showing how their chocolates are made including knowledge on single origin chocolates where you can taste how each growing region provides a unique flavour profile to the chocolate. Marcus will talk about how our chocolate is carefully crafted, its health benefits, suggested flavour combinations and how Red Cacao use local dairy producers, berry growers and coffee roasters to create a complete Adelaide Hills taste experience.

Decisions decisions.

My last task of the day was to arrange for distribvtion of the Marco Pierre White book: White Heat. These are going to people attending Marco’s Glasshouse event on Tuesday 02 May, as part of the ticket price. Honestly, I didn’t even know this book existed, but I’ve looked at some reviews since being introduced, and it seems to be a global phenomenon. Here’s what Booktopia says:

A 25th anniversary edition of the classic cookbook from the ‘enfant terrible’ of the UK restaurant scene, with a new 64-page section including previously unpublished photographs and commentary from Jason Atherton, Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge.

Once in a blue moon a book is published that changes irrevocably the face of things. White Heat is one such book. Since it was originally produced in 1990, it has gone on to become one of the most enduring classic cookbooks of our time. With its unique blend of outspoken opinion, recipes and dramatic photographs by the late legendary photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, White Heat captures the magic and spirit of Marco Pierre White in the heat of his kitchen.

This 25th anniversary edition features brand new material, including photographs from the late Bob Carlos Clarke and contributions from James Steen, Lindsey Carlos Clarke and a host of high-profile chefs: Jason Atherton, Sat Bains, Mario Batali, Raymond Blanc, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Byatt, David Chang, Phil Howard, Tom Kerridge, Paul Kitching, Pierre Koffmann, Gordon Ramsay and Jock Zonfrillo.

I might just have to see if I can get a copy of it myself … and if I’m still going to be working in the Living Library (TBC) I may even get the chance to meet him!

Stardom here I come xo

Tasting Australia Placement Week 4

I can’t believe we’re already a month into placement. And the event is roughly 4 more weeks away. What a whirlwind. I’m sure it’ll be over before I know it, so I’d better savour as much as I can.

Each week I am learning so much more. I can’t stress how big this event is. The logistics are intricate yet demanding. Every piece of the puzzle gets examined in finite detail, if one screw is lose it could create a chain of disaster. This observation comes from the Town Square Work In Progress Meeting. Details will remain confidential, but my notes, and thoughts, are going to be of great assistance in my own event planning in the future.

I also realise how much I am eager to get into the nitty gritty of this event. I don’t care what my task is, I just want something to take care of and put my passion into. Coming up in the next few weeks is the finalisation of the Chef Supper Club, Chef’s Journey, and Living Library which I will be heavily involved in, thankfully. Too much energy and not enough patience. Its a diagnosed illness and I am undertaking shock treatments. Thank you for your concern.

Onto todays learning.

Did you know that Adelaide has been named as one of the Great Wine Capitals  of the world? Alongside Bordeaux, Mendoza, Napa Valley, and Mainz Rheinhessen, our humble SA city is featured on the Great Wine Capitals website, which showcases 10 exclusive regions. Actually we are the only city in the Southern Hemisphere to have this title. Luckily for us, the regional guide encourages interested parties to visit all South Australian Wineries, such as Barossa, McLaren Vale, Kangaroo Island, and also Padthaway, Robe AND Coonawarra.

To commemorate this outstanding achievement, The Fruitful Pursuit will be hosting an exclusive event giving guests the opportunity to blind taste SA wines alongside huge global names in the industry – testing their skill in determining which is which. Great Wine Voyage is being held Sunday 30th April at Adelaide East & West End. Tickets are a total steal at only $65 per person.

Secondly, I discovered that May is Aussie Wine Month, and there are a bunch of cool events happening all over the nation to celebrate. Some of the awesome things Tasting Australia are doing include:

Heroine’s Soul to Glass – An exciting evening showcasing the wonderful women wine makers in South Australia. Held in the Fleurieu Peninsula at Fall from Grace, the line up features 22 home-grown names including Sue Bell of Bellweather Wines in Coonawarra, and my own WSET II lecturer: Gill Gordon-Smith from Fall from Grace Wines.

Fresh Wine Disco – This is a stand out event, pushing boundaries and showing SA something it has never seen before. Taras Ochota from Ochota Barrels is hosting this afternoon by inviting guests to sample over 30 different wine varieties – all made with low intervention. The evening will progress with 70s/80s disco tunes to make it a rocking party. Don’t tell my mum, we’d have to drag her out …

Fizzology @ Sinclair’s Gully – As a lover of bubble and spark, this event really lights me up. The team at Sinclair’s Gully will guide guests through the delicate process of making sparkling wine, including the exciting opportunity to dose, cork and label a 94-point drop.

My main task today focused on advertising for wine events happening during the week of Tasting Australia, which lead to my discovery of the above, as well as many more incredible opportunities. If you haven’t seen the full list of events, check out the Tasting Australia Program. I will give a special mention to the unique masterclasses being offered by East End Cellars, in Town Square during the week of the festivities.

Star Struck Moment: Today I sent out programs to two of my idols, My Kitchen Rules contestants: Sammy and Bella. The girls are going to be offering free Masterclasses at Westfield Marion, Tea Tree Plaza, and West Lakes. I also discovered they will be cooking in Charred! Glee!

Some things I need to research before next week:

  1. Public Liability Insurance and how it relates to the event industry
  2. What is a ‘Late Night Flight’?
  3. Can I smash out 50x chocolate muffins, next Monday night, to bring in to the office next week?

I know I probably write this in every post but I just want to acknowledge how much of an incredible opportunity this is for me. I am transported back to 2007 when I was working in travel and longed for something that would get me closer to the community and showcase all the marvels that South Australia has to offer. That’s when I knew I had to work for SATC and I am constantly star struck by my Tuesday environment. Even getting ready to leave is exciting!

This really feels like a place where I can nurture my love for the region and utilise my passion and creativity to its full potential. As Yi and I collaborate behind the scenes and begin to take small ownership of the project, I begin to see how much gold lies within this placement opportunity, and I am so grateful to be exposed to this world that I could only dream about all those years ago.

I hope you feel you’re getting closer to your dreams every day you get up too xo

Salumi and Vino Night @ Mercato


Last night I had the pleasure of assisting Chris and Nick with an evening of sampling the gorgeous product range from Salumi Australia. The 5 course mini-degustation included wine pairing from various regions of Italy including le Marche, Abruzzo, and Veneto.

The evening commenced at 6pm, when we welcomed out guests and kicked the evening off with Mascarpone and Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta topped with Salumi Bottarga. Chris filled the wine glasses with the 2015 Tenuta di Tavignano ‘Villa Torre’ Verdicchio Classico to match.

After much delight at the lemon scented mascarpone and creamy roe, the second round of canapés were served. The Polenta Chips topped with Salumi N’Duja were well received, many of our guests were impressed with the heat the n’duja packed! In fact, this product is now, consequently unavailable for purchase for the next two weeks as nearly everyone took some home! This dish was paired with the delightful and cheery 2015 Feudi Bizantini ‘Terre dei Rumi’ Rosato.

Out of the frying pan and into the coolroom (so to speak): the next canapé on show was a double delightful duo of Salumi Sopressa Milano & Salame Finocchiona. Perfect for an antipasto, this pair went well with the 2013 Paolo Conterno Langhe Nebbiolo.

Next up was one of my favourites. As a big fan of Spanish Cuisine (what? we’re practically cousins!), I love the Free Range Chorizo. This sat on a little bed, called a Crostino, of Potato  and was combined with the 2014 Feudi Bizantini Ikonia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

By this time I was getting pretty hungry, thankfully, soon I was going to eat too! The last dish for evening was about to be served, and it was definitely worth the wait. The Paccheri with Mushrooms & Salumi Pancetta Affumicata was a delightfully creamy dish that was well received and complimented by all. Paired with the 2013 Lenotti Valpolicella Ripasso, it was a perfect end to the evening.

Poacher with Mushrooms and Salumi Pancetta Affumicata


If you would like more information on upcoming Mercato events, please see my previous post on Marzo Matto, or visit La Cantina Wines.


Marzo Matto – Mercato’s Mad March Events

It may be halfway through March but there is plenty going on a Mercato.

Salumi e Vino 16th March TONIGHT @6pm

Presented by Nick Ridge and Chris Sarandis, this evening will be a salumi lovers extravaganza with 5  different food tastings on offer using the quality products from Salumi Australia. Tickets are $40, with wine pairing included. Heaven!

Tasting Menu:

Marscarpone, grilled zucchini & Salumi Bottarga
served with a glass of 2015 Tenuta di Tavignano ‘Villa Torre’ Verdicchio Classico

Polenta Chips with spicy Salumi N’Duja
served with a glass of 2015 Feudi Bizantini ‘Terre dei Rumi’ Rosato

Salumi Sopressa Milano & Salame Finocchiona
served with a glass of 2013 Paolo Conterno Langhe Nebbiolo

Potato & Salumi Free Range Chorizo crostini
served with a glass of 2014 Feudi Bizantini Ikonia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Paccheri with mushroom & Salumi Pancetta Affumicata
served with mixed leaf salad
served with a glass of 2013 Lenotti Valpolicella Ripasso

Limited places remain for this evenings festivities, don’t let this unique and outstanding evening pass you by.

Discover the Wines of Veneto SATURDAY 18th March @1pm

Ah Veneto! Home of Venice and Romeo and Juliet! A region so romantic and rich in sensal history can only produce the most exquisite wines.

Join Chris as he takes you on an adventure from Prosecco through to Soave and onto Valpolicella Classico and Amarone.

Tasting Menu:

NV Zuccolo Prosecco Extra Dry

2016 Lenotti Bianco

2015 Coffele Soave Classico

2016 Lenotti Rosato

2015 Lenotti Rosso Passo

2013 Lenotti Valpolicella Classico

Lenotti Valpolicella Ripasso

2012 De Ettore Amarone Della Valpolicella

2014 Coffele ‘Le Sponde’ Recioto Della Valpolicella

Tickets are $30 and include Mercato canapes to acompany and delight the senses. All tickets will redeem $10 on purchases made on the day.

Bar Mercato Eats: Pasta! FRIDAY 24th March @6:30pm

This is the big one people! Pasta night at, my home away from home, Bar Mercato. This evening is shaping up to be very exciting with three courses of pasta made by our Italian chefs.

3 course Pasta Menu features:

Penne and Zuccini in a light Tomato Sauce topped with grated dried Ricotta

Oven-Baked Crepe Pockets (Crespelle) filled with Mushrooms and topped with classic Bechamel Sauce

Pappardelle in slowcooked Beef and Pork Ragu

Mamma mia che buona!

We’ll also have our favourite jazz band ‘Conservatorium of Music’ playing some smooth tunes into the evening, and beverages will be available to purchase from the bar. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children under 12.

I love the incredible events we put on and host at Mercato, if you’ve never been to one – what are you waiting for! And if you have, I’m sure you’ll agree, there is plenty of fun, enjoyment, delicious food, decadent wine, coupled with traditional experiences, and beautiful cultural immersion.

See you there xo

Tasting Australia Placement Week 2

Round 2 for Tasting Australia Placement. My gosh did I NOT want to go this morning! You know what kept running through my head? Robert De Niro in The Intern. That was how I felt. Old, and like I seriously didn’t belong … but no time for that sentimental BS. I put on some Rihanna and got to Work.

As I may (or may not) have mentioned, I am working on the festivities surrounding Town Square, which is the crux of the entire festival – an 8 day extravaganza in Victoria Square. On Tuesdays the team has a Work In Progress meeting, which is a whirlwind of information. I am happy to report, however, I understood about 60% of the items being discussed! A major improvement from the measly 15% I felt last week!

By the way, this event is absolutely freaking massive. I really don’t think us poor innocent by-standing consumers can ever really grasp the incredible detail involved in organising an event of this magnitude. Like, today, I was surprised to discover the hidden complications surrounding glassware and it’s application. Where do they come from? Who will transport them? Who is responsible for cleaning them? Then who serves them? Who is in charge of storage? Can we get a dishwasher? Do we need a permit for that? Who is going to supply chemicals? Can we afford extra staff members to handle this? I’m not even going to touch on ice. In my head, I’m all “can’t we just grab them from the servo?” but events like these can use up to 200 bags of ice a day. Whodda thunk?!

SO I am very happy to report my learning is increasing rapidly and the concepts are getting clearer. I’m learning peoples names and job titles. I met the CEO, Hitaf Rasheed, today! side note: OH EM GEE she is freaking lovely and real! I even NEARLY contributed to two items of business … nearly. Baby steps people.

In fact it became increasingly clear how much of a late start I have on this industry. There is an incredible amount to learn and absorb. It all moves so fast too, it would take several run throughs, of a major event like this, to even being to relax. Thus the De Niro complex I guess. Some of the people I am working with have been involved with the program for over 7 years.

I won’t be discouraged though. I was so excited to receive this role, I am going to see it through with optimism and openness. Thanks to ol’ Bobbie, I know I’m not the first to attempt something new and life changing, and I certainly won’t be the last. Funnily enough, that beautiful quote by C.S. Lewis keeps popping up for me…

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream

On to todays most exciting learning … signage! Yes I saw the sign!

I attended a Signage Meeting initiated by the Operations Team. My gosh it was riveting! Who knew there were so many tiny details involving signs! Without boring you with my revelations, I truly appreciate the thought and consideration that goes into every aspect, from a business sense and from a community sense. It is important that signage be clear and unobtrusive yet stand out with important information.

From a business sense, the costs need to be kept down, therefore it is important that signage be reused for sequential events. Then the external stakeholders need to have an input too. Sponsors mostly, need recognition and brand advertising as much as possible. Some of the questions floating around in my brain were: How can we maximise sponsorship exposure? Is there enough detail on the signage so all attendees can understand clearly? Are all legal requirements being adhered to? Are guests easily able to identify the terms and conditions applicable to entry to the site?

Nerdily enough, I was literally on the edge of my seat for entire meeting. There was a map of Victoria Square, on the projection screen, with the fencing, stalls, entrances, amenities, and other facilities drawn up, and this was used to highlight where the signage would go. Seeing this, helped me to feel a lot more involved with the event. A visual makes it feel so much more real, and imagining where the signs would go gives me a deeper sense of understanding and ownership. The more I see the event coming together, the more excited I am becoming.

Another fun new fact is that this time next week, we should have the hard copy programs! My main focus for the last two weeks has been putting together distribution lists for the programs. These will go to hotels, wineries, visitor information centres and other involved entities for promotion. I am happy to announce I completed my list making, and delegation this afternoon, and next week I will be involved in arranging delivery to these delegates. Its all happening! In fact, more and more events are being advertised on the Tasting Australia website. There is an awesome Flavours of Campbelltown experience (which features a pasta class and lunch at my amazing workplace – Mercato), Masterclasses with Sammy and Bella, and even a Professional Food Writing Workshop! Heaven! Check them out here.

Being on the inside of Tasting Australia is so much fun, and such an insightful experience. I am truly blessed to have this incredible opportunity to work on something dear to my heart, learn with incredible industry professionals, and discover all the little pieces that make this event so enjoyable and special. I hope you’ll all come along to Victoria Square April 20th – May 7th and really soak up this amazing festival xo


Galsday in Glenelg

How do you cure a mellow mood? Meet a gorgeous girlfriend by the beach for burritos, and spread some mad love to random strangers of course!

Yesterday I met Gabs in Glenelg for a lil gal-pal time and a long overdue catchup. I’d had a difficult finance class in the morning, followed by an intense face treatment, so a little chill time was very much on the cards.

We met at Beach Burrito and kicked back with some sassy $6 frozen margheritas – bless the genius behind happy hour! P.S. Totally get the sweet potato fries … they literallymeltin your mouth *heaven*

Random Act of Kindness Alert! We spread some mad-love through Jetty Road with some sweet biscuits and even sweeter messages.

Just what the doctor ordered!

Speaking of RAK – ist there something you can do today to spread some kindness around? It doesn’t have to be big. Even paying for someone’s coffee is a beautiful gesture. Share your RAK ideas in the comments or send me a love note.

Shine baby shine xo