The 2012 Tasting Australia program and website were launched today with South Australian food favourite Simon Bryant and Tasting Australia festival director Ian Parmenter, accompanied by some keen cooking cadets from Kilkenny Primary School, cooking up a storm in the Adelaide Central Market. Developed from an idea hatched by Ian Parmenter in a hotel room in France, Tasting Australia has been running here in South Australia since 1997 and is not only the country’s premier food and wine festival but, according to Ian, is unique in the world.
Held over eight days, from 26th April until 3rd May and including over 80 public events, this year’s festival is promising to be the most interactive yet and will showcase the best South Australia has to offer including events both in the city or more intimate events in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa, KangarooIsland, Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, Fleurieu Peninsula and Riverland. The festival will bring together some of the best of the State’s produce with celebrity chefs from around the world and some of the biggest names in the Australian food industry, but will also offer a wealth of events for food and wine lovers of all ages and skill levels.
This years festival will be Ian Parmenter’s last, but he has been with Tasting Australia since it’s genesis and when I chatted with him today he was keen to stress the significant international impact this festival has on food professionals in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia – especially Singapore and, increasingly, Japan. He states there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and certainly no comparable food festival which attracts the same level of media attention or food professional involvement. Up to 150 members of national and international media are invited, all of whom pay their own fares, and as many as 300-400 local and overseas food professionals will also make their way to Adelaide, absorb as much as possible of our splendid food, wine and culinary know-how, then go home to spread the word – the kind of priceless PR for South Australian food and food producers that money just cannot buy.
But the real beauty of Tasting Australia is it’s accessibility – there really is something here for every one and most especially for those of us who have a genuine interest in great food and where it comes from. Selecting from the range of hands-on workshops with skilled artisans, wine and beer appreciation sessions, trade events, tours, exhibitions, celebrity dinners, “Word of Mouth” sessions with food and travel authors and the free cooking sessions for the children is going to be the most difficult part for most of us! The official 16 page Tasting Australia program will be available in The Advertiser this Saturday and the new look website went live today, so I suggest you get your apron on and start circling your selections – it’s going to be an amazing eight days!