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The Forager: SA's choicest food news

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Today, a traditional Italian bar comes to James Place, good news for cheese lovers, have fun in the kitchen while supporting a good cause, and all the upcoming food and wine events.

Italia on James Place

Now this is a place Rundle Mall has needed: a proper Italian bar serving the all-day and after-work crowd.

Il Mondo is the creation of former Rome sommelier Luca Chiasserini, who wanted to create an authentic Italian bar in Adelaide.

The James Place niche has been open for just a few weeks doing breakfast, lunch, dinner and – for two sessions a day – the great Italian tradition of aperitivo.

For a set price – $15.90 – you can select a drink (Aperol spritz, Campari spritz, beer, coffee or soft drink) and then graze on Italian morsels until satiated. The food on the bar includes pasta, rice, smallgoods, cheese, meatballs and other dishes that change from day to day. Aperitivo is available from 12-2pm and 5.30-7pm from Monday to Saturday.

Snacks arrayed on the bar, ready for aperitivo hour. Photo courtesy Il Mondo

Snacks arrayed on the bar, ready for aperitivo hour. Photo courtesy Il Mondo

Adding to the charm is Chiasserini’s attention to detail in the design, which celebrates the year he spent travelling before settling in Adelaide as a sponsored migrant. There are “artifacts” of his journeys all over the place – including the shoes in which he traversed 40 different countries.

The name – Il Mondo, meaning the world – is celebrated with a giant map behind the bar. Chiasserini became tired of running out of battery charge in numerous cafes and bars across the globe, so he’s included powerpoints all over the place to encourage people to plug in and work. (Clearly a gentleman, he’s also included discreet hooks for women to hang handbags and jackets.)

“The bar reflects the story of my life,” Chiasserini says. “I decided to open not only an Italian bar but a bar that’s open to the world.”

In other words, expect a serious commitment to hospitality when you come in (and some serious Italian wine knowledge).

The Aperol spritzers – one part Aperol, two parts Prosecco and a splash of soda – are proving very popular. The bar even has Prosecco on tap.

It’s a charming place run by a charming crew from all over Italy – details of opening hours and more here.

Il Mondo on James Place.

Il Mondo on James Place.

 Cellar Door Wine Festival

Starting on Friday and running all weekend is the Adelaide Convention Centre’s Cellar Door Wine Festival.

More than 150 food and wine producers will be there, with visitors able to sample wine from across South Australia’s wine regions.

There will be a wide selection of masterclasses, including several featuring former MasterChef contestant Marion Grasby.

Cheese lovers will be very well looked after, with three cheese masterclasses (if you sign up for the “Extreme Cheese Experience”, you’ll get festival entry for three days, plus entry to all the cheese masterclasses).

Taking the cheese theme to a new high, a  special festival cheese is also being produced by the Smelly Cheese Shop with help from The Artisan Cheese Academy at TafeSA Regency. The president of the Cheese Cutters Association will cut the cheese at the festival before it’s shared with visitors to the event.

Organisers tell The Forager that the festival cheese has been made following a cheddar cheese-making technique.

It’s being aged in a “cave-like environment”, regularly turned and washed with a brine solution. It will then be washed again with alcohol before being covered with grape must. Organisers say this treatment will enrich the cheese with sweet and more complex flavours.

Full details of the festival program can be found here.

Some of the action from a previous Cellar Door Wine Festival.

Some of the action from a previous Cellar Door Wine Festival.

Cooking for a cause

If you’re looking for a corporate team-building exercise which will also help out the community, consider getting involved in OzHarvest’s Cooking for a Cause program.

OzHarvest provides nourishing food to people in need by “rescuing” produce and meals that would otherwise end up as waste.

The Cooking for a Cause program gives corporate teams the chance to work with experienced chefs in the OzHarvest kitchen in Goodwood to prepare meals, which are then delivered to OzHarvest’s partner agencies.

The Forager saw the value of the OzHarvest work first-hand at Common Ground – a housing project for the homeless, and those at risk of homelessness, in Light Square.

Each weekend, fresh food from the Adelaide Central Market is delivered to Common Ground tenants in the OzHarvest refrigerated van. The tenants then have fresh fruit and vegetables to take them through most of the week, and a food group within the project uses any surplus each week to discover new recipes and learn new cooking skills.

Sally Langton from Common Ground said the program meant tenants were eating more fresh produce, and coming together over food had strengthened the community.

It’s a great project – to get involved go here.

OzHarvest's Alan Colbert with Damien Phillips and David Ellis from Common Ground.

OzHarvest’s Alan Colbert with Damien Phillips and David Ellis from Common Ground.

 Small bites

Jimmy Shu’s Hanuman restaurant was officially opened on South Terrace on Monday night. The Indian/Thai restaurant, as noted by InDaily a few weeks ago, was opened quietly at the Chifley Hotel, but now Shu has his team in place and is ready to go full bore. Expect vibrant, precise dishes and excellent service. For a taster, visit Shu’s Hanuman stall at The Garden of Unearthly Delights from this weekend. The man himself will be there most nights.

How did colonial Australians approach indigenous foods? How did they experiment with the local ingredients? Arguably Australia’s finest food writer, the University of Adelaide’s Barbara Santich, will answer these questions in a public lecture, along with Nancy Cushing from the University of Newcastle. The lecture will be held next Tuesday in Napier lecture theatre 102 at 4pm. The lecture is free but registration is essential.

The Adelaide Food and Wine Festival’s Sunday session on the Riverbank this Sunday will feature the classic pairing of cheese with wine, beer and cider. Get along from 11am to 5pm at the Blue Hive, on the banks of the Torrens next to the Dunstan Playhouse. Congratulations are also due to the festival which has smashed its fundraising target on Pozible. Good on the local supporters of the grassroots festival. The April event, by the way, is shaping up beautifully. Full details here.




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