Today, fascinating food from South Australian history, our top five picks of the Tasting Australia program, fine food at the Oakbank Races, a huge whisky tasting and more.
Oakbank’s swanky picnic
Australia’s biggest picnic race meeting, the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival, is taking the picnic concept upmarket.
The club has launched The Paddock, a grassed area trackside that’s “dedicated to country chic”.
“This sophisticated space, where decadence meets nostalgia, allows discerning racegoers to experience elements of modern luxury within a country picnic setting,” the club’s Georgia Rasmussen said yesterday.
The 138-year-old racing carnival has seen its crowd decline in recent years and The Paddock is a pitch to the higher end.
It’s been developed by Rasmussen in the short period since she joined the Oakbank committee in November last year.
A wine marketing consultant, she moved to Adelaide after working in marketing in the USA and interstate.
“The nostalgic view of Oakbank is barbecues and picnic table and families and we’ll still have that,” Georgia told InDaily after the launch.
“The Paddock is for those who want something different. There’s top class wines, some of the local area’s best produce and a pleasant setting where patrons can just graze.”
Wines come mainly from the Yalumba stable along with Heineken beer and James Squire Cider.
Foodies to come on board include Woodside Cheese Wrights, The Locavore, Red Cacao Chocolatier and Little Acre Foods.
Admission to the separate area is $40 and includes race-day entry.
– Kevin Naughton
Flavours of South Australia’s past
Intriguing historical nuggets have been unearthed by the team preparing the breakfast to honour the historic meeting of explorers Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders at Encounter Bay in April 1804.
The breakfast, one of the key events in the Adelaide Food and Wine Festival, will be hosted by the Maritime Museum next Friday (April 4).
Museum senior curator Lindl Lawton and Fino chef David Swain have developed the menu, based on historical documents.
While the explorers likely breakfasted on a kind of basic porridge (and toasted oats will make an appearance), the menu will also include other staples gleaned from the explorers’ diaries, including fish, seaweed and native samphire, kangaroo, bacon and baguettes.
Here are just a few fascinating facts:
- Even back in the early 1800s, the French were much more focused on food than the English. Baudin’s crew included a baker (hence the baguettes on the menu), and a butcher to deal with livestock carried on board (Flinders had neither). The French, unlike the English, also had a garden on-board in which they grew salt-hardy, Vitamin C-laden vegetables including radishes and cabbage. Goats were kept to provide fresh milk on the journey.
- Both groups of explorers made the most of local produce, including fish, kangaroo, and native plants. Lawton says Captain James Cook was a great believer in eating local greens to stave off scurvy. Coastal succulent samphire – a relatively recently rediscovered food in South Australia – was foraged by the explorers.
- Wild pigs on Kangaroo Island – which do a lot of damage at the Flinders Chase end of the island – are believed to be descended from pigs carried on Baudin’s ship.
- The English loved eating kangaroo, and Flinders’ party killed 31 in one go on the island and then feasted on “steak” and tail soup. The kangaroos were essentially tame, being unfamiliar with humans, and were easy to shoot.
- Baudin didn’t like eating kangaroo, but he apparently loved them as creatures. He took a group of kangaroos back to France where they became part of Josephine Bonaparte’s menagerie. At one stage the kangaroos became ill at sea and he fed them on rice mash and wine. He even kicked a couple of his scientists out of their cabin in order to provide shelter for ill kangaroos.
The breakfast event, hosted by Keith Conlon, promises to be memorable.
Details and full festival program can be found here.
Our picks of the Tasting Australia program
In almost exactly a month, the revamped Tasting Australia festival will make its long-awaited return. Here’s our top five picks of the program.
1. Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine VI
This is a rare chance for the public to experience a tasting of arguably Australia’s finest wines. The classification aims to be definitive and this event will be the first public tasting of the sixth edition wines. Cost is $120 per person.
2. Producers’ picnic
The final event on the program will be an all-in picnic in Victoria Square – the home base for this year’s festival. SA food and wine producers will provide the goods – you bring your picnic blanket, family and friends.
3 Eat Sessions in Town Square
This is a program of talks and recipes from some of Australia’s best known chefs. We can’t go past the first event on the list – great Adelaide chef Cheong Liew discussing the evolution of his signature dish, the “Four Dances of the Sea”.
4 A sense of place, with Joel Salatin et al
This debate and discussion about the connection between where you live and what you eat and drink features a stellar panel including American farmer Joel Salatin, chef Skye Gyngell, Food and Wine magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, and food writer David Prior. That’s a heavyweight, must-see group.
5 The Lime Cave Degustation Lunch
One the many regional events on the Tasting Australia menu, this one is unique for its setting. McLaren Vale’s Maxwell Wines has an extraordinary hand-carved limestone cave on the property, which makes a very appealing venue for a long lunch. The cave, dug in 1916, is used to grow mushrooms – hence the event will be a mushroom-themed nine-course degustation.
What is claimed to be Australia’s largest consumer whisky tasting is coming to Adelaide.
Whisky Live will take over the appropriately old-world surrounds of the University of Adelaide’s Bonython Hall on 11-12 April.
Organisers say the event is appropriate for the beginner or experienced whisky drinker with a huge range of premium drops to sample.
As well as products from the home of whisky, there will also be products from Australian distillers Hellyer’s Road and Lark, as well as Jack Daniel’s Small Batch Bourbon from the US.
Whisky Live coordinator Ken Bromfield said more than 100 whiskies would be on offer.
“Even people who’ve never really tasted whisky are converted,” he said.
For tickets and event details go here.
The Fork on the Road food truck festival is back on Friday April 4, bringing a disco theme to Light Square.
This Fork on the Road will feature old favourites Burger Theory, Low & Slow BBQ, La Cantina, La Chiva and Chimichurri, and desserts from Four Seeds, Peace of Cake and LocaPops.
There will also be some new vendors – Coffee & Crepes, the Gourmet Donut Van, Mamachau, Coffee Cow and A Little Bit of everything.
The evening event will include a disco floor with two sets from local DJs.
For more information, go here.
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