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The Forager: pub reopens, big food month

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Today, a long-closed Adelaide pub is set to re-open, a delicious way to understand “wild” foods and wines, April’s packed calendar of food events and more.

The Crown and Sceptre’s rebirth

King William Street’s Crown and Sceptre was one of the city’s favourite pubs when it closed suddenly in the middle of 2012.

Finally, after at least one false start, a new licensee is set to take control, with a re-opening planned for the end of April.

The new operators are a family – siblings Darren, Ian and Claire Gitsham – and they’re not planning a complete re-invention of the pub.

Darren Gitsham, previously a manager at the Alma Tavern, the Duke of York and the British, says he was attracted to the Crown and Sceptre for his first venture as licensee because of its great location and previous success.

“We thought there was a gap in the southern side of the city for this sort of venue,” he says.

The menu is being finalised and the interior has been given a spruce up – but the pub’s style will be familiar to those who frequented the Crown before it closed.

“The focus of the venue will be great food, great beverages and great local entertainment,” Gitsham says.

Buckle yourself in

The scene at last year's EastEndWineDown

The scene at last year’s EastEndWineDown

Mad March is over, but April is looking amazing for food lovers.

The month is bookended by the Adelaide Food and Wine Festival beginning this Friday, and Tasting Australia, which kicks off on April 27.

Key events in the independent food and wine festival are selling quickly. This Friday’s first event, a Baudin/Flinders breakfast, has already sold out. Saturday night’s epic Market Feast, held inside the Adelaide Central Market, has some tickets left, but you’ll have to be quick if you want to enjoy food by Duncan Welgemoed and The Happy Motel, wine, music and dancing, and other surprises.

Sunday’s EastEndWineDown is a good bet for those who haven’t yet purchased tickets. It’s a relaxing day on Vardon Avenue (off Rundle Street) with winemakers selected by the East End Cellars and food by Low and Slow BBQ, El Choto and The Tasting Room. There’ll be a DJ and a relaxed atmosphere.

There are some other appealing and less obvious events that should gain your attention, including an 891 Chef Challenge dinner, to be held on Wednesday, April 9, at the National Wine Centre. This is a collaboration between ABC 891 presenters, listeners and some of Adelaide’s best chefs.

The produce and the theme for each course has been selected by 891 presenters. For example, the key ingredient for the canapes is cockles – selected by Matt Abraham and David Bevan (sounds like Matt’s choice). Welgemoed has created a pickled cockle dish. Phil Whitmarsh has an astounding-sounding sweetcorn dish planned for the ingredient chosen by Ian Henschke (it includes “crisp brains”). Phil Pope will cook saltbush lamb, as suggested by Sonya Feldhoff. For dessert, gun pastry chef Emma Shearer will produce a distinctly Australian take on a chocolate tart (with a secret ingredient). The chocolate was chosen by sweet-tooth Michael Smyth, who will host the event.

Go here for the full program and to book tickets.

Wild but not crazy

Hosts of the 'wild food' day (from left): Chris Brodie, Gareth Belton, Anton von Klopper and Tiffany Schultz.

Hosts of the ‘wild food’ day (from left): Chris Brodie, Gareth Belton, Anton von Klopper and Tiffany Schultz.

Wild food – the products that flourish without human help – is a growing area of interest for chefs and consumers.

The public has the chance to join some expert foragers and makers of “natural” wine at a special Adelaide Food and Wine Festival event in the Adelaide Hills on Sunday, April 13.

The event – “Natural Wine and Wild Tastes” – is being held at the Lucy Margaux vineyards in Basket Range.

It will begin with a leisurely forage through the property, gathering wild plants like asparagus, fennel, native rivermint, wild garlic and more. Botanist Chris Brodie, a weeds specialist from the State Herbarium, will guide the foragers. Gareth Belton, who supplies wild plants and organic vegetables to a number of Adelaide restaurants, will also guide guests through his vege patch.

Event organiser Tiffany Schultz, from Conscious Lifestyles, will oversee a wild BBQ lunch using local products such as wild rabbits, plus the foraged herbs and vegetables.

Finally, you’ll get to taste natural wine by Lucy Margaux winemaker Anton von Klopper, whose products are made with minimal additions.

Schultz says wild plants are a good option as a food source because they require little intervention.

“Wild plants require no irrigation or fertilisation, but many are of culinary or medicinal value, are highly aromatic and flavoursome, full of antioxidants, and may actually be better for you than their pampered equivalents, because they have to be tough to survive,” she says.

For bookings, email







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