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Ursini heads to WOMAD, Adelaide in a gin, d'Arenberg goes organic

The Forager

André Ursini shares a taste of the colourful pop-up restaurant he’ll be running at WOMADelaide; gin makers capture the flavour of Adelaide; d’Arenberg releases its first certified organic wine, and grape-picking for a good cause.

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Ursini promises colourful cuisine at WOMAD restaurant

WOMADelaide chef-in-residence André Ursini says the menu for this year’s festival restaurant will be a “big, colourful, flavoursome and convivial” take on the cuisine he serves at his two flagship restaurants, Orso and Andre’s Cucina and Polenta Bar.

Ursini will this weekend follow fellow Adelaide restaurateurs Jock Zonfrillo (Restaurant Orana and Bistro Blackwood) and Poh Ling Yeow (Jamface) to helm the WOMADelaide Taste the World restaurant in Botanic Park.

Touted as a “festival dining experience like no other”, the pop-up restaurant has, since its inception in 2015, offered festival-goers a fancier alternative to the standard food-truck offerings, with the 2019 incarnation serving a six-course, sit-down feast complete with table service, crockery, cutlery and glassware.

Ursini says the restaurant, to be open for lunch and dinner sittings, will be called “Orso and the Polenta Stars”, in reference to his eponymous polenta bar on Frome Street and his new Rose Park fusion restaurant, Orso.

“After two highly successful years, Poh and her Jamface crew decided to move on and pass the baton to me and my team,” Ursini says.

“I believe it [WOMADelaide] is one of the best events in South Australia and it is an honour to be contributing to it in 2019.”

The six-course menu is designed around a mushroom theme and features dishes including beetroot and gin-cured salmon with horseradish, cream and dill; spinach and ricotta pasta rotolo roll with rosemary and girello sauce, and a summer berry trifle with lemon verbena jelly, meringue, custard and whipped cream.

André Ursini at Orso. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

“It is a collaboration of the different styles of cuisine from both restaurants that we will be showcasing at WOMAD,” Ursini says. 

“The menu is big, colourful, flavoursome, convivial and loaded with generosity in true WOMAD spirit.”

To decorate the restaurant space, Ursini will create installations made from blue gum tree branches sourced from his 8ha farming property at Mylor.

The team from Willmott’s Gastronomia – Orso’s next-door delicatessen-cum-wine bar – will also run an adjoining bar serving house-made cocktails, as well as Adelaide Hills Distillery’s limited-release 78 Degree WOMADgin, which was crafted especially for the festival.

WOMADelaide runs this Friday to Monday at Botanic Park. Tickets for Orso and the Polenta Stars are $60 and can be purchased online. Festivalgoers must also purchase a WOMADelaide general-entry ticket to dine at the restaurant.

Distillers capture Adelaide in a bottle

Adelaide distiller Michael Hickinbotham will today launch his new small-batch distilled gin – called Adelaide Gin – at East End Cellars.

Described as a “true London dry gin enhanced by local and native South Australian botanicals”, it is inspired by the character and history of Adelaide and features Kangaroo Island lavender, as well as traditional spices including cardamom, juniper, orris root, coriander and nutmeg.

Hickinbotham, whose great-grandfather Alan Robb Hickinbotham was the founding scientist of the University of Adelaide’s oenology course, partnered with academic Dr Graham Jones to create the batch at the university’s Waite Campus.

“It’s taken Graham and I the best part of a year to develop and fine-tune the recipe; we wanted it to be perfect,” Hickinbotham says.

“We have really captured the heart of Adelaide in a beautiful gin that I hope the people of Adelaide will be proud of.”

Adelaide Gin can be purchased at East End Cellars from today. Hickinbotham and Jones recommend it be served neat, on ice or with a light tonic and a sliver of orange.

D’Arenberg launches organic wine

d’Arenberg chief winemaker Chester Osborn with a bottle of Money Spider Roussanne.

McLaren Vale winery d’Arenberg has released the first vegan and organic-certified wine from its 2018 vintage – two years after the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture officially certified its vineyards as organic.

The Money Spider Roussanne is described as “a vibrant and textural wine with aromas of peach, banana, lemon, honeydew melon and flowers”.

Chief winemaker Chester Osborn says the biodynamic processes used in the production of the organic wine add to the complexity of the flavour.

“From 2005 we trialled organic and biodynamic practices in three vineyards for three years, balancing productivity with low impact on the environment,” he says. “We found our wines to be richer with more earthy flavours.

“Changing crushers in 2019 will add more minerality and purity to the wine, [and] the biodynamics will add complexity.”

D’Arenberg winery will release further organic wines from the 2018 vintage throughout this year.

Picking grapes for a good cause 

Aspiring winemakers and green thumbs are encouraged to head to Kangarilla Road Winery in McLaren Vale this Sunday to help pick grapes for this year’s Homeless Grapes Project.

Grapes collected on the day will be used to create a Shiraz, which will be sold on online wine site Vinomofo to raise money for the Hutt Street Centre.

Organisers are hoping this year’s fundraising effort will exceed the $59,000 raised during last year’s campaign.

Those interested in picking grapes are encouraged to bring a pair of secateurs and head to Kangarilla Road Winery from 9am.

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