30 Apr 2021

Australia's premier eating & drinking festival kicks off today

Town Square, Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, Adelaide
Town Square, Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, Adelaide

Australia’s favourite eating and drinking festival, Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel, starts today across Adelaide and regional South Australia. With more than 140 events on the menu over the next 10 days, the 2021 festival is set to showcase the best the state has to offer.

Out of the 140 events in the program, more than 65 events have sold out with extra events added to help meet demand.

Premier of South Australia Steven Marshall said there was a huge appetite for Tasting Australia which meant huge reward for South Australia’s hospitality sector and the tens of thousands of people it employs.

“On the back of a hugely successful March festival season in our state, we’re now launching what is known as Australia’s premier eating and drinking festival,” Mr Marshall said.

“This is sensational news for South Australia and our award-winning food and beverage sector, which is sought out from across the globe for its quality.

“Our state is very much back to business, back to holding world-class events and showing to the nation that South Australia punches well above its weight.

“From enjoying Town Square with family or with colleagues after work, discovering what puts South Australia’s local produce on the world stage with a fresh-shucked Coffin Bay oyster or a perfect Clare Valley Riesling, or getting out to explore the events across the regions – there is so much on offer. Tasting Australia is back and better than ever.”

The festivities begin today at 11.00am with the official opening of Tasting Australia’s eating and drinking mecca Town Square located in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga.

Free to enter and open daily until late (excluding Monday May 3), the buzzing festival hub features six unique bars and 13 food vendors, cosy firepits, live music and ample seating, making it the perfect place to meet for a drink, stay for a meal and explore.

Tasting Australia Festival Director Simon Bryant said that the one-year hiatus of the festival in 2020 due to COVID means that this year is the most special yet.

“The support and skill of our local industry is why we exist as a festival,” Mr Bryant said.

“It has always been a cornerstone of our ethos to showcase the many producers we have in this state and this year, that message means more than ever. We want people to get out to regions and into the CBD to support the industry, meet producers, try new ingredients, sample different beverages and share their experiences during the festival.

“Brilliant local ingredients, the very best beverages, and events that tell our state’s story – that’s what Tasting Australia is all about.”

The impressive line-up of talent has been carefully selected by the festival’s new Food Curator Darren Robertson who says the chefs chosen are all trailblazers.

“Australia is lucky enough to have so many diverse restaurants and chefs who unite over their passion for dining and creating truly breathtaking eating experiences,” Mr Robertson said.

“The collaboration between interstate chefs and the vast range of local South Australian chefs is exciting – and I know the opportunity to join the festival and work with South Australian produce is a shared source of inspiration.”

The first weekend of the festival kicks off with Hill of Grace First Taste in Town Square Kitchen presented by TheFork, the launch of Henschke’s highly anticipated 2016 Hill of Grace – an Eden Valley shiraz and one of Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wines.

Other key events include the Tasting Australia Airlines flights to Coffin Bay and Kangaroo Island, Taste the Lane with Colin Fassnidge in the Adelaide Hills, a long lunch in the Barossa Valley at the Farm Gate Lunch at Yalumba and a range of intimate beverage events in the CBD as part of the Tasting Table series.

The extensive beverage program has been curated by Nick Stock, the festival’s Drinks Curator who says this year, there are drinks options for every taste.

“We’ve upped the ante again in 2021 with the amount of different drinks-related programming on offer,” Mr Stock said.

“From the Tasting Table series, where we weave the festival events into some of the most loved bricks and mortar venues in the CBD, to unique beverage events held in region, you’ll find it at Tasting Australia.

“Even without international travel on the cards, we can still feature and taste the great bottles from international winemakers – the festival is bringing the best of the whole world of drinks to Adelaide for 10 days.”

Town Square is set to become a go-to for lunch, dinner or a drink. Food vendors featuring at this year’s Town Square include: Gang Gang, Chilli Shack, La Popular Taqueria, Forage Supply Co., Gelista Premium Gelati, Fire X Soi38, Sunny’s Pizza, Phat Head, Ragini’s Spice, Shubui Dessert Bar, From Blammo X Mould Farmer, Boston Bay Smallgoods & the Smokin’ Grillers, and East End Cellars Charcuterie.

Town Square is free, fun, perfect for families – and more sustainable than ever. This year, Town Square patrons will have the option to have their dishes served on a reusable enamel Tasting Australia plate for a fully refundable deposit of $5. Guests can return the plate to the vendor or opt to keep it as a festival memento.    

Town Square has been designed with crowd safety as a priority and all COVID-Safe measures will be adhered to.

Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel runs from Friday 30 April until Sunday 9 May 2021, across Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Ticketing information: tastingaustralia.com.au/program.