Record crowds have descended on the country’s longest running eating and drinking festival Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel. More than 68,000 people enjoyed the festival’s CBD hub Town Square in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga over the past ten days.
In addition to all the action in Town Square, more than 150 events took place across all 12 regions of South Australia including an overnight trip to the Flinders Ranges with Tasting Australia Airlines and a special collaboration between Chin Chin and Yalumba in the Barossa.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison recognises the event is significant in telling the story of South Australia.
“We know that one of the key drivers of tourism into the state is for food, beverage and accessible provenance,” said Minister Bettison.
“Tasting Australia supports the industry by shining a light on our local producers and drinks makers over ten special days with more than 250 South Australian businesses engaged or featured through Tasting Australia 2023 and I am already excited for the 2024 return.”
Co-directors Karena Armstrong and Darren Robertson alongside food curator Emma McCaskill and fist-time drinks curators Banjo Harris Plane and Meira Harel together curated a unique and exciting program of events for the festival.
“We are thrilled to see the response from locals and visitors alike – Tasting Australia offers a real opportunity to showcase our talent, produce and destinations to the world,” said Ms Armstrong.
“I’m so proud of the not only the calibre of events this year but also the accessibility – with more than 150 events across South Australia, the diverse program truly offered something for everyone. The shock news of the passing of Jock Zonfrillo devastated the entire Tasting Australia team and I would like to acknowledge his huge contribution to the event.”
Zonfrillo was a member of the festival’s creative team for three years from 2017 – co-festival director Darren Robertson remembers the impact he had on the state.
“Jock was an integral part of Tasting Australia for many years. He helped put South Australia on the map in the culinary world for what he was doing, through his fine dining work at Orana and as the festival food curator,” said Mr Robertson.
“He was a guy who was well respected throughout the industry, an incredible chef and a true friend.”
The festival paid tribute to Jock at Town Square’s whiskey bar Mr Whiskers with a space to enjoy a drink in his honour.
Town Square featured a brand-new space, The Dining Room presented by White Marquee where intimate Chef’s Table events were hosted as well as free storytellers series with some of the festival’s top names like Patron Simon Bryant, Christine Manfield, Paul Carmichael and Justin James.
RAA’s Chief Executive Officer Nick Reade said RAA Travel was proud to be the presenting partner of Tasting Australia, an iconic event that underpinned the food and beverage sector in South Australia.
“RAA is happy to throw its support behind an industry and event that supports so many local businesses and jobs,” Mr Reade said.
“The Epicurean Way Road Trip delivered by RAA Travel was sold out and the RAA Lounge was enjoyed by thousands of festival goers visiting the Town Square.”
The 2022 edition of Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel saw events run across Adelaide and regional South Australia from Friday 29 April until Sunday 8 May.
Tasting Australia will return in autumn 2024 with dates to be announced soon.