13 April - by Suzanne Le Page Langlois
By Suzanne Le Page Langlois
Intimacy and sustainability are the overriding ideals of Tasting Australia, according to the festival’s programming director Jock Zonfrillo, the culinary mastermind behind Restaurant Orana, Gourmet Traveller’s No. 1 restaurant.
Glasshouses are a recurring theme at the festival, reflecting the ideals of the organisers, chefs and staff at Tasting Australia.
A network of 12 glasshouses within Tasting Australia’s Town Square (located in Victoria Square) have been erected, to provide intimate dining experiences, yet allow large-scale catering from the Glasshouse Kitchen for up to 180 covers, with only 25-30 diners per glasshouse.
This, suggests Zonfrillo, is an example of the “informal excellence” that characterises the flavour of Tasting Australia.
Sustainability is an overarching theme of the festival, ever mindful of its environmental footprint.
The emphasis is on lowest possible waste, with recipes micro-managed to fulfill this aim.
Waste is recycled on site, and useable waste is donated to OzHarvest, which also features at the festival.
This is consistent with South Australia’s emphasis on reduction in carbon emissions. It is exemplified by the highly successful Sundrop Farms development at Port Augusta, where self-sustaining greenhouses, desalination, solar power and organic farming methods are producing quality, high yield tomatoes. While South Australia leads the way, Sundrop and other producers are now introducing and utilising these methods throughout Australia, producing low carbon footprint, sustainable, high-quality products suitable for Australian consumers and the rapidly increasing demand from overseas markets.
Even the glasshouses are recyclable. Chef Jock Zonfrillo predicts a “shelf-life” of three years for the current glasshouses, which were purchased outright by Tasting Australia organisers.
After the Festival next year, Zonfrillo suggests they will be donated to community gardens and other appropriate causes.