The biggest crowds since the pandemic began have devoured Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel, with over 60,000 people visiting the festival’s Town Square hub in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga over the last 10 days.
In addition to Town Square, the festival spanned 11 South Australian regions with events held across the state from an epicurean feast in the Riverland to an underground stay in Coober Pedy and a day trip to Coffin Bay aboard Tasting Australia Airlines.
Tasting Australia is showing no signs of slowing down, announcing its return for 2023 from Friday 28th April to Sunday 7th May for another 10-day celebration of unique eating and drinking experiences.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison says the event demonstrates how eager locals and visitors are to experience the culinary delights of South Australia.
“It’s no secret that the last couple of years has been tough on the tourism sector, but the enthusiastic crowds at Tasting Australia show the vast array of incredible experiences the state has to offer,” Ms Bettison said.
“With close to 150 local businesses supported throughout the festival, the past 10 days has provided a welcome boost to the state’s tourism economy and further cemented our reputation as the festival state.
“We are thrilled Tasting Australia will be returning in 2023.”
Co-directors Karena Armstrong and Darren Robertson alongside food curator Emma McCaskill and drinks curator Nick Stock, pulled together an exciting line-up of talented chefs and beverage talent from across the country, as well as the first international chef to cook at the festival since 2019 – Dave Pynt from Singapore.
“It really doesn’t get any better than South Australia for food and beverage,” said Ms Armstrong.
“It’s so rewarding to see patrons enjoying the creativity and sheer talent of producers and chefs we have in the state. A standout for me has been the incredible atmosphere in Town Square every night, where we’ve been able to witness the unifying effect of outstanding food, drink, and great company.”
In his first year as festival co-director, Darren Robertson expressed his delight with the 2022 festival.
“I’m so proud of the variety and accessibility of this year’s festival – with more events than ever before, the diverse program truly offered something for everyone,” said Mr Robertson.
“Connecting with our guests across the different regions and hearing their curiosity and passion for food reminded me what I love about Tasting Australia, cooking alongside a fantastic line-up of chefs and sharing those rare food stories that are unique to South Australia.
“The traveling chefs love cooking at Tasting Australia – not only because the guests are so engaged but also for the magical moments the festival allows them to be a part of – our chefs and beverage stars leave as true advocates for South Australia.”
Festival highlights included Town Square Kitchen Legends Dinners for festival Legends Maggie Beer and Cheong Liew, in which a host of familiar faces paid tribute to the industry titans, a collaboration between Barossa winery Yalumba and Chin Chin for the restaurant’s first South Australia pop-up and the brand-new Storytellers Series where Town Square visitors were invited to a casual, intimate chat with some of the world-class talent in this year’s festival.
The 2022 festival also saw the introduction of the Behind the Bar series, where patrons were invited to learn the tricks of the trade by getting up close and personal with the bartenders of some of Adelaide’s most-loved watering holes, including Maybe Mae, 2KW and Hains & Co.
RAA General Manager of Travel and Distribution Gina Norman said it was a delight to see the event return in 2022 and she couldn’t wait to see the success of the event again in 2023.
“Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel was the kick start our state needed for the year as our tourism and hospitality industries bounce back from the pandemic,” Ms Norman said.
“If we have a strong tourism sector, we have a strong economy and ultimately, a stronger South Australia. I’m sure next year’s event will be even bigger and better than ever.”
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.