With those enthusiastic words, and a clear passion for the good things that South Australia has to offer, the Hon. Gail Gago MLC, Minister for Tourism, welcomed Eat Drink Blog 2012 delegates at a dinner in Adelaide recently. The evening was just one of the highlights of an event packed weekend attended by some 80 food bloggers from across Australia. Tours of Adelaide's Central Market, Sunday morning breakfast and an onsite pop up lunch, as well as trips to The Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale, a writing workshop and an all day conference were also on the agenda.
Dennis N. Leslie's South American Fiesta
Adelaide Central Market
If you follow my adventures on this blog, then you'll know that I relished managing a fresh produce market in Canberra for close to a decade, and that visiting food markets in any form takes me to a genuinely happy place. Therefore, you won't be surprised to learn that I spent every spare moment of my four-day weekend wandering around Central Market.
Yes, I felt pangs of guilt as Amanda, my twitter friend and our tour guide, waved and frequently yelled out to me: 'Lizzy come on, hurry up!' as I trailed off to stop and gaze in awe at the deliciousness before my eyes. I simply couldn't help myself. So much to investigate, so little time. I was reminded of a favourite paragraph penned by conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo, (1498-1593), about markets in the days of Montezuma:
'On reaching the market-place we were astounded at the great number of people and the quantities of merchandise, and at the orderliness and good arrangements that prevailed, for we had never seen such a thing before. The chieftains who accompanied us pointed everything out.'
And another from J.W. Goethe, who wrote in his Italian Journey (1786-88):
'On market days the squares are piled high with garlic and onions and every sort of vegetable and fruit. The people shout, throw things, scuffle, laugh and sing all day long.'
And so it is at Adelaide Central Market: a place of life and colour and community.
Market People & Their Food plus a Pop up Lunch (click through)
Take a guided tour of Adelaide Central Market with chef, stallholder and Central Market tour guide, Mark Gleeson here. (Note: Lucia's Pizza & Spaghetti Bar, O'Connell and Sons Market Meat took part in the pop up lunch, however they are not pictured).
And watch my Market People pages in coming weeks for snippets about the stallholders I met and talked with.
d'Arenberg Vineyard and Winery McLaren Vale
Wine blending workshop
Eat Drink Blog 2012 Conference
Now in its third year, Eat Drink Blog 2012 in Adelaide provided conference delegates with an interesting and informative programme of guest speakers, as well as the opportunity to meet, mingle and network with like-minded peers. The sound of joyful and excited chatter over breakfast on Sunday morning was almost deafening.
I think Simon Leong of Simon Food Favourites summed up the networking side of things perfectly with this image and accompanying caption: 'Hi... what's your blog? OMG, I follow you! I love your blog!'
Other discussions covered Building a Community (Shai Coggins and Rebecca Varidel), Opportunities from Blogging (Helen Yee, Peter Georgakopolous and Sandra Reynolds) and Ethics and Working with PRs (Christie Connolly, Ed Charles and George Ujvary). Award winning photographer, Grant Nowell, shared his expertise on looking through the camera lens and keeping it simple (he likes photographing mushrooms up close as much as I do!). the very likeable Peter Georgakopolous, Souvlaki for the soul blogger and photographer, entertained and educated delegates on home shoots. Fiona Roberts held a workshop on food styling, and Jules Clancy gave her thoughts on blog design.
Under the 'I could have listened to you all day' category, young entrepreneur and knowledgeable tech head, Geoff Kwitco, talked about search engine optimisation (SEO) and analytics; and Adelaide barrister, Paul Bullock, cleared up queries about defamation and copyright (glad I've made it clear that I reserve the right to edit all comments on my web site!).
And finally, cultural theorist, Tammi Jonas, and chef, Simon Bryant (a.k.a. the pig farmer and the vegetarian), chatted about local and seasonal food, before venturing into the compelling, complex, challenging and (some might say) controversial, topic of why food production and eating is an ethical issue. Simon's comment that if a friend cooked a pig's head for him, he'd eat it so as not to offend certainly raised some eyebrows in the room, not to mention that it's generated some (heated) follow up posts. It was certainly an interesting and thought provoking discussion. And, frankly, if it means that a roomful of food writers and bloggers, myself included, will go away wanting to find out more for themselves and thus better educate their readers/consumers about ethical food production, where food comes from and what happens to the animal and the environment along the way, then that's a good thing!
Are you a food blogger? Did we meet at EDB 2012?
If so, hello again, it was great to meet you!