'Good evening and welcome to Adelaide and Eat Drink Blog 2012. It's a pleasure to be here with you to indulge in and celebrate South Australia's premium food and wine. I want to offer a special welcome to those of you from interstate ... and acknowledge the extra effort you have made to be here. It demonstrates your commitment to connect as a blogging community and highlights your passion for food, wine and beer, which translates directly to what food and wine experiences are all about: a coming together a people... around the family table, a BBQ with friends, restaurants and wine tours or community events such as Farmer's Markets. It's a celebration of all that's good for the soul!'
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
A food safari to South America is on the bucket list for Dennis N. (Natividad) Leslie, Executive Chef at the Brasserie Restaurant at the Adelaide Hilton. With latin American flavours in mind, he created a fun banquet for the Eat Drink Blog dinner, sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission and Meat & Livestock Australia. Guests were treated to ginger snow cones and then lamb sliders, with tender meat sliced fresh from a spit roasted lamb. There were platters of Tex Mex empanadas, quesadillas, buffalo chicken wings, juka chips with lime and garlic mayonnaise, grilled porterhouse with chimichurri sauce, beef ribs with chipotle sauce, chilli con carne, and delicious grilled corn. In case that wasn't sufficient, Dennis made sure there was a range of salads and sauces too. And to finish, Beerenberg Farm strawberries, baby churros, with a Haigh's chocolate fountain (yes, read that!), Tres Leche cake, AND artisan cheese from Woodside Cheese Wrights, all of it accompanied by South Australian wine or beer.
Above: Smokey Beef Ribs & Chipotle Sauce, and Grilled Corn with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Parmesan (click for recipes)
Adelaide Central Market
'South Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to locally sourced, quality, fresh food,' Minister Gago noted in her welcome speech. Indeed they are! There are several farmer's markets in regional areas, as well as one held in Adelaide. Plus, there's Adelaide Central Market, the largest undercover fresh produce market in the southern hemisphere. With more than 80 stalls and 142 years of history, I feel it's as close to food heaven on earth as one can get.
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)
Apart from taking time out from business to speak with us during market tours, the stallholders also treated Eat Drink Blog delegates to a pop up Sunday lunch. Click through postcards from my self-guided visit, Amanda's tour and the pop up lunch.
Stallholders pictured above L to R: Barbara Knoll of Barossa Fine Foods, Dorcen Walters barista at Zedz, Mark Gleeson of Providore, Marco Marinelli of Mushroom Man, Peita Hatch of Leo's Cheese Bar, Maddie Capocca of The Yoghurt Shop, Paul and Irene Noakes of Gourmet to Go, Jose Coutinho and Pascaline Marchiand from San Jose Smallgoods, 'Frank Turtur and 'Adam' from Vegas Poultry, and 'Arthur' and 'Spiros' from Aubergine's.
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
Mr Francis d'Arenberg (d'Arry) Osborn (pictured below) is a humble and gentle man who was born on the 27th of December 1926 to parents Francis Ernest Osborn and Frances Helena d'Arenberg. He explained that his mother died while giving birth to him, so his father gave him his mother's maiden name as a middle name so that she would not be forgotten. In 1912, his father's father, Joseph Osborn, a tee-totalling director of Hardy's, bought a 25 hectare established vineyard in what is now McLaren Vale. With the assistance of his son, Frank (d'Arry's father), the vineyard was expanded to 78 hectares and the first vintage produced in their own cellars on site in 1928. At the age of just 16 in 1943, d'Arry joined the company and took over fully in 1957, launching his own label, d'Arenberg, in memory of his mother, in 1959. Now, his son, Chester, is the chief winemaker. One hundred years and four generations on, the old vines still produce very good wine and Joseph Osborn, the tee-totalling vineyard owner from 1912 must surely be proud!
Wine blending workshop
The Blending Bench at d'Arenberg is where the craft of winemaking becomes an art form. Under the expert guidance of Rachael Whitrow, cellar door manager, and Jack Walton, senior winemaker, we tasted our way through three Shiraz styles, learned about their different qualities, and how soil and geography (terroir) affects wine. Then, with pipettes, funnels, test tubes and dry ice, we created our own personal 750ml bottle of d'Arenberg wine.
'Wine blending is the art of taking off the rough edges,' according to senior winemaker, Jack Walton, pictured above.
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!'
The keynote speaker for Eat Drink Blog 2012 was Dianne Jacob, whose blog, Will Write for Food (subtitled Pithy snippets about food writing), includes articles on topics such as 'Food Blogs vs national food magazines: guess who's winning?'. Ms Jacob addressed the question she'd once asked herself 'Why would anyone care about writing a blog' with the response that there are 'stunning developments' nowadays and 'a handful of bloggers make a six-figure living just from advertisements!'. Oh yeah!
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!
Simon Leong of Simon Food Favourites has a T for all occasions! Thank you for the use of your pics and once again, apologies that we sat next to one another on the plane to Adelaide, yet didn't speak. The quiet power of introverts, huh?!
Thank you Amanda McInerney, Christine Soong-Kroeger, Kirsty Smith, Erin Brooks, Alex Prichard, Natasha Stewart and Celeste Wong, the BRILLIANT Eat Drink Blog 2012 organising committee, and also to the generous sponsors and partners, including the Government of South Australia, Tourism SA and Central Market. Loved it... I'll be back!
Note: Eat Drink Blog speakers and delegates paid their own airfares/transport and accommodation. South Australian Tourism Commission and Government of South Australia kindly sponsored tours to McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley, as well as transfer from the airport to hotel. The Conference, Sunday breakfast, pop up lunch and Saturday evening dinner were also provided free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the key sponsors.
Have you visited South Australia recently? Tell me about your favourite place or places.
Are you a food blogger? Did we meet at EDB 2012?
If so, hello again, it was great to meet you!
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