Food News

Australia's first fermented food festival is happening next month

And it’s not all kimchi and yoghurt. Prepare your palate for charcuterie, South Australian wine and more.

By Emma Breheny

And it's not all kimchi and yoghurt. Prepare your palate for charcuterie, South Australian wine and more.

You know your kombucha from your kefir, but did you know that coffee, whisky and chocolate are also part of the fermented food family? Ferment the Festival, a new event taking place in Adelaide in October, will showcase fermentation's many applications through whisky tastings, sourdough masterclasses, wine bars and more.

Festival director Kris Lloyd, who is also head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights, has spent the last two years researching fermentation and the array of food and drink that it produces.

"It's gentle, it's slow, it's a bit magical," she says. "It's really exciting to me just how old this process is and what it's responsible for."

And it's led her to create the only festival in Australia dedicated to fermented food and drink. Lloyd was behind Adelaide's CheeseFest, which ran from 2005 to 2015, an event that she's retired in favour of this festival, which will kick off with a dinner or, as Lloyd describes it, a feast. Diners will enjoy eight courses prepared by some of Australia's top chefs, including current GT chef of the year Mat Lindsay of Ester, Jock Zonfrillo (whose Adelaide diner Orana we ranked the best in the country), and Duncan Welgemoed of Africola. Zonfrillo is also the festival patron. While the final menu is under wraps, ingredients like miso made by Rough Rice's Adam James, who recently received a Churchill Fellowship to study fermentation, and kimchi ice-cream courtesy of Emma Shearer will make appearances.

During the weekend, fermentation will be demystified through masterclasses by the likes of Pepe Saya, Barossa Fine Foods and cheesemaker Mitch Lloyd (Kris' son). There will also be a series of whisky tastings by Adelaide bar Nola, pairing chocolate, cheese and cured meats with drams poured by Starward, Limeburners and Iniquity.

The festival will also feature wine tastings from the world's Great Wine Capitals, a network of nine cities including the Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Mendoza and, as of July, Adelaide, while an outdoor cinema will screen Fermented, a documentary hosted by American chef Edward Lee and produced by Zero Point Zero, the company who work on Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown.

Ferment the Festival, 20-22 October (with Ferment the Feast on 19 October), Rundle Park, Kadlitpina, Adelaide, SA. Entry $30, with tickets to classes and dinner additional, available from