Tasting Australia takes a significant leap forward with a fresh line-up of ambassadors and international guest chefs for 2017.
The Town Square concept that creates a vibrant alfresco food village in the heart of Adelaide remains the hub for events from 30 April to 7 May, but will expand to include a pop-up glass-walled restaurant, a large communal fire pit for the use of a bevy of street-food stalls, and more wine-education events.
The Glasshouse Kitchen is being erected in Victoria Square to host the festival's gala dinners, which will feature collaborations among leading chefs: Slovenia's Ana Ros (awarded World's Best Female Chef 2017 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy) with Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiobo); Marco Pierre White with his former protégé Jock Zonfrillo ( Restaurant Orana) and Clayton Wells (Automata); Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook) with Cheong Liew; and Lennox Hastie (Firedoor) with Duncan Welgemoed (Africola) and Thi Le (Anchovy).
"We want to mix it all up, explore the unexpected in these dinners," says Zonfrillo, new creative curator for Tasting Australia. "I'm tired of the usual suspects coming together. With all of these incredible people in the one place, we realised we have a chance to do something unique."
Festival ambassadors hosting their own events include Basket Range winemaker Taras Ochota, whose Fresh Wine Disco at Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills on 6 May will feature more than 40 winemakers from around the country bringing demijohns siphoned out of tanks and barrels to present a sneak-peek of their new-vintage wines.
East End Cellars, meanwhile, will present masterclasses of wine flights - a decade of Rockford Basket Press, for instance, six vintages of Penfolds shiraz, and Australian pinot noir. The Great Wine Voyage is a city bar hop on 30 April where guests blind-taste local wines alongside glasses from other significant regions, while Heroines Soul to Glass at Fall From Grace in Aldinga on 5 May has 22 notable women of wine presenting their wares in an informal tasting.
This year's program focuses on South Australian regions, with important events hosted by ambassadors. Karena Armstrong from Salopian Inn will present the Heroine's Table dinner in her McLaren Vale restaurant with chef Alex Herbert on 4 May, and Sharon Romeo from Fino Seppeltsfield hosts A Few of My Favourite Things on 1 May - a progressive wine tasting at several Barossa venues before lunch at Hutton Vale farm in Eden Valley.
Tickets are on sale at tastingaustralia.com.au and the full program will be released on Saturday 18 March.