High flying Tasting Australia 2024 program to bring interstate visitors direct to SA

South Australian Tourism Commission

After attracting a bumper crowd in 2023, the nation’s longest running culinary festival returns to South Australia in 2024 over 10 delicious days.

For the first time, the festival will bring visitors from interstate direct to regional South Australia, with a charter plane flying from Melbourne direct to Naracoorte in the Limestone Coast as part of a new Tasting Australia Airlines experience.

It is one of the more than 150 events across the state which will showcase the best of South Australian food and beverage from 3 to 12 May.

Launching today, the 2024 Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel program serves up a reimagined Town Square, a 10-hour day trip from Melbourne to Adelaide with curated experiences on board The Ghan through a collaboration with Journey Beyond, and a drinks program featuring special bottles and one-of-a-kind tastings.

International chefs Asma Khan (UK), Claudette Zepeda (US) and James Henry (France) will feature across the festival, alongside a national and local lineup including Matt Moran, Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Justin James and Jake Kellie.

The program has been curated by some of South Australia’s best chefs and hospitality icons, including Festival Director Karena Armstrong (The Salopian Inn), Food Curator Kane Pollard (Topiary and PLACE Dining), Drinks Curators Meira Harel and Banjo Harris Plane (Good Pair Days), and festival Patron Simon Bryant.

A range of immersive events will feature in the program including a sailing adventure along the Kangaroo Island coastline, a collaboration dinner featuring former colleagues Ben Williamson (Agnes, Brisbane) and head chef of city hotspot Kiin Ben Bertei, a wine tasting and screening of movie Sideways at Piccadilly North Adelaide, and a foraging experience in the Coorong National Park at the Coorong Long Lunch: Kuti Shack x The Joinery x Pipi Co.

Other highlights for the 2024 festival include:

  • Dining Galleries: These new spaces in Town Square are part restaurant-part art showcase and will feature the best and brightest in national hospitality across lunch and dinner events. Each unique gallery can transform from a party like Fiesta celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Claudette Zepeda, Daniella Guevara Munoz, Duncan Welgemoed and Jess Spiby to an intimate kaiseki style Sushi Dreams dinner with Hansol Lee, Mug Chen and Chia Wu. Works by South Australian artists Dana Kinter, Alexandra Bellas, Billie Justice Thomson and Gabriel Stengle will feature in these exciting new spaces.
  • Tasting Australia Airlines: Choose to fly direct to the heart of South Australia’s ancient Limestone Coast from either Adelaide or Melbourne for an overnight adventure featuring Mark Best, Tony Carroll, Kirby Shearing, Clare Falzon and Paul Stone. Alternatively, set off for a day trip to the pristine Eyre Peninsula with Darren Robertson, Shannon Flemming, Jo Barrett and Fabian Lehmann. Venture further, discovering these beautiful regions alongside leading chefs inspired by their produce.
  • Tasting Australia by Train: Melbourne – Adelaide: Embark on a journey from Melbourne to Adelaide with Journey Beyond exclusively for Tasting Australia Rail, offering a 10-hour day trip featuring curated experiences with Cheong Liew, Asma Khan and Jae Bang onboard The Ghan’s dining and bar carriages.
  • MAKE: These immersive and hands on sessions will add finesse to your cooking skills. Held in a Town Square Dining Gallery and led by chefs and artisans, each will cover a simple skill on the path to professional results. Roll pastry with Julia Busuttil Nishimura, make sausages with Duncan Welgemoed or try your hand at ceramics with the team from Jam Factory.
  • Tasting Tables: Settle in for a series of intimate tastings hosted across beloved Adelaide hospitality venues. Each features a guest presenter and a rare set of beverages. Talk, taste and share special bottles in a setting that allows you to discover the people and places that shaped them.

In 2023, Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel saw more than 68,000 people visit the CBD hub, Town Square, in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga across the 10 days.

The 2024 Tasting Australia will continue South Australia’s calendar of blockbuster major events, closely following both the AFL Gather Round and LIV Golf Adelaide next April.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said Tasting Australia plays an important role in telling the state’s food and beverage story.

“The 2024 program is filled with culinary experiences unique to the state and I look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences across Adelaide and regional South Australia,” Minister Bettison said.

“This year’s event attracted bumper crowds, with more than 68,000 discovering the CBD festival hub, Town Square in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. With exciting new additions for 2024 – including experiences which bring visitors direct to region from interstate, the benefits of this event are only set to grow.

“As our nation’s longest running culinary festival, Tasting Australia is one of the many events that makes South Australia a must-visit events destination, and will come hot on the heels of the highly anticipated AFL Gather Round and LIV Golf Adelaide next April.

Tasting Australia Festival Director, Karena Armstrong said it is exciting for audiences to experience what’s new for the event in 2024.

“The 2024 is all about fun! We want eventgoers to leave not only with full bellies but with full hearts and lifelong memories,” Ms Armstrong said.

“From a Pasta Party in Town Square, the new hands-on MAKE sessions or intimate drinks tastings at the Tasting Table series, there is something for everyone to get involved with right across the state.”

Tasting Australia Food Curator, Kane Pollard said he can’t wait to share our local produce with talent from around the globe.

“Tasting Australia attracts some of the most talented chefs and drinks makers in the industry – it is always a thrill to see them using local South Australia produce and singing their praises,” Mr Pollard said.

“This state has some of the best producers in the world and giving them a platform to shine is what Tasting Australia is all about. The partnerships between local food producers, working farms, tourism venues, breweries and drinks makers are what makes this event so special.

“The festival hub – Town Square – will return to Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga offering free entry and a fresh look including new food vendors and bars to explore and discover.”

RAA Chief Executive Officer, Nick Reade said RAA Travel was proud to be back as the presenting partner this year, helping support the food and wine industry and local businesses.

“At RAA Travel we’re always spruiking the best parts of South Australia and Tasting Australia is one of those world class events that brings together the best of our food and wine sector,” Mr Reade said.

“The very popular RAA Lounge will be back bigger and better this year, offering a welcoming spot for RAA members to hang out and enjoy the Town Square.”

/Public Release. View in full here.