Food festivals are the ultimate in Bacchanalian indulgence – but they can be more than that. These South Australian events are not only a delight to the palate but also showcase our beautiful state.
Think a carnival with food stalls, then imagine it multiplied by 100. That’s the kind of extravaganza you can expect at this funky fest in the eastern suburbs.
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a full month of festival fun in the heart of Adelaide, head west to the Eyre Peninsula for this free event. Raise a glass to oysters and their many companions at this Labor Day weekend celebration on Ceduna’s Murat Bay foreshore. Expect shucking competitions, premium dining and a show-stopping fireworks display over the water.
If the oysters don’t do it for you, tuck into a seafood skewer or try your hand at making your own Kilpatrick (oysters, mayonnaise, bacon and Worcestershire sauce). Or partake in a public lecture on the rich Aboriginal culture of Ceduna.
Taking place in the heart of South Australia’s wine country, this annual harvest festival has become a must-do for all serious foodies and those who want to learn more about the region. CRUSH is a sensory explosion of wines, regional produce and rustic music held over nine days at wineries around the Coonawarra region, about four hours’ drive south of Adelaide.
There’s no shortage of big objects in South Australia, and this is the place to see them all. From a giant potato to a 10m-tall sculpture of a sheep, there’s music, miming, juggling, circus, theatre, comedy, singing and dancing – all with the backdrop of the Southern Highlands. It’s the second largest Fringe Festival in the world. You’ll also find a huge selection of local and international beer at this year’s event.
Coonawarra Cabernet Festival
The hallowed terra rossa of Coonawarra is steeped in Australia’s winemaking folklore. And rightly so – the region produces some of Australia’s finest (and boldest) red wines.
The area is a four hour drive south of Adelaide and less visited than the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills but it rolls out its country hospitality for all who arrive. Immaculate rows of vines are framed by majestic gum trees, roughshod iron wool sheds and stone farm buildings.
Cabernet Sauvignon is Coonawarra’s signature grape but the region also excels at a lighter style with delicate aromatic qualities of melon, pineapple and lemon. This is a smart alternative to the bolder styles of Sauvignon Blanc from cooler regions such as Adelaide Hills, Margaret River and Marlborough.
This year’s festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of Coonawarra with a range of events and tastings to tantalise the senses. Tee off with the who’s who of the region on the Cabernet Celebrations Golf Day, try your hand at blending your own wine, sample decade-old wines at the Coonawarra Regional Cabernet Decadence Tasting and graze on locally grown produce.
There’s also a chance to see what happens when you combine world class beef and Coonawarra wine. Rymill Coonawarra will host a grazing event that pairs world class beef with their signature wines and craft beer from Pirate Life Brewery. This is a family friendly event with live music and a jumping castle on offer.
CheeseFest + Ferment
Whether you’re a die hard cheese lover, a craft beer fanatic or a proponent of all things fermented, this autumn event offers a match made in heaven. Held in Rymill Park/Murlawirrapurka, the festival will showcase local artisan food and beverages with a special emphasis on the Italian, Spanish and French quarters. The event also includes demonstrations and workshops by skilled artisans. Tickets are available online and at the door, with the option to book early entry and on-site parking.
This year, a new event will be added to the festival lineup: Ferment the Festival. Directed by Kris Lloyd, head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights, this new event will expand on the festival theme to include a contemporary look at all things fermentation. In addition to food and drink, the festival will feature a variety of events and workshops that explore various aspects of preparing and cooking with fermented ingredients.
This is a great way to experience some of the many wineries in the Adelaide Hills. The festival celebrates the region’s wines and features a variety of events, tastings and entertainment. The program is full of activities, from a Chef Competition to an exclusive dinner with winemakers and chefs. This is a family friendly event.
Festival of the Sausage
A yearly festival celebrating the humble sausage is one of Adelaide’s quirky offerings. The Csaba Sausage Festival celebrates local and regional cuisine, and carries on traditions that are almost lost. Guests are encouraged to try different sausage varieties, as well as beer and wine. The festival’s main attractions include sausage-kneading competitions, pig-keeping and community feasts. The event is held over a week in April.
A week in April is dedicated to all things wine, food and music in the Clare Valley region. CRUSH is Australia’s biggest food and wine festival, where you can indulge in the region’s many delicious wine varieties and sample foods from a variety of local chefs. A must for every foodie!
Food is on the menu again in May, with the Tasting Australia paddock-to-plate festival. This is a celebration of the state’s food heroes and flavour combinations. Be sure to pack your stretchy clothes!
If you prefer the big stage to the kitchen, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a dazzling showcase of performers in jazz, comedy, dance, theatre, burlesque and vocal gymnastics. The festival runs over a month in midwinter, and it’s a great way to shake off those winter blues.
In the charming regional city of Orange, a 10 day feast for all the senses is on offer at F.O.O.D Week. One of Australia’s longest-running regional food festivals, this annual event celebrates Orange’s incredible contributions to the country’s culinary scene.
Kakadu Food & Wine Festival
The mighty potato is the star of this festival celebrating our stalwart vegetable. Roll up your sleeves and dig in, as you compete in potato eating, sack racing and mash-potato-making challenges. A ripper day out for the whole family.
Kakadu is a World Heritage-listed national park with towering escarpments, monsoon rainforest and glistening floodplains. It also happens to be Australia’s most celebrated bush tucker destination. Come to A Taste of Kakadu in May and experience traditional Indigenous food with a modern twist. You’ll meet local Bininj chefs and sample foods that have been eaten in this pristine natural environment for thousands of years.
Think you’re a wine expert? Challenge your palate at this dazzling event, with over 30 beautiful Adelaide Hills cellar doors offering delicious tastings and events. Featuring live entertainment and a range of workshops, it’s the perfect way to spend a weekend sipping some of South Australia’s finest deep reds.
The Garden of Unearthly Delights is a wild and wonderful celebration of performance art, carnival rides, awe-inspiring music and delicious market stalls. This outdoor festival as part of Adelaide Fringe runs for a month from mid-February and is one not to be missed.
Cheese & Wine Festival
The ultimate cheese and wine lovers experience, this event brings together a variety of the country’s top cheesemakers and renowned wines from around Australia. In addition to the many food and beverage stalls on offer, guests can also enjoy cooking demos, meet the makers sessions and a popular FERMENT bar.
The festival also boasts a more educational element and features a range of masterclasses. For example, you can attend a Wine and Cheese Masterclass to learn how the size and shape of glassware can impact the taste of your favourite bottles. Another highlight is the Emile’s Fromage Montage, which is a fun way to taste a number of cheese dishes from various global marketplaces. Guests are given a Festival Passport on entry, which they can then use to get stamped with five different Emile’s Fromage Montage menu items. Once they have a full list, they can return to the Shimmering Sips marketplace to collect their prize.
For those looking for a more cultural experience, the Adelaide Fringe Festival takes place over two weeks in March. This year, the Fringe will feature acclaimed theatre productions, music by world-class musicians, spectacular dance pieces and striking visual arts displays. The festival also offers a great opportunity to try some of the best seafood on the south coast and sample local wines and craft beer.