When we first started discussing Eat Drink Blog 3 there was one thing I really wanted from the conference, the opportunity to show of South Australia. I’ve travelled and I’ve lived overseas, I also love interstate cities, but Adelaide and it’s surrounds have such a huge place in my heart. Eat Drink Blog 3 would be my first Eat Drink Blog conference, so I didn’t really know what had been at the other conferences and what we were getting into. I just know that I wanted South Australia to be more than just the conference’s location. After the first meeting it was clear I wasn’t the only one, and so the two day conference started to form around the idea of a day dedicated to exploring some of the best food and wine available in South Australia.
On November 3rd it became a reality.
We held a little group meeting while bloggers started appearing at the doors outside the Market Kitchen in the Adelaide Central Market. Once the doors were opened they swarmed in. On the registrations desk we were meeting everyone, getting waivers signed, and handing out lanyards, programs, and information on the winery tours bloggers would be heading out on afterwards. People mingled and met for the first time, but then it was time to head out on our central market tour. Unfortunately was a bit busy to get out my camera, so I missed out on getting any market snaps apart from a few dodgy instagrams. We went to O’Connell Meat and had a tour through the store, we heard about cheese at Leo’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, tasted some non-alcoholic bubbles at Gourmet to Go, got yoghurt from the Yoghurt Shop, and were introduced to black garlic at the Mushroom Man Mushroom Shop. We only had until 12, when the winery busses would be leaving.
I’m a McLaren Vale girl, but earlier this year I fell in love with the Barossa. I had a lot of misconceptions about the Barossa. It’s filled with only big name wineries. It’s just a tourist trap. It’s too far away from the city. It’s nothing special; overrated. Then I went their for my first Breakfast Rave and started discovering the Barossa for myself. So while the McLaren Vale group headed off to D’Arenberg, I was pretty excited to do a bit more exploring of the Barossa.
The Bus stopped off at Bibu Barossa, and we split into two; the other group then headed off to Taste Eden Valley. At Bibu a large table was laid out for us with wine glasses and our own personal platters of smallgoods from Barossa Fine Foods.
We tasted a number of wines from Diggers Bluff and Soul Growers, and were talked through the smallgoods and how each went best with the various wines. My favourite wine from the day was the Diggers Bluff GSM, I hoped to pick a bottle up, but we were running on a tight schedule and so I ran out of time. I know everyone really enjoyed the tasting at Bibu, so I felt like a bit of a downer when I had to keep reminding everyone that we had to wrap things up soon.
Here’s our group shot with The Hungry Excavator, The Saucy Redhead, Drunk.com, Chew Town, Beyond Jelly, Finger, Fork & Knife, Belly Rumbles, Melissa Loh, The Littlest Anchovy, and Foodie Cravings.
From Bibu we went to Hentley Farm. This was probably one of the things I was most excited about. Lachlan Colwill is a chef I’ve heard a lot about, but I’d never had a chance to eat of his food before. Now executive chef at Hentley Farm, Lachlan was previously at the helm of The Manse; sadly a restaurant I never got a chance to try prior to it’s closing.
Unfortunately I don’t remember too much about the wines, I’m sure it’s not because they’re unmemorable, but I was operating on not much sleep and the food was drawing most of my attention.
The food was interesting without being over the top. We weren’t using pipettes to launch streams of roast beef reduction into our mouths, but there was a certain creativity with them.
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I did really enjoy the crispy rice cracker with mushroom floss and snapper; not a particularly pretty dish, but one that melted in your mouth releasing the flavour of the mushroom and snapper. We also got some beautiful delicate chocolate lollypops that didn’t particularly enjoy being outside in the heat. There were a few that sadly fell from their sticks after the first bite.
Then we were back on the bus, where a few of the bloggers had a bit of a sleep during the long drive.
At the Hilton most people had a bit of time before getting off to the dinner, but as a committee we regrouped and ran over a few aspects of the night. Things were a little tense as the clouds started to get darker and it started lighting spitting. The entire dinner was outside, it was a gorgeous set up with fairy lights and the open sky. Rain was not to be part of the equation.
Thankfully it subsided, and while all our candles still blew out, we had a clear night.
While the bloggers poured in we were all treated to these ‘snow cones’. I can’t remember exactly what was in them, but it was ice and a sweet syrup with red bean (?). I thought maybe they were similar to the shaved ice desserts you get in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines but apparently these were very different. They were light and refreshing, and everyone I saw seemed to enjoy them. They were definitely something different.
These were also followed by some delicious sliders. Yes, yes. Sliders are super trendy at the moment, I know everyone’s serving them. But you know what, I don’t care. I’m all for shamelessly supporting a trend if people are doing it well, and these definitely fit in that category. They’re almost like the sandwiches you make with roast left overs, grab a dinner roll, some meat, and add some mayo. Mmmmmm. Like that… but better.
We took our seats and started chatting to everyone on the table. I was next to Geoff Kwitko, SEO expert extraordinaire and one of our speakers at the conference, so I got to meet him for the first time and also chat to a few of the bloggers I’d met earlier in the day. Geoff was a real hit on the table (as he’d later prove to be at the conference) as he answered everyone’s pressing SEO questions with a whole load of enthusiasm.
The corn was very popular, and I love the way the husks had been tied back. It made it very easy to pass them round the table (which happened often considering everyone wanted seconds). Dennis also very kindly posted a recipe for the corn on his blog (yes he’s a blogger too, make sure you go check him out). We had plenty more to eat, in fact the food just kept coming. My absolute favourite dish of the night would have to be the ribs. The meat was so tender and fell right off the bone. I made sure I grabbed seconds when the plate came around again. I didn’t get any good pictures, because I think that by this stage most of us were concentrating on the food rather than getting any pictures (that’s an impressive feat when food bloggers are around).
One of the highlights of the night for me was actually meeting Dennis Leslie, the executive chef of the Brasserie at the Hilton. The Brasserie is one of my favourite restaurants in Adelaide, and I’ve always enjoyed Dennis’ menus. He’s always seemed like such a friendly guy, and finally getting a chance to meet him proved this was true. I love that he shared the corn recipe saying “nothing is a secret“, something that you definitely wouldn’t hear from all chefs. He definitely doesn’t fit the stereotypical profile of an angry and egotistical chef.
A close second was a little ‘birthday moment‘ I had with the rest of the Eat Drink Blog committee members. Yep. It was my 23rd birthday, but I’d been a little bit too conference focussed to pay it too much attention. But we stepped away from the dinner for a little while, and they sang me happy birthday and gave me a little tart. Then I left a little earlier than I would have liked, so that I could get back home to make sure all of the cupcakes were ready for afternoon tea the next day.
I would have loved to have stayed a little longer, and perhaps continued on well into the night as I know a few other bloggers did. I guess that will be what next year is for, when I’m not on the organising committee.
It was such a fun day, and I know I got to see a bit more of South Australia than usual; I’m glad all the interstate bloggers did too.