Chill Island, Hot Food - Tasting Australia 2010

Sydney Rock Oysters

Photo by Tabbouleh Breath — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

This week we’re showcasing Australia’s Chill Island Festival, a yearly event held on Churchill Island, the traditional land of the Bunurong people. In addition to an extraordinary lineup of annual festivals, Australia boasts amazing wine, a cutting-edge food scene, magnaminous people, and festivals with the word “chill” in the title. (They also refer to men’s bathing suits as “Budgie smugglers”). What a country!

In the last decade, Australia has crept out of outback and onto the forefront of the foodie scene. The Tasting Australia festival brings together hundreds of the world’s most influential chefs, sommeliers, restaurateurs, and food writers to show off the best in Dinkum Australian cusine. (That’s “genuine” for those of you who don’t speak Oz!)

Tasting Australia was originally conceived as a media event to bring attention to the bounty of Southern Australia. Word got out, and now the festival regularly attracts more than 50,000 people. In addition to colorful chefs cooking colorful food, the festival hosts the popular Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards, (the foodie equivalent of the Oscars) and the Australian Regional Culinary Competition hosted by LifeStyle FOOD Channel.

Greater Melbourne team manager, Greg O’Shea, claims that his region boasts “an unlimited variety of exquisite food and wine influenced by its diverse multicultural society” and Greg isn’t lying. Several regional specialties include King Island cream, Sydney rock oysters, Bowen mangoes, Coffin Bay scallops, Tasmanian salmon, and Illabo milk-fed lamb. Tasting Australia also showcases a culinary tradition known as “bush tucker”, or the simple preparation of local meats and vegetables in the bush style. “Damper” is a classic bush dish that I won’t be eating anytime soon as it involves flour and water cooked in campfire coals. However, I’m open to trying “Anaboroo, Mango and Burrawong Soup” because I really like the letter ‘o’.

The Chill Island Festival is happening this week. Tasting Australia is happening next year. If you can’t make it to either, open up a can of vegemite and check out some other chill festivals in Australia.

- Courtney Maum

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One Response to “Chill Island, Hot Food - Tasting Australia 2010”

  1. Ann Jareckie
    January 30th, 2009 19:28

    There is another wonderful foodie festival that takes place in Australia — The Rocks Aroma Festival — featuring a delectable array of chocolate, tea, coffee, and spices. The name says it all! The 2009 dates have not yet been set, but you can check it out at
    Cheers, Ann

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