Paul Henry chats about Tasting Australia

Posted on March 20, 2014


Robin Thicke’s mega hit ‘Blurred Lines’ could easily serve as the theme song for Tasting Australia in 2014. Wine expert and Tasting Australia Creative Director Paul Henry might not approve of the song choice, but it definitely sums up his approach.

“We’re really trying to break down the barrier between a wine event and a food event,” he says. “I think they are two things that should happen simultaneously. I’m enjoying the blurring of the lines between what constitutes a food event and a wine event.”

So it’s both a food and a wine event? Well, no. I’ll let Paul explain.

“Tasting Australia isn’t a food and wine festival. What we’re making are eating and drinking experiences and I think that’s an important distinction to make. I really want people to turn up and do as opposed to just watch.”

The event is all about getting involved.

“I think that’s what’s terrific about Tasting Australia. The cooking demonstrations aren’t just passive, they’re actually demonstration classes where you’re invited to follow the leader and roll up your sleeves and peel the potatoes and chop the vegetables.”

One of the feature events at this year’s festival will be the Langton’s Classification where guests can try some of the best wines in Australia. The question Paul says he is asked almost more than any other is, “What’s the best that Australia has to offer?” And this is where the Langton’s Classification comes in – a handy form guide to what’s exciting and credible in Australian wine.

Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard, Barossa.

Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard, Barossa. Photo: SA Tourism Commission

Another event Paul is excited about is a pilgrimage through the Barossa called A Neighbour’s Table to Table Walk. It starts at the Henschke’s family table and takes guests on a stroll past the ancient Hill of Grace vineyard (pictured above) and through the rolling pastures to Hutton Vale Farm, home of the Angas family.

“It’s hosted by the families themselves, and for me that’s what’s fantastic about Australia and what I’m passionate about in terms of South Australia. I think that’s what this event and Adelaide can offer that you wouldn’t necessarily get elsewhere.”

With its associated regional events, Tasting Australia will nearly span the state, from Kangaroo Island to the Flinders Ranges and across to Port Lincoln.

Paul says you will find as much cultural diversity in South Australia as you will in some continents. He points to the Prussian heritage in the Barossa, the Mediterranean heritage in McLaren Vale, the mix of Anglo and originally Germanic influences in the Adelaide Hills, the eastern European influences that created the fishing community in Port Lincoln and the relatively new arrivals in the Barossa such as the team at FermentAsian.

Origins will be a strong theme at this year’s Tasting Australia. “It’s more profound than fusion, it’s quintessentially Australian. It’s borderless and it’s boundless and it’s cross-generational and it’s full of possibility. That’s what I think is so exciting.”

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