Event: Ferment Festival (all ages)
Location: Rundle Park (corner East Terrace and Rundle Road)
Date: Sunday 22/Oct/2017 All day
Reviewer: Kimberley Kurmis
Tickets: From $25 (general admission)
Ferment the Festival had its Australian debut over Thursday 19th through to Sunday 22nd of October, in the beautiful outdoor space Kadlitpina – Rundle Park, in Adelaide’s East End.
Conceptually, the Festival was an evolution of the long-running, critically acclaimed CheeseFest, originally brought to life by the very talented foodie Kris Lloyd who is herself a cheesemaker and South Australian Premium Food and Wine Ambassador. Her latest project brought an unparalleled experience to the doorstep of very enthusiastic South Australians, and the large queue that had formed well before the gates opened at noon hinted that we were in for a treat.
Ferment the Festival offered all things fermented on which to indulge and oodles of other delicious options as well. Everything from beer, wine, cider, martinis and liqueurs were available to sample and purchase, with the most delectable and vast range of cheese, chocolate, artisan breads, fermented foods, coffee and teas…. Ample mouth-watering delights to satisfy even the most seasoned foodie. All of these delicacies were available to purchase and take home, or enjoy there in any number of pop-up bars and gardens.
No festival of this nature would be complete without music and art. 3 separate stages were erected in different areas across the site that accommodated numerous Dj’s and musicians over the course of the day. The air was continuously filled with rhythm, melody or beats, and the striking sculptures OF MILK AND HONEY – an exhibition of work by artist Clancy Warner- contrasted perfectly against the continual movement of the crowds. In the centre of the festival we discovered the large, thoughtfully designed undercover zone where ‘Fermented’ – The Movie screened a few times over the day. The 67 minute doco directed by award-winning The Mind of a Chef (PBS) director Jonathan Cianfrani, has been officially selected for the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.
There were Master Classes and labs available – some for free, some with an associated fee. We took the opportunity to sit in on a cheese making Master Class by Claude Chichell from the iconic La Casa Del Formaggio. The class was expertly hosted by Rebecca Sullivan, who has a long documented love affair with gastronomy, and is heading a movement in “granny skills” which aims to protect the traditions, stories and skills of generations past.
Claude and Rebecca created a thoroughly enjoyable experience, with a warm and friendly atmosphere that encouraged everyone to relax and participate. We were treated to a journey that took us through the family history – from the humble beginnings on a dairy farm in the 80’s to the modern day specialty cheese makers who rightly claim to have been influential in introducing Italian-style cheeses to an historically bland Australian palate. Claude skilfully demonstrated every step in how to ‘stretch’ mozzarella: from ‘chipping’ the cold curd into a large tub by hand, then progressively adding hot water and salt, all the while stirring the mixture with a giant paddle. The end result was a giant, shiny, stretchy and malleable mozzarella ball which he then dexterously twisted into fresh Bocconcini, and Mozzarella Treccia (a plaited version, and very pretty to look at). We were invited to step forward and collect our own tasty blob of warm mozzarella to take back to our table and play with, before we were served some of the freshly prepared cheese on a chunk of artisan bread (kindly hand delivered mid-show by one of the Festival vendors) and drizzled in olive oil. A light sprinkling of salt created a balanced flavour and texture to the divinely rich and creamy morsel, which was consumed rapidly and accompanied by a quiet chorus of Mmmm-ing.
The second food lab we were fortunate enough to participate in, was the Kombucha making class. For those seeking enlightenment Kombucha is a living, low sugar, unpasteurised drink made by fermentation using an ancient East Asian recipe. This food lab was brought to Ferment the Festival by the local business MOJO Komucha (produced locally at a purpose-built factory in the South Australian town of Willunga), and hosted by professional speaker Kale Brock who is also an award-nominated journalist and producer. Kale holds qualifications as an Health & Exercise coach, and has worked tirelessly in the health and wellness industry for the past decade in conjunction with some of Australia’s superlative naturopaths and health personalities. The ‘hot topic’ areas of gut health & the microbiome have become Kale’s passion, and he expertly shared some of his knowledge with an attentive and eager audience on Sunday. We were taken through the steps in making this ancient tea: introduced to ‘Scoby’ (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) which is a quaint, flaccid-jellyfish-cross-pastry type creature whose role is crucial in brewing Kombucha. By the end of the 90min class, we were indeed enlightened, and had every step of the process explained and demonstrated to us by the gorgeous Charavy Chan. We sampled MOJO Kombucha at various stages of fermentation, and we all had acquired a solid understanding of the powerful health benefits of this extraordinary fermented tea.
It was late in the day when we drifted away from the final food lab, and our last walk around the festival grounds confirmed that South Aussies were certainly making the most of the experience. Big queues lingered at the likes of: Lobo Juice and Cider, Prancing Pony Beer, Simon Bryant dirt(y) inc, Coriole Vineyards, Robe Dairy, Woodside Cheese, Red Cocao (yummo!), Dough Bakery, and the Espresso Martini Bar. We left Kadlitpina with our tastebuds dancing, our bellies full and our minds significantly broadened. Over all we thoroughly enjoyed our dalliance with fermented foods, and can’t for Ferment the Festival 2018.
Words by Kimberley Kurmis.