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Bizzell’s guide to the gourmet capital – Adelaide

Entering it’s sixth season, Places We Go is a refreshingly real travel series hosted by former player Clint Bizzell and partner Jennifer Adams. Tune in to Channel 10 each Saturday at 4.30pm to follow their journey or click here to visit their website for more episodes.

Below is Clint Bizzell’s guide to wining and dining in the gourmet capital, Adelaide.

I LOVE South Australia – it has so much to offer in the way of incredible landscapes, wildlife, food and wine.

And I have always viewed Adelaide as the gateway to all of these fantastic experiences.

But the city itself is so much more than just an entry point and, as I found out on a recent trip with Places We Go, Adelaide has its own incredible culture of food and wine that is truly deserving of a visit.

Adelaide is big enough to have everything you could need, but small enough to be able to reinvent itself, move with the times and play host to any number of events.

It has a huge arts and sports culture in addition to its love of food and wine. And it’s dead easy to get around. With a little more than a million people, by international standards it is a very accessible capital city, and you can get from the beach, to the CBD, to the Hills all within about half-an-hour.

Our time in Adelaide begins just 12km from the CBD, where we have set up the Jayco at the BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park.

It seems incredible that you can camp so close to the city centre, yet the park is perfectly positioned on Adelaide’s West Beach and the atmosphere is vibrant. You would never know you were in a major city with the beautiful beach before you and happy holidaymakers relaxing all around.

And the beauty of it is that everything Adelaide has to offer is within easy reach.

The first stop on our itinerary is the perfect introduction to SA’s food culture. The locals are as passionate about produce in the city as they are in the food bowls of the state such as the Barossa. It’s all about seasonal, fresh and local ingredients and the best place to find these is at the Adelaide Central Market.

We meet Mark Gleeson at his stall called Providore. Mark runs tours of the Central Market and has been a stallholder here for more than 20 years and a chef for 30 years, so we know we are in the right hands. We are quickly immersed in the culture of the market with a stop at Lucia’s, a famous little Italian cafe that was started back in 1957 by Italian migrants.

After a hit of caffeine, Mark continues to show us around, and, as you can imagine, it is on a first-name basis. The market is 140 years old and it is not uncommon to find stalls that have been running for decades.

Before I know it, I am behind the counter of O’Connells Butcher learning how to make sausages with Tony O’Connell, who has been a trader here for more than 40 years. All of his meat comes from the regions around Adelaide, and he reckons it’s the best in Australia.

The Adelaide Central Market is the biggest undercover produce market in the southern hemisphere, with 80 stalls, many devoted to multicultural cuisine.

But my favourite stop had to be The Smelly Cheese Shop and, lucky for me, Mark happens to be a cheese analyst.

He puts us through our paces and, with a belly full of incredible local cheese, it’s time to move on to something a little sweeter.

An emerging trend is small dessert bars. It almost seems incredible that Adelaide is pioneering this movement ahead of Melbourne or Sydney, but perhaps that’s also the beauty of being a smaller, innovative city.

This crop of cool, dessert- only bars is, as you can imagine, very popular later in the evenings. We are told that if we want a seat at the Aviary Dessert Kitchen in Norwood we need to get there early.

We meet David and Natalie, the owners and passionate creators of desserts to get a taste of what everyone is talking about.

Neither are chefs – both are self-taught and driven purely by their passion – but their creations speak for themselves. Forced to choose between delectable delights such as the quirkily named Forest Gump, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Snickers and Simply Red, we are soon lost for words. David and Natalie clearly have a lot of fun in the kitchen, and the menu is an eclectic mix of flavours and textures.

The finale to our food and wine trail is at the rustic Cantina Sociale, a wine bar in the less-discovered West End of the CBD that focuses on what is in the glass, rather than brands, labels and awards.

With wine that flows directly out of the barrel and only nine barrels on offer at any one time, you can discover an incredible range of new drops that are changed regularly. The McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon we taste, we are told, might not be available here next week. Or ever again.

The atmosphere is intimate, warm and welcoming and it’s clearly a popular venue for a Sunday session.

We settle in for the afternoon with our new friends, toasting the great experiences on offer in the city of Adelaide.

* Places We Go was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission