Out and About in Adelaide

Today was the last day of ATE, but rather than stay through the end, my little group took off to explore the city of Adelaide—one of the first major cities in Australia that was not founded by or for convicts, but by and for free immigrants. (And, for the record, fear not—I’ll have plenty more from ATE for you soon, but it’s nice to take a break from the trade show floor, don’t you think?)

We met up with Chris Smyth of Tourabout Adelaide for a whirlwind tour of the city. Our first stop, bright and early, was Haigh’s Chocolates, one of Australia’s most popular high-end chocolatiers for nearly a century. (The founder’s son, who helped make the company the success it is, was educated at the Lindt factory in Switzerland.) We watched workers making truffles, learned about the entire process of creating the confection, and sampled some of the merchandise. (The last part was probably the best.)

From there, we toured the Jam Factory, which is not, as the name might suggest, a jam factory, but rather a studio for designing and creating visual art—from ceramics to glass to jewelry. We watched one artist create a bowl from a lump of clay, and another turn some delicate glass into a gorgeous crystal swan. The Factory doubles as a school, and the artwork created by its residents is available for purchase.

Before Stendhal syndrome could get us (we could have watched the artists at work for hours), we headed to the Holdfast Shores Marina for a quick ride with Temptation Sailing, which guarantees dolphin views in the harbor. We didn’t have the normal multiple-hour trip most passengers would get, but we did, indeed, see a dolphin swimming in front of the boat, and another playing closer to the marina on the way back.

After a tasty lunch of dim sum at Ding Hao Restaurant in Adelaide’s Chinatown, we met up with Mark Gleeson for a tour of Adelaide Central Markets, an indoor three-acre farmers market that has become a local institution. The stands offer an amazing variety of food (a Khazakstani meat-filled donut? Why not?) and plenty of organic options (the proprietors can—and will—tell you all about the farms where the food for sale comes from). Mark organized tastings at several of the stands, and we got to sample local brie (amazingly creamy), chocolates (decadent), salamis (too spicy even for me) and oysters (I heard they were great; not a big fan of mollusks, myself). Mark also got us a tour of the back of a butcher shop, which was very educational but probably not something squeamish people would really enjoy.

For the evening, we’re staying at the Rendezvous Allegra in the city’s business district—it’s a cool, modern kind of place, with windows in the bottom of the pool that look down onto the entranceway. (I’m really sad I won’t have a chance to try that pool.) Tomorrow: More touring of Adelaide, and then off to Melbourne to start the long journey home!


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