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Sunday, 19 May 2019 10:00

Taste of Kakadu provides a feast of savoury experiences

What an amazing experience Taste of Kakadu 2019 was! Here’s a wrap up of the events we loved!

FAMILY CAMP COOKING

The Taste of Kakadu saw the students of the Jabiru Area School cook up a storm, showcasing their family favourite camping recipes using local Northern Territory ingredients. The event was a fantastic opportunity to dive deep into how the traditional cultures of cooking and modern cuisine combine themselves in Kakadu’s family kitchens.

The tourism students demonstrated their traditional ways of cooking with fire, including buffalo, geese, fish, bread and damper. Students from the Australian Army Cadets displayed their creative ration pack cooking, a useful method for anyone choosing to go on long hikes.

CANAPE CRUISE

Wrapping up the day at Kakadu couldn’t have been easier. The Indigenous-owned Yellow Water Cruises offered a Canape Cruise taking visitors on a discovery tour through the rich wildlife and dramatic scenery of the Yellow Water Billabong. The cruise offered traditional food and refreshing drinks along one of the park’s most spectacular wetland ecosystems. Yellow Water Billabong boasts dramatic scenery and a remarkable range of local wildlife, including over 200 bird species and the region’s famed massive saltwater crocodiles. We’re not quite sure what the crocs thought of humans eating crocodile canapes, but they certainly tasted great!

While the crocs usually take centre stage, for many passengers, the bird life was just as extraordinary. The native eagles were seen hovering over the Billabong searching for the prey, and the distinctive jabirus and brolgas were always putting on a show. The Canape Cruise ran every afternoon through-out the festival, making it the perfect time to see the sunset over the horizon and the local wildlife.

Lovers of birdlife should mark down the first week of October for Kakadu Bird Week – one of the greatest natural spectacles on earth.

MARK OLIVE MASTERCLASS

Mark Olive is one of Australia’s most renowned indigenous chefs, and the star of the popular SBS series The Chef’s Line. He brought his passion for cooking to the Taste of Kakadu festival, putting on a fascinating cooking demonstration at the Bowali Visitor Centre. Mark is a Bundjalung man, showing off his passion for fusing native and Indigenous Australian ingredients with contemporary cooking techniques.

Mark Olive whipped up a unique kangaroo stir-fry with Singapore noodles during his class for his audience, as well as the use of local native herbs. His classes at the Taste of Kakadu were free, making it an attractive day out for everyone who wanted to taste local Kakadu cuisine.

FESTIVAL HUB

The Festival Hub was a key part of the event, presenting local food stalls and various cooking demonstrations to the public, as well as live music from local artists, arts and crafts and fun activities for all the family. The hub included the Man-me art exhibition, which turned the area into an atmospheric outdoor art show displaying the best of the Top End’s Indigenous art in a truly unique environment.

The festival hub was also home to the opening and closing ceremonies, displaying local indigenous dance arts to the public, as well as the sale of Indigenous Art and local cuisine.

MAWURNDADDJA CULTURAL TOUR OF ARNHEM LAND

The exclusive tour of the Arnhem Land allowed guests to explore unique parts of the region that tourists rarely get to see. Organised by Kakadu Cultural Tours and Guluyambi Cruises, the once-in-a-lifetime experience dived deep into the history and cultural aspects of Arnhem Land. The experience kicked off with a guided cruise through-out the East Alligator River into Arnhem Land, with expert local guides leading guests through centuries of impressive Aboriginal rock art as well as recently completed paintings.

The tour ended in Jabiru, with a meal featuring local and international dishes including Thai-Indigenous fusion canapes, mains and desserts at the Anbinik Restaurant. 

BUSH FOODS TOUR

This popular interactive and authentic exploration of local bush foods allowed guests to learn about food plants and edible insects. The tour ended up at the edge of the billabong where a traditional menu was prepared by local chefs based on seasonal produce including fish, green ants, waterlily cakes, wattleseeds, tubers and native peppermint.

The tour allowed visitors to get close and personal with local wildlife, including feeding waterbirds, against a spectacular backdrop of Burrungkuy’s imposing sandstone rock-face glowing in the setting sun.

BUSH BOWLS AND BASKETS

The festival wrapped up with local experts to learn the art of traditional indigenous weaving. Guests were mesmerised by the artists’ skills as they weaved elaborate food baskets from local pandanus leaves. With a cost of just $5, this activity proved a massive hit with Festival goers..