Lovers of bread and history joined together in May for an annual tradition: lighting the Adelaide Town Square wood oven.
The ceremony signalled the start of Tasting Australia, one of South Australia’s biggest culinary events.
The coals used to light the wood oven were taken from third generation baker Corey Fechner of Apex Bakery in Tanunda. The Apex coals have been burning for more than 90 years and travelled more than 70km from Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, through Adelaide city and to Victoria Square – the centre of the festival.
Maggie Beer retrieved the ashes from the iconic Barossa producer on behalf of the festival with an old shovel – decades old but still used to this day. She was delighted to bring an important part of history to festival-goers.
“Today is a wonderful celebration for the community of food producers, creators and foodies. The coals represent our food history, hard labour, and the backbone of our farming, producing, creating, culinary and wine community,” she said.
Maggie said the ashes are symbolic of the artisan baking community’s commitment to traditional and honest products.
“It’s about the land, the rustic, raw and personal passion for produce, creation, wines and sharing and the giving within our community,” she said.
“No matter what we do with our food and produce, it all starts with fire – the creation and development of our produce is created with the heat and flame – the fire.”
The wood oven played host to a number of activities throughout the eight-day festival, with international guest bakers Josey Baker and Jeffrey Hamelman leading the charge alongside national chefs and local artisan bakers. It was also used for a number demonstrations and an interactive Artisan’s Hour where bakers teamed up with local olive oil, small goods and cheese producers.