Keep on reading for a comprehensive guide on all the food, fun and festivities Handpicked had to offer!
Premium ‘Cellar Door’ VIP Pass ($200 + booking fee)
As it was our first time ever at Handpicked, we wanted to get the most out of our festival experience – and their new 2018 Cellar Door Premium Space definitely delivered!
Each Premium Pass included entry to the festival, exclusive access to the Cellar Door Premium Bohemian Space, and five drinks cards, which were attached as tear-off squares on the VIP wristband.
As we walked through the intricately decorated archway, we were transported into a bohemian wonderland, fully furnished with tables, lounges, beanbags and fairylights galore!
The pièce de résistance was the private bar, fully stocked with all the Lake Breeze Wines you could possibly ask for! But plot twist – it was in a double decker bus! The first level had been decked out with a bar, whilst the second level had been converted into a rooftop viewing deck! Kudos to the team at TJ’s Bar for creating such an eccentric retrofitted bar on wheels!
Between 4pm – 7pm, gourmet catering was also provided by Strathalbyn’s very own The Olfactory Inn, freshly prepared by chef Simon Burr.
For our first course served between 4 – 5pm, we were treated to prawn and green mango salad topped with crispy shallots and a drizzle of nim jim dressing.
From 5 – 6pm, we were then served the most wholesome beef and tomato ragout with a generous sprinkle of shaved parmesan and basil.
The third course was served between 6 – 7pm and consisted of kangaroo and beetroot curry with coconut pandan rice – a unique combination of flavours to end the night’s catering with a bang.
Throughout the Cellar Door Premium Bohemian Space were cute little hangout places where you could kick back on a beanbag, outdoor lounge, cane-style chair or picnic rug and enjoy the chill tunes with a perfect view of the stage.
Two cozy little corners were set up by the lovely team at Undercover Events, such as the ‘Happy Place’ – a beautiful bell tent decked out with patterned boho rugs and cushions.
Just next door to this adorable tent was a wooden pallet table with the most gorgeous little floral arrangements on top, surrounded by more cushions where you could plonk yourself down and enjoy a drink (or too many) with friends!
Complete with personal amenities and bathrooms where you never had to wait in line for too long, these Premium ‘Cellar Door’ Passes were definitely worth every penny!
The Cocktail Forest
Past the white wrought iron gates and across the rickety little bridge, nestled in amongst the endless labyrinth of 100-year-old gums, lies the whimsical Cocktail Forest.
With plenty of lawn space to lay down your picnic rugs and sprawl across, this is the perfect place to gather the whole squad together and sip cocktails as the golden sunbeams trickle through the gum leaves above.
Within the depths of the forest, an expansive boutique bar offered a selection of three aesthetically pleasing cocktails, carefully crafted by The Rogue & Rascal.
For a sip of something sweet, ‘The Rascal’ ($12) was a fruity concoction of moscato and elderflower decorated with lavender and lime.
For a sinful deep, dark red, ‘The Rebel’ ($15) was a dark aubergine stonefruit sangria embellished with dried grapes still on the original vine.
For all those rosé lovers, ‘The Rogue’ ($12) was a “pretty in pink” rose petal spritzer topped with a slice of dried orange delicate real-life dried rose petals.
In addition to these three darling cocktails, all your old favourites from Lake Breeze Wines were also on offer, including Moscato, Rosé, Vermentino and Selection 54 Shiraz.
For only an extra $3, you were able to purchase a reusable plastic wine glass crafted by sustainability extraordinaires Globelet. Not only did these environmentally friendly creations have the Handpicked logo printed on the front as the perfect keepsake, but you were able to have them rinsed out at any of the endless bars in between drinks!
The Food Garden
Just a hop, skip and jump away from the Cocktail Forest lay The Food Garden – any foodie’s wildest dreams come to fruition in amongst a sea of bunting, flags and hanging fairylights.
Here’s an extensive list of all the mobile food trucks that opened their doors to serve hungry festival-goers anything they could have possibly craved, ranging from dumplings to waffles on a stick.
Niks Gourmet Kitchen
Specialising in gourmet baked potatoes topped with everything from bolognese bacon melts to vegetarian melts. Well-renowned for their American-style ribs and wings coated in smokey bbq, buffalo and middle eastern-flavoured marinades. Niks Kitchen offered big, hearty meals to satisfy those drunk cravings.
The Hungry Toro
Bringing a touch of Spain to Handpicked, The Hungry Toro offered up two versions of their authentic Spanish paella for only $15! Option one included chicken, pork, chorizo and prawns, whilst option two was a combination of chicken, pork and seafood.
Fully Loaded Hot Chips
This food truck offered up hot chips served with your choice of toppings, ranging from ‘fish & chips’, ‘sweet potato nacho’ and ‘bbq pulled pork’, to ‘satay beef’, ‘chilli con carne’ and ‘cheese and gravy’. Nuggets and plain chips in trays or cups were also on offer, as well as the most delicious mozzarella sticks I have ever seen.
Kudos to Gang Gang for naming their burger and fries meals after music references. Serving chicken, beef and asian-inspired burgers for the meat lovers, they also had two plant-based options on offer – the vegan cheese burger and indonesian-inspired burger. Their menu of sides consisted of crinkle-cut chips and mozzarella sticks – we tried these little melt-in-your-mouth moments and boy were they incredible!
Staazi & Co – The Greek Vegan Project
Specialising in 100% plant based vegan food with absolutely no animal products, Staazi & Co offered a variety of traditional Greek items with a vegan twist. Items on their menu included yiros, ‘AB’ (yiros, chips and sauce), loaded fries, hot chips, moussaka, yemista, revithia, fasolakia, spanakopita and fukhes.
To cool down during the 26-degree weather, Popsicool was the place to go! Serving up eight different flavours of handcrafted and simply natural ice blocks ranging from raspberry lemonade to pineapple coconut, Popsicool are a locally owned company who produce all of their products in South Australia. All popsicles were $4.50 and kept chilled in their freezer. I tried the raspberry lemonade flavour, which had little strawberry seeds frozen inside for added effect!
Gourmet Grillerz offers a wide range of gourmet options from spit roast meats, finger foods, street foods, salads, desserts and the gourmet bbq. Their menu for this event included roast pork belly rolls, Angus beef burgers, footlong cheese kranskys, Vienna hot dogs, hot chips, loaded fries, gravy fries and a selection of soft drinks and water.
Have no fear, coffee addicts – you could still get your daily caffeine dose thanks to Strathalbyn’s very own Bean Machine! We tried their iced coffee for a refreshing boost in amongst the dancing and dining!
Fitted out in the most adorable retro ice-cream van, Retro Refresh offered an interesting variety of vintage-themed snacks, including prawn cocktails, beer battered potato scallops, nicoise salads and antipasto squares. With a cute picnic basket out the front filled with utensils and serviettes, this entire set-up was radiating all the 1950s vibes!
Let Them Eat
With their slogan being ‘whole food for a fast life’, Let Them Eat provide wholefoods at a fast pace, eliminating wait times with their pie-warming bain marie folly stocked with readily made items. For ‘food on a fork’ they had several salad options with sides of fries available, whilst the ‘food in the hand’ option was a falafel wrap. We tried the pumpkin and feta arancini ball and fell head over heels in love!
Jack Psellos and his team at Squid Inc. whipped up a menu consisting of quality South Australian seafood products. Offering a full range of local and exotic seafood, prepared and cooked on site for maximum freshness, their signature fish and chips are perfect for those greasy food cravings after a drink or two!
Clark Street Catering
The team behind Clark Street Catering are locals serving up local food! With a many consisting of all fresh, locally sourced produce ranging from pork, chicken and haloumi buns to loaded fries and nuggets, Clark Street Catering offered plenty of snacks to fill those bellies before the wine started to flow.
Home of the Greek Souvlaki, Orexi Souvlaki have the vision of using traditional methods and family recipes, to honour the Greek heritage and to take joy in bringing delicious food to Adelaide. All you need is Orexi! Kali Orexi (which is Greek for a ‘good appetite’!)
Moi An Vietnamese
Mời Ăn is a Vietnamese phrase meaning “please eat” – and that’s what this stall was all about! Serving up fresh and tasty Vietnamese fusion dishes ranging from dumplings (which sold out in an instant!) to kebabs, all items are made with love in a home kitchen. We tried the chicken satay kebabs with a Thai salad on the side and were delighted with an explosion of flavour – the delicious peanut of the satay sauce and the tangy refreshing flavour of the salad!
El Diablo Wood Fired Pizzas
El Diablo Pizza’s are all about creating wickedly delicious wood fired pizzas using fresh local SA produce! Having their wood oven ablaze all night long, pizzas on their menu included the vegetarian options of margherita and mediterranean, as well as the meat lover’s options of bbq chicken and spicy chorizo and olives.
The Pasta Guy
The Pasta Guy is a small family-owned mobile food van that serves – you guessed it – pasta. Not your average pasta, but traditional and gourmet pasta! All their pasta sauces are homemade by fully qualified chef, Richard Thorne. And where possible, they always use locally sourced Barossa Valley ingredients for the freshest and richest flavours.
Last but certainly not least, Wafflestix satiated everyone’s sweet tooth with their unique waffles on a stick! Flavours ranged from hot chocolate, rocky road and salted caramel, to nutella and strawberries, ferrero rochers and white chocolate! I tried their nutella and sprinkles waffle and went into a chocolate coma soon after. The Nutella was warm and gooey and the hundreds and thousands were a throwback to my childhood!
Gourmet Picnic Hamper
At the time of booking our tickets, we pre-order one of these Gourmet Picnic Hampers ($59), carefully crafted and put together with love by the lovely crew at Graze Gourmet Platter Co. Filled to the brim with all the most fresh and delicious goodies to graze on, this picnic hamper pairs perfectly with any of the Lake Breeze Wines on offer at the endless bars. Our hamper fed three people comfortably, as my two friends and I finished the entire thing as we sipped wine and listened to chill tunes under the stars.
All of the hampers were vegetarian, and there were gluten free alternative crackers available. All you had to do was simply visit Graze Gourmet Platter Co.’s stall in the Food Garden and show a copy of the booking confirmation email that was sent to you at the time of booking.
To top off our ultimate Handpicked experience, we spoilt ourselves with a Glamping Experience! In addition to purchasing one Tent City Pass each ($15), we invested in a Double Bed Glamping Package ($230 + booking fee). This included one double air mattress, all bedding (pillows, sheets and blankets), lighting, rugs and a wooden bench for us to have our homemade cheese platters on before and after the festival. The spacious bell tent easily fit all three of us without us having to bend over all the time! As the festival drew to a close, we were able to come back to tent city without having to worry about blowing up inflatable mattresses that had deflated throughout the afternoon and simply let our heads hit the pillow. The next morning, we were able to sleep in comfortably and had the ease of mind knowing we didn’t have to pack up a large tent. A huge shoutout goes to Tent Events SA for such a delightful set-up and pampering us for the weekend!
And that captures the magical experience that was Handpicked Festival 2018! A round of applause goes to all the masterminds behind bringing the festival together – your efforts and attention to detail definitely did not go unnoticed, and all of your hard work well and truly paid off!
Thank-you so much to my darling two best friends, Mal and Darcy, for making the festival such a beautiful, memorable experience! I hope your 20th birthday was just as outrageously amazing as you are, Mal – you honestly deserve the world!
Handpicked Festival is definitely going to become a new annual tradition for my friends and I to attend! Here’s to many more memories yet to come, Handpicked!
Catch you at another cafe,