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So many brands espouse ‘trends’ such as local, regional and authentic but few naturally inhibit all these characteristics. One brand that does is Icons South Australia (SA), a gourmet food and wine store that promotes and sources local produce, and is located in Adelaide Airport’s Terminal 1.

Airport retail outlets don’t usually have the best reputation for style or choice, but Terminal 1 is the perfect location for the store as today’s passengers are looking for unique products to take with them on their journey. For example, Ferguson Australia premium rock lobsters can be packed on ice for your trip interstate. And for locals, all the best produce can be found in one central location.

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The store stocks 100% SA produce and Brett Metherall, the Concept Manager for HDS Retail Asia Pacific (which created the brand and operates the store), said the concept couldn’t work anywhere else in the country as those who live in SA, more than any other State in Australia, are particularly parochial and passionate about their food. As Metherall says, “SA has the highest quality of gourmet food and wine produce in Australia, and the passion of the producers is unmatched. We could fill this store three times over with SA produce.”

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All the iconic brands are represented like Beerenberg, Farmers Union, Balfours and Golden North, the ice cream brand that people were eating 20 years ago. These well known brands are household names that people associate with times gone by and fond childhood memories. But to stock the store, the project team also went to regional areas like Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale to find hidden gems to showcase. Unique choices to try are Willabrand’s fig, fennel and chilli chutney, Kurianda’s bush tucker and Port Willunga Fine Foods’ glace cumquats.

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The Icons store delivers a broad wine range by giving smaller wineries retail space, and the opportunity to show off their product to an international audience. Metherall says it’s important for the store to reflect the latest news in the wine industry. It stocks lesser known grape varieties like Dog Ridge’s Petit Verdot and Pertaringa Moscato, handcrafted wines from KI by Geoff Hardy, and limited quantities of benchmark Barossa Valley reds. The store also stocks boutique beers by the Gulf Brewery and the Barossa Valley Brewing Company.

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Featuring beautiful graphic imagery and iconic colour palettes, there are wonderful pockets and corners in the store for weary travelers to not only aesthetically admire the produce, but to sit down, relax, and to ingest them also. Metherall states of the integrated tasting bar, “It’s important for people to have the opportunity to experience the local produce displayed and enjoy a taste of SA.” Currently on offer there is the McLaren Vale Wine Flight, 4 x 30ml tastes of the best wines from the region, a cheese and a summer tasting platter consisting of beetroot jam, marinated fetta, local salami, kalamata olives and poppy seed water crackers. Mahalia Coffee is served – one of the only roasters in the State who both sources and roasts her own coffee – and local food and wine magazines are available to peruse while you enjoy your coffee, watch the world go by, and wait for your flight to be called.

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The pride and passion that ‘small’ producers imbue in their products resonates with overburdened travelers. Metherall explains, “People are busy. The store helps them to reconnect, to slow down. It helps them to enjoy food again, to reconnect with traditional values. What you put in your mouth equates to how you feel about yourself.” Many people come into the store purely to reminisce – a way to transport themselves back in time as the foods on offer remind them of family and good times shared, while other travelers come to escape the waiting lounges, and to delve into a truly local, regional and authentic world.

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Could such serenity really exist at an airport???

Photos: Kristina Dryza

This is the third post by new David Report contributor Kristina Dryza. You can read her earlier posts here and here.

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