“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





04 December 2015


The fabulous Sharon Romeo, manager and maitre d' of Fino, last night won the Howard Twelftree Award for her significant and lasting contribution to the gastronomic life of South Australia.

Here she is with her co-owner and head chef, David Swain in the kitchen of the famous Fino in Willunga, McLaren Vale.

The award was presented by last year's winner, Duncan Welgemoed, of Africola. 

"For a couple of decades Adelaide has been blessed by one true star of the waiting realm," Duncan said, "a person who understands the art and craft of the garden, the kitchen, the cellar and the people who pay for it all: the customers. 
"Sharon seems to have remembered every tiny lesson she's learned in her intense  gastronomic life ... Through her father's understanding of gardens and game - from a distinctly southern Italian point of view - her mum's cooking, and on through a life of amazing gastronomic experience, Sharon has developed a dazzling understanding of the beauty one can put on a plate.

"She has an acute awareness of the flavours of wine that best suit the intricacies or simplicity of any fine dish ... She's never afraid to take a risk ... a perfectly measured risk in her case. 

"She remembers her customers and better than any, knows how to make them feel totally welcome and comfortable ... SPECIAL!

"Which all adds up to them waking next day with the fondest memories and a desire to be back there as soon as possible," Duncan said. 

The awards were presented at the rave launch of The Adelaide Review's Hot 100 in South Australia's oldest surviving theatre, the 1841 Queens, in Playhouse Lane. The win was an immediate hit with the several hundred guests. 

Those of us who live in McLaren Vale feel a bit like it's Barossa 1, McLaren Vale 0 since Sharon and David were lured to the Barossa to their brilliant new Fino at Seppeltsfield. The original, at Willunga, still runs perfectly, with David dividing his head chef attention between the two while Shaz devotes her full time to the incredibly successful Seppeltsfield Fino. The dynamic duo are looking for somebody to take over the Willunga business.

One bonnie afternoon at the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard ... vineyard manager Michael Lane, winemaker Shelly Torresan, David Swain, manager/winemaker Peter Fraser, Shazza atop Chris Carpenter, the Napa Cabernet winemaking giant who regularly comes to Australia to oversee the Hickinbotham wines, and winemaker Charlie Seppelt

Backstage at Fino Willunga ... flowers for the memory of many great gastronomic adventures in this much-awarded rural restaurant ... and the anticipation of many to come ... get along there quick! ... all photos except the pie by Philip White ... JUST IN: this one below by Milton Wordley ... typically, the unwitting Shaz was flat out compiling two new wine lists and was the only one who wasn't there, so I was honoured to collect the award, on her behalf, from Duncan ... what a delight! ... dear Shaz has picked up a lot of stuff after me!

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