Camel hump lardo on the menu at Dreamtime in Adelaide

Adelaide's incentive credentials are worth celebrating.

For those visiting Adelaide for the first time, here’s a tip – don’t be in a hurry when you get there. The locals won’t understand what you are doing and you won’t be any quicker.

Nothing good came of being in a hurry. Instant coffee. Fast food. Cheap wine. Just ask the team at Restaurant Botanic, considered by many to be Australia’s finest restaurant. It was the setting for a lunch at this year’s Dreamtime, Tourism Australia’s signature incentive showcase for international buyers.

Not everyone got a seat at the table, it only does around 24 covers, but for those that did, this two-and-half hour degustation didn’t go slow enough.

Restaurant Botanic exec chef Justin James in the gardens that supply both ingredients and inspiration for his menu.

Restaurant Botanic’s normally four-hour degustation is a culinary journey like no other. Set within the 51-hectare Adelaide Botanic Garden, the restaurant offers a deceptively tranquil setting for the explosion of flavours being prepared inside.

People don’t come here for the view – they come to experience the mind of Justin James, the US-born executive chef who brings the knowledge accumulated from working at some the world’s most iconic restaurants to bear on the produce available within the extensive gardens.

No cutlery needed for many dishes at Restaurant Botanic.

The menu changes throughout the seasons but expect to see the likes of kangaroo, emu, camel and crocodile alongside lemon myrtle, saltbush and Kakadu plum. Don’t expect to see much in the way of plates or cutlery though. One dish involved licking small drops of multi-coloured flavour blobs off a rock. Welcome to Adelaide.

Dreamtime kicked off at the Adelaide Convention Centre, which fittingly enough had just secured a world first sustainability milestone, before heading to the streets for its official welcome event. Adelaide is the festival city, local number plates will tell you that, and this welcome event captured that energy for one night.

East End Cellars turned its venues on Vardon Avenue into a mini street festival.

East End Cellars opened its full venue on Vardon Avenue, with guests having the whole dining precinct to themselves, whether it was the outdoor live cooking stations or indoor bars, while being entertained by street performers and cabaret acts.

The next morning channelled Adelaide’s sporting credentials, with a Breakfast on (not at) Adelaide Oval. After being pumped up in the locker rooms with some warm up exercises, guests charged out onto the turf to a cacophony of horns and enthusiastic flag waving. In this state of adrenaline overload the group could possibly have a won a grand final. Instead, they ate like champions before being treated to a unique performance of ‘We Are Australian’ by a school choir atop the western grandstand.

Adelaide Oval got hearts pumping for the breakfast on the turf.

Now the group had been officially granted honourary ‘Australian’ status for a day at least, it seemed only fitting that everyone should head straight from breakfast to a winery. Many wineries actually, as this is the nation’s wine capital. The Barossa, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, take your pick, they all have world-class cellar doors.

For those international guests that may have only a limited knowledge of Australia, no knowledge of South Australia and never heard of Adelaide, just say “home of Penfolds” and you will see that glimmer of recognition.

Penfolds was the perfect venue for the incentive showcase finale.

The nation’s most iconic cellar door is surprisingly close to the CBD. The short drive from the city allows just enough time to Google how much their Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 was auctioned for ($157,624).

The historic estate still houses the original family home from 1844, as well as the still operational Magill Estate winery. There are multiple indoor and al fresco dining options for groups, with the gala dinner taking advantage of the early summer climate.

It was the perfect summation of Adelaide’s allure – great food and wine in a picture-perfect setting that only took 15 minutes to get to.

Two journalists at the Restaurant Botanic were debating how they should write about the lunch in their articles. “Don’t put it into words, just put it into your mouth,” said the event organiser seated next to them. And as much could be said of trying to describe Adelaide, with so many bests and world firsts – don’t put it into words, just put Adelaide on the itinerary.