Melbourne is a world-renowned food mecca, but even Aussies will tell you it is now facing serious competition from the South. The lovely provincial city of Adelaide and the rolling wine regions that surround it are home to a growing organic food movement, five-star chefs, luscious fruit-driven wines and local gourmet artisanal fare. Here is a tasting of some of the culinary hot spots of South Australia.
Adelaide and Adelaide Hills
Along with the must-see South Australian Museum and its permanent Aboriginal culture exhibition, don’t miss Adelaide’s Sunday Farmers Market, which features lots of gorgeous organic and NASAA-certified produce. Look for delicious turmeric honey, local quandong compote, cooking demos and more.
If you haven’t gorged yourself on samples, head to Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill, in Adelaide Hills, for Sunday lunch. Andrew Hardy, the proprietor, will pair a crisp 2009 Petaluma Chardonnay with your refreshing chilled tomato and crab soup or a fruity Gewurztraminer with pan-seared scallops. After lunch, stop at the Hahndorf Winery in the quaint nearby town of Hahndorf, for a wine and chocolate tasting featuring Haigh’s locally made chocolate.
The Barossa and Clare Valley
It’s easy to day trip or overnight from Adelaide to South Australia’s wine regions: the Barossa, famous for its plummy Shiraz, or the Clare Valley, renowned for German-style dry Riesling.
Head to the town of Tanunda, strap on a helmet and tour the region from the back of a three-seater hog with congenial Tony Tscharke of Barossa Trike Tours, a unique way to roar through charming towns and vineyards edged with blooming roses. (“Barossa” means hill of roses in Spanish and the roses are planted as an early warning system for disease. Growers check the petals for signs of blight before it hits the vines.) Stop at Jacobs Creek at Moorooroo Park, taste the Shiraz, stroll through the eccentric English-style vineyard gardens and stay overnight in an enchanting cottage. Stop in at Penfolds Winery, famous for Penfolds Grange, where you can taste theirs and, if you like, dress up in a lab coat like an oenologist to make your own.
Indulge in a languorous, wine-soaked lunch on the back porch at Skillogalee Restaurant in the Clare Valley, a family-owned winery and B&B, and enjoy your hosts’ convivial warmth while discussing whether you really have enough energy to cycle along the Riesling Trail. On the way back to town after your bike tour (mustn’t be too lazy!), stop for dinner at the five-star Appellation restaurant at the Louise, a 15-room luxury retreat in the Barossa, where executive chef Ryan Edward’s exquisite farm-to-fork, five-course tasting menu is paired to perfection with wines from the region. All food is organically grown on-site in the garden or locally sourced. The property is beautiful, understated and impeccably luxurious. If you can stay the night, you’re in for a treat.
The Edge of the World: Kangaroo Island (KI)
A puddle jump from Adelaide, visit Southern Ocean Lodge, a luxury retreat and spa perched on the brink of a secluded cliff on Kangaroo Island where you can gaze toward Antarctica and spot kangaroos and koalas in the wild!
The Lodge features an open bar, plunge pools, hot tubs, biking, hiking, superb cuisine (oysters, free-range lamb, addictive sheep-milk yogurt), and private access to the deserted beach. An intimate three-room spa offers sublimely relaxing treatments with local lavender, kelp and salts from the Bay of Shoals, the Aboriginal-inspired Li’Tiya product line and some of the purest honey on the planet, from Island eucalyptus trees.
Sign on for Southern Ocean Lodge’s KI Food Safari, September 1-7, and experience an Asian-infused culinary journey across the Island: visits with local growers, master classes and feasts with famed Australian guest chefs Martin Boetz and Poh Ling Yeow.
Green Tip: Qantas, the Australian airline, has invested $17 billion in highly fuel-efficient next-generation aircraft over the next 10 years and offset more than 900,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions through the end of last year.
From Skillogalee Restaurant and Vineyard, Clare Valley, South Australia
Enhance the flavor of a light summer meal with this Australian classic, a fragrant blend of spices, nuts, herbs and seeds. Add it to roast veggies, press it into meat or fish, or sprinkle on salad.
1• cups hazelnuts
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons sea salt
1• tablespoons cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Blend in food processor.