Sunday, March 21, 2010

Adelaide, the Hills and Barossa Valley

I'd been to Adelaide several times, all for work, but never spent any time exploring. Last week I was booked to fly over with a colleague/friend for a workshop - seeing as we're both massive foodies it was simply too good an opportunity to pass up to fly home a little later to explore some of South Australia's culinary delights.
We went to Glenelg two nights in a row; the first was spent at one of the many Italian restaurants down near the pier (semi-mediocre) but made up for it by gorging on a bottle of Shaw & Smith Sav Blanc and Copenhagen icecream. The second was spent at the "Promenade" restaurant, where we enjoyed an incredible amount and quality of fresh seafood by way of one of the most outstanding seafood platters I've ever ordered. $49 bucks got a huge platter for two; which included multiples of oysters, prawns, mussels, flake, octopus, smoked and sashimi salmon - along with fries and salad. This was heartily chased with a bottle of Orlando bubbly (and later a few cocktails at the bar next door).

The day after the workshop finished, we grabbed a hire car and made off to the hills. Stopping at Hahndorf, we had the most amazing coffee at a place called "Kaffeehaus" for gingerbread lattes. There was also a hearty breakfast of wurst, saurkraut, and german potato salad which neither of us could finish (recommend sharing one between two!) before finding a little chocolate haven: "Chocolate no. 5" - most lattes (and some chockies) were consumed before hopping back into the car for a leisurely drive north through the Barossa Valley.

I had marked on the map at the beginning of the day that above all else, I wanted to go to my "mecca" - Maggie Beer's farm and providore/restaurant. After some wrong turns and backtracking (the sat nav didn't know of Pheasant Farm Road), we finally found it. Built on the edge of a dam filled with turtles and ducks, is Maggie's beautiful restaurant where cooking demonstrations and tastings abound, and fresh produce and fine local beverages are promoted and ingested by happy smiling customers. Half baked plans of doubling back to Penfolds and Wolf Blass were promptly ditched as we kicked back on the verandah to enjoy a delicious 'picnic basket' of mushroom pate, fresh bread rolls, home made labneh and quince dukkah, wine, and of course, Maggie's famous "adults only" icecream (burnt fig and butterscotch). The whole exercise cost us almost 2.5 hours and thus by the time we left, only had time for one winery before closing time. We decided to support one of the little guys rather than one of the larger operations (which you can just buy at the local bottle-o anyway), and drove down a dirt road to find Whistler Wines. We were served generous (and FREE - you should NEVER have to pay for wine tastings) glasses of their delicious vino and both walked out with some incredible semillon-sav-blanc.
A short trip restricted by flight times home to Melbourne; but good in that it provided an overview of what Adelaide and surrounds has to offer. It whetted my appetite for a return adventure - for pleasure, not business, next time.

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