South Aus­tralia

Let's Travel - - CONTENTS - Word and im­ages by Shane Boocock

When we walked into the restau­rant the maître’d was de­scrib­ing the menu to one of the mid­day din­ers ahead of us, “Well” he said, “food still re­mains food…from nose to tail,” it was some­thing we were soon to sam­ple.

At 12.30 pm we had quickly de­cided on where to have lunch. It didn’t take us long to walk to our rec­om­mended restau­rant as the newly opened Ar­gen­tinian, La Boca Bar & Grill was next door to our Ade­laide ho­tel, The Stam­ford Plaza.

New Zealan­der, Ste­wart Har­ris, from Mac­in­tosh Har­ris De­sign Ltd. in Auck­land, has re­cently de­signed the restau­rant and what a great job he’s done. La Boca Bar and Grill serves au­then­tic Ar­gen­tinian cui­sine, cre­ated with South Amer­i­can pas­sion and flair by Ar­gen­tinian Chef, Ni­cholas Arriola. It’s the only Ar­gen­tinian restau­rant in Ade­laide to slow cook on the ‘Asador’ (a large open fire pit). The chef’s food phi­los­o­phy is branded ‘Nose to Tail’ din­ing, by skill­fully slow cook­ing beef, pork and lamb over the hot coals.

San­gria was poured as we snacked on pita style bread kept warm in cloth bags, ac­com­pa­nied by three dif­fer­ent dips. Then came an as­sort­ment of Ar­gen­tinian ‘ Em­panadas’ (stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried) fol­lowed by ‘Mejillones Vino Blanco’ black mus­sels in a white wine and cream sauce. The main course was Bife de Chorizo cooked over flam­ing em­bers made from red gum-tree logs un­der the grill that brings out the dis­tinc­tive smoky ‘gau­cho’ flavours in the thick steaks.

We had ar­rived in South Aus­tralia from Auck­land for a short break with the tour com­pany AAT Kings. It started with an 8.20 am de­par­ture mean­ing a trip to Ade­laide is less than half a day away as you ar­rive in the city be­fore noon…‘An air­line gate to an Ar­gen­tine plate’.

Af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive city tour we were dropped off at Ade­laide’s fa­mous in­door Food Mar­ket. Guided by Cal­lum, a lo­cal chef, we were es­corted to a se­lect num­ber of stalls with a di­verse range of pro­duce from or­ganic breads, char­cu­terie, veg­eta­bles, health foods, to smelly cheese, free range pro­duce, choco­late and candy stalls, fruit, yo­gurt, seafood, poul­try and even a ded­i­cated stall sell­ing all kinds of mush­rooms – a smor­gas­bord of pro­duce stalls.

Lo­cated above the mar­ket is Sprout Cook­ing School where Cal­lum Hann and Themis Chrys­sidis ini­ti­ated us in the kitchen that the school op­er­ates. This is a great op­por­tu­nity to not only sam­ple the fresh mar­ket food that had been bought me­tres away but to deepen our food knowl­edge and healthy cook­ing skills - the re­sult is a three course meal we pre­pared, cooked and ate all ac­com­pa­nied by lo­cal Ade­laide Hills wines.

Ev­ery­one knows that the Barossa Val­ley is the pre­mier wine des­ti­na­tion in South Aus­tralia, and this lit­tle re­gion was our first stop on our South Aus­tralian Har­vest itin­er­ary.

Mag­gie Beer’s Farm Shop is a must see for most coach tour com­pa­nies and fam­i­lies vis­it­ing the Barossa Val­ley. The Aus­tralian icon bought the property with her hus­band in the 1970’s and over the years they have ex­panded it to in­clude a vine­yard, quince or­chards, pheas­ant run and aviary. It’s a pop­u­lar stop­ping off point for a range of bot­tled pro­duce, cook­books and even Mag­gie’s own wine.

Our lunch stop was an un­ex­pected place to have a kan­ga­roo and Shiraz pie. The Com­pany Kitchen was just on the out­skirts of An­gas­ton, a place first set­tled in the 1840’s with some well-known sur­round­ing vine­yards such as Pen­folds and Wolf Blass. But first back to the Com­pany Kitchen where I was ex­pect­ing a light lunch…such is my ig­no­rance. The kan­ga­roo pie, the size of a small brick was filled with na­tive ‘quan­dongs’ (red ripe Abo­rig­i­nal bush tucker berries) and win­ter veg­eta­bles cooked in Shiraz wine and wrapped in a light pastry served on creamy mashed potato, ac­com­pa­nied by squash, roasted car­rot, potato and pumpkin! All of this ac­com­pa­nied by a sublime bot­tle of Sch­midt Barossa Val­ley Shiraz 2008!

Tor­breck Vine­yard. Never heard of it you may say? When did you last drink from a 27 litre bot­tle of wine? Yes…27 litres (36 stan­dard bot­tles)…a bot­tle worth A$25,000. Well we didn't drink from it ei­ther, as they only pro­duce five bot­tles of ‘Laird’ per vin­tage in this size and it’s known as a Pri­mat or Go­liath. This wine is not pro­duced ev­ery year with vin­tages in 2008 and 2010 be­ing the lat­est.

As Craig Is­bel, the chief wine­maker ob­served, “It’s a bal­ance be­tween evil and good.” Mean­ing things can go wrong with the grapes but they try and make sure it doesn’t hap­pen. At A$900 a stan­dard bot­tle you sud­denly un­der­stand that evil is ban­ished and good is a heav­enly bot­tle that will never be of­fered as you pass through the pearly gates and past St. Peters.

This is a vine­yard on the rise. We dropped in here for a tast­ing and to say what passed our lips was be­yond our imag­i­na­tion was an un­der­state­ment. We were served six wines, a 2012 Steading Blanc, a 2010 The Steading, a 2009 The Pict, a 2012 Wood­cut­ter Shiraz, a 2012 The Gask and a 2010 Run Rig Shiraz with an added 2.5 per­cent viog­nier. They ex­port ap­prox­i­mately 50 per­cent of their stock to about 35 coun­tries.

Af­ter a trip with his mates from Ade­laide to Western Aus­tralia in his teens Craig ended up pen­ni­less in the Mar­garet River wine re­gion and with a need to make money be­gan his early vine­yard ap­pren­tice­ship. His set­tle­ment at Tor­breck came at a time when the vine­yard’s ac­co­lades started ar­riv­ing year on year. Now in it’s 24th year, the vine­yard is a su­perb ex­am­ple of what is sen­sa­tional about Barossa wines. As our host Sasha poured wine into tast­ing glasses he sur­pris­ingly said, “It’s bet­ter to be arm­less than leg­less.”

We had now ven­tured into the world-renowned vine­yard of Ja­cobs Creek…the largest pro­ducer of wine in the Barossa Val­ley. Ja­cobs Creek sits on 42 hectares and not sur­pris­ingly wel­comes 170,000 vis­i­tors a year through its vis­i­tor cen­tre – for a taste sen­sa­tion try ei­ther the limited edi­tion or­ganic Mon­tepul­ciano 2011 or the or­ganic Shiraz 2012.

That evening din­ner was served at Novo­tel Barossa Val­ley Re­sort’s sig­na­ture restau­rant, Harry’s. With fab­u­lous views across vine­yards it makes for a great end of day lo­ca­tion to taste the art­ful use of sea­sonal lo­cal pro­duce matched with South Aus­tralian wines be­fore drop­ping into bed, slightly more leg­less than arm­less.

It was a crisp, cold morn­ing across the Barossa Val­ley vine­yards with mist lin­ger­ing above the vines but with a beau­ti­ful sun­rise it wasn’t no­ticed. Our first drive of the day wound its way through the Ade­laide Hills to the quaint but touristy town of Hah­n­dorf.

The town was first set­tled in 1839 by Ger­mans per­se­cuted for their re­li­gious be­liefs from what was then the Prus­sian re­gion of Europe. Only 45 min­utes drive from down­town Ade­laide this town­ship at­tracts many day trip vis­i­tors so ex­pect a busy vil­lage with a touch of chic and a dol­lop of kitsch, but if old world ar­chi­tec­ture with a sense of his­tory is what you might ap­pre­ci­ate then it’s worth a cou­ple of hours.

AAT Kings gives you a two-hour op­por­tu­nity to ei­ther wan­der through the main street to shop and dine or take a 90-minute wan­der with Hah­n­dorf Walk­ing Tours. They of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive in­tro­duc­tion to the in­flu­en­tial iconog­ra­phy of the re­main­ing build­ings along with a his­tory of the fam­i­lies that once oc­cu­pied the main street.

Our tour group then headed out of the hills to­wards the ocean as we needed to catch a 3.00 pm ferry. In our next is­sue we’ll be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the cui­sine and wines on a short break, hop, leap and a jump ex­cur­sion to Kan­ga­roo Is­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.