Eat your heart out

Touted as a one-stop destination for world-class wine, superb handmade produce including cheese, chocolate, smoked goods and more, South Australia is a must-visit for every adventurous foodie

Posted on Feb. 17, 2017
By Editor

For many years, Adelaide was mostly a 'fly-in and fly-out' destination for corporates, but the South Australian capital is slowly becoming a 'go-to' destination for traveller seeking a truly gastronomic experience. 

With incredible wineries, a vibrant food truck scene,  and the arrival of several high profile new restaurants, such as Sean's Kitchen, Madame Hanoi and Jamie's Italian, the city's food scene is booming and attracting tons of discerning travellers. 

High on the list of places to visit for foodies include the East End precinct, which offers a good range of eateries, burger bars and pavement cafes including the magnificent Botanic Bar, home of Golden Boy, and you will also find one of Adelaide's most celebrated dining rooms – Orana. Pirie Street is another of Adelaide's newer foodie meccas offering an amazing range of culinary experiences – from Osteria Oggi to the saucy take away joint Chicken & Pig and upmarket bakery Abbots & Kinney. 

Ingredient-wise, the island has pretty much everything a chef could wish for – from tropical fruit and temperate vegetables to Atlantic fish, cheeses, honeys, local-breed meats, and many more. 

From Adelaide, I set out for on a day trip to Adelaide Hills. Touted as one of Australia’s premium cool climate wine regions, and is South Australia’s oldest wine region – the first plantings date back to 1839, just three years after the colony was settled - Adelaide Hills boasts more than 90 wine labels scattered throughout the region and over 50 cellar doors in landscapes that are as picturesque as Marlborough, Bordeaux or the Napa Valley. 

Thanks to a cool climate and high rainfall, Adelaide Hills grows an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables while artisan producers make everything from cheeses to jams, olive oil, ciders and authentic German breads and cakes. 

UP IN THE HILLS 
It’s almost incomprehensible to a city-dweller like me that barely half an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of the city’s CBD are rolling hills and bucolic vineyards, but that’s exactly what Adelaide Hills offers: an idyllic countryside just 40-kilometre east of Adelaide city. On the way in, be prepared for windy roads, but the gorgeous scenery along the way will make your drive well worth it. 

Hahndorf Hill Winery
Our first stop of the day was Hahndorf Hill Winery, which is situated adjacent to the historic, German-heritage village of Hahndorf. The only vineyard in Australia to produce wine made from the German/Austrian red grapes Blaufraukisch and Trollinger. Be sure to try the ChocoVino Experience, which pairs its single-estate wines with single-estate chocolates. We were recommended by one of the staff to start off with the Discover Chocolate tasting, which begins with a roasted cacao bean – the taste might not go well with all taste buds, but it definitely gave us a better understanding of what makes a good chocolate. To help diners better understand about chocolates, the establishment also offers excellent tasting notes for each course, and the staff on duty is always on standby to answer questions. Among the chocolates we tried from some of the world’s most prestigious chocolate houses including Amedei, Pralus, Dolfin, Valrhona and Adelaide’s much loved Haighs, the one that really stood out was the Amedei ‘Chuao’ comprising 60% dark chocolate infused with peppery but sweet pink peppercorns, and milk chocolate with extra spice of Indian masala. Milk chocolate lovers, on the other hand, will definitely delight in the ‘Menako’ Organic Milk Chocolate from Madagascar, infused with Vanilla, and layered with a delectable rose white chocolate and pistachio dukkah. 

Hahndorf Hill Winery 
Lot 10 Pains Road 
Hahndorf SA 5245 
Tel: 61/8-8388-7512 
www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au

Hanhdorf Inn
Stuffed with chocolates, we ventured over to Hahndorf Inn for some lunch. Established in 1863, this establishment specialises in authentic German brews and food. We were contemplating whether to play it safe and order a schnitzel, steak or fish and chips, but being a self-professed carnivore, I decided to go with the Hahndorf’s Original Taste of Germany – the ginormous platter comprises Vienna, bockwurst, bratwurst, cheese kransky, smoked Kassler chop, Eisbein pork knuckle with mashed potato, sauerkraut, pork jus, mustard and fresh baked Bavairna pretzels. We also ordered a tasting paddle comprising five different Bavarian beers to go with all the food. 

Hahndorf Inn  
35 Main Street 
Hahndorf SA 5245 
Tel: 61/8-8388-7063 
www.hahndorfinn.com.au

Hahndorf’s Main Street 
After a sumptuous lunch, we figured we’d take some time to explore Hahndorf’s main street, which is lined with German pubs, restaurants, souvenir stores and gourmet delicatessens. As if the lunch we had earlier wasn’t enough to fill us, we stopped by Udder Delights Cheese Cellar to taste some handmade cheeses. Opened by Saul and Sheree Sullivan, the shop offers an extensive range of both cow and goat milk cheeses. One of the staff took us through a cheese tasting, where we tasted over five different types of cheeses – some of our favourites were the Adelaide Hills Double Cream Brie, and the Udder Delights Goats Blue. The adventurous will find the King Saul – the first raw milk blue cheese made in Australia – particularly intriguing. 

Moving on, we drove over to Cleland Wildlife Park, which is nestled in the natural bushland setting of Cleland Conservation Park. The animals here are used to being around humans, so visitors are allowed to wander freely amongst kangaroos, wallabies, emus and waterbirds. Visitors are also allowed to feed and pat them. Another touristy thing to do here would be to cuddle a koala. 

Cleland Wildlife Park 

Summit Road 
Mount Lofty SA 5152 
Tel: 61/8-8130-9002 
www.environment.sa.gov.au/clelandwildlife/Home

Haigh's Chocolate Visitor Centre 
Before we headed back to Adelaide, we made a pit stop at Haigh's Chocolate Visitor Centre. If you’re a chocolate fiend like I am, then a stop at Haigh’s Chocolates will have you feeling very much like, well, a kid in a candy store. Established in 1915, Haigh’s Chocolates is considered as one of the oldest and most successful chocolate producers in Australia. A family-owned business, the company prides itself on authenticity – all its chocolates are entirely Australian made. The first thing that hits us when we arrived is the scent of chocolate – it settles around us as we peruse the orderly rows of dainty chocolates on display in the store. Further in the light airy surrounds of the chocolate factory, the velvety aromas intensify again while the staff works a melted pool of chocolate on the benchtop, turning and folding it back on itself with the practiced flicking of two spatulas. She’s hand-tempering and perfecting a small batch of chocolate to create that snapping sound when it breaks. 

Near her, another worker is coating chocolates with sprinkles – it’s a delicious atmosphere of creation and passion. 

We picked up some of the famous chocolate frogs and truffles on our way out, and made our way back to Adelaide. 

Haigh's Chocolate Visitor Centre 
154 Greenhill Road 
Parkside SA 5063 
Tel: 61/8-8372-7000 
www.haighschocolates.com  

This trip to Adelaide Hills definitely gave us a better understanding of this place, and made us realise that while The Hills may be best known for its cool climate wines, but the region’s superb handmade produce including cheese, chocolate and smoked goods are equally impressive. 

After a solid day of eating and drinking in Adelaide Hills, it was time for a change of pace: eating and drinking in Adelaide. For dinner, we visited Blackwood Restaurant located along Rundle Street. 

Like its sister restaurant Orana, Blackwood uses a bounty of fresh locally-sourced produce in its menu. Some of the highlights here include the hand-dived Kangaroo Island scallops from the entrees section, as well as the free range Berkshire pork and Coorong mullet from the mains selection. 

Blackwood Restaurant 
285 Rundle Street 
Adelaide SA 5000 
Tel: 61/8-8227-0344 
www.restaurantblackwood.com.au

As the night was still young after dinner, we decided to explore the Rundle Street precinct, as we heard there are a number of great new bars located here. We were very pleased to have chanced upon NOLA, a craft beer and whisky bar housed in the historic ‘Stables’ off Rundle Street, which offers a range of boutique brews as well as up to 70 Australian and American whiskies. 

If you’ve ever been curious about the history of Adelaide, the tours conducted by EcoCaddy are a wonderful way to learn more about the city’s landscapes, architecture and history. A privately-held South Australian company, EcoCaddy provides eco-friendly short-trip passenger transportation services in Adelaide – EcoCaddy drivers are allowed to ride the footpaths, cycleways, parkways, and even laneways of the city. 

Our EcoCaddy driver picked us up at our hotel hobby early the next morning, and took us on a sensory and interactive tour around some of Adelaide’s most visited tourist attractions. After 30 minutes of touring around the city, he dropped us off at the historic and vibrant Adelaide Central Market for our highly anticipated market tour.  

EcoCaddy 
178 Wright Street 
Adelaide SA 5000 
Tel: 61/402-018-191 
www.eco-caddy.com 

Adelaide Central Market  
Situated in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, the 140 year old Adelaide Central Market is the epicenter of food, culture and lifestyle in South Australia. Featuring over 80 specialist stalls, the central market is without a doubt the largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere. There are many tours that visitors can embark on, such as the Early-Riser Breakfast Tour, Classic Central Market Tour, Central Market Tour and Cantonese Lunch, Taste of South Australia Tour and Market Lunch, and more. For our visit, we picked the Taste of South Australia Tour and Market Lunch, where we not only enjoyed tastings of uniquely South Australian products such as cheeses, breads, cold meats, and honey, but we also learned more about the stories behind the stalls. We particularly enjoyed visiting the Kangaroo Island regional products stall to sample delicacies produced on the island. Our tour concluded with a delicious lunch prepared with ingredients sourced from the market.  

Adelaide Central Market  
Grote Street 
Adelaide SA 5000 
Tel: 61/8-8231-5977 
www.centralmarkettour.com.au 

Magill Estate Restaurant  
For our last dinner in Adelaide, we visited the widely acclaimed Magill Estate Restaurant, which is situated adjacent to the Magill Estate Vineyard, Winery & Cellars. Helmed by head chef Scott Huggins who previously worked at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria, as well as Michelin-Starred restaurant Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo, the restaurant is one of the most unique gourmet destinations in the country, offering stunning backdrops for meals, wine tasting, and private events. There are only two tasting menus here: five- or eight-course degustation selections, with the option of matched wines such as aged Rieslings, Chardonnays and Cabernets. We opted for the ultimate eight course degustation with wine pairing, and was treated to a handful of excellent wines such as Krug champagne, Grange, and Great Grandfather Port. Huggins makes it a point to use only the best local produce available, so the items on the menu will change every season to reflect the finest South Australian seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables. 

Magill Estate Restaurant  
78 Penfold Road 
Magill SA 5072 
Tel: 61/8-8301-5400 
www.penfolds.com

Singapore Airlines flies direct from Singapore to Adelaide (visit singaporeair.com/Australia for more details). If travelling from Malaysia, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines both operate direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Adelaide. 

 

GETTING AROUND

From the Airport 
Adelaide Airport is 8km from the city centre and driving time is around 15 minutes. The modern terminal handles regional, domestic and international flights. For more information, visit www.adelaideairport.com.au.

Hire Cars 
Car rental desks are located on the ground floor of the terminal near the baggage claim area. Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty and Redspot Sixt all operate from the airport, with other offices in the city. Car rental is an affordable option, but hirers must be able to produce a valid driver's licence. International visitors are reminded that they must drive on the left-hand side of the road. 

Public Transport 
Adelaide Metro includes trains, buses and a single tram which runs between Glenelg and the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Commuters can ride for free between the South Terrace tram stop in the CBD to the Entertainment Centre, and also between the Brighton Road tram stop and Moseley Square in Glenelg. Vistors can also take advantage of the free City Connector bus service which links key city attractions. 

Getting to Adelaide Hills

By Car 
The Adelaide Hills is easily accessed from Adelaide city, whether heading south-east, east or north-east. Travel time by car to regional gateway townships such as Crafers, Summertown and Norton Summit is less than 30 minutes from Adelaide and around 40 minutes from Adelaide Airport. If you are driving from the city centre, the Adelaide Hills can be accessed via the six-lane South Eastern Freeway, which links Adelaide to Melbourne. Exits to major destinations, including Mount Lofty (Crafers), Stirling, Bridgewater, Hahndorf, Birdwood, Lobethal and Mount Barker are well signposted along the freeway. The Hills can also be accessed via the Torrens Valley Scenic Route which commences on North East Road at Tea Tree Gully. The route winds its way through the Chain of Ponds reservoirs to Gumeracha and Birdwood. 

By Taxi  
Taxis are another viable transport option if you don't want to drive or catch a bus. Catching a taxi from Adelaide CBD to Stirling – the nearest major town in the Adelaide Hills – will cost approximately AUD$50 one way, and travelling from the city to Hahndorf will cost approximately AUD$70 one way. 

Drive on Left in Australia  
Take care when driving on Australian roads. Be sure to drive on the left-hand side of two-way roads. Obey the road signs and remember that speed limits are strictly enforced in Australia. You must not drive if your blood alcohol level is 0.05 percent or higher, nor are you permitted to use a handheld mobile phone when driving. 

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