A Food & Travel Blog

Wish You Were Here Postcards – The Giant Redwoods of Muir Woods

08/10/2014 | By

Muir Woods in Mill Valley, California, was designated a National Monument by President Roosevelt in 1908 to protect the old-growth coastal redwood forest from destruction.

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Hill of Grace Restaurant Launch

08/09/2014 | By

There’s no doubt about it – there are some days when I feel that perhaps the gods are smiling on me. Certainly, the day I opened the post and found my invitation to the launch of Adelaide’s Hill of Grace Restaurant was one of those days.

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Tasting Australia – Tasting the Adelaide Hills

25/04/2014 | By

Adelaide is about to leap right into a massive food frenzy, starting this Sunday 27 April, with the opening of the all new Tasting Australia. This gastronomic festival has an enviable history as one of Australia’s best attended culinary events and this year it has been revamped to within an inch of it’s life with a focus that now looks to true local food heroes and offers much more in the way of a hands-on experience for attendees.

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Taylors Wines in South Australia’s Clare Valley

16/03/2014 | By

South Australia’s wine grape harvest is just finishing at the moment and, at this time of the year, I frequently find myself stuck behind one of these enormous harvesters on the road as they move from vineyard to vineyard. However, a couple of weeks ago I was thrilled to be sitting up front, in the cab of a tractor in the Clare Valley as it pulled this beast through a vineyard, picking Taylors Wines shiraz.

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A Toast to Kangaroo Island – With a Drop of Local Wine or Two

15/10/2013 | By

Dudley Wines, KI

A while ago I promised you all a hint of how you might go about refreshing yourself on Kangaroo Island – after all, good food deserves and needs good drink – and you’ll find plenty of it on the island. Vines have been grown on the island  since the mid-1800’s, but Kangaroo Island is a relatively new wine producing region. It’s mild winters and slightly cooler growing seasons, combined with sandy soils and limestone, make it the perfect spot  for viticulture. While it is still relatively early days for most of the local winemakers, there is no shortage of skill or passion and some of the local wines are already being exported to the UK and Europe. Many of the cellar doors have simply breathtaking views and often the winemaker is lurking quite nearby, ready to bend the ear of eager aficionados, giving visitors the opportunity to leave with the inside view, as well as a bottle or three.

A comfy corner of Dudley winery

 views from the Dudley Winery deck

Dudley Winery is one of the island’s first wineries and is family owned and run by Jeff and Brodie Howard,  fourth and fifth generation islanders, respectively.  They produce a 100% handcrafted, Kangaroo Island product ranging from the happily named Dudley Bubbly to their fine, award-winning 2009 Hog Bay Cabernet Sauvignon. Their cellar door has utterly spectacular views from it’s deck and is one of the most popular on the island, often being used as a venue for wedding receptions and parties. I loved the cosy little corners and suspect that many an hour could be whiled away here with  a glass or two of whatever you fancy and their regional produce tasting platter.

Bay of Shoals Winery, Kangaroo Island

Bay of Shoals view

On the other side of the island, I also popped in to Bay of Shoals Winery - again located on the coast and boasting yet another stunning view. Bay of Shoals is a labour of love and the grand passion of Barossa opthalmologist John Willoughby, a keen sailor and boat collector – although I didn’t need to mention the collecting bit as just a quick glimpse around the outside of the cellar door will tell you that.  John’s father used to sail with another well-known South Australian wine name, Tom Hardy, and John first caught sight of the Bay of Shoals area when he sailed past in the 1960’s. He put his first vines in in 1993, producing his first vintage in 1998 and now produces seven varieties of multi-award winning wines under the careful hand of wine maker Jonathon Ketley.  These can be tried at the cellar door which was built in 2006, with much of the work completed by John himself, and that is where you will buy them too – as 95% of his sales are made on the island, with 75% at the cellar door.

Old boat, Bay of Shoals

John & Sarah Lark

KIS

For those of you who fancy something a little stronger Kangaroo Island has yet another secret – a boutique micro-distillery producing stunning vodka, seasonally flavoured liqueurs but, most especially, gin. *Happy sigh* Tucked away down a dirt track and owned by John and Sarah Lark, Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS) produces an aromatic range of “slow spirits” using fresh seasonal ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. Using native Australian botanicals, no oils and sustainable practices, John and Sarah have developed an internationally award-winning, small batch, premier Australian gin that can be found on the mainland, but you’ll have to hunt for it. If you are lucky enough to get there, you’ll also find a KIS product at the prestigious Southern Ocean Lodge who commissioned a specially blended gin, The baillies 9, which has gone on to win several international awards. Failing that you can catch a nip or two at the charming KIS cellar door, where you might even catch up with one of the Larks and brush up on distilling talk.

Kangaroo Island Spirits

During her time on Kangaroo Island, Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of South Australian Tourism Commission and Good Food Kangaroo Island.

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Celebrating Regional Food & its Producers at Terroir in the Lovely Clare Valley

19/04/2013 | By

Last Sunday saw the final day of the Adelaide Food and Wine Festival – a day which focused on the wealth of choice we have in South Australian regions for food and wine.  With The Husband behind the steering wheel, I headed up to Terroir,  a new restaurant in Auburn in the Clare Valley, for a regional lunch with some “Ladies of the Land”, which had been organised by one of the busiest and hardest working people I know, Michele Lally of Savannah Lamb.

Chef Dan Moss, the man behind the pans at Terroir, had created a menu in which the products of some of the local producers was shown off to their absolute best – and we had the ladies who brought them to us on hand to commend and question to our hearts content.  Dan Moss, and his brother Rohan, opened Terroir just a few short months ago, in September last year.  In a region renowned for its stunning local food products and exceptional wine, there is always room for another place to pull up a chair and savour the culinary riches and Terroir is already making a name for itself as a high point on the local foodie trail.

The splendid wines for the luncheon were provided by the highly esteemed Kilikanoon Wines and were presented by their winemaker, Katie Turvey.  The poultry came from the effervescent and passionate, local free-range meat hen and egg producer Lisa Williams of Spudcutter Poultry, the lamb from Savannah Lamb and the vegetables were a combined effort from local vegetable producer Doug Slugget and Dan’s produce which he grows on his own block.

The meal was preceded by a boning demonstration by Rohan, Dan’s brother, who is not only a qualified butcher, but is also an extraordinarily skilled sashimi loiner.  For those of you who are unaware what a sashimi loiner actually is (and that included me until very recently), Rohan ran a tuna plant in Port Lincoln for seven years and was personally responsible for over-seeing ALL of the tuna that was sent to Tokyo for sashimi.  This means his knife skills are up there with the very best in the world – no wonder his chicken and lamb leg boning looked so easy.

Lunch began with some rabbit spring rolls which were handed around while we sipped at some Kilikanoon Sparkling Vouvray  and watched Rohan display his skills.  Normally I can take or leave bunny dishes as they are often too dry or too boney, but these were utterly delicious – I had no idea rabbit could be so moist and tasty.

Once seated, our entree was promptly placed in front of us and equally promptly vanished.  Dan’s presentation of Lisa’s free range meat birds in a Whole Chicken Terrine with a walnut praline and lemon cream was simple, but incredibly tasty.  This is how chicken is meant to taste and he really does use the whole bird, including the skin.  The terrine was accompanied by a poached egg which was then coated with polenta and deep fried.  This was a triumph in temperature and timing, resulting in a perfectly soft-poached egg with a crispy coating – a testament to his skills and which was enhanced perfectly (especially for me, as a Riesling nut) with the Kilikanoon  2012 Morts Reserve Riesling.

The main course showcased both Dan’s talent in the kitchen and Michele and Phil Lally’s skills in the paddock in the production and presentation of some fine Savannah Lamb.  The boned leg was blackened and served succulent, juicy and blushing pink, but my heart was won by what Dan called a lamb brick – rich, moist, slow-braised lamb neck meat, polenta- coated and lightly fried on a bed of cumin spiced yoghurt and borlotti beans sourced from another local – Four Leaf Milling.  All of which was very happily accompanied by Kilikanoon’s 2010 The Medley – a soft and luscious Grenache, Shiraz and Mourverde blend.

Dessert was a just-sweet-enough apple and pear tart that held a hint of spice from the addition of a mere suggestion of cayenne pepper and a truly sublime gingerbread parfait, sitting on salted caramel.  I came close to disgracing myself with this last dish for, while I’m not a massive fan of ice cream, this parfait was simply sensational.  Fortunately, I managed to scrape every, last smear of it from the plate and did not have to resort to picking it up and licking it.  Just.   Dessert was matched brilliantly with Kilikanoon’s 2009 Mort’s Cut Riesling, a dessert wine that is produced a little unusually.  The canes are cut – completely severed – and the fruit is left to wither on them for two weeks.  Severing the vines this way completely arrests the fruit which dehydrates and concentrates resulting in a deliciously sweet wine.

Once again I was reminded of how terribly spoiled we are here in South Australia.  Terroir is only two hours drive from the city of Adelaide – easily accessible and well worth the drive for a remarkable meal.  However, it would be much more fun to make a weekend of the trip, taking in more of the amazing wine and splendid food of the Clare Valley.  Food tourism is all the rage these days and we have the best on our doorstep – so indulge!

 

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