Ah, back to the motherland! Being a South Australian girl and growing up near McLaren Vale wineries may explain why I am so comfortable with a glass of wine in my hand; it is clearly my birth right. I have only been back a few times throughout the years so a trip to the Barossa Valley was in order. The Barossa is just over an hour drive away from Adelaide and is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. It is a wonderful mix of good food, gorgeous historic towns (Angaston is my favourite), farmers markets, German heritage and famous wines (namely shiraz). I also knew my kitchen was about to get demolished (and hopefully renovated) when I arrived home so stocking up on wine to numb foreseeable pain was just common sense.
If you were to play a word association game about the Barossa, I’m certain 2 words would appear…Maggie Beer! Maggie is my food hero so a visit to her Farm Shop at Nuriootpa was a given. We checked out her Pheasant Farm, stocked up on goodies, watched a food demo and ate. I also felt a bit VIP when I sat down with Maggie’s right hand man to learn more about the everyday runnings of Maggie Beer. I love everything about her, from her humility to her approach to food. And yes, I also worship the shrine of verjuice and use it often. Being a shameless fan, I had to get a photo in her famous kitchen (a replica from her home) where The Cook and the Chef was filmed. I also needed to relish the moment given this may be the last functioning kitchen I would stand in for quite some time. Further more, I had to fight the urge to teach everyone there how to cook Jamie’s spaghetti and meatballs.
So with some help from the very friendly locals, we kept it local by sourcing produce from the best sellers. We drank shiraz and grenache coupled with mettwurst from Schultz Butchers and Steiny’s, olives from Barossa Olives, condiments from Pheasant Farm, cheeses from The Barossa Valley Cheese Company, and sourdough and German desserts from Apex Bakery. All while looking upon the sun setting over the vines. It was tough. Also you never know who’s hanging at the Barossa. We ended up having a few wines with a couple of the lovely guys from Boy & Bear at our hotel and they invited us to their gig in Adelaide. It’s just one of those places, everyone is so friendly or maybe they’re all drunk. Whatever the case, it was nice to go back. As I’m writing this, my kitchen is still not finished and I’m meant to be cooking a 5 course dinner for 9 on xmas eve, oh well, at least I know it will be a Maggie inspired menu. Have a safe xmas :: Jem x