“We want to give you a real sense of the place
where every single ingredient is sourced and inspired from the Barossa”
~ Lachlan Colwill, Executive Chef ~ Hentley Farm Wines
In line with the Good Food Month, the first-ever Barossa Homestead pops up in hip and trendy Paddington in Sydney’s east.
A homely terrace on Duxford street is transformed where the living and dining areas and kitchen will showcase the produce, food and wine of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
Emma Nicholls, South Australian Tourism Commission Director of Marketing says the event will give Sydneysiders a chance to engage with the best of the Barossa.
“We will invite visitors to meet the people behind our Barossa wines, taste the world-class produce and ultimately be inspired by South Australia to experience all of the things in the region” said Ms Nicholls.
And with the kind invitation from AMPR Public Relations, I am here to check out the local produce and meet some of the passionate artisans from one of Australia’s great food and wine regions.
Welcome to the Barossa Valley in South Australia …
right here in the heart of Sydney.
We wander into the terrace and its living room has been transformed into a treasure trove of artisanal produce ranging from breads, cheese, jam and chutneys to elegant wines from one of Australia’s great wine-growing regions.
For generations, winemakers have known the key to Barossa’s success lay in its unique, diverse and fertile soil. In more recent times, chefs and providores have also unlocked its secrets. The result is a remarkable and passionate community of artisans producing some of Australia’s most amazing flavours.
So make a pot of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back and let me to tell you about their wonderful story …
Barb Buggy’s Barossa Bark
Barb Buggy produces small batches of hand-cut lavosh-style bark crispbread in her purpose-built production kitchen next to her home in Greenock.
Well-known in the region as a passionate chef, she began making Barossa Bark for her catering business. The popularity of the product led her to produce it for the retail trade and now, together with her husband Scott, she works to meet public demand for Barb’s Bark.
Named after the strips and shards of bark that fold from the blue gum trees which dot the Barossa’s landscape, this lavosh is hand-rolled and hand-cut, where her rustic and individual range includes 5 styles – nude, salt & pepper, poppy seed, sesame and nigella seed. All ingredients are locally sourced and preservative free. Barb and Scott work together to create, bake and package Barossa Bark.
Barb came to the Barossa to be near her sister, seeing it as a great place to raise her children. She is part of a supportive community of female chefs who meet occasionally over a meal.
Hutton Vale Farm, Eden Valley
George Fife Angas’ Hutton Vale Farm has produced many things, from fresh and dried fruit to tobacco, sheep, cattle and grapes. This is because the farm has been continuously operated by the Angas family since 1843.
Ostriches were farmed 160 years ago for their feathers and leather.
The current custodians today, John and Jan Angas are a sixth generation farmers who are both deep traditionalists as well as passionate drivers of the region’s future.
Each generation has adapted to the changes of life around them, and with little value in feathers, they have made a token nod to their importance of their forebear on the family crest.
The produce today ranges from their famous lamb to a selection of homemade chutneys, wine and beer.
Barossa Valley Cheese Company
The Barossa Valley Cheese Company is a labour of love for Victoria McClurg.
First trained as a winemaker, Victoria spent a season making wine in Bordeaux, absorbing the region’s way of life and regard for food and wine.
As she mused over a glass of wine, accompanied by an array of handmade cheese, Victoria realised what she really wanted to do and her course was set – she learned the art of cheese-making and brought her new found passion home to the Barossa.
The BVCC opened its doors in March 2003 in the idyllic Barossa town of Angaston, rapidly claiming its place in the region’s celebrated wine and food culture.
Since then, the range has expanded to 25 different styles of cheese and the awards have been prolific. But Victoria insists that BVCC will not stray from its artisan ethos to become an industrialized factory.
“We will always be an artisan producer, sourcing milk from local dairies and creating cheese imbued with the character of the locale and passion of the maker.”
The Wines of the Barossa Valley ~ some of Australia’s finest
Australia’s Barossa Valley is synonymous with some of our country’s most famous shiraz wines.
The Penfold’s Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace are arguably two of Australia’s greatest wines. Its rich history and tradition hold generations of winemakers with an undying love and dedication to the art of wine-making.
Today’s sampling of beautiful reds is just the tip of an enormous iceberg of wine-making tradition that puts the Barossa Valley firmly on the map of great, new world wines.
Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm
Maggie Beer is truly one of Australia’s greatest home cooks.
Her recipes and cookbooks have inspired millions of food lovers around the world and her affable nature is infectious yet so inspiring.
Her contribution to the advocacy of sustainability of local produce in the Barossa Valley is immense.
The vibrancy of this beautiful region in South Australia is the culmination of the spirit and dedication of so many fine artisans who have been inspired by the pioneering spirit of this First Lady of Australian home cuisine.
Today, Maggie has received world-wide acknowledgement and adulation for her contribution to the food and wine culture that has made Australia one of the great food destinations for proud locals and tourists alike.
‘Tathra’ is an aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful country’ where the Darmody family has been making extra virgin olive oil at the Tathra Homestead since 1991.
The family reintroduced both plant and animal biodiversity to the property while planting the olive grove and are committed to the principals of organic production, implementing chemical-free production throughout the property, including their own vegetable garden and free-range chicken farm.
Lachlan Colwill, Executive Chef ~ Hentley Farm Wines
A local Barossa boy who has worked and trained at some top restaurants around the world, Hentley Farm Wines’ Executive Chef Lachlan Colwill comes with some impressive credentials.
In his four years at Adelaide’s dining institution, The Manse, he guided it to new heights, being awarded the Best Fine Dining Restaurant three years running from 2008 – 2010 by the South Australian Restaurant & Catering awards.
In 2009, his culinary skills were duly recognised when he won the national La Chaine des Rostisseurs Chef Competition, going on to represent Australia at the international competition in New York with an eventual third placing in the world.
I caught up with Lachan at the Barossa Homestead to find out about the passion behind the food of Hentley Farm Wines and what makes the Barossa so special.
CMSP: You have won some prestigious awards in the last few years. How would you describe your cooking style and the food of Hentley Farm?
LC: Our cooking style is modern regional (that would be my personal description), and it is very much produce driven. Everything created is made with produce from the Barossa.
An example of this is if you drive down the road and see almond blossoms everywhere (this only happens for 4 weeks of the year), I guarantee you’ll taste these in our restaurant. What’s in season is what we use. What travelers will notice in Barossa is what we use and focus on.
CMSP: Hentley Farm is located within a special place renown for its local produce. What is the food concept / philosophy behind the restaurant?
LC: We want the food to give you that real sense on place, it’s our true focus. What that means is every single product created and used to make each dish is sourced and inspired from the Barossa.
CMSP: Every good chef needs a bit of motivation every now and then. Who has influenced you the most in your career?
LC: 100% honest…my two girlfriends I’d had over the past 10 years! (One being my current girlfriend). They are both in the same industry and we’ve worked together.
My girlfriend is actually the wine sommelier at Hentley. I need a lady in my life to keep me in check – to tell me the truth, about my ideas and thoughts.
CMSP: It’s not easy being a chef who’s always at the top of his game. Who has influenced you the most in your career?
LC: Yes absolutely, David Chang of Momofuku Group (meaning Lucky Peach in Japanese – maybe just double check that!)
These restaurants are pretty much top of the towers, I’d say some of the best in the world, but what I like is that they keep it real. After dining in them, it’s shown me that keeping it real is what you should try and achieve. A real experience, is the best experience.
CMSP: During your four years at The Manse, you guided the restaurant to be awarded Best Fine Dining Restaurant from 2008 – 2010 in the SA Restaurant & Catering Awards. Apart from the obvious hardwork, dedication and talent, can you share with our readers your experience and what it took to win the award three years in a row?
LC: Those three years to me were a define power at play, together with the people we had around us.
For The Manse restaurant, there were so many people we worked with that shared a similar dream – it was very much team work. We all had like-minded thoughts, common goal and creative flare.
CMSP: Being in the heart of beautiful country land, the menu of many restaurants are produced-driven. Can you share with us what are your favourite ingredients to cook with and why?
LC: Wild fennel is a key Barossa ingredient, with a distinct scent, you can literally smell it everywhere!
The seeds from wild fennel are key to brand and logo inspiration at Hentley.
CMSP: The prized Clos Otto Shiraz and the H-Block Shiraz Cabernet are two of Hentley Farms’ flagship reds. What are your favourite dishes that you would create to match these wines?
LC: Although most people would ideally match these to savory or meat dishes, we feel they sit best in a desert category with favours like stone fruit and chocolate.
CMSP: What are your favourite meals to cook at home for your family and friends?
LC: Late night dinners of sushi rice and yakatori (a Japanese meat skewer) – this is pretty much my staple every week.
CMSP: You cook for other people almost everyday. Is there a local restaurant you like to dine at on our days off?
LC: I live very close to Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm – so I have lunch there at least one a week.
Otherwise I head to Street Adelaide (casual dinning) / Restaurant Orana (fine dining) duo restaurants run by the very cool, Jock Zonfrillo.
CMSP: Outside of the food you cook at Hentley Farm, do you have a favourite dish or cuisine that you look for when you dine out?
LC: Yes, Chinese is probably my favourite cuisine – my mother taught Chinese cookery at school, so I’ve always been quite in touch with this type of style.
CMSP: The La Chaine des Rostisseurs Chef Competition is a prestigious award within the F & B and hospitality industry. How has this award impacted your career, your philosophy about food culture and your views about the hospitality industry in general when you won in 2009?
LC: It built confidence in me – it was a year of confidence building. Coming third in the world title (under 30 category) gave me the idea that you shouldn’t just be confident in your own surroundings, but work to be comfortable on the world stage. I also used this as a platform to grow and develop further.
Ryan Edwards, Executive Chef ~ Appellation at The Louise
“Fresh is not just best, it’s the only reason to cook”
~ Appellation at The Louise
Appellation at The Louise is recognised as a world class destination for dining in South Australia.
With a passion for fresh local ingredients, Executive Chef Ryan Edwards is guided by the rhythms of the seasons ~harvesting from their kitchen garden, baking their own breads, butchering and curing their own meats.
Together with sommelier Cassaly Fitzgerald, they see wine and food as the most natural of partners.
Ryan and his team are passionate advocates for the freshness and seasonality of regional produce.
The restaurant menu is adjusted whenever appropriate to take full advantage of the bountiful ingredients sourced from an extensive network of local suppliers.
Chef Edwards has created a couple of canapes using local ingredients to give us a taste of his style and how the Barossa influences his cooking.
A crispy chicken skin, salted lemon labneh & wild native thyme is clever because it’s an exquisite mouthful of savoury, lemony and creamy crisp all at once.
Venison slices are smoky with an earthy mushroom pate. Ras el hanout offers exotic spice flavouring that might bring you to the Marrakesh markets in Morocco.
I find the rye croutons a little too hard on the bite and that stole a little thunder from the beautiful venison. However, it did not stop me gobbling a few of these and washing them down with an elegant Barossa cabernet.
Originally from San Francisco, I engage in a delightful chat with Jim Carreker and his lovely wife Helen who happens to be too shy for the camera.
Jim and Helen have been owners of The Louise since 2005 having spent more than ten years reseaching and eventually selecting the stunning hilltop site of Marananga for their Australian food and wine venture.
They are firm believers that luxurious accommodation complements a truly memorable food and wine experience after so many trips to France, Portugal and Spain as well as their native wine-growing regions of Napa and Sonoma Valley in California.
Casa Carboni ~ Italian Cooking School & Enoteca
Located in the picturesque town of Angaston just over an hour’s drive from Adelaide in the heart of the Barossa Valley is Matteo & Fiona Carboni‘s Casa Carboni Italian Cooking School & Enoteca.
Matteo’s philosophy is to teach recipes that can be easily replicated at home so you can prepare delightful Italian dishes for your family and friends.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned home cook, Matteo keeps class sizes to a maximum of eight guests so he can ensure everyone gets the most out of each session.
A great opportunity to learn and have fun in the kitchen, you will not only create the recipes included in your class but also how they can be adapted to seasonal produce.
Matteo also talks about Italian food history and culture that will transport you to Italy for a day.
Barossa Valley Brewing
Denham D’Silva heard the call to start a boutique brewery in the 1990’s while in university in the USA.
At the time, America was going through a craft beer revolution.
Caught up in the middle of this movement, Denham learnt the philosophy and principles of making exceptional beer and he has a few simple tips even for home brewers ~ be brave and try things that big breweries can’t do.
Most importantly, brew for the love of the beer and for the joy you and your friends get from drinking it.
His smoked beer has a sharp fermented aroma that precedes a smooth yet spicy palate with a clean finish.
Denham recommends his organic ale to be matched with Cajun-styled dishes, spicy pizza or good ole steak or lamb from the barbeque.
Essential Barossa Valley ~ How To Get There
Just over an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the Barossa, comprising both the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley is home to around 750 grape growing families supplying nearly 130 local wineries.
Tanunda is the focal point of the Barossa. With its strong European heritage, distinctive church spires, wineries, cafes and restaurants, there is so much to see and do in the town.
Nearby Nuriootpa is the commercial centre of the Barossa and right in the heart of the region’s wine production, servicing more than 50 wineries in the nearby area.
The Barossa’s other main township, Angaston, is at the ‘English’ or eastern end of the area and home to some of the best food and local farmers’ markets. The area is an ever-changing palette with each distinctive season creating a unique landscape.
You’ll experience a celebration of the temperate seasons of Australia but to truly experience the Barossa, you have to experience the local produce, food and people that have made the Barossa great.
So dear readers, are you a wine lover and what would you like to experience as a visitor to the Barossa Valley?
ChopinandMysaucepan visited the Barossa Homestead courtesy of AMPR Public Relations & South Australia Tourism Commission and received complimentary artisan food products from the Barossa Valley. All views and opinions on this blog posts are our own.
Destination South Australia ~ How To Get There
The South Australian Tourism Commission is passionate about showcasing one of the most beautiful parts of Australia to the world.
Visit their website to find out more about planning your trip to Adelaide and the Barossa.
South Australian Tourism Commission
Level 3, 121 – 125 King William street
Adelaide, South Australia 5001
Tel: +61 8 8463 4723