Travel Down Under for Ten Exquisite Epicurious Experiences

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For travelers looking for an epicurious getaway, South Australia is home to myriad food and wine experiences. From artisanal farm shops to lush wine regions to soft tangy cheeses and fine chocolates, here is your guide to the tasty side of South Australia.

Getting There

If you fly Qantas Airways, your epicurious experience will begin on-board. The airline features a selection of over 300 wines – mainly from Australia – which have been carefully chosen by a group of wine industry experts. Through their Sommeliers in the Sky program, fliers are guided through the wine list by flight attendants who have gone through sommelier training. First and Business Class passengers enjoy a 4-course wine pairing menu designed by Executive Chef Neil Perry, followed by a turndown chocolate. In Economy, you’ll still enjoy local wines as well as a gourmet meals like grilled chicken with fennel and saffron sauce, risoni and green beans and Italian-style braised beef with potatoes and roasted pumpkin.

hahndorf hills
Image via Hahndorf Hills

ChocoVino Tasting At Hahndorf Hill Winery

While it’s typical to pair wine with cheese and meals, pairing with chocolate is a whole new experience.  At Hahndorf Hill Winery, you’ll first get a box of two fine Australian chocolates – Haigh’s and Daintree – as well as a pure cocoa bean and some apple slices. First you’ll taste the cocoa bean to get a sense of the bitterness of the cocoa before cleansing your palate with the apple. From there, you’ll use the fine chocolates to learn how to properly taste chocolate with all your senses – including looking at its sheen, feeling its cool outside, listening to it snap in half, smelling its particular flavors then letting the layers melt and unfold onto your tongue. Once you’re trained, you’ll choose your pairing menu option and taste how eating chocolate while drinking wine can be a truly delicious and inspiring experience.

kingsford homestead

Image via Kingsford Homestead

A Stay At Kingsford Homeatead

Kingsford Homestead is a 5-star, all-inclusive homestead with a rich history. Commissioned in 1856, the property was the home of a ‘free-settled’ British colonist named Stephen King, who wanted to show off his new upper class status after constructing the town’s first steam-powered flour mill, acquiring a 500-acre piece of land and shepherding 3,250 sheep. Inside the grand yet charming structure, you’ll find an original Gothic-style cedar staircase, slate tiles from Edinburgh and an original cedar “buffet” table. The highlight of the property is their food and wine program. You’ll enter the impressive stone wine cellar through a hidden passageway in the above-mentioned buffet table. Down here, you can enjoy a candlelit degustation and local wine dinner, including some entrees created to reflect the local culture. For example, a six-hour slow-cooked beef daube would have once been made as a simply beef and vegetable stew, but is made modern by adding a Barossa Shiraz reduction.

honey

Image via nkzs

Lingurian Honey Sampling At Clifford’s Honey Farm

Historically, Kangaroo Island doesn’t have native honeybees. It wasn’t until the 1880s when pure ligurian honeybees were brought from Italy back to the island. Because there are no other honeybees for these bees to breed with, they’re now the purest in the world. The honey is renowned for its curative properties, like Vitamin E to lighten blemishes and natural anti-bacterial properties to treat ailments like arthritis, wounds, inflammations and ulcers. Moreover, at Clifford’s Honey Farm you can see the bees hard at work and sample products like flavored honeys, honey wine, honey cosmetics, honey drinks and honey ice cream.

maggie beer

Image via Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop

Celebrity Chef Tasting At Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop

Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop is located in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, and is the shop of celebrity TV cook Maggie Beer from the popular Australian show, “The Cook and the Chef.” Along with selling high-quality products and giving complimentary recipes, the shop is a mecca of free food samples. Dukahs, olive oils, balsamics, jams, chutneys, vinegars, vino cottos, verjuices, sauces and pates of all different flavors are free to try. Afterward, order a fresh brewed coffee or unusual tea blend – I recommend the chocolate marmalade – and enjoy it outside near the glowing blue turtle pond.

vineyards

Sipping Wine Made From The World’s Oldest Shiraz Vines

South Australia is home to the world’s oldest Shiraz vines. They have been able to survive for so long due to the fact they haven’t been subject to diseases like Phylloxera that other vines around the world have. While many say the cult classic winery Turkey Flat has the world’s oldest Shiraz vines, others say it’s actually Langmeil Winery.

central market adelaide

Browsing The Many Stalls At Central Market

In Adelaide, the Central Market pays homage to the cultural melting pot of Australia through cuisine. With 80 stalls under one roof, you’ll experience Australia’s diverse culinary culture without having to get on a plane. Order delicious pastries at Providore, stinky formaggio at Leo’s Cheese Bar, ripe produce at Pick Me Fresh, healthy cuisine at House of Health and Moroccan fare at Taste of Marrakech. You’ll also find events, tastings and wine classes at the market.

yalumba

Image via Yalumba

Wine Tasting At Australia’s Oldest And Largest Family-Owned Winery

Yalumba has been making wine since 1849, and has been in the same family since. Not only is it Australia’s oldest and largest winery, it’s the only one in the country and one of the only in the world to have a cooperage (shown above). This is where they season, temperate and pressurize the wood to make their own barrels. A visit to Yalumba will allow you to tour the work space, as well as sample world-class wines. The Signature is their most iconic label, a blend of the area’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz with intense flavors of fruit and a touch of soft American oak.

penfolds

Image via Penfolds

Make Your Own Wine At Penfolds

At Penfolds, you’ll not only have the chance to sample world-class wines, but also make your own blend. After donning your doctor coat you’ll head up to the lab to make your own recipe of Shiraz, Grenache and Mouvedre. Using a beaker, mix and blend different percentages of each, sipping and revamping until you get a blend that’s worthy of bottling. My winning wine contained 52% Shiraz, 26% Mouvedre and 22% Grenache.

sevenhill winery

Image via Sevenhill Winery

Have A Historical & Spiritual Vino Experience

Sevenhill Cellars is not only Clare Valley’s oldest winery, but is the only Jesuit-owned winery in Australia today. Opened in 1851 by the Society of Jesus, its original purpose was to blend sacramental wine, which it still does today along with quality table wines. Enjoy free vino samples or take a tour of the onsite church’s underground crypt.

cheese

Image via falk1984

Bike Food & Wine Trails

McLaren Vale is home to many food and wine trails, including the Cadenzia Grenache Trail, Cheese and Wine Trail, Coast to Vines Trail, McLaren Vale Scarce Earth Shiraz Trail and the McMurtrie Mile.

While the Cadenzia Grenache Trail allows you to experience top quality Grenache-influenced wines from establishments like d’Arenberg and Maximus Wines, the Cheese and Wine Trail brings you through some of the area’s most prominent cellar doors with a tasty pairing hamper of Woodside Goats Curd, Alexandrina Jersey Gouda, Alexandrina Matured Cheddar, La Vera Adel Blue, olives, mixed dried fruit and crackers. For those who want a mix of heritage and nature with their wine the Coast to Vines Trail is a good option, while the McLaren Vale Scarce Earth Shiraz Trail introduces cyclists and hikers to a range of Shiraz, all from a single plot of land with a one-of-a-kind profile and interesting personalityAdditionally, the McMurtrie Mile is designed to introduce visitors to life’s simple pleasures: world-class wine, artisinal beer, local ingredients, interesting art and a beautiful view.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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