South Australia Combines Food, Wine and Adventure
Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | May 20, 2015
To outsiders, South Australia is probably most famous for the nature and wildlife experiences that are enshrined at Kangaroo Island, but among Australians that state is probably more famous for its various wine regions, artisanal food producers and the restaurants of Adelaide. The state’s food and wine heritage is rooted in its history as a refuge for German immigrants in the 19th century. The wine regions, easily accessed from Adelaide, give visitors more than just a gourmet romp, but also an experience of beautiful scenery and cultural heritage.
Adelaide, the capital of South Australia and one of the New York Times Top 52 places to go in 2015, is a city of a million people surrounded by parks and packed with museums, cafes and restaurants. The Central Market, the largest covered market in the Southern Hemisphere, is an emblem of how seriously food and wine are taken there. And it should be; more than 60 percent of the wine that Australia exports comes from the state.
The South Australia Tourism Commission created the Epicurean Way, a self-drive journey that encompasses the state’s four wine regions: the Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley, the Adelaide Hills and the McLaren Vale. The drive goes from regional farming to coastal seafood harvests with hands-on cooking classes and immersive wine and craft beer tastings along the way. Travelers on the Epicurean Way can make their own wine blend at Penfolds or d’Arenberg; cycle from vineyard to vineyard along the “Riesling Trail” in Clare Valley or take cooking classes such as the Sticky Rice Cooking School in Adelaide Hills.
Sticky Rice shows guests how to create restaurant-quality dishes in Asian, Spanish and Moroccan cuisine. Sticky Rice has three villas, where visitors can extend their stay one or more nights. There are more than 50 cellar doors in the Adelaide Hills. Also in the Adelaide Hills, Udder Delights Cheese Maker, Sheree Sullivan, has been teaching home cheese making classes since 2007. Her Easy Cheesy Home Cheese Making Class teaches students two different styles of cheese making. The class includes an extensive cheese tasting, coffee, light lunch and wine.
The Food Luddite is run by Chef Mark McNamara in the Barossa Valley. The classes focus on where food comes from, how it grows and simple ways to prepare it. Conducted in small groups, classes are available year round at the Kitchen Studio, a bright creative space designed to make cooking and learning enjoyable.
Casa Carboni, in the Barossa, teaches a blend of Italian and South Australian flavors. The Carboni family, who moved from Parma, offers a cooking school for intimate groups to learn to make pasta and other Italian fare in a class using Barossa Farmers Market’s seasonal produce. Jacob’s Creek Cooking Classes are held in the outdoor kitchen at the historic Jacob’s Estate Cottages in the Barossa. The four-hour experience is led by Executive Chef, Genevieve Harris.
If you’re worried about all of that drinking and driving, you can hire a service such as Vineyard Safaris, which tours the vineyards in a limousine with Master of Wine Tim Wildman leading the way from one cellar door to the next. The tours depart from Adelaide and are offered from November to April and accommodate up to four people.
While food and wine are a focus in South Australia there’s also plenty in the way of soft
adventure activities such as hiking, diving and mountain biking. You can even swim with sharks on the Eyre Peninsula or catch a sea-lion colony on Kangaroo Island.
Adventure Bay Charters’ Shark Warrior ship uses a six-seat Aqua Sub to offer a new way to view great white sharks in their natural habitat without the need to be fitted in wetsuits and oxygen equipment. The boat operates out of Port Lincoln and takes travelers to the shark-infested waters of Neptune Islands, two and a half hours off the coast of the Eyre Peninsula, where the pod is lowered into the ocean and passengers can climb down into the glass-enclosed viewing area that provides 360-degree underwater views, almost like a reverse aquarium. The Shark Warrior departs from Port Lincoln, with both “Aqua Sub” passengers and traditional shark cage divers on board.
South Australia is also home to Coober Pedy, the world’s opal mining capital. Willie Hutchison stumbled on the first opal near Coober Pedy around a century ago. Shortly after, the miners began pouring in. The town is about 500 miles north of Adelaide. Avoid it during the Australian summer when it gets well over 100°.
Adelaide will open a 32-story 250-room Sofitel hotel in 2018, and it will be the first internationally branded five-star hotel opening in the capital in nearly 30 years. In the past year, The Mayfair, The Watson, and the Ibis have also opened.
For something much smaller, the Art Series Hotel Group opened The Watson in September, a boutique hotel and residences that celebrate the creative genius of the hotel’s name-sake indigenous Australian artist, Tommy Watson. The 140-suite hotel offers art tours and features original artwork by Watson in each suite and throughout the hotel. The hotel is located in Walkerville, an Adelaide suburb about a 10 minute drive from the down town.
The hills are alive – five great ways to holiday in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia
May 6th, 2015
LOOKING for somewhere to sweep your loved one of his or her feet? Then head for the Hills. Adelaide Hills, to be precise, just a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD in South Australia.
It’s a land of the long lunch, with nature’s eye candy at every turn, delicious locally grown food and wine, and accommodation to match the country’s best when it comes to small luxury.
Here are five ways to enjoy your time in this little gem of a region tucked away in South Australia.
No.1: Sticky Rice Villas and Cooking School.
Now here’s a place you can get really messy … in the kitchen! The Sticky Rice Cooking School is where some of the best chefs on the planet, including Ty Bellingham, Mark McNamara, David Thompson and Katrina Ryan take a small class and guide them through creating a culinary feast fit for kings and queens.
The dining room setting is beautifully oriental with warm, soft colours, chunky cook books from around the globe lining shelves, a world of spices on tables and cooking tid-bits in nooks and crannies, and an adjoining industrial kitchen where all the action takes place for small groups from Friday to Sunday.
Ours was The Asian Adventure, as Japanese masterchef Yukiko “Yuki” Anschutz assembled her team of loyal helpers (us) and set about not only creating sumptuous goodies like Malay-beef stays with peanut sauce, Thai Red curry of chicken, lemongrass pork, and Cambodian char grilled calamari, but also little pearls of cookery wisdom along the way. After plenty of peeling, chopping, stir-frying, baking, laughing, learning and the occasional near miss, we celebrated our gastronomical achievements and new-found cooking skills over a four course dinner and wine (two sittings throughout the evening).
The accommodation opened in March this year with three architectural gems tucked away privately out the back. Each is inspired by the best villas from Thailand, Japan and Bali and offer plenty of space in two-roomed 70m2 of indoor living area, a private walled outdoor courtyard with beautiful gardens. Floor to ceiling glass surrounds in each villa allows plenty of light and views, and there’s the added bonus of under floor heating, designer furnishings and Jag kitchens with an array of magazines for superiors. So far so good!
No.2: Hahndorf Hill Winery (pictured) and Shaw & Smith
A little trip to the Hills can’t go without a little tipple or two. For something completely different, head to Hahndorf Hill Winery, not just a boutique vineyard where its Germanic and Austrian varieties take centre stage (Gruner Veltliner is dubbed the world’s most food friendly wine), but you can also keep your sweetheart sweet with the unusual yet sublime ChocVino experience. Some of the finest drops unearthed from the vineyard are matched with chocolates from throughout the world.
It’s subtle, elegant and brings a whole new sweet dynamic to food and wine pairing.
Up the road is Shaw & Smith for a contrast in winery experiences. Cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith realized a dream and produce some of the world’s best with their SB’s, chards, cool climate Shiraz and Pinot. It’s a great opportunity to taste some quality vino in a comprehensive winery operation in elegant surrounds.
www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au and www.shawandsmith.com
No.3: Bridgewater Mill Restaurant
With an historic giant waterwheel in full swing in a converted flour mill in the Petaluma winery, you’ll be making your own splash with your partner while whispering sweet nothings and feasting on sweet somethings at Bridgewater Mill Restaurant. It’s a quintessential statement in fine food created from mostly local produce, a winner wine list matched with the dishes, and five star service in a lovely setting.
The tasting menu option is outstanding for lovebirds: think venison chorizo, seared scallops, poached chicken with cucumber, woodear mushroom and sesame, squid balls with radish, peas and wasabi, a melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef number before finishing it off with a braised pineapple, coconut caramel and black sesame ice cream. Now that’s superior bliss! We didn’t just call a taxi to be taken back to our hotel – we called one to carry us out of there.
No.4: Go for a walk or drive and explore the hamlets.
You probably would have noticed by now all this indulgence surely requires a bit of physical activity at some point to burn it all off. Hit the hills and either enjoy a bike ride or walk in the freshest of air, or go for a drive exploring some of nature’s finest countryside with sweeping valley views, rustic and well maintained rolling vineyards, and spend the best part of a day in a hamlet like Hahndorf which retains its strong German heritage. It’s a village like no other with Fachwerk buildings, old world ice creamery and lolly shops, chic cafes and restaurants such as The White House, Menz FruChocks Shop, the highly addictive Udder Delights Cheese Cellar, arts, crafts and pubs aplenty.
No.5: Mount Lofty House
Save the best for last and check in at one of the finest luxury accommodation venues in Australia. This gloriously restored 1850s country estate is set among English style gardens – great for a stroll – and is overflowing with antiques and fine art throughout, but, really, it’s all about the views while relaxing. Piccadilly Restaurant is a must and take time kicking back in the Chesterfields in the library or have a play in the billiards room. It’s posh, but that’s what makes it special.
Our next cooking class for kids is on July 8th 2015.
This is our brand new school holiday class for kids aged 10+. The class covers a broad range of cooking techniques. All equipment, ingredients, tuition and lunch is included. This class may not be suitable for dietary requirements and allergies. Please check with us before booking. 10am-12.30pm. The Menu is- Thai steamed Chicken Cakes with Sweet chilli sauce using a Handmade Thai Red Curry Paste. Vegetable Rostis. Baked Risottto balls with Bacon and Cheese. Coconut Lacy Pancakes with Chocolate Genache. Winter Cordial.
This is a hands-on class for the children and they will learn all the skills needed to produce this carefully crafted menu. The children will enjoy their results at a sit down meal while we do the washing up for them! Please note the recipes are nut free, however Kids with severe nut allergies may not be able to attend since there are traces of nuts in the cooking school kitchen.
Bookings here or tel the office 8339 1314
News things to do
Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling accommodation review: Weekend away
Mark Chipperfield Nov 12 2014 at 8:56 AM
Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling, SA.
TripAdvisor Traveller rating
In the early days of European settlement, the Adelaide Hills offered a welcome respite from South Australia’s summer heat and the colony’s wealthiest citizens built fine gabled houses up here and laid out English-style gardens. Many still survive. After a short-lived gold rush in the early 19th century, the people of the hills have devoted themselves to small-scale farming and fruit growing. In more recent years, cool-climate wineries have added to the agricultural mix. There are now more than 50 cellar doors scattered throughout the hills, including Shaw + Smith, The Lane, Bird in Hand, and K1 By Geoff Hardy. Apart from the faux Bavarian charms of Hahndorf, visitors will find many other delightful things in the hills, including challenging hiking trails, historic gardens, wildlife parks and a profusion of cheese makers, craft brewers, olive growers, chocolatiers and other artisan food producers.
Surrounded by native scrub, Sticky Rice Cooking School is a five-minute drive from the township of Stirling. The small complex includes the cooking school itself, complete with demonstration kitchen, dining room and shop, plus three Asian-inspired garden villas. Each villa – named Yoko, Bali and Zen respectively – is immaculately designed, furnished and equipped. We stayed in Zen, which comes with its own professional-standard kitchen, a glamorous almond-shaped bath and a sunny courtyard. The suite is boldly decorated with huge pendant lights, black leather couches, flamboyant drapes and dark-wood veneers. The fridge was packed with all kinds of gourmet goodies, including a cheese platter and a bottle of white wine. The breakfast provisions were equally generous.
Food is at the core of the Sticky Rice experience. The cooking school runs a packed program throughout the year, with classes in Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. Launched in 2013, the school has already earned a national reputation for excellence – previous guest chefs include Tetsuya Wakuda, Luke Nguyen and Poh Ling Yeow. Our teacher was Japanese-born Yukiki Auschutz, who guided us through the subtleties of preparing Thai food. These three-hour sessions are not for gastronomic wimps: we prepared five separate courses, including steamed prawn and pork dumplings and pad thai, and learnt vital new skills, such as how to stop noodles sticking together in the wok. The reward was being able to sit down afterwards and enjoy the fruits of our labour with a glass of wine. Staying on site in a villa is a real treat – unlike our classmates, home was a two-minute walk away.
Adelaide Hills is a friendly, community-orientated place. Rub shoulders with the locals at the Stirling Market, held on the fourth Sunday of every month. You’ll find plenty of edible goodies here, plus jewellery, native plants and hippie threads. Horticultural types should visit some of the famous Victorian-era gardens. Best-known is the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, which has 97 hectares of magnolias, camellias, roses, ferns and native plants; guided walks are available on Thursdays during spring and autumn. Nearby you’ll find The Cedars, the former home of the great Australian artist Hans Heysen. On display are 200 paintings from Heysen’s private collection.
Need to know
Cost: Weekend Cook and Stay packages from $485 a night (minimum two nights).
Distance: 20 minutes’ drive (20km) south-east of Adelaide.
Children: Yes, in Zen and Yoko. An additional charge of $100 a night applies.
96 Old Mount Barker Road, Stirling, South Australia
PHONE: (08) 8339 1314
To download our latest newsletter click here
Wild Lime Cooking School offers its students accommodation in a Treehouse cottage
Sticky Rice Cooking School- South Australia
July 31, 2014
We’ve combed Australia’s cooking schools to find this top-shelf selection of cooking classes that are out of the ordinary in their food, philosophy and, of course, their locations (By: Greta Stonehouse).
1. The Agrarian Kitchen, Lachlan, Tasmania
Where better to learn the art of cooking wholesome food than where it comes from. The Agrarian Kitchen is a sustainable, farm-based cooking school in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley. One of the founders, Rodney Dunn, a former chef under Tetsuya, combines his passion for great cuisine with the pristine Tasmanian landscape – a foodie’s dreamland. See: The Agrarian Kitchen
2. Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia
Situated on its own vineyard and surrounded by the stunning Margaret River Wine Country, this five-star boutique resort is a blissful spot for a gourmet retreat. Cape Lodge is the kind of place where chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein and Adriano Zumbo stay. While cooking classes are held by some of Australia’s top chefs, they are not run regularly, which means getting your skates on and bee-lining for the River when they are. See: Cape Lodge
3. Bells at Killcare, NSW Central Coast
Bells at Killcare runs a monthly cooking school hosted by the head chef of Manfredi at Bells, Cameron Cansdell. The menu is forever changing, thanks to Manfredi’s traditional Italian cooking philosophy of only using seasonal, organic produce. Before attempting the simple Italian recipes, students handpick produce from the serene Bells gardens. The experience is then finished off by dining with the chefs while sipping on some award-winning Manfredi wines. See: Bells at Killcare
4. Chapel Hill Wine, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Chapel Hill Wine a cooking school, in the heart of fabulous McLaren Vale, encourages its students to develop the delicate taste of ‘umami’, the fifth sense of taste (corresponding to the flavour of glutamates, according to the Oxford dictionary). With classes led by the prize-winning chef Rebecca Stubbs, against a backdrop of rolling hills and expansive coastline, this is an ideal spot to get to know all five of your senses intimately. See: Chapel Hill Wine
5. Foragers, Pemberton, Western Australia
When Chris Zalokar combined his artisan building skills with Sophie’s Zalokar depth of cooking knowledge, this charming cooking school was born. Trained under Maggie Beer, Sophie was cooking around the world before she settled in the untouched southern forests of Pemberton, where Chris has built stylish farm accommodation. Classes range from hands-on cooking techniques to learning the fundamental skills of food production and, most importantly, cheese making. See: Foragers
6. Sticky Rice, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
With celebrity chefs like Poh dropping in to take a masterclass, Sticky Rice undoubtedly understands the art of Asian flavour. As well as pounding out aromatic curries and feasting on the rewards afterwards, students have the opportunity of staying in one in one of Sticky Rice’s villas modelled on Balinese, Thai, and Japanese architecture. See: Sticky Rice
7. Spirit House, Yandina, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Nestled amongst tropical gardens and tranquil ponds, The Spirit House has the right amount of exotic ambience to transport its guests into the heart of Thailand. Home to an award-winning Asian food restaurant, this is a sublime spot for learning how to make the finest modern Thai cuisine.
8. Wild Lime Cooking School, Lamington National Park, Queensland
Hidden in the Lost World Valley in Queensland’s food basket, the Scenic Rim, is a cooking school with more than just your average view. The Wild Lime Cooking school offers snug ‘Treehouse Cottage’ accommodation, equipped with a fireplace and a balcony, so you can cook and relax all the while staring out at the World Heritage-listed rainforested mountains of Lamington National Park.
9. Flavours of the Valley, Kangaroo Valley, NSW
With a focus on locally sourced, quality produce, Flavours of the Valley offers a range of Mediterranean cooking techniques practiced against a backdrop of peaceful Kangaroo Valley. As well as classes, a ‘Tastes of the Valley’ mini-bus tour is available, going behind the scenes of the farmers, providores and makers of the gourmet food and wine on offer in this serene region.
We have a very special masterclass just posted in the calendar with Celebrity Chef Poh.
Thanks to our friends at Matilda Bookshop you also get a copy of her new book as part of the ticket price. As a VIP guest on the day Poh will be your chef and you will enjoy cooking demonstrations and tastings of several of the recipes from her new book all served to you with matching wines from Mclaren Vale winery Dowie Doole. This up close and personal event gets you the chance to meet Poh, sample delicious food and wine and then take away your own signed copy of her new book. Could be a great Mothers Day gift as the event is on 15th May!
Book via Sticky Rice Cooking School’s website here
Master Chefs News
Master Chefs News
What inspires you to cook with friends?
When I find great produce I want to share it with my friends and see their reaction.
How do you prepare to cook with friends?
I go to the markets and base the dinner around my choice of ingredients. This is usually as simple as possible, one pot cooking so I can enjoy the time with my friends.
What makes the perfect dinner party?
The friends you invite to share the meal with.
What are the things you can’t live without?
Spring onion, garlic, ginger and good quality olive oil.
What did you learn from your time spent with Claire from Sticky Rice?
I appreciated the peaceful and amazing atmosphere at the cooking school. The Electrolux kitchen has been beautifully laid out and is extremely functional.
What inspires you to cook with friends?
Usually it’s a new recipe. I enjoy selecting and planning a menu, and then to put it into practise. I essentially use my friends as guinea pigs! In fact, when Tetsuya left I recreated three of his amazing dishes for 40 staff. He did say I could call him if I got stuck but I managed to pull it off!
How do you prepare to cook with friends?
I choose recipes that I know will work within the time I have. I am past the days slaving away on a Thai banquet, frantically stir frying and deep frying while my guests are left unattended. Prep is crucial – the dishes that come together magically without effort on the night are winners.
What makes the perfect dinner party?
The most important aspect of the dinner party is your group of friends. If they enjoy themselves, have great food and feel looked after, then it’s gone well. It’s perfect when the food seems effortless but has people raving about it long afterwards.
What are the things you can’t live without?
Chilli… And all the Asian pantry staples such as fish sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.
What did you learn from your time spent with Tetsuya at Sticky Rice?
How calm and relaxed you should be when entertaining! Not to complicate dishes with sides and salads and lots of extras. Let the star of the dish shine through. A small serve of a quality protein bursting with flavour is so much more elegant and satisfying than a big plate of carbs.