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South Australia Combines Food, Wine and Adventure

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | May 20, 2015

South Australia Combines Food, Wine and Adventure

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.

News Reviews

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 Luxury Accommodation featured in Voyeur Travel Guide

News Reviews

Traveller review

Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling accommodation review: Weekend away

Mark Chipperfield Nov 12 2014 at 8:56 AM

Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling, SA. Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling, SA.

Our rating

5 out of 5

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

38 reviews

The location

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.

The place

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.

See Also

The experience

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.

Don’t miss

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

WEB: stickyricecookingschool.com.au

News Reviews

Top 9 cooking classes in Australia


9 cooking classes for the adventurous of spirit & palate-by Australian Traveller Magazine


Wild Lime Cooking School offers its students accommodation in a Treehouse cottage

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.

News Reviews

Woman’s Weekly explores the Adelaide Hills


Wine, food, heart and soul: Discovering the Adelaide Hills

By Kerry and Scott Warren
Friday, January 24, 2014
The dogs of Hahndorf Hill Winery, just one of the boutique businesses that make the Adelaide Hills so special.

The dogs of Hahndorf Hill Winery, just one of the boutique businesses that make the Adelaide Hills so special.

A short drive from Adelaide, a long way from anywhere, home to some of Australia’s best cool climate wines and with pride and passion at every turn … discover a world where local matters in the Adelaide Hills.

I’m halfway through the delicious chocovino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery when I think that I’m starting to understand this winemaking business.

Listening to our host Christine explain the marriage of creative flair and tried-and-tested principles that underpin the boutique winery’s creations, I ask whether the delicious Gruner Veltliner in my hand is equal parts science and art.

“Good, but you forgot the most important ingredient,” she smiles. “Heart”

The chocovino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery.

Visiting the postcard towns of Hahndorf and Stirling over the course of a warm, sunny October weekend, heart emerges time and time again as the secret ingredient that makes the Adelaide Hills one of Australia’s most charming wine regions.

Less than half an hour from the relative bustle of South Australia’s capital, the Hills rise steeply to a cooler climate where vineyards, cellar doors, market gardens and a stunning botanic garden – as well as the friendly towns around which they’re set – provide a welcome contrast to the Barossa Valley and McClaren Vale, which bookend the Hills to the north and south, and far handier for a city-based daytripper.

In contrast to many of Australia’s other major wine-growing regions, the Adelaide Hills has the strong community atmosphere of a place where people live a life unrelated to tourists. Perhaps that’s the legacy of the Prussian migrants who settled here in the 1830s and named their new village after the captain of the ship that brought them to Australia – Dirk Hahn.

Learning some of the history and culture behind the region adds further fun (and education) to tasting the wines it produces, which is a wonderful result of sharing a day touring the cellar doors with wine expert and host Jason Miller – a sober pair of hands behind the wheel is the least of the thorough service he offers through his bespoke touring company Rich & Lingering.

Jason’s tour doesn’t just ensure we taste the best of the region’s wines, including the aforementioned chocovino and the Shaw & Smith wine and cheese flight, he’s a bonafide local attuned to the latest developments, even taking us with him on his reconnaissance visit of Red Cacao in Stirling, a brand new heaven for the passionate chocolate lover hidden behind the Stirling’s understated shopfronts.

The beautiful tasting room at Shaw and Smith.

And while those newest arrivals proudly carry the torch for all the Adelaide Hills stands for, the region’s marquee institutions – the likes of Mount Lofty House and Bridgewater Mill – retain the same passion for doing the little things that make a customer’s visit special.

Bridgewater Mill’s restaurant deck provides a the perfect setting for visitors requiring respite from the wine tasting, the historic mill wheel trundling tirelessly and the occasional mist blowing from it to take the heat out of the day. The food is the equal of the setting, and for those determined to continue at pace with sampling the regions reds and whites, the wine list is all you’d imagine.

Mount Lofty House, set between a botanic garden and scenic lookout (and with an impressive garden and view of its own) is a landmark of the region and has the sort of story to tell you’d expect of its 150-plus-year history.

The stunningly situated Mount Lofty House.

Built in the 1850s by businessman and politician Arthur Hardy as a family retreat, it served as a private residence until 1983, when it was gutted by the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, it was reborn, after a tireless restoration, as a boutique hotel. In the 30 years that have passed it has grown and developed, today offering the same historic boutique service and atmosphere despite having become a major wedding, function and dining hotspot.

That tireless hard work and commitment to providing something memorable is echoed down the road at Sticky Rice, a cooking school popular with ambitious amateurs and dedicated professionals alike looking to add an exotic new cuisine to their repertoire.

Our class is a four-hour tour de force in preparing, cooking and ultimately devouring a fragrant Thai feast. Knife skills and combining flavours, the art of getting that curry just spicy enough and the secrets of achieving restaurant flavour are all shared by a very patient expert chef.

A cooking class at Sticky Rice.

Our handiwork is impressive, and as always in this neck of the woods, a glass of wine is never far away.

The question of where to lay your head after the intensive class is easily solved by Sticky Rice’s latest development – three architect-designed villas offering Balinese, Japanese and zen themes, and each appointed in décor sourced from the country being replicated.

A night in the understated class of the Japanese villa with an open fire in the private courtyard and yet more of the Adelaide Hills’ cool climate shiraz is a fine way to end our stay in the region.

The bedroom in Sticky Rice’s Japanese villa.

The bathroom in Sticky Rice’s Japanese villa.

Must-visit in the Adelaide Hills:

Mount Lofty House
Stunning heritage hotel in a stunning location – the perfect retreat after a long day’s wine tasting.
74 Mt Lofty Summit Road, Crafers, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 6777

Sticky Rice Cooking School and Villas
Learn how to make restaurant-quality Asian food, eat it, and then wander over to your private and exquisitely furnished villa for a luxury stay you won’t forget in a hurry.
96 Old Mt Barker Road, Stirling, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 1314

Bridgewater Mill
Lunch doesn’t get much better than a meal on the balcony of this divine restaurant, housed in an historic 1860s flour mill alongside Petaluma’s Cellar Door.
Mt Barker Road, Bridgewater, South Australia
Phone: 08 8339 9200

Hahndorf Hill Winery
The chocovino chocolate and wine tasting is a must!
38 Pains Road, Hahndorf, South Australia
Phone: 08 8388 7512

Rich & Lingering
Choose from a selection of popular itineraries or create your own personalised tour of the region with wine expert Jason Miller.
Phone: 1300 707 000

Shaw and Smith
Another excellent winery with tastings paired with local cheeses.
136 Jones Road, Balhannah, South Australia
Phone: 08 8398 0500

Red Cacao
Hand-crafted artisan chocolates with hot drinks to-die-for in the picturesque town of Stirling.
Shop 3, 41 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, South Australia
Phone: 0434 938 107

News Reviews

Our Luxury Foodie retreat by Yahoo travel


Sticky Rice Villas: The ultimate foodie retreat


Link to live article on Yahoo 7


January 28, 2014, 2:05 pm Karen Lawson Yahoo!7

If there is a food lover in your life, this is your ticket to winning their most ‘Popular Person of the Year’ year award. I tend to stay clear of establishments with the words ’sticky’ in it, but this is one place that breaks the norm. Off the radar, it’s a new kind of escape that raises the bar of luxury and private dining.

If you’ve been to Bali, you’ll ‘get’ the private villa concept, Australia hasn’t really cottoned on to this kind of stay. Sure, there are lots of hotels, B&B’s and rental accommodation options, but in the unlikely tropical spot of Adelaide, Sticky Rice Villas provides the ultimate foodie retreat (pow – take that you surfers, yogis and mediation gurus – we now have a place to stay too!).

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

Picking up my rental car, Adelaide hills is a short 20 min journey. Situated in Stirling, Mr G and I pull up at the famous, award-winning Sticky Rice Cooking School where the whole concept started. If running one of the top six cooking schools in the country wasn’t enough stress, Claire Fuller decided she wanted to use the land (not for a farm, shock horror) to create three luxury hideaways.

What sets this stay apart is the uncompromising detail in the architecture, design and finish. It’s not hiring a room but a home, each villa escaping you into a different world, be it Yoko (Japan), Zen (Modern) or Bali (er yep! it’s Balinese). Our home for the night was Yoko. I can’t help getting nostalgic that Tetsuya actually stayed here, if I rub up and down against the Electrolux induction stove will some of his culinary magic will rub off?

The moment the Yoko door is opened, it takes a while for us to take it all in.

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The landscaped garden is dominated by an impressive white stone Japanese sculpture, red maples, white pebble stones and stepping stones lead to our sliding front door. Perhaps I should have practiced my ‘wax on, wax off’ Karate Kid moves?

The villa is floor to ceiling glass, creating a timeless illusion of villa and garden merging two worlds. Doors open up into the lounge, like a lovesick puppy I am all over the kitchen like Kim Kardashian and Kanye! Oooh it’s a black sleek island, glimmering from down lights. I am simultaneously pulling out soft-close doors and marvelling at all the gadgets, including the impressive space shuttle-like range hood.

The fridge. Now most of us have had that sinking feeling when you open up hotel room fridge and it looks like the dishevelled home of a 15 year old teenager; snickers, alcohol and nothing life sustaining. Not here! I am pulling out luxury item after another, Le Petit Prince Chevre, Harris smokehouse salmon, Skara smoked prosciutto, organic yoghurts, eggs, tomatoes and lemons. It’s all ours! There is a sourdough loaf, plus assorted pastries wrapped for the morning. Oh and some Whisk & Pin muesli if that’s not enough. Is it wrong to be looking forward to breakfast when you haven’t eaten dinner?

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The bedroom looks like it could be cast out of a scene of the last Wolverine movie (in a good way). Beautifully carved tatami screens give way to a low bed with black pendant lights, a chaise lounge in the corner looking out onto the expanse of Japanese gardens. Who pulls blinds anymore? Not us! Technological advancements of electronic screens mean that I can lay on the bed and play with them going up and down. There’s a certain childish delight in the pure luxury of it all. High tech is a consistent theme throughout the villas, even our ginormous TV screen is 3D; it’s really quite amusing to look at Mr G with his glasses on. Mr Bean I presume?

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

The bathroom continues the soft wood lines with a deep bath, waterfall spout, double rainwater showers and Kudos spa toiletries.

At 7pm our doorbell goes and it’s our private chef for the night, Yukiko. One of the many unique elements about a stay here is the chance for you to be cooked for in your home. With a choice of menu which we collaborated on prior to our stay, it’s a stressful moment to know whether the seared scallops or sautéed king prawns are going to be the best choice. Within moments Yuki is whizzing up a storm, lining up all the ingredients – including the star feature, local wine! Our wine degustation includes a lovely citrusy pinot gris from Deviation Road, Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc from Mclaren Vale, and a superb Bendbrook Rose from the Adelaide Hills. We are sitting up at the island table like children watching their mum cook. It’s exciting, relaxing and incredibly intimate. Cooking class and dinner all in one!

Photo: Sticky Rice Villas

After steaming chicken dumplings Yuki serves it with a delicious soy lime dipping sauce. Yuki explains that the kind of flour used in frying for Thai food is important, dropping sections of Barramundi into hot oil, whilst assembling a green mango salad balanced with fish sauce and lime for our entree. The main is the holy grail of every Thai curry lover – Green chicken curry. What’s the secret to a great curry? You have to boil the coconut milk till it splits (which is an agonizingly long time to wait) but it’s an excuse to crack open a stunner of a wine, a Dowie Doole G&T Garnacha Tempranillo. It has beautiful persistent fruit and is absolutely unstoppable drinking! The home-made paste made just hours ago in the cooking school delivers a new dimension of flavour balancing the bitterness of the apple eggplants creating a dish worthy of any hatted restaurant.

Yuki cleans everything up then discreetly leaves us to dine (and drink) in privacy. Like all good chefs, she has the final element of surprise… we retire to the sofa and tuck into silky coconut sticky rice topped with mango and toasted mung beans.

Normally we would be thinking of grabbing a cab, fighting through the crowds on the street but not here. Just five footsteps and we fall into our king-size bed for a deliriously great night’s sleep. You can keep your yoga retreats and surfing camps; this foodie boot camp is the ultimate gourmet weekender.

Find out more: http://www.stickyricevillas.com.au/ – We chose Yoko Villa

Need a hire car? Make sure you check out www.RentalCover.com – half the cost and double the cover!

Read more of Karen’s adventures on http://lawsonsview.com/

News Reviews

Local SA Produce cooked by Tetsuya at Sticky Rice

City Messenger was impressed by the local produce used in our masterclass with Tetsutya in Oct 2013.

Master Chefs News Reviews

2013 South Australian Architecture Awards- Stirling B&B

Sticky Rice Cooking School’s new luxury B&B Villas won the State award for Small Projects Category in the recently announced 2013 Australian Architecture Awards. The award allows then entry into the  national awards which will be announced in November 2013.

Indaily reports http://indaily.com.au/design/2013/06/14/heritage-small-project-and-sponsors-awards/

Yoko Villa

The Sticky Rice B&B project by John Adam Architect skillfully complements an existing Asian cooking school in Stirling.  The architect challenged the client’s initial project brief and as a result the B&B was located well away from the rear of the cooking school and sited amongst the established garden.  The sense of arrival has been now been enhanced and maximum advantage has been taken of the mature pine trees and plantings of the adjoining rear property.

Walled front courtyards heighten the sense of arrival to villas. Colourful enameled steel clad entry gates open onto light filled and seemingly transparent spaces. The sensitively resolved interior and exterior environments reinforce the Asian heritage of the cooking school, with a mix of Japanese, modern Asian and Balinese themed spaces.

New narrow ceiling level highlights and full height window walls provide diverse outlooks from the bedrooms and bathing areas into secluded courtyards framed by the existing pine trees and sensitively themed landscape treatments.

Realised under budget, this project has provided excellent value for money, and has resulted in an extremely satisfied client and unique accommodation experience for visitors to the cooking school.

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