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!

www.stickricecookingschool.com.au

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.

www.bridgewatermill.com.au

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.

www.southaustralia.com/regions/adelaide-hills.aspx

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.

www.mtloftyhouse.com.au

SCOTT PODMORE

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Our Luxury Accommodation featured in Voyeur Travel Guide

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Kids Cooking Class- July School Holidays

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

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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.

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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

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Top 9 cooking classes in Australia

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

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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

Poh’s masterclass

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

Cooking with friends by Electrolux

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http://www.thinkingofyou.com.au/dancing-in-the-kitchen/cooking-friends

22.01.2014

Tetsuya Wakuda

Tetsuya’s Restaurant and Electrolux Ambassador

www.tetsuyas.com

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.

Claire Fuller

Sticky Rice Cooking School

www.stickyricecookingschool.com.au

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.

Master Chefs News

Woman’s Weekly explores the Adelaide Hills

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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
www.mtloftyhouse.com.au

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
www.stickyricecookingschool.com.au

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
www.petaluma.com.au/restaurant-dining

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

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
www.richandlingering.com.au

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

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
www.redcacao.com.au

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