South Australia’s Barossa Valley is home to more than just some of Australia’s and the world’s best wines, it should also be on your must visit list for gourmet food, craft beers, award winning gins and picture perfect views.
At a little over 75 kilometres from Adelaide, you can base yourself at Tanunda and leave the car behind to take a walk along the picturesque tree-lined main street full of interesting shops from small boutiques to larger stores.
You’ll also pass the impressive Tabor Lutheran Church which was built in 1849 and extended over the years to include the tower, choir gallery and belfry containing three bells imported from Germany. There are a lot of food and wine choices available in the Barossa today but the German heritage of the region is still obvious with hearty pub meals, abundant places to buy smallgoods and wursts and some current wine makers and grape growers descended from the original settlers, making up some of the 180-plus wineries in the valley.
While you’re walking in Tanunda, stop for a beer tasting paddle at Barossa Valley Brewing which is conveniently located across the road from the caravan park. Established in 2005, this craft brewery has relaxed outdoor and indoor areas for tasting their truly unique brews while enjoying tapas or a tasty wood fired pizza. The beers can legitimately be called unique with varieties like ‘I can’t believe it’s not bacon’ and ‘Peanut Butter Chocolate Milkshake Stout’ just a couple of the choices, and yes they taste exactly as their names suggest.
After you’ve explored Tanunda take a short drive to discover what else the region is so well known for. The iconic Barossa Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning in Angaston around ten kilometres from Tanunda, and is full of the best produce the region has to offer. This market is really popular with locals and visitors for the range of gourmet food available including meat, dairy and poultry, vegies, preserves, honey and sauces, handmade chocolates, fudge, pastries and more.
It pays to get in early when the market opens at 7.30am for the freshly made coffee, teas and breakfast burgers which are not to be missed. There are usually more than 50 local farmers and producers located in this huge indoor Vintners Sheds with more stalls spilling outside.
From Angaston it’s a short drive to Menglers Hill Lookout where you can get a sweeping view of the valley and take a walk through the sculpture park, where sixteen marble sculptures created by local and international sculptors can be seen.
Of course no visit to the Barossa would be complete without visiting a few wineries and there are many within close proximity to each other. I’d suggest picking up a map of the cellar doors and mix your visit between some of the larger impressive cellar doors such as Wolf Blass, Jacobs Creek and Seppeltsfield as well as smaller more intimate ones like Rockford Wines, Tscharke Winery and Turkey Flat Vineyards.
The choices are wide when it comes to wineries but there is also a new standout establishment in the Barossa, Seppeltsfield Road Distillers. The very funky setup of timber clad shipping containers with an outdoor deck in between is a comfortable spot where you can take a gin flight and sample some award winning gins or just enjoy the surroundings with a gin and mixer of your choice.
On your return drive to Tanunda take a detour to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop & Café. This legendary Australian cook and icon needs no introduction and a visit here is as warm an experience as you would expect.
Set in a stunning off-the-beaten-track location, the farm shop overlooks a lake and you can easily settle in and pass a few hours while you enjoy picnic fare from the shop and then stock up with Maggie Beer’s gourmet products and books before you leave. Here you can also see the kitchen where filming of the popular ABC show “The Cook and the Chef” took place and where cooking demonstrations and workshops still occur.
The final stop for a gourmet tour would have to be the Barossa Valley Chocolate Company where you can see chocolate making in the process and buy some smooth dark chocolate to go with the Barossa reds you’ve purchased during your stay. A match made in heaven.