ADELAIDE HILLS - the best of ...
ADELAIDE HILLS (2010)
One of the most beautiful wine and food regions of Australia, the Hills are less than half an hour's drive from Adelaide city, making it perfect for a day trip - or even just for lunch. This has allowed for some slick operations to thrive, although the relatively smaller scale of individual winemaking has kept it in the boutique area. This verdant valley abounds in quality wineries producing some of our best chardonnays and pinots, and has to date proved to be arguably the best Australian region for sauvignon blanc.
The proximity of Adelaide has also lead to the development of significant tourist destinations associated with food, with the charming and ambient Hahndorf the capital. As occurs with such development much of it is about the tourist dollar rather than the reality of high quality produce. But there is quality in Hahndorf as well as the other villages scattered across the Hills.
Combine all this with a range of accommodation, from luxurious to country charming, and good restaurants and you have a stunning place to visit.
Woodside Cheese stands out among the local producers and their range is available at their factory door. Johnston Cordials is part of Adelaide history and the product still rules. Tumbeela Native Bushfoods shows what can be done with indigenous products and flavours. But there is much more to discover, and small artisans create various products across the Hills.
Lunch is the go in the Hills, and Bridgewater Mill has held the flag for nearly two decades, especially sitting on the deck with the mill-wheel splashing and the wind ruslting the willows along the creek. But The Lane is a contender with great food and a view across the valleys below.
Much has been written about Locavore and its philosophy of sourcing only local produce. While we love the concept and laud its introduction, some attention to attitude and consistency of service would yield dividends.
Casual dining shows more widespread with the Organic Market & Cafe at Stirling exemplary, and a number of vineyards offering good wine-friendly menus.
Check the opening times for wineries as there is a vast difference - some open all days, some only weekends and others only weekdays. Because many are relatively small ventures their wines will not often be found through the retail trade, making it a worthy quest for some outstanding wines.
BARS & PUBS
There are a number of charming traditional country pubs such as the Stirling and the Aldgate Pump, and eac village has its own. But, if youýre keen on artisan brews, head for Grumpyýs Brewhouse just off the freeway at Verdun, or Lobethal Bierhaus, for serious brews. Both offer beer-friendly food as well - Grumpyýs wood-fired pizze are highly recommended.
The standout is Rich+Lingering - a bespoke tour operator that has been inducted into SA Tourism Hall of Fame.
Eat & Drink's best of ...
Aldgate Pump Hotel
Bridgewater Mill, Bridgewater
Mount Lofty House
The Lane, Hahndorf
Stirling Hotel, Stirling
Cafés & Casual Dining -
Hahndorf Hill Winery
Lobethal Bierhaus, Lobethal
Lobethal Road, Mt Torrens
Organic Market & Cafe
Aldgate Pump Hotel
Stanley Bridge Tavern
Food Outlets -
Battunga Country Growers' Market, Macclesfield
Beerenberg Strawberry Farm, Hahndorf
Birdwood Wine & Cheese Centre
B. -d. Farm Paris Creek, Meadows
Chocolate @ No. 5, Hahndorf
Johnston Cordials, Oakbank
Organic Market & Cafe, Stirling
Taste in Hahndorf, Hahndorf
Tumbeela Native Bushfoods, Verdun
Udder Delights, Hahndorf
Willabrand Figs, Houghton
Woodside Cheesewrights, Woodside
Cellar Doors -
(not included if not open to the public)
Ashton Hills Vineyard, Ashton
Barratt Wines, Summertown
Bird in Hand, Woodside
Chain of Ponds, Gumeracha
Coobara Wines, Birdwood
Hahndorf Hill Winery, Hahndorf
Johnston Oakbank, Oakbank
K1 by Geoff Hardy, Kuitpo
Leabrook Estates, Balhannah
Lobethal Road, Mount Torrens
Magpie Springs, Hope Forest
Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Lenswood
Petaluma @ Bridgewater Mill, Bridgewater
Shaw & Smith, Balhannah
The Lane, Hahndorf
Rich & Lingering
Adelaide Hills Country Cottages
Cladich Pavilions, Aldgate
Mount Lofty House Country Estate
St Githa's Cottage
Adelaide Hills Harvest Festival
Adelaide Hills Wine Region Inc. - Winemakers association
Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling