Foodies, looking for an excuse to follow your tastebuds this winter? Nikki Wallman finds five gourmet short-breaks that will have you licking your lips and checking your holiday planners.
Join a new Barossa Valley cooking school
It’s one thing to feast on the riches of the Barossa; it’s another to tap directly into local passion, skills and knowledge that feed this gorgeous swathe of soil and vine. Good thing then that the ‘Food Luddite’, chef Mark McNamara (formerly of Barossa institution Appellation, on-site restaurant at luxury lodge The Louise), has just launched his Kitchen Studio.
The range of small, hands-on cooking classes could see you selecting seasonal produce from farmers’ markets on a crisp Saturday morning for a warming lunch, mastering the art of charcuterie, or creating hearty gourmet pies. Whichever you choose, round out your weekend with a wine tasting, followed by a sound sleep at Mark’s top pick – the gorgeous, 1860s-built Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage. From $160 per person for cooking class; $570 per couple, per night (mid-week).
Eat local… prepped by Kangaroo Island locals
Kangaroo Island’s superb local produce is legendary: pure Ligurian honeys, gourmet cheeses, sweet tender marron… and winter here has a magic all of its own, where you can rug up against bracing ocean winds and indulge in the island’s bounty with the ultimate ‘house and dining’ package from Life Time Private Retreats.
Choose from four private homes, light a fire and crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read between specially prepared meals which showcase the unique produce and environment here. Expect ‘morning harvest’ breakfasts, freshly ground coffees, local beer and wine, chef-prepared dinners, and your choice of a sunrise breakfast with local kangaroos or candlelit dinner in the rustic shearing shed. From $650 per person, per night.
Drink in old vines (with a new vibe) at Rutherglen
Crisp, cool days are perfect for sampling the bold reds and famous fortified wines of wine-growing mecca, Rutherglen. The historic hotspot, nestled between the Murray River and Victorian Alps, boasts a new breed of winemakers harnessing history and innovation with impressive results. Don’t miss the All Saints Estate, celebrating 150 years with a new range of Antique Label wines and special events on the gorgeous grounds, complete with turreted castle, one-hatted Terrace Restaurant, and a cheese and produce store.
The escape packages here include everything from private tastings, castle tours and degustations to helicopter rides, with accommodation partners such as the pretty Ready Cottage. From $140 per person for a gourmet experience; from $150 per night at Ready Cottage.
Luxe it up in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley
Recipe for a perfect gourmet winter weekend: check in to Quamby Estate, a charming 10-room, 1830s country manor just outside of Launceston, near Cradle Mountain. Rejoice in cosy, luxurious cold weather conveniences like marble fireplaces, underfloor bathroom heating and Sunday roasts. Add a self-guided tour of the Tamar Valley, sampling rieslings, pinot noirs, cabernets, smoked salmon, cheese and truffles as you go.
Return to luxe lodgings. Snooze. Enjoy the in-house, three-course ‘Hunter and Gatherer’ dinner showcasing the local produce you’ve sampled during the day; or venture out to Launceston hotspot Stillwater to partake in local delicacies like wild harvested wallaby and Tasmanian ocean trout. Snooze. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat… One-night package for two including Hunter and Gatherer dinner is $498.
Follow a new Adelaide itinerary
Churches, schmurches: winter’s the time for an urban pilgrimage to Adelaide’s latest drinking and dining temples. Hit buzzy Leigh Street or try nearby Peel Street’s restaurant of the same name for bold flavours in a laidback setting. Sample the fruits of recently relaxed licensing laws at cosy small bar Clever Little Tailor.
For something special, visit new indigenous-inspired restaurant Orana, where the menu reads like Alice falling down a (very Australian) rabbit-hole – think KI scallops with beach succulents; wild peas with cinnamon myrtle, and Coorong Mulloway with native cherries and sea parsley.
Finally, sink into a sugary coma with one of The Aviary Dessert Kitchen’s crazy-good concoctions, before hitting the hay at The Franklin Boutique Hotel. From $150 per night.
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