Australia is just blessed with fine produce… whether its rock lobsters or Margaret River wines from the west to beautiful tropical mangoes up north or silky Pinot Noirs from Tasmania; we are spoilt for choice!
And there is no other finer place for gourmets than South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Today I find myself at the Barossa Homestead, a pop-up food market in a gorgeous terrace home in Paddington featuring some of the best produce from the Barossa Valley.
As we enter the house there is a wonderful table full of beautiful and exciting Barossa gourmet products… unfortunately most these are just for display (but they represent the produce we’ll be tasting at the back of house), but there are some wonderful items to taste next to the table…
Brie cheese from the Barossa Valley Cheese Company and Quince Paste from Pheasant Farm
Nothing settles one into a civilised afternoon than some cheese and crackers. The wonderful brie has rich aromas of earthy mushroom flavours, a velvety creamy rich texture on the inside with the firmness of the outer white mould to provide a lovely contrast of textures and flavours. I pair it with a sweet quince paste from Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm on a lovely sweet crumbly lavosh cracker. Some matches are made in heaven and this is one of those!
Tathra Homestead (Olive Oil and Dukkah)
Then there is the lovely bread with rich olive oil which is dipped in a beautiful Almond & Macadamia Dukkah. The wonderful Mediterranean flavours of the olive oil are sensous and velvety and grips with dukkah holding it firmly onto the bread. Then the spice (cumin and coriander) and the crunch of the macadamia and almonds come alongside to provide a perfect spicy and gravelly contrast to the smooth olive oil for a beautiful taste sensation.
Then I continue to wander through the terrace and come face to face with one of my favourite vineyards… Henschke! (I actually recentlly had their amazing Tappa Pass Shiraz in the Qantas Lounge – you can check out the review of that wine here).
I meet one of the members of the Henschke family, who are just so lovely and friendly. I start with a glass of their Louis Semillon from Eden Valley. The wine has wonderful aromas of citrus fruits and apples which continue through to the palate with a vibrant overflow of lime zest flavours and crisp acidity. The wine would be perfect with a huge seafood platter on a summer day.
I then move onto the very different Henry’s Seven. It’s a blend primarily of Shiraz and Grenache with some Mourvèdre and Viognier. The wine is complex with the intense aromas of dark red and black fruits causing an immediate sensation with ever so subtle hints floral and herbs for touch. On the tongue, the full plush fruit flavours dominate (with the noticeable taste of cherries which are particularly prevalent) with some beautiful tannins to assist with the finish.
Truly amazed as I always am with Henschke Wines! I farewell the hosts and step outside onto the terrace to experience a BBQ with some more wine tasting.
Hutton Vale Farm
I have to confess I had never heard of Hutton Vale Farm until today, but I am so glad I know about them now. The farm has been in the same family for seven generations and they raise some amazing lambs and produce wonderful wines. The perfect pairing if you ask me.
There are three wines for tasting today and here they are…
Hutton Vale Farm, Riesling, (2014)
Wonderful aromas of floral notes (just perfect for spring) immediately hit you. On the palate the lime dominated flavours are perfectly balanced with hints of herb flavours with a beautiful vibrant finish assisted with the tannins inherent in the Riesling.
Hutton Vale Farm, Shiraz (2010)
This is a typical deep, beautiful velvety and savoury shiraz that defines the Barossa. There are the beautiful aromas of dark red fruits which continue on the palate with a savoury flavour and and light liquorice hints to round out the experience. The wine has well balanced acidity and fine tannins which flow into the finish. Its so beautiful and I manage to convince them to provide me with a second taste glass (#win)!!!
Hutton Vale, Grenache Mataro (2010)
The shiraz was my favourite, but this one wasn’t too bad either. The wine is lovely and it has a distinctly savoury taste with the spicy aromas of red fruits continuing through to dominate the palate, while the fine tannins from the Mataro provide a nice balance to the intensity of the fruit flavours.
The Lamb Roast
The focus is on fine produce today and in addition to fine wines, the folks at Hutton Vale rare some amazing lambs on their farm. The lambs from Hutton Vale farm are carefully looked after and the hosts are certainly knowledgeable about their product. In fact they noted to us that they don’t sell the lamb outside of South Australia (so hop on the plane now if you want some!). The lamb roast on the BBQ takes a while… will it be worth the wait?
The beautiful soft succulent lamb is just brimming with its natural flavour. The yoghurt marinade forms a lovely crust which absorbs the smoke from the grill to create a wonderful aroma. The tender centre of the meat has the full flavours and juices of the lamb intact. A classic case of quality produce being cooked simply to showcase its natural flavours. I am definitely won over… it was so worth the wait.
The Lamb Sausage
There are also some lamb sausages on offer from Hutton Vale as well…
The juicy flavours of the lamb are retained with the sweetness of the raisins providing a lovely flavour contrast while a light crunch from the capsicum adds some texture with the smoke of the BBQ leaving a lovely flavour overlay to finish. It’s amazing.
Barossa Brewing Company
On the terrace, there are some wonderful boutique beer tastings (I am not a beer person), but there was this smoky beer (I think the third one on the left) which was so beautiful and is paired with a lovely smoky cured meat from Steiny’s Traditional Mettwurst.
The terrace has a wonderful upstairs area with glimpses of the city and some dessert tastings…
Barossa Valley Ice Cream
There are some beautiful creamy rich ice creams from Barossa Valley Ice Cream for taste. I have the chocolate flavour. Its rich with a full outburst of cocoa flavours and a wonderful sugar hit with every spoonful. The buttery velvety ice-cream base is perfect and I couldn’t think of anything more restful on a hot summers day than this ice-cream.
There are two chocolates from arguably South Australia best known export, Haighs.
The salted caramel (last piece on the top tier – guess who got the last piece – yep me #win)! It has rich caramel centre with beautiful salt flakes to provide a ying/yang style taste experience. Then its covered in gorgeous velvety milk chocolate which encases the beautiful filling.
Then I had the Shiraz truffle, which had a super soft chocolate truffle centre, flavoured with Shiraz then dipped in a beautiful dark chocolate coating (note to readers… please stop licking the screen now).
There were also some other wonderful taste experiences not to be forgotten!
Hentley Farm – Fortified Wine Marshmallows
The marshmallows are made with fortified wine from Hentley Farm and then flamed with a torch to create a soft caramelisation. The sticky outer part of the marshmallow is soft and carries an intense sugar hit with the crispy skin providing a texture contrast. The inner colder gelatin texture of the marshmallow is lovely and the taste of wine flows through more discernibly than the outer caramelised portion of the marshmallow… it is amazing.
Barossa Coffee Roasters
Then there is the wonderful guy from Barossa Coffee Roasters showing off some beautiful gourmet coffees. There are some Ethiopian Blends (which he notes are more milder) and a stronger Colombian blend. I opt for the Colombian.
The Colombian coffee releases a beautiful rich distinctive coffee flavour with light floral aromas and packs the perfect punch for a day full of wine tasting.
I had such an amazing adventure through the Barossa Valley (in Sydney albeit). A particular thanks to all the producers and staff who were oh so friendly in answering our questions, pouring lots of wine and providing some wonderful tasting adventures.
I am definitely inspired to pay the Barossa Valley a visit… fine wines, gourmet food, a ~3 hour flight and friendly people… its a Travel Czar’s dream!