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We find some top food trails with room for the rig
Words and Images by: Kirsty Bedford

HILLS SHORT FOOD AND WINE TRAIL, SA

Cool evenings, warm days and fertile soils make the Adelaide Hills ripe for grape cultivation. And with many of South Australia’s earliest settlements established here, ample heritage remains. But when you’re travelling in a motorhome, finding a park on the cosmopolitan streets can be perilous... never fear, we spotted three top culinary adventures keen to accommodate your rig.

CHOCOVINO AT HAHNDORF HILL, HAHNDORF

As you weave through the bustling townships, you’ll find room for the RV and a reprieve at the Hahndorf Hill Winery, where winemakers Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson artfully match the world’s finest chocolate indulgences to their boutique blends grown and barrelled on-site.

Hahndorf Hill specialises i cultivating Austrian grapes varieties, including blaufrankisch, gruner veltliner and St Laurent, alongside cool-climate classics like pinot grigio and shiraz. 

Marc says Austrian grape varieties make “particularly delicious, food-friendly wines,” and are “climatically well suited” to the Adelaide Hills.

“There is also the connection to the German-heritage of the town in which we live (Hahndorf) but the main reason is because we love the wines!”

The devilish ChocoVino combos are indulged behind glass in a dedicated tasting room, overlooking the vineyard and the Hahndorf countryside. Purely chocolate experiences for hardcore chocoholics are also available, as well as coffee, cakes and platters.

WOODSIDE CHEESE WRIGHTS, WOODSIDE

Fancy yourself as a culinary whiz? Why not wow your friends with cheese, hand-made by you, under the guidance of awardwinning cheese wright Kris Lloyd in the Adelaide Hills. Kris has manufactured cheeses at Woodside Cheese Wrights for more than 16 years, and imparts her knowledge in an intimate rustic gallery setting.

Kris says “patient persistence and passion” are key to cheesemaking. She unveils her tried and true techniques one step at a time, and keeps class sizes small for a handson tuition. You’ll get detailed notes and two take-home recipes for feta and ricotta as part of the studies, to expand on the techniques learned in making a traditional cheese.

Round off your education with a master-class on cheese and  wine matching, where you’ll enjoy delicious cheese accompaniments, woodsidecheese.com.au

MELBA’S CHOCOLATE AND CONFECTIONERY, WOODSIDE

While you’re in Woodside, why not sate your the sweet tooth at Melba’s Chocolate and Confectionery. Six large production rooms with fenced off viewing areas and a cooling tunnel reveal traditional confectionery-making processes on machinery dating to the 1940s.

General Manager Tom Foristal says establishing a traditional confectionery was a passion of his father Graeme. But the road to sweet success was rocky, with Tom’s grandmother avoiding the family for six months after his mum, Joy, and dad purchased a former cheese factory in 1990!

The beautiful Hahndorf Hill Winery

Tom recalls crawling through what would become the cooling tunnel as a small child during Melba’s initial fit out, “I was the only one small enough to fit in”; putting up Christmas lights for guests; and collecting a rather dubious ‘entry fee’  at an enterprising two-and-a-half years.

Tom is keen to expand on ‘the old touch’ when he takes ownership of Melba’s in October 2017.

“We are a retail tourism business, but ideally, I’d like to add telling our story; and not just the story of Melba’s, but the story of confection in Australia.”

He also wants to expand on Melba’s traditional offerings, reinstating confectionary of the bygone eras. Watch this space, www.melbaschocolates.com.au

SUNSHINE COAST FOOD TRAIL, QLD

I have a soft spot for the balmy Sunshine Coast. It’s free of the frenzy of its northern neighbour, yet its Hinterland boasts a rich Indigenous heritage, rainforests, and the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains. What’s more, its diverse attractions are close by, making it fun to tour. As one of the nation’s key food bowl regions supported by close-knit rural communities, it’s bursting with enterprising businesses offering tastebud temptations. Timing, however, means you’ll need a week to explore our motorhome-friendly route.

SPICERS TARAMIND RETREAT, MALENY

Keen to push your culinary skills further? Imagine what you’d learn preparing a three-course meal under the direction of a chef who’s part of a talented, award-winning team.

Spicers Retreat, set against Hinterland Rainforest, is home to the Taramind restaurant, whose recent accolades include a One Chef Hat.

Every Saturday, one of its talented chefs helps up to 12 foodies prepare and cook a three-course dinner in a rotating choice of French, Asian and Italian cuisine. The sessions are conducted in a training kitchen, where participants have room to prep and cook on their own appliances, with views of the 18-acre property and market gardens for Taramind.

Once done, participants can sip wine, and enjoy the fruits of their labour before exploring the self-guided sculpture trail or indulge in a treatment at the Spa Anise. Spicers offers a shuttle bus  service to and from your rig, with motorhome-friendly parking on Obi Lane South, spicersretreats.com

 

Not your everyday dairy

BUSH TUCKER SECRETS, EUMUNDI MARKETS

For tens of thousands of years, Indigenous communities in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland have harnessed the warm and intense bitter-sweet flavours unique to our native flora.

Lean in as a local bush food expert reveals the region’s seasonal bounty, found in some of the Hinterland’s lesser known rural regions. You’ll learn about bush remedies and their importance in Australian Indigenous culture like the Davidson plum, notably high in antioxidants, and lemon myrtle, which Hannah from Live It Tours describes as “a very cleansing herb”.

Bush Tucker Secrets departs on the first Wednesday of each month at Eumundi on market day, where you’ll find dedicated parking for big rigs, liveittours.com.au

QCAMEL DAIRY, GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS

Slip on the galoshes and head out to a working camel dairy, to learn the latest farming techniques in this emerging field of milk  production. A local camel expert will greet you on arrival and reveal QCamel’s ethical, innovative approach, before introducing to you to ‘locals’ Maxi, Gracey, and friends.

Then, you can wash down the experience with a fresh glass of camel’s milk, which, on good authority, is saltier than cow’s, and refreshments such as camel milk muffins while enjoying the Glasshouse Mountains views.

Parking is available at the bottom of the farm, from where guests are transferred via 4WD to the dairy on the last Saturday of each month, liveittours.com.au

BLACKWOOD RIVER VALLEY FOOD TRAIL, WA

Many road travellers can attest to the vast distances across our great western state, but you can still find plenty to do two hours south of Perth. In the heart of tall timber country, established orchards thrive in the region’s fertile soils; here, we’ve chosen two top spots with room for your rig.

Mature chestnut trees at Chestnut Brae

LEVANDA GROVE, BRIDGETOWN

Over the winding driveway and up a hill, you’ll find Levanda Grove, where alpacas graze among the rocky outcrops and olive plantations.

Here, you can wander the small 11- acre grove and gardens admiring the views, and visit the Oli-Paca Shed.

The boutique grove is known for its oils, soap and lotions derived from four varieties of olive and for its beautifully hand-crafted winterwear knitted from alpaca wool.

“I love working with the alpaca fleece,” says co-owner Evol Angelatos.

“It is so soft and spins just beautifully, so I enjoy making woollen products. I now spin, knit, crochet, weave, felt and dye alpaca.”

Evol says visitors can hand-feed the alpacas in the petting pen.

“Alpacas are very gently and trusting animals. They get to know their owners, learn routines and are very easy to train. It is such a joy to watch the babies playing in the paddock, they have great fun chasing each other around.”

Timing and processing are key when preparing oil for consumption.

“The olives need to be processed within 24 hours of picking and the oil then needs to be stored in clean tanks (preferably stainless steel) in a cool environment and free from oxygen,” says Evol. www.levandagrove.com.au

CHESTNUT BRAE, NANNUP

In the thick of the harvest, Chestnut Brae offers volunteers unique opportunities, as Australia’s sole owner of a commercial chestnut peeling machine.

Travellers and farmstay guests are invited to pick, assess, peel and sample the sweet chestnuts grown on 30-year-old trees.

Owners John and Linda Stanley use their 9T annual bounty in a variety of weird and wonderful ways, in contrast to when they purchased the farm in 2013, when the chestnuts were simply sold at market.

“When we visited chestnut farms in Italy, it was clear we needed to add value to the produce, so we started feeding the smaller chestnuts to Berkshire pigs,” John explains.

“The Italians insist that feeding chestnuts to pigs produces the sweetest tasting meat; this is something we tend to agree,” says John.

The pork, sold to restaurants in WA, is also available to sample and buy between April and September each year on the farm.

“We also produce our own chestnut flour, chestnut ice-cream, chestnut mustard. And we’ve only just started producing ale seven or eight weeks ago, in partnership with Blackwood Brewery.”

The nutty brew is certainly off to a good start winning Gold at the Melbourne International, one week into production! Visit www.chestnutbrae.com.au

Sustainable farming practices help to enrich the soils at Lethbridge Wines


Tags: Food Travel Cooking Nature Organic Camp Kitchen Camp Fire RV Caravan Motorhome Campervan Winery Chocolate Fruit Cheese Woodside Tourism Australia Melba Sunshine Coast Maleny Eumundi Bridgetown Chhestnut Nannup
Category: Features
Written: Fri 01 Sep 2017
Printed: September, 2017
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