Of course, in a perfect world, it would be a Saturday morning, in the late flush of Autumn. My favourite time of year and the season of harvest, which means that it’s also the perfect time for a visit to the Barossa Farmers Market. Pull on your boots and a pair of woolly socks (local’s tip – the best socks can be found at Allerlei in Tanunda. This gorgeous, tiny shop is staffed entirely by volunteers, donates all its proceeds to local charity groups and is where you’ll find the absolutely best cakes, slices, jams, biscuits and... hand-knitted socks.) and rug up because that brisk, crisp morning air that fogs your breath around you is the calling card of Autumn and one of life’s great, simple pleasures.
Once you reach the Farmers Market, first stop is the coffee counter. Don’t forget to browse the fantastic selection of Op Shop mugs if you’ve forgotten your KeepCup. There are some absolute retro gems in there, and you won’t have to use a disposable cup.
Coffee in hand, it’s time to stroll, sip, chat, taste, discover and immerse yourself in the bounty and beauty of the Barossa. There’s nowhere else in our beautiful region where you can reach out and touch the Barossa’s unique and living food culture like you can here. Speak with the growers, makers, farmers and producers who have raised, grown, baked and brewed your produce and you will take home more than ingredients – it’s a living connection to the Barossa. Stock up on picnic fare – freshly baked sourdough, cheese, smallgoods, dried fruits and then let’s head for the hills.
The Barossa is rightly renowned as one of the world’s great food and wine regions, but if you know where to look it also boasts some of the most beautiful and picturesque walking trails. Our favourite is the Kaiser Stuhl loop just behind Krondorf but there are dozens to chose from. Check out Walking SA for some great advice and information.
So with your picnic packed and your boots laced, it’s time to get going. The air up here is crystal clear and you can see straight across the valley floor, all the way to the ocean on a clear day. Spending a few hours walking through this beautiful landscape when all you can hear are the birds in the stringybark trees and your own footsteps is magical and grounding. At some point, lunch will become a delightful necessity, which is where the picnic comes into play. Find a nice stump, sit, nibble and enjoy.
Once you’ve come blinking back down to the valley floor, it’s time for a quick nanna nap (look, I have to be honest. All perfect days include a nap!) and then it’s off for an afternoon snack and a little glass of something delicious.
Open from 4pm bar Three 75 Bar + Kitchen at The Louise is the perfect spot for an unfussy, zesty cocktail and something very, very tasty to eat, overlooking one of the most beautiful vistas in the Barossa. A little closer to home for us is Vino Lokal, where you can perch at the bar of the old Harris shoe shop – a little slice straight out of the 1920s - to enjoy a spicy, juicy glass of Grenache and food from one of my favourite Barossa chefs, Ryan Edwards. Ryan’s food pays deep respect to the culinary traditions of the Barossa and is a must-eat on your Barossa list.
And this is where the magic comes in, dear reader. Close your eyes for a moment and suddenly – WHOOSH! – it’s late February! Deep into summer, the vineyards are groaning with fruit almost ready to harvest (a grape growing girl can dream…), as a balmy, beautiful evening stretches luxuriously out over the Barossa.
There’s a very particular shade of golden hazy light that bathes the gardens at Vintners Bar & Grill around 7pm in February, and the back verandah – with champagne in hand – is the perfect place to take it in. Colourful hollyhocks sway gently across the lawn, and you can hear the crickets chirping away. Vintners has always been my family’s special occasion restaurant and what perfect day doesn’t end with everyone gathered around a table?
I always seem to order the same thing – Oritz anchovies (plus the legendary VBG fries to soak up any left over fragrant oil) followed by the scotch fillet, accompanied by a glass of Michael Hall’s Sang de Pigeon Pinot Noir. Bliss.
There is talking, debate, laughter and feasting late into the night. And that, my friends, is my perfect Barossa day.
I hope there is some inspiration for you – we can’t wait to welcome you back soon to our beautiful Barossa.