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Food

The taste of the Adelaide Hills

We traipsed around the Adelaide Hills to discover the most divine food offerings in this picturesque wine region.

Just 20 minutes drive from the centre of Adelaide you find yourself in the Adelaide Hills. The ascent from the city is 700 metres, making this a cool climate wine region boasting a range of award-winning wines such as Pinot NoirChardonnay and Sparkling, as well as elegant Shiraz, while it is arguably the home of Australian Sauvignon Blanc.

Alongside impressive wines, the Adelaide Hills has an array of sumptuous dining offerings. Here are some of the highlights recommended to me by locals during a recent trip to the region.

CRAFERS

Crafers Hotel one of the best in the Adelaide Hills

The first village you come to in the Hills along the M1 from Adelaide is Crafers, and it is where you'll find the recently renovated Crafers Hotel. Retaining the 1830s heritage of the original structure, it offers a pub feel with a contemporary dining experience with dishes like beouf bourguignon and duck confit sitting alongside gourmet burgers. There's a range of craft beers on tap, but it is the wine list, or more appropriately, the wine cellar, that is something to truly behold. With an extensive range of local wines and South Australian gems, there's also some hard-to-find wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. With boutique accommodation on site, you could be excused if you called in for lunch, but ended staying for the night.

Crafers Hotel, 8 Main st, Crafers.

Hardys Verandah Adelaide Hills Restaurant

Just up Mount Lofty Summit Road, is Mount Lofty House and the serious new addition to the Hills dining scene - Hardy's Verandah. A recent renovation has seen the long closed-in verandah opened up to become an exquisite dining space with breath-taking views across the Piccadilly Valley. The degustation menu from chef Wayne Brown is edgy and bold with a Japanese focus to local produce and a scintillating wine list curated by sommelier Patrick White.

Hardy's Verandah 74 Mount Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers.

SUMMERTOWN AND URAIDLA

Follow Mount Lofty Summit Road and just a few enjoyable twists and turns up the hill you'll find yourself a culinary world away from Crafers at the Summertown Aristologist. This much-talked about venue is the collaboration of Aaron Fenwick, the former general manager at Restaurant Orana and winemakers Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux) and Jasper Button (Commone of Buttons). Housed in a former butcher shop, the vibe embodies a communal epicurean feel. Produce is sought from the kitchen garden or the community of farmers, while artisan bread is baked on premise. There is no set menu as the chef of the day chooses from what's available, but think grazing plates such as buckwheat, kombu and beets or artichoke, whey and ricotta matched with natural wines sourced primarily from the nearby Basket Range sub-region. Friday, Saturday and Sundays for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Summertown Aristologist, 1097 Greenhill road, Summertown.

Taras Ochota Lost in a Forest Adelaide HillsKeep the communal vibe going and follow Greenhill Road down into Uraidla, where winemaker of the moment, Taras Ochota from Ochota Barrels, has teamed up with a couple of mates to open Lost in a Forest - a wood oven/wine lounge in the beautifully remodelled St Stephens Anglican Church. Marco Pierre White called these 'the best pizzas he's ever eaten' courtesy of chef Nick Filsell's intriguing offerings such as cider braised pulled pork pizza with pickled vegetables, mozzarella and pork crackle, topped with housemade sriracha mayo. The bar features wines from nine Basket Range producers, as well as a range of exotic spirits.

Lost in a Forest, 1203 Greenhill Rd, Uraidla.

STIRLING

If in Crafers you decided to get back on the M1 further into the Hills just a few minutes' drive you'll see the turn off for the impossibly beautiful town of Stirling. Its tree-lined main street features boutique shops and a number of cool eateries including The Locavore. As the name suggests, this intimate venue adheres to the 100 mile rule with all produce and wine sourced locally and used thoughtfully in Modern Australian tapas style offerings.

The Locavore, 49 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling.

Just down the road is the Stirling Hotel, a beautifully renovated pub with a fine dining bistro, grill and pizza bar. Not quite the level of a gastro pub, the food is wholesome and hearty with a substantial wine list. But the highlight is its Cellar & Patisserie. Located in separate premises behind the hotel, it serves a range of mouth-watering pastries, pies and breads and coffee from five different roasters.

Stirling Hotel, 52 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling.

BRIDGEWATER

Historic Bridgewater Mill

Just a few clicks up the M1 from Stirling (or along the more scenic route through Aldgate) you'll find an icon of the Adelaide Hills dining scene, the Bridgewater Mill. The former 1860s flour mill was turned into a fine dining restaurant in 1986 by wine industry legends Brian Croser and Len Evans. A few years ago, Seppeltsfield's Warren Randall bought the venue and gave it a major overhaul including a new wine bar and extending the outdoor deck. Local Hills chef Zac Ronayne delivers delicious seasonal offerings enjoyed by the fire in winter, or on the deck overlooking the huge working wheel in the summer.

Bridgewater Mill, 386 Mount Barker Rd, Bridgewater.

HAHNDORF

Seasonal Garden Cafe Hahndorf

The main strip of the historic village of Hahndorf is very touristy and you can find any number of German-inspired pubs where you can eat your weight in bratwurst, but there are two gems in Main Road as well. The Seasonal Garden Café celebrates local produce delivered as delicious wholesome meals such as salads, slow-roasted lamb as well as vegetarian options. Be sure to check out the delightful and relaxing kitchen garden out the back.

Seasonal Garden Cafe, 79 Main Rd, Hahndorf

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolate @ Number 5. Famed for its waffles and exotic hot chocolates, there's also a range of decadent desserts, chocolate truffles and pralines and coffee sourced from a small batch roastery.

Chocolate @ Number 5, 5 Main Rd, Hahndorf.

The Laney Vineyard Restaurant Hahndorf

Pay a visit to the iconic Beerenberg farm shop before taking the Balhannah Road north to the The Lane Vineyard and Restaurant, where you are greeted with sweeping views across the region. Chef James Brinklow has created delicious seasonal recipes and also offers the Lane Kitchen's Chef's Table experience - scores of dishes matched with wine across an indulgent three hour sitting.

The Lane Vineyard and Restaurant, 5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf.

WOODSIDE

Woodside Cheese wrights woodside

Woodside Cheese features on many menus around the Hills. Being so close, take the Onkaparinga Valley Road and see artisan cheesemaker Kris Lloyd, winner of over 100 awards, including a Super Gold at the 2016 World Cheese Awards for her Anthill - a fresh goat cheese encrusted with green ants - she's been experimenting with a variation that includes lemon myrtle, as well as doing the country's first raw milk cheese. An innovator in the industry, she is a must-visit in the Adelaide Hills.

Woodside Cheese Wrights, 22 Henry St, Woodside.

Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Restaurant

A bit further along Onkaparinga Valley Road you'll find Bird in Hand winery. Everything about this place is impressive. Picturesque vineyards, incredible artwork and a top class restaurant, The Gallery. Carlos Astudillo has recently taken over as Chef de Cuisine and has introduced a farm-to-table rotation of dishes with produce sourced directly from local growers and Bird in Hand's kitchen garden. Open every day for lunch, take on one of the two lunchtime dining experiences, Signature Flight, a share-style menu or the more immersive Joy Flight - an exciting seasonal culinary journey that unfolds over three delectable hours, best enjoyed with matching Bird in Hand wines, of course.

The Gallery, Corner of Bird in Hand & Pfeiffer Roads, Woodside.

Another winery with a stellar restaurant is Howard Vineyard just 10 minutes drive back up the hill to Narnie. MasterChef alumni Heather Day has taken over the reins at the recently renovated Clover Restaurant and she's serving up some of the exotic, fresh flavours of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China. The venue hosts acoustic Sunday Sessions and the lush green lawn outside the cellar door is the perfect spot to soak up some cool musical vibes and feast on Heather's delicious Asian dishes.

Clover Restaurant, Howard Vineyard 53 Bald Hills Road, Nairne.

VERDUN

If you follow the signs from Woodside 
back to Adelaide, you'll pass through Verdun, where there are three final additions to your Hills culinary journey.

The Stanley Bridge Hotel is still an 'old school' pub, with a 1970s carpet and undulating floor. And that's its charm. With its cosy inside dining with dishes such as mushroom gnocchi and marinara linguine, it is finding favour with the hip crowds on the weekend who kick on out the back on the petanque rink and frequent the caravan-cum-bar.

Stanley Bridge Tavern 41 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

Only a couple of hundred metres up the road is the Walk the Talk Café. Housed in the old Verdun Post Office (locals still pop in to get their mail) chef/caterer Ali Seedsman and her partner Russell Marchant have opened a funky but unpretentious café. Ali's stellar pedigree (Bayswater Brasserie, Bathers Pavilion, Magill Estate) is evident on the menu - simple but sumptuous shared plates and housemade cakes and pastries.

Walk the Talk Café, 25 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

Still in Verdun, just before you get back on the M1 back to Adelaide, swing up the hill to Maximilian's, acknowledged as one of the best regional restaurants in the state. Casual shared plates, a la carte and chef's degustation journeys matched with wines from the on-site Sidewood Cellar Door. The venue also offers gorgeous views across the lake and vineyard.

Maximilian's Restaurant 15 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

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Fruits of the Forest
The produce of Western Australia’s Southern Forests is world renowned, the wines of the region are starting to follow suit. It’s hard not to be intoxicated by the Southern Forests region, with its towering forests, cascading waterways, sprawling valleys dotted with vineyards and orchards quilted with blossoming fruit trees. This special place is a leisurely three-hour drive from Perth and winds through some of the most fertile land in the world – home to a tapestry of fresh produce. While this quintessentially Australian landscape was historically timber-milling and tobacco country, today it is Western Australia’s third largest wine region – and one of the nation’s richest agricultural districts. Situated in the lower south west corner of WA, the Southern Forests has over 80,000 hectares of prime agricultural land and includes the Manjimup , Pemberton and Great Southern Geographical Indications (GIs). With its high altitude, cool climate and rich, loamy karri soils, the region is suited to the production of Burgundy-style wines with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay simply thriving in this lush environment. More recently, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Verdelho, Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc have also emerged as important varieties. And with Margaret River as its neighbour, it is not surprising that this district is forging a solid reputation for its premium cool climate wines to match its world-class produce. The Southern Forests’ reputation as a top culinary tourism destination has grown exponentially since the introduction of the Genuinely Southern Forests campaign and now the vignerons want their wines to share that international platform. As a result, the Manjimup and Pemberton wine associations are in the process of amalgamating to create a unified brand to further promote their wines to the world. 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Pacific Reef Fisheries Best of the Best RAS President's Medal
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Top Adelaide Hills Wineries and Cellar Doors
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Lunch is available on Fridays only where groups are treated to a selection of wines matched with a delicious meal, and a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the impressive vineyard. 136 Jones Road, Balhannah Open daily 11am to 5pm Visit the Shaw + Smith websit e The Lane Vineyard With magnificent views across the vineyard from the bright and stylishly modern tasting room, the Lane’s knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand for table service style wine tastings. Wine flight options start at $5 for simple wine-only selections, or $20 for options that include wines paired with delicious treats from executive chef James Brinklow. For those in need of more than a bite-sized snack, enjoy a leisurely lunch paired with wines from the same single estate vineyard you can admire from the comfort of the beautiful restaurant. 5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf Open daily 10am to 4pm Visit The Lane Vineyard website Howard Vineyard The beauty of the gum trees, terraced lawns and rolling vines that surround the family-owned Howard Vineyard impress visitors before they even sample the award-winning wines. Try cool climate Cabernet Francs, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Gris and Sparkling wines before settling in beside the roaring fire with your favourite glass. Active guests can take a walk around the manicured gardens or play a spot of croquet on the lawn. The family friendly Clover + Stone restaurant is open from Wednesday – Friday, with a special set menu on offer for Sunday lunch.  Head Chef and former MasterChef contestant, Heather Day creates a fantastic South-East Asian inspired menu, perfectly complementing Howard Vineyard’s best wines. Lot 1, 53 Bald Hills Road, Nairne Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm Visit the Howard Vineyard website Bird in Hand Visit the Bird in Hand winery to taste some of the very best wines South Australia has to offer while dining at award-winning restaurant The Gallery for lunch. Relax at the gorgeous cellar door to sample a superb range of premium traditional varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, through to sensational alternate varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Montepulciano and Arneis. Wander through the original barrel hall, enjoy the carefully curated artworks and luxury retail experience, or linger longer to sample local cheeses and antipasti platters with your favourite glass of wine in hand. Bird in Hand Rd & Pfeiffer Rd, Woodside  Open daily (Mon to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am to 5pm) Visit the Bird in Hand website Deviation Road Husband and wife team Hamish and Kate Laurie are the owners of this divine boutique winery. The cellar door deck that overlooks the wine garden and home block vines is the perfect place to relax outdoors in the sunshine and sample their great range of wines. Taste from their range of artisanal premium cool climate wines; from Sparkling and aromatic whites to basket pressed red wines. Winemaker Kate trained at Lycée Viticole d’Avize in Champagne, no doubt helping them to perfect their award-winning Sparkling wine! Book in for a tutored wine flight or master class or simply sit and enjoy your chosen wine with one of the delicious tasting plates on offer daily. 207 Scott Creek Road, Longwood Open daily 10am to 5pm Visit the Deviation Road website For more cellar door guides, visit our dedicated Wine Regions section.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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