Adelaide Hills weekender

The Adelaide Hills offer a taste of Europe closer to home, writes Mal Chenu.

A bucolic setting infused with diverse geological and geographic opportunities and tactile know-how has built a reputation of fine wining and dining for the Adelaide Hills region. Drive for just thirty minutes from the South Australian capital and you are in a semi-rural idyll replete with an air of European enchantment and craftsmanship.

German influenced and artisan-inspired Hahndorf is perhaps the best-known European-themed gem of the area. Browse the local delicatessens and bakeries and visit The Cedars, the studio of artist Hans Heysen and the Hahndorf Academy arts centre before heading to one of the fifty-odd regional cellar doors.

Hahndorf Hill Winery is pioneering alternative wines, including grüner veltliner, blaufränkisch and zweigelt and you can match their wines with chocolate at the property’s ChocoVino tasting room. The Lane Vineyard in Hahndorf is a family concern with a well-deserved name for tastings, lunch with a view and their signature chardonnay, sémillon-sauvignon blanc blend and shiraz.

Neighbouring vignerons Stephen George of Ashton Hills in Ashton and Lindsay Barrat of Barrat in Summertown are local legends and pioneer viticulturists who specialise in pinot noir and an old-style, hands-on attitude.

The undulating slopes just outside of Macclesfield are home to Longview Vineyard, where the year-round Mediterranean-style Sunday tapas session is designed to complement the wines, including their regularly-awarded cabernet shiraz. Four-star apartment or homestead B&B accommodation is available for those who want to linger overnight.

Deviation Road Winery in Longwood is a cork-popping boutique for sparkling aficionados, including our own Nick Ryan who declared in Gourmet Traveller Wine in January 2014: “This is a truly exciting new direction for Australian sparkling wine.”

The Adelaide Hills boasts a menu of intriguing top-end restaurants as well. Experience classic French provincial cuisine in an 1858 heritage-listed cottage at The White House in Hahndorf or more casual dining at The Haus of Hahndorf, including their signature dish for two: beef rib glazed with German bier and wild blackberry honey.

The Locavore restaurant and wine bar in Stirling is a favourite for weekend breakfasts. Regional produce sourced from within 100 miles is showcased in all their meals, including the renowned wagyu Loca-Burger, tapas platters and eclectic local wines by the glass.

Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill restaurant in an historic 1860s flour mill offers Japanese, French, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes including a five-course tasting menu for $95 per person. Famed for its Croser sparkling range and Yellow Label wines, Petaluma is a must for your Adelaide Hills itinerary.

Between the fabulous meals and cellar doorstops, make time to pick your own strawberries at the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm from October to April and don an apron at the Sticky Rice Cooking School in Stirling. Choose from Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese and tapas themes, join a gourmet tour and stay at one of their three luxury B&B villas. Drop in to the Jurlique farm in Biggs Flat to see how the biodynamic ingredients for the popular skin care products are grown.

They love their festivals here too and depending on your preference you could plan your trip to coincide with the Heysen Festival, Adelaide Hills Jazz Festival, Spring Garden Festivals, Gumeracha Medieval Fair or the Lobethal Christmas Lights.

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