I’m super proud and excited to be involved in a wine tasting that’s coming up!
Not the Usual Christmas Suspects is happening on Sunday 4 December at Faraja on King William Road. It will be featuring wines from small, South Australian producers (and rumour has it there will be cider too!).
These guys are all small – and by small, I mean … very small. Most don’t have cellar doors and you certainly won’t find them in the big-name wine retailers. A lot of the wine is produced in teensy-tiny quantities.
The tasting kicks off at 3pm and runs until 6pm – and tickets are just $15. Children are welcome and obviously there’s no charge for them (there is also the awesome Soutar Park nearby for pre/post tasting running around).
Faraja is putting on some nibbles, there’ll be plenty of wine to taste AND you’ll be able to place orders for the wines you love! If you’re looking to serve or give interesting wines this Christmas and New Year – this is definitely the tasting to attend!
Here in Adelaide we’re in recovery from the McLaren Vale Sea and Vines Festival and making sure we’re well recuperated and match-fit for the Adelaide Hills’ Winter Reds.
We’re totally spoilt for choice. Across the border in NSW the Hunter Valley is busy gearing up for its annual Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival.
In the Hunter they do things in style. A food and wine festival over a weekend? They see that and raise us one. It’s been on for a whole two months! There have been 70 events across this time and over 150 wineries to check out. And you have just TWO WEEKS left to get yourself a piece of the action as things wrap up at the end of June.
I have quite a soft spot for the Hunter Valley. A loooong time ago, while still a poor uni student, I spent some time in Sydney, babysitting a friend’s apartment and then taking a few days to check out the Hunter Valley. My then boyfriend and I stayed at a hotel in Cessnock (it had cheap Coopers Sparkling!) and, as we had no car, we took a bus tour around the wineries. Even then I had, quite rightly, a ‘thing’ for Semillon.
And Semillon is the grape for which the Hunter is most famous. When young, it is lean and its acidity can be frightening. But with age, it mellows, and develops toasty, honeyed characters backed with bright acidity and great length. Hunter Semillon is not only distinctive and not only one of Australia’s great wines, it’s one of the world’s great wines.
The other grape variety which thrives in the Hunter is Shiraz. But South Australian readers will know we do a pretty decent version of that in the Barossa!
The Hunter Valley is an easy trip out of Sydney, so for anyone on that side of the country – you have plenty of time to plan a trip to make the most of this two month extravaganza. There is a huge range of cooking classes, degustation meals and other food and wine experiences on offer – and many of them are very keenly priced.
Events you can still head to include a Chocolate and Sea cooking class at Twine Restaurant will set you back $95 – cook confit trout, crispy skin salmon and chocolate fudge cake. OK – you have to cook your lunch but you also get to eat it and enjoy wine too.
You can also learn to cook paella and churros or enjoy an indulgent high tea. For the full event listing check out the Hunter’s regional website.
Now to the exciting part – which is the giveaway. Which is wine. And, since we’re talking Hunter Valley – it is, naturally, Semillon and Shiraz. The 2011 Littles Homestead Vineyard Reserve Shiraz & the 2016 (that’s right – the latest!) De Iuliis Single Vineyard Semillon.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the RD Jones Group at the launch party
I was actually going to do this post based around a Facebook carousel or slideshow but I’ve decided to write a (photo heavy, for me!) post because I’m concerned that it might take me an undue amount of time to get to the Woodcroft for an actual meal so … let’s roll with the material we have!
The Woodcroft seems to be doing a roaring business since its recently face lift. Back in January I tried to book us a last minute table (for just 2!) on a Friday night only to find they were booked out. Nothing like that to pique one’s interest!
The launch party saw us served a selection of cocktails (no comment on those as I was driving and I’m no cocktail connoisseur) with bite size portions of some of the menu’s signature ‘Southern’ items.
Southern American, low and slow BBQ – it’s all the rage at the moment – and it’s what is on the menu here. Don’t worry – all the pub favourites are there. You can still get a schnitzel or salt and pepper squid. But if the urge takes you, you can enjoy seafood chowder, poutine, po’boys and short ribs (that’s just a start).
At the launch party we were able to sample quite a few of these signature dishes. I was particularly impressed that even when catering for a large number of people in non-standard portions, dishes were coming out of the kitchen thick and fast AND they were hot and fresh.
Let’s start with a dish which leaves you no room to hide. Southern fried chicken. It’s on the menu as a starter at $13.90. Everyone went slightly bananas over this. It was so good – crispy, crunchy, moist, hot and (crucially) not greasy. Every single person I spoke to would have been happy to sit down to one big plate of this and nothing else. Fortunately, that was one of the last things to come out so I did actually try a few other things along the way!
Seafood chowder (a starter, $12.90). I enjoyed this – it’s thick with big chunks of fish and sure to be a winner in winter (let’s assume at some point some cooler weather will arrive!). It was served in shot glasses which made it very tricky to eat/drink – but as long as it’s in a bowl, you’ll be fine!
Lobster and prawn po’boy (under burgers, $24.50). Beer battered crustacea served in a baguette with some slaw? Yep – that tastes as good as it sounds.
These three were the highlights for me, but we also tried the jambalaya and the philly cheesesteak ‘sanga’ (not entirely sure that’s a very southern American term …).
Everything was good and the quality of the food while the kitchen would have been under the pump suggests good things for a normal dining experience.
As someone who lives in the southern suburbs, it’s also great to find a pub that is adding something a bit more interesting to its menu. When I do get there for a full meal, I’ll be sure to report back!
Bains and Panalatinga Road
Woodcroft SA 5162
phone: 08 8325 1555