Given that South Australia is the country’s premier wine region, it is not surprising that a thriving food industry has blossomed to complement all those fine vintages. Abundant seafood, fine meats, cheeses, and fresh fruits and vegetables provide the local canvas for South Australia’s diverse restaurant and gourmet produce scene. Food is not so much a fashion as it is an obsession down under, and South Australia has plenty of food artisans and celebrity chefs willing to share their culinary expertise through cooking classes.
Outdoors on Parade
Something of an Adelaide institution, home wares and cookery store Outdoors on Parade in Norwood has cooking classes most weeks of the year. Leading chefs from the state’s top restaurants share tricks of the trade and favorite dishes prepared with matching local wines. Outdoors on Parade also offers wine courses.
The wineries, restaurants, and food outlets of the Adelaide Hills make it a favorite destination for foodies. Sticky Rice Cooking School in Stirling has highly regarded cooking classes covering most Asian cuisines, as well as Spanish, Moroccan, and Middle Eastern dishes. Business is booming, as they have added villas for overnight stays in recent years, as well as food tours such as their Gourmet Produce & Farmgate Trail, which visits Adelaide Hills food producers.
Adelaide Hills artisan cheesemakers Saul and Sheree Sullivan specialize in white mold, blue mold, and fresh cheeses made from goat and cow’s milk. Their cellar door in Hahndorf is a popular stop, selling produce from their nearby cheese factory in Lobenthal. Now you can learn how to make cheese at Sheree’s classes. The introductory cheese master class includes how to make feta and Camembert, as well as ricotta from whey.
Retreat at Chapel Hill
Offering fine wine, luxury accommodations, and cooking classes, Chapel Hill Winery has hit on a winner with its Hands on Fridays cooking classes. Held the third Friday of every month, the theme is world cuisine, and participants help prepare everything from Moroccan tajine to French ragout before enjoying it in the dining room with paired wines from the vines outside. You can just do the evening course, but it seems a shame not to stay the night and tour the surrounding McLaren Vale wine region.
Television cook Maggie Beer has done as much as anyone to promote South Australia as a food destination, and Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa is a great stop in the Barossa Valley wine district. Daily demonstrations on cooking with verjuice, made from unripened grapes, at 2 p.m. can be hard to squeeze into, given the popularity of the shop, but it is well worth a visit to browse the shelves and sample the tasting plates stocked with gourmet goodies. You can order picnic baskets to eat on the deck outside, or take one with you to enjoy as you tour the wineries.
Fun fact: Food and wine is so important to the state, the University of Adelaide has a Research Centre for the History of Food and Drink. If cooking classes just don’t satisfy your gourmand lust for knowledge, go the whole hog and get a master of gastronomy degree or a degree in food writing at the University of Adelaide.