Even if you’ve never set foot in the Barossa Valley, there’s every chance your tastebuds have been there. Known for it’s earthy shiraz, incomparable fresh produce and everyone’s favorite cook, Maggie Beer, the Barossa’s best food and drink can be found in bottle shops, supermarkets and delis across the county and overseas.
My husband and I visited the Barossa a few years ago for a good friend’s wedding and absolutely loved it. So when the opportunity came up to visit once more – this time with Coco in tow – we jumped at it!
Our first stop, even before checking into our accommodation, was the Barossa Farmers Market. Run out of a large shed at Angaston, the market attracts crowds from far and wide in search of proper free-range eggs, organic greens, cultured butter, bratwurst (and all sorts of other ‘wursts!’), smoked leg ham and thick-cut bacon, egg pasta noodles, dried peaches and apricots, cheeses, chocolates, coffee, verjuice and so much more – all of it locally made by small-scale producers, most of them family businesses.
The market, which operates every Saturday from 7.30-11.30am, is a must-do for anyone visiting the Barossa. All of the noises, sights, smells and tastes melt together to offer a complete sensory experience for young and old alike. We loved watching Coco trot around the market, weaving through the sea of denim and muddy boots, munching unselfconsciously on chunks of fruit, cheese and raw carrot. For kids, the market exposes them to fruits and vegetables that perhaps they haven’t seen before, particularly in their raw forms. The kids are also introduced to the concept of understanding where their food has come from, as well as the importance of eating nutritious, ethically-produced food.
There’s certainly a palpable sense of pride and ownership about the food produced here. It’s hard not to come away feeling affected and inspired. The passion for good food really rubs off.
The market bustles with locals and tourists and amidst all the activity it’s impossible not to strike up conversation with at least a few of the friendly stall holders, each of whom is intent on educating their customers about where, how and when their wares were grown or made. The lovely lady selling apples informed us about the origins of the “pink lady” apple, while another gent explained the reason for his unusually small (but still delicious!) chicken eggs.
After doing a few rounds of the market we stopped for a chat with a couple of familiar faces we recalled from our last visit. Rolf Egert is a tall, moustachioed man who moved to the Barossa from Adelaide a few decades ago. Rolf is the owner of Kurianda Barossa, which is known for its killer shiraz sauce (amazing!), as well a deliciously spicy pear chutney, wild olive oil and superb raw honey.
After securing a few more bottles of the sacred sauce, a tub of honey and some chutney, we struck up a conversation with Rolf’s stall neighbour, David West of Wiech’s Barossa Valley Egg Noodles. The business has been operating for around 80 years and makes the most incredible pasta noodles, including spelt noodles. We grabbed a few packets of those, as well as instructions from David on how to order more through Farmhouse Direct (I’ve never tried them before, but it sounds super easy so will be sure to give it a try when we run out of our spelt noodles!)
With Coco’s pram chocablock full of goodies, we headed outside to enjoy an organic bacon and egg burger (fabulous with Rolf’s pear chutney!). Coco immediately set off to explore the fruit and veg stalls before discovering a gang of other little people to run around with, as well as a very interesting garbage bin that she felt compelled to explore (yes, we’re currently in the bin-infatuation phase!).
For the rest of the weekend we feasted on fresh sourdough, the best cheddar I’ve ever tasted, the most amazing milk (pasteurised, unhomogenised deliciousness from Jersey Fresh milk based in nearby Greenock), cherry tomatoes bursting with sweetness, thick-cut bacon, the best eggs and fresh fruit. I’m convinced there’s magic in the dirt down here. How else could it all taste so good?! All we needed to wash it all down was some of that famous Barossa shiraz – just as well there was plenty of that to be found!
In the next few weeks we’ll feature some more posts on the Barossa, including our wine tasting experiences (with a baby/toddler in tow!) and our visit to the Kupunda museum (a real hidden treasure!)