Eat & Drink

8 Unmissable Things To Eat In South Australia’s Barossa Valley

Is this the best place to eat and drink in Australia?

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From earth churning, dirt-under-the-nails toil to the refined artistry of the chef’s table, the Barossa Valley is a captivating intersection of traditional and contemporary practices. It’s a landscape in which families have laboured for generations, conjuring flavours from the earth and sharing them with the world.

Whether you’re passing through on a daytrip or spending a few indulgent nights amid the rolling vines, the valley offers unsurpassable experiences for lovers of wine and food. We’ve handpicked our favourite dishes from venues across the region to guide you on a sumptuous safari for the senses.

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Cycle down for a local picnic

Spend a day cycling through the beautiful Barossa and dining between the vines. Settled by German immigrants in the 1840s, the area is littered with historical buildings and points of interest. Architecture ranges from the traditional to the ultra modern, exemplifying the different approaches favoured by producers. There are plenty of secluded spots for picnics and a self-guided tour allows you to travel at your own pace. Bicycle hire is easy and there are over 40 kilometres of sealed trails winding between local sights and world class wineries like Jacob’s Creek, Chateau Tanunda, Seppeltsfield Winery and more.

Make “The Home Of Jacob’s Creek” your final stop, where you can pick up a gourmet hamper filled to the brim with delicious, fresh produce courtesy of the Barossa Valley Cheese Company, Linke Smallgoods and the winery’s very own kitchen garden. With a glass of wine in hand – perhaps the JC Le Petit Rosé – you’re sure to find a cosy spot to roll out the picnic rug beside the creek (yes, the actual Jacob’s Creek) or under the shade of a centuries-old redgum.

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Everything at fermentAsian

Steeped in European history, The Barossa is perhaps the last place you’d expect to discover one of the country’s most renowned Asian restaurants. But, tucked just off the main street in Tanunda is fermentAsian, the stunning debut from Vietnam-born Tuoi Do that continues to excite and surprise.

A self-taught chef, Do opened her venue in 2010 with zero hospitality experience and almost as many dollars in the bank. In the years since, she has built a menu around traditional Southeast Asian flavours using in-season ingredients (farmed by her parents on their nearby Presser Road property) and a reputation for honest, delicious food.

It’s impossible for us to choose just one dish as a clear standout, so instead we recommend the Chef’s Tasting Menu – a rolling offering of signature dishes with accompanying wines, carefully selected by Do’s husband, Grant Dickson of Rockfords Wines.

Photo: SATC

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St. Hugo’s ‘Duck Two Ways’

Most restaurants curate a menu by offering wines that complement their cuisine. Executive Chef of St Hugo Restaurant, Mark McNamara works in reverse. With St Hugo winery’s distinctive bottlings as a muse, he overlays flavours from his own garden and the surrounding region to create his elegant signature dishes. Alongside Chief Winemaker Dan Swincer, McNamara has fashioned what is fast becoming one of the most sought-after dining experiences anywhere in South Australia.

A seasonal influence permeates the menu, but the ‘Duck two ways’ with wilted greens and a black sesame and molasses reduction is a staple – and a true standout. It is inspired by – and served alongside – the 2007 St Hugo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. With everything from the architecture to the wine list finished to a luxury level, dining at St Hugo’s is as sumptuous as it gets.

Photo: St Hugo

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Whatever Hentley Farm is serving

The first thing to strike you upon arriving at the Hentley Farm restaurant is the immaculately restored farm building with its exposed brickwork and weathered timber. Within these walls lies an unparalleled exploratory dining experience. The second thing is that there’s no menu. Chef Lachlan Colwill capitalises on the unique microclimate of the valley belt, foraging for indigenous ingredients and combining them with produce from surrounding territories. Flavours and textures constantly evolve and shift in tune with the seasons.

Together with a highly skilled team working front and back of house, Colwill leads his diners through an immersive and educational meal of seven courses, served over three hours. The restaurant and cellar door stand on 150 acres of vineyards that, since the first vintage in 2002, have amassed multiple awards for boutique, single block releases.

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Jacob’s Creek outdoor kitchen

Prefer to get hands-on with your meal and pick up some skills along the way? In the ultimate brag-worthy experience, you can prepare your own lunch alongside Jacob’s Creek’s resident chef, Nik Tucker, in an immersive cooking class

As part of a small group (usually four to six), you’ll pick fresh ingredients from the Kitchen Garden, then use your selections to create a seasonal gourmet meal together in the outdoor kitchen of the Jacob’s Estate Cottages. Don’t forget to ask Nik for a few pro tips along the way.

The class culminates in a meal shared around beautifully hand-crafted tables that mimic the creek which inspired them. And naturally the meal comes with perfectly matched wines straight from the Jacob’s Creek cellar.

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The Angaston Pie

If you’re passing through Angaston, be sure to stop for Damon and Mel’s ‘The Angaston Pie’ from D&M Bakery Café. It’s literally a melting pot for the region’s finest produce.

The recipe was dreamed-up as part of a local history movement in celebration of the town’s 175th anniversary. Chunky beef pieces are braised slowly in local Shiraz, then stuffed into flaky pastry with Shulz Butchers’ smoky bacon and garlic mettwurst, Barossa Valley Cheese Company camembert and Zimmy’s Barossa pickles. It’s downright unmissable.

Photo: D&M’s Bakery

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The ‘Feed Me Like A Barossan’

With so much to see, eat, and drink spread throughout the region, it’s understandable to feel a little FOMO creeping in. Thankfully Tracy Collins, Pete Little and their team at Harvest Kitchen are happy to takeover some of the decision-making while you kick back and enjoy the spectacular vistas from their west deck.

The ‘Feed Me Like A Barossan’ experience is one of our absolute favourites. It encapsulates everything that makes the region so desired – from its wine and food culture, to its scenic beauty and generous hospitality.

A celebration of the long lunch, the meal comprises several small courses, each paired with a wine from one of the six independent producers who make up Artisans of Barossa, where Harvest Kitchen is located. Perfect for large groups (but also available for tables of 2+), you’ll leave feeling like a true local.

Photo: Harvest Kitchen

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Maggie Beer’s pantry

Bidding farewell to the Barossa is never an easy task. Having spent a day – or more – embedded in the landscape and the lifestyle, you might not want to leave it all behind… so, don’t. Take home a taste of the region from Maggie Beer’s famous Farm Shop.

Once the site of Maggie’s Pheasant Farm Restaurant, the Farm Shop is the pantry we’ve always dreamed of. Stocked with conserves, vinegars, ice creams, sauces, verjuice, dukkah – and so much more – the shelves embody Maggie’s philosophy to “cook from the heart, making the most of each and every ingredient I have to hand”.

Each season, her kitchen also creates small batches of products according to the availability of locally sourced, seasonal components. These are available exclusively from the Farm Shop, as there’s simply (sadly) just not enough to go around.

Photo: SATC

(Lead image: Jacob’s Creek Restaurant)