5 Things Every Foodie Must Try On A Trip To Kangaroo Island
Hand-made, hand-processed or hand-collected produce means distinctive flavour and freshness.
At a headcount, sheep outnumber humans almost 125-to-one on Kangaroo Island, but that doesn’t mean the wool-producing powerhouse doesn’t know a thing or two about delicious food. In fact, the not-so-small yet mighty South Australian isle is a locavore’s paradise: at any given roadside stop, visitors can be surrounded by the harvest of dedicated locals, who fly the flag for premium, locally-sourced produce.
Because KI food producers are generally smaller in scale, the end result is hand-made, hand-processed or hand-collected, meaning yields are more distinctive in flavour and freshness. From seafood spoils to the sweet swag of rare honeybees, here’s what should be on your edible Kangaroo Island bucket list:
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For an island of just over 4000 people, there’s a delightfully disproportionate amount of apiaries. That’s because, despite its Italian origins, the last pure genetic population of the Ligurian bee resides on far-flung Kangaroo Island, making their product a serious must-try.
There are plenty of places to choose from: Hog Bay Apiary in Penneshaw, Clifford’s Honey Farm (where the honey ice cream is an absolute must), Island Beehive and LS Beez of Kingscote all produce this unique, delicious honey and love having visitors.
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A freshwater fella, marron was native to Western Australia until 40-odd years ago, when it was introduced to Kangaroo Island. Now, there’s a thriving marron farm with an attached eatery where you can sample the cute crayfish.
Despite doppelganger appearances, the freshwater marron is more delicate in flavour than its sea dwelling cousin and the menu at Marron Café, attached to the Andermel farm (open every day except Christmas Day with seasonal hours), offers these critters in a range of oven-baked and chilled dishes.
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Thanks to its geography, Kangaroo Island enjoys a Mediterranean sub-climate, making it the perfect place to grow olives. Kangaroo Island Olives, for example, produces award-winning olives and olive oil from the 10 varieties on their grove in Nepean Bay. Alternatively, the adorably low-key outfit Flavours of Petite Provence serves up a whole range of organically grown goodies from smoked olives and tapenades, both of which can be tasted at the Penneshaw Farmer’s Market on the first Sunday of every month.
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Known for their size, quality and distinctly delicate flavour, local oysters must be slurped on a visit to Kangaroo Island.
Try The Oyster Farm Shop – although named for its best product, it doesn’t just spruik local Pacific oysters – there’s also abalone, abalini, marron and King George whiting (when seasonally available, of course). Considering its location in American River, just across from the only commercial oyster farm on the island, visitors get the produce at its freshest. Stay for lunch – the tasting menu is available from 11am to 2:30pm daily.
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You’ve heard of top-notch gin on Kangaroo Island, but what about wine? The island is actually home to a handful of seasoned viticulturists – like the producers of some of the island’s French-influenced vineyards.
Although Cabernet Sauvignons are sprinkled around, whites are the go on Kangaroo Island – notably, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, thanks to the island’s naturally cool climate.
There’s a handful of cellar doors on the island but, if you’re already planning on trying the marron, Marron Café has a sister in Two Wheeler Creek wines. Or, if you like a view with your vino, try the stunning coastal surrounds of Dudley Creek (open 10am to 5pm, seven days a week).
(Lead image: LS Beez / Facebook)