The Louise Barossa Valley and Appellation Join Relais & Châteaux

International hospitality association Relais & Châteaux headquartered in Paris France has announced today that Barossa-based The Louise luxury vineyard retreat and its culinary destination restaurant Appellation have joined the world’s top rated small hotels and restaurants across 64 countries as the newest member of the Relais & Châteaux international association. They are among just four Australian and six New Zealand Relais & Châteaux properties including Hamilton Island’s Qualia Resort and Spa, and Sydney’s Tetsuya’s restaurant.

Appellation at The Louise

Sunset at Appellation (image supplied)

Relais & Châteaux is highly regarded and widely known across Europe, Africa and the United States, where top-rated hospitality venues are members. In the world’s most recognised wine regions, the stand-out hotel and restaurants are Relais & Châteaux members. Repeat guests of the Relais & Châteaux network are loyal advocates of the high standards and memorable dining experiences at the 500+ Relais & Châteaux properties. Now they have an additional reason to visit Australia and discover South Australia and the Barossa.

The Louise, a founding member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, is a 15 suite boutique hotel located in the heart of the Barossa Valley. Appellation, led by executive chef Ryan Edwards, is the on-site restaurant serving contemporary Australia regional cuisine.

Commenting on The Louise and Appellation joining Relais & Châteaux, owner Jim Carreker noted, “Long before Helen and I moved from San Francisco to South Australia a decade ago to develop our vision for a destination restaurant with luxury guest rooms in one of the world’s great wine regions, we had pre-selected Relais & Châteaux as our preferred global marketing partner. We sense that the time has come for Australia’s leading small luxury hotels and best-in-class restaurants to partner with the world’s most widely recognised culinary hospitality brand. We are pleased and honoured to be at the forefront of an expansion of Relais & Châteaux into Australia, coincident with the launch of a multi-year high profile positioning of Australia as an international culinary tourism destination by Tourism Australia”.

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Kangaroo Island Food Safari 2014

Culinary master Mark Best will team up with treasured Barossa cook Maggie Beer this year to host one of the most exciting gourmet adventures on the Australian calendar, the 2014 KI Food Safari at Southern Ocean Lodge.

The hands-on feast among the celebrated producers of Kangaroo Island has been extended this year to seven nights from August 2 to 9, allowing a full week among the paddocks, vines, stockyards and oyster beds. 

Kangaroo Island Marron

KI Marron (image supplied)

First mounted in 2011, the KI Food Safari has fast become an institution among lovers of the carefully grown produce and rich seafood of Kangaroo Island.  It combines the elegant cliff-top luxury of Southern Ocean Lodge with daily expeditions among the producers who have helped forge the island’s reputation for high-quality food and sustainable practices.  

Kangaroo Island Southern Ocean Lodge

Southern Ocean Lodge (Image supplied)

Highlights of the itinerary include the fine cheeses and yoghurts of Island Pure Sheep Dairy, a visit to the green pastures of Southrock Lamb and a stroll through the shady groves of KI Olive Oil. Guests might pluck marron and abalone from the farm, savour pure Ligurian honey straight from the hive and shuck oysters fresh from the leases at American River. 

Kangaroo Island Ligurian Honey

KI Ligurian Honey (image supplied)

This year’s extended itinerary will also include a visit to the Penneshaw farmers’ markets, allowing guests to discover small local growers and their produce. 

In between, guests will be able to eat, drink and rub shoulders with their hosts at winery lunches, cooking demonstrations, barbecues and sunset drinks. Each night will involve a celebration of the day’s harvest with a spectacular menu served around the table at Southern Ocean Lodge.

As a founding host of the KI Food Safari, Maggie Beer will lend her warmth and passion for local produce to each day’s events.  She will be joined by Mark Best for the first time, bringing insight from his kitchens at Sydney’s acclaimed Marque restaurant, a regular on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The KI Food Safari will be held from August 2 to 9, 2014, with places strictly limited.

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Mark McNamara opens Food Luddite Cooking Classes

A year after launching his Food Luddite enterprise, Mark McNamara has created a dynamic, interactive space for cooking classes in the Barossa, Australia’s premier wine region.

A widely acclaimed South Australian chef and food mentor, Mark’s focus on regional provenance and true seasonality has been his calling card long before it was fashionable. It was this philosophy that characterised his role as Executive Chef of Appellation until 2012 and saw the stylish Barossa eatery rise to be one of Australia’s leading regional restaurants.

Mark McNamara's Food Luddite cooking classes

Mark McNamara’s Food Luddite cooking classes (image supplied)

Now after more than 30 years as a professional chef, he is a self-proclaimed Food Luddite, favouring time‐honoured techniques over new technology and culinary gimmickry. The Kitchen Studio has been created to give people real food experiences and hands on cooking classes.

“At its essence it’s all about handmade food,” Mark says. “We designed the Kitchen Studio to be a warm and inviting space, the perfect place to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.” Set in the picturesque Barossa hamlet of Greenock, the Food Luddite Kitchen Studio can accommodate up to 8 people and offers cooking classes that explore a range of food traditions and cuisines.

The Food Luddite website has a complete list of cooking classes and booking capability.

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2012 Wirra Wirra Church Block – Happy Birthday to an old friend

An old friend has just turned 40 and it has reminded me of their quirky down to earth nature.  Some friends are following the hipster crowd, and going to the cool kid’s parties.  Some are friendly and familiar, who you aren’t ashamed to take to another mates BBQ.  And this 40 year old from McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra is just good fun to be around and enjoy their company.  You don’t need to pontificate too much about what they say, just sit back and enjoy their generous character.

Wirra Wirra Church Block

Wirra Wirra Church Block

First made in 1972 the Wirra Wirra Church Block has become a staple of many Aussie households, and is quite widely available.   The 2012 Wirra Wirra Church Block continues to show why it’s an old favourite.

The 2012 Church Block is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz, and 16% Merlot.  While the spicy oak is noticeable, it isnt obtrusive. On the nose all is in balance – a dollop of Cabernet herbeacousness and a whiff of chocolately Shiraz.  On the palate it’s soft and warm, with subtle grip.  Fresh ripe generous fruit, with good length.  An honest Aussie red wine, which delivers what it says.

I’m having another glass.

RRP $20
Alc 14.5%
Source: Provided by producer

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25 Vintages with Elderton Command Shiraz

The public release of the 2010 Command Shiraz on 1 March marks 25 vintages of Elderton’s flagship wine. To celebrate this milestone, the Ashmead family are inviting wine lovers to a unique event at their Barossa winery.

Allister Ashmead, Co-Managing Director of Elderton Wines and one half of the family’s second generation to tend to the Elderton Estate, will be hosting the event. Allister notes, “The day will begin at Cellar Door with a tour through the 1894 Command vineyard, followed by a retrospective tasting of some of the most notable vintages of Command. We will finish the experience with a delicious ‘Barossa Table’ long lunch accompanied by the new release 2010 Command.”Barossa Shiraz

Command Shiraz is one of Australia’s best and most highly regarded icon wines. The single vineyard block was planted in 1894 and the Estate has grown around the gnarly old vines. The block is considered a centenarian block by the Barossa Old Vine Charter.

The Command is truly an expression of place, and one of which the family intends to preserve for generations to come. The Command has won accolades from the world over, with a highlight being the 1996 vintage winning the trophy for the best Shiraz in the world at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition.

When: Sunday, 23 February from 10am
Where: Elderton Cellar Door, 3 – 5 Tanunda Rd, Nuriootpa SA 5355
Tickets: $130 per person from Elderton Wines.

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Leeuwin Concert Series: 15 – 16 February, 2014

The 2014 Leeuwin Estate Concerts have been officially announced. Jazz queen Diana Krall is the headline act, combined with the sweet sounds of the Perth Symphony Orchestra.

There will be performances on Saturday February 15 and Sunday February 16.  Leeuwin Estate looks forward to announcing the 2014 Concert series and hopes that they generate a weekend of good business throughout the district.

Purchase tickets over the counter at the Margaret River Visitor Centre or visit the Leeuwin Estate website.

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