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
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.
“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 classes that explore a range of food traditions and cuisines.
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
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.
Source: Provided by producer
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.”
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.
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.
Hoping from winery to winery in Margaret River can give you a sense of a region, but sometimes it’s nice to be ensconced a location for a good few hours soaking in the wines, food and scenery.
Vasse Felix in Margaret River (image supplied)
Possibly one of the best meals I enjoyed in Margaret River was a relaxed lunch at Vasse Felix, overlooking the river and vineyards, dotted with sculptures. The whole team – front of house, back of house, and cellar door staff – delivered an experience which many a winery restaurant could learn from. In fact I would recommend all winery restaurants send their staff here purely for research purposes.
Vasse Felix lunch
The food is modern Australian, meaning that executive Chef Aaron Carr draws inspiration from local produce and a broad range of international techniques. The dishes complement the wines and the wines highlight aspects in the dishes, neither shouting over the other.
As an example; the 2010 Heytesbury Chardonnay’s complex funky wild ferment characters matched the gnocchi and truffle dish. To make it possibly the best food and wine match I’ve experienced in a winery restaurant. And surely that’s what a restaurant is supposed to deliver and a standard to be measure by.
(Thanks to the team at Vasse Felix for assisting with this post).
Being a good drive from Perth its worthwhile indulging in luxury accommodation while in Margaret River. There used to be only one choice for luxury – Cape Lodge. But a few years ago the five star Windmills Break opened not too far away. Offering a relaxed feel, and only 13 suites, it is at once private but still convivial and indulgent.
Windmills Break Luxury Accommodation
Windmills Break is set in a 10 acres of property not too far away from the beach – although not right on it. Windmills Break is named after the local surf spot. It is ideally located on Caves Road so puts you in the perfect spot to surround yourself with wineries and great scenery – for example Ngilis Caves. And not too far from the Cape Lodge restaurant.