Five Best Food Experiences in the Barossa: Baked Edition

The Barossa is renown around the world as a foodie paradise, and with very good reason. We're spoilt for choice, with some of Australia's best restaurants and finest culinary experiences dotted across our region. 

But this list is a little different than you might expect. Of course we recommend that you dine at St Hugo, or Hentley Farm or Fermentasian. And don't forget a visit to the Barossa Farmers Market. But today we wanted to focus on some of the less well known food experiences the Barossa has to offer. They may not be big ticket items, but these are the tastes that bring the Barossa to life for me - the moments I'll seek out as soon as I come home from travelling to remind myself that I'm really home again. 

In this edition, we're looking at the wonders that come forth from the ovens of the Barossa. Stay tuned for the meat-lovers Butcher Edition! 

 

Apex Bakery - salt sticks bottom left!

Apex Bakery - salt sticks bottom left!

Salt stick at Apex Bakery

Apex Bakery has been firing up their Scotch oven since 1924 and is currently in the capable hands of the fourth generation of the Fechner family. Much has been written about Apex Bakery over the years - it's a true champion of the Barossa's traditional food culture, and of course you should have a pie while you're there - but for me, nothing beats their salt stick. The soft, chewy dough with just the right amount of bounce, liberally coated in crunchy, flaky salt flecks and caraway seeds is a simple thing of joy. No need for butter (although a soft cheese schmeer does up the delight factor), these are best eaten straight from the display cabinet as you stroll down town Tanunda. 

 

Allerlei

Allerlei

Proper cake from Allerlei  

Allerlei is a glorious little shop in the main street of Tanunda (about one salt stick's walk from Apex Bakery). 'Allerlei' is German for "all kinds of (things)" and it really lives up to the name, with crafts, clothing, knitwear (I buy my winter socks from here every year and they're thick, woolly and so warm) and homebaked treats a'plenty, all made, baked, knitted and stitched by local women and sold to raise funds for local charity organisations. Chose from jams, chutneys, preserves, pickled vegetables and of course, cake. The recipes skew towards the Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks circa 1957 - good news for lovers of proper cake - and while the selection rotates depending on who's baking that week, you'll always find something delicious. Make sure you check out the running total on the wall of funds that have been raised through the store over the years and donated to local charities - it's heartwarming and inspiring.   

Eleni's cinnamon scrolls

Eleni's cinnamon scrolls

Eleni's cinnamon scrolls

Super star of the Barossa Famers Market, Eleni's cinnamon scrolls are embedded in the collective consciousness of the Barossa locals and particularly Barossa Farmers Market shoppers. Eleni's Farmers Market stall is easy spot - look for the bright table cloths, beautiful wooden display cabinets and the four-deep crowd. 

You might need a slightly earlier start to secure your scroll, but it's so worth it. Soft, yielding dough is smothered in butter and cinnamon and sprinkled with traditional Swedish candy sugar. Surprisingly, given that description, they're not overly sweet, but have a beautiful spicy warmth from the cinnamon and the perfect dough-to-topping ratio. Best enjoyed straight from the paper bag as you wander the market, with a latte in your other hand. 

Buttered pretzel at Tanunda Bakery 

Tanunda Bakery's pretzels

Tanunda Bakery's pretzels

To many children across the Barossa, Tanunda Bakery is simply known as "the Pretzel Shop!" It's packed from morning to night with good reason - Elke and her family make an astonishing array of traditional German breads, cakes and slices, interspersed with doughnuts, filled rolls, pies.... the list goes on (and includes icecream and coffee as well). 

But for our family, nothing beats a buttered pretzel. The pretzels themselves are divine with a soft, mouth-filling dough, salty exterior and the perfect crunch of the little end-y bits but if you ask nicely the shop assistants will whisk away your pretzel and, for a mere ten cents, return it to you smothered in butter. If you can stop at one you have more self control than me. 

 

Of course, the Barossa has been baking for over 160 years. There is a cornucopia of baked goods to discover but we hope this list is a good place to start. Have we missed anything? Comment below and let us know what baked treat you can't go past in the Barossa. Happy eating! 

Live like an (actual) local

We get it. When you're visiting somewhere new you want to feel like a local, and our beautiful region is no different. We know there's a lot of "Experience the Barossa like a Local" type guides out there, but frankly we don't all get up in the morning and head out on a hot air balloon ride (even thought they are amazing!).

We suspect that instead you want to get a sense of the real Barossa - where the locals catch up for a drink and a chat or some insider knowledge on the best place for weekend brunch.

Well, we're here to help. Without further ado, here's our guide to living like an (actual) local. Hot air ballooning optional. 

Dinner at 'the Club'

The Clubhouse in Tanunda is one of the oldest community venues in South Australia, being established in 1891 by a group of local gentlemen who wanted to create a club which would  ‘promote the convivial enjoyment of its members and to further the interests of the town generally.’ 

Today the Clubhouse boasts over 1200 local members and is a great place to get a feel for the genuine sense of community that infuses the Barossa. This is where the locals go for a quick family dinner, to celebrate birthdays and milestone or enjoy a bit of friendly rivalry at the Wednesday night quiz. 

The menu is classic bistro fare ranging from burgers and schnitzels for the traditionalists, to Barossa Valley chorizo papparedelle and char grilled nashi pear salad and there's an excellent wine list (as you'd expect). It's an excellent choice for families, with a kid's menu and playroom and the staff are always friendly and welcoming. 

Our tip: the Wednesday night quiz is a bit of an institution, and Friday evening sees the famous chocolate wheel in motion with all manner of prizes. Get amongst in the front bar - you never know who you'll meet!

The Clubhouse
45 MacDonnell Street, Tanunda
Ph: 08 8563 2058
admin@theclubhousebarossa.com.au

Grab a drink at 'the Stockie'.....

Let's be frank. The Stockwell Hotel isn't centrally located to much (except Stockwell, population 534) but there's a reason it's a firm local favourite. This is a classic Aussie pub that has been serving its local community since 1851 and an icy cold pint on one of the wide verandas is absolutely worth the ten minute drive from Nuriootpa. With great pub meals and a family-friendly welcome, it's definitely on our list for a whistle-wetter in the Barossa.

Our tip: for a classic old school carvery, book a table for Sunday lunch.  

The Stockwell Hotel
Duckponds Road, Stockwell
Ph: 08 8562 2008
stockwellhotel@internode.on.net
 

..... or the Greenock

The Greenock

Greenock is such a lovely little village, with some of the strongest community spirit you'll find in the Barossa. The Greenock is located right in the heart of this community, with a genuine country-pub welcome and an excellent wine list to compliment their bistro-style menu. They're proud supporters of local breweries, wineries and food producers and you'll meet all manner of characters hanging out in the front bar. 

Our tip: try their Community Pie - inspired anew every month by a Greenock local - and pair it with an ale by Western Ridge Brewing Collective. It doesn't get more local than that!

The Greenock
2 Murray Street, Greenock
Ph: 08 8562 8136
contact@thegreenock.com.au     

 

Tune in to the Wine Show on Triple B FM 

Triple B FM is a bit of a Barossa institution, staffed entirely by volunteers and responsible for some of the most wildly diverse playlists you'll find in any regional radio station in the country. 

But perhaps the most well-loved program is the weekly Wine Show. Set your alarm for 11am on Saturday mornings and tune in to hear Ben,  Dave and Virginia - plus an an assortment of local guests - ruminate on all that is Barossa grape growing and wine making. The vast knowledge and experience of the presenters makes this a highly entertaining and genuinely engaging hour of radio and a particularly great insight into the workings of our local community. Keep an ear out for Ben's eclectic music picks which punctuate the discussions. 

Triple B FM
89.1FM
www.bbbfm.com 

 

Shop at Nuri Foodland 

The Co-Op Fresh Foodland cheese display for Bastille Day

If you're thinking "not much of a tip, shopping at the local supermarket, is it?" then you've never been to the Nuriootpa ("Nuri") Foodland. More formally known as The Co-Op Fresh Foodland, this gorgeous new retail space was opening in early 2017 and is a must-visit destination for Barossa foodies looking to stock up on goodies. The Co-Op is Australia's leading retail cooperative, formed in 1944 and proudly owned by 18,100 members across our community, all of whom benefit from the $600,000 distributed back through the Barossa every year - pretty impressive numbers. 

Today the Co-Op Fresh Foodland is a hub for the locals, with an eye watering cheese selection, including an automatic, humidity controlled cheese room, a Barossa pantry bursting with local artisan products and a friendly, bustling cafe located in the middle of the actual supermarket - take a break from all the cheese selecting and refuel with a coffee. We could wax lyrical for quite some time about the smoked meats, the freshly baked local breads... and did we mention the cheese? but we'll let you discover that for yourself. Don't forget your reusable bags! 

The Co-Op Fresh Foodland
3 Murray Street, Nuriootpa
www.barossa.coop

Saturday morning at the Farmers Market - and a roast for lunch.

Aldna Farms at the Barossa Farmers Market

Much has been written over the years about the Barossa Farmers Market; a must-visit destination if you're in the Barossa on a Saturday morning. Do like the locals and factor in breakfast and a coffee, and then hit the stalls to stock up on the makings of an epic, old school roast lunch. Many accommodation providers in the Barossa offer self-catering facilities and that means you can have your roast heirloom carrots and eat them too!   

The Barossa Farmers Market is a cornucopia of all that is special about the Barossa - great characters, real food, generous hospitality and a sense that you're part of something bigger than yourself. And don't forget the cinnamon scrolls

The Barossa Farmers Market
Corner Angaston and Stockwell Road, Nuriootpa
www.barossafarmersmarket.com  

Take a stroll during golden hour 

Golden Hour at Krondorf Creek Farm

It's called golden hour for a reason..... On a good number of days per week, around 5pm during the winters months the Barossa is soaked in the most glorious, rich golden light. It picks up the warmth in the stonework of old buildings the region over, glints off the window panes, and turns the whole Barossa ranges an incredible hue of purple.  Rug up, and take a stroll through your town of choice or pick a back road and take in the rural scenery, especially the way the light plays off the trunks of the ghost gums. 

It's a great way to walk off a lazy roast lunch and you never know who you'll meet. 

For the best walking routes through the Barossa, have a chat with the fantastic staff at the Barossa Visitor Centre:
66-68 Murray Street, Tanunda
1300 852 982
www.barossa.com   

 

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments how you live like an (actual) local here in the Barossa. 

 

"All the skilful tradies, all the skilful tradies - now put your hands UP!"

As tempting as it was to write this whole post in the candance of Beyonce’s mega hit All the Single Ladies, I have erred on the side of caution because I don’t want anything to distract from a very serious message: Krondorf Creek Farm would not exist today if it weren’t for the professionalism, dedication, hard work and yes, love, of our amazing array of tradies. It’s true that James’ unrelenting hard work has been the backbone - over fifteen years - of the restoration of this property but it is truly a wonderful thing to sit back and watch a master of their craft work.

We are so incredibly grateful to the men and women who helped us bring this property back to life, and this post is a way to convey our thanks to a broader audience. If you’re on the look out for a local tradesperson, we can’t recommend their work highly enough ❤️

Wendy Wayling

Play Landscapes | 0411 199 573
Wendy is a landscape architect which, we discovered, is a whole other kettle of fish than a landscape designer. She was able to stand in the middle of a barren, disproportionate patch of land and envisage a lush, beautiful and welcoming entrance to our Cellar Door. She provided a beautifully drawn, comprehensive plan and pages upon pages of plant recommendations - which underscores her true passion for plants - how and what they contribute to a landscape, a preference for beautiful natives and an understanding of the need for functionality and practicality. Thanks so much Wendy - we love our Cellar Door entrance so much!

Nathan Kubisch

Beyond Paving & Landscapes
Nathan is the landscape designer responsible for turning Wendy’s wonderful plan into a reality. It’s so true that an expert is worth their weight in gold and when we stand back and look at what Nathan was able to achieve with that patch of land we’re so glad we found him. Day after day on the bobcat spent moving huge amounts of dirt around with the end result being a beautifully sculptured lawn and entrance area that drains perfectly (it’s the little things that make a big difference) and looks absolutely gorgeous.

Nathan is responsible for the lush lawns, the crisp edging and the welcoming paths that bring visitors into our Cellar Door and we’re so thrilled with what he was able to achieve. As an added bonus our kids were fascinated by the bobcat and would sit and watch him work for hours, which might have put off a few blokes but Nathan took it all in his stride. Thanks so much Nathan!

Zimmy and Joel

Zim Masonry | 0407 366 722

We simply cannot recommend Zim Masonry enough. Zimmy is the best kind of young man - hard working, diligent, proactive and dead set mad about old stone buildings. He would come to us with ideas and recommendations, took our occasional indecision completely in his stride, went above and beyond time and time again and was genuinely a delight to have around. Of all our tradies Joel and Zimmy spent by far the most time at our house and we loved having them around. Our daughter Georgia would run out each morning to show Joel all the latest scrapes and bruises on her knees and he’d share his skateboarding mishaps.

There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re bringing old stone buildings back to life. Having Zimmy and Joel on the job meant that we always felt absolutely confident that we were in excellent hands and that the situation was completely under control. You guys were the absolute best. Thank you so much.

Wolf

Wolfgang Koehler | 0487 637 777

I cried the day Wolf finished building our Tasting Bar (and I’m obviously not afraid to admit it). Wolf took old timber off-cuts from a stockpile at the back of the property, old floorboards out of one of the cottages, a design sketched on the back of an envelope and a lifetime of skill and dedication and he turned it into the most beautiful, heartfelt, useful centrepiece of our Cellar Door. All the little touches on the property - the 150 year old door frames which he restored rather than replace, the gorgeous window surrounds, the internal cornices - they all show off Wolf’s deft touch and genuine care. On top of that he’s a really great bloke - softly spoken, honest to the core and a true gentleman. I still get a bit teary about the Tasting Bar and I hope that continues for many, many years to come. Thanks Wolf.

Andrew and Joel

Hilil Plumbing and Gas

If restoring the stonework of old stone cottages isn’t for the faint hearted, then putting plumbing into them takes a stout heart indeed. Andrew and Joel did a fantastic, subtle and sympathetic job and were relentlessly upbeat, even when little issues (like discovering a tonne or two of previously unknown rubble base under the floorboards) raised their pesky heads.

Park of the joy in restoring this property has been to breath a new life into what were, for many, many years, abandoned buildings. Turning them into functional, useful buildings has enabled us to make a serious plan for the future of this property and we couldn’t have done that without Andrew and Joel’s help - so, thank you!

Rick and Lubin

Pfeiffer Electrical

Rick in particular is a man of few words but what he and Lubin can’t do with a piece of wiring isn’t worth writing home about. Much like plumbing and gas, putting electricity into these old buildings was absolutely necessary if we wanted to turn them into useful, productive buildings rather than museum pieces, and Rick and Lubin have been there the whole way. I’m particularly grateful for Rick’s quiet suggestions when I was clearly on the wrong track with some -ahem - design choices. Thank you gentlemen, for your part in bringing these buildings back to life.

Bob Launer

Lower North Hire and Civil | 0417 805 313

Our mechanic used to make some pretty pointed jokes about the state of the suspension in our cars, due to the goat track that used to be our front driveway. Thanks to Bob and his team at Lower North Hire and Civil the drive to reach our Cellar Door is now dreamlike - meter after meter of smooth, perfectly compacted road base and a sprinkling of gravel to tie it all together. And once again, the presence of some seriously heavy machinery on site for a week or so was a source of unmitigated delight for our kids. Thanks team!

Simon Treloar

PIRSA

Finally, we would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the South Australian Government (and by that of course, we mean our fellow taxpayers!). We were very fortunate to receive some funding through the South Australian Wine Industry Development Scheme for Cellar Door infrastructure which was administered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA). In particular Simon Treloar was a great help to us - thank you so much for your assistance Simon!

The small fry tour of the Barossa

There’s no denying that our beautiful Cellar Door is on the little side. If you’ve visited us, you’ll know what we’re talking about. One of the comments we hear most frequently from our visitors is how much they love discovering these little treasures dotted around the Barossa - the tiny hidden gems, whether they be in old stone cottages, tucked away in historic houses or renovated barns…. Where the winemakers is usually behind the tasting bar, and there’s plenty of time to stop, relax and having a proper chat about all things Barossa.

So with that in mind, we’ve whole-heartedly embraced the maxim that good things come in small packages. May we present: The Small Fry Tour of the Barossa.

Smallfry Wines

Where better to kick things off than the actual Smallfry Wines? Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens make food friendly, Euro-influenced wines with virtually no intervention - natural ferments, minimal adjustments (or none at all) in the winery, and very old oak lets the characters of the vineyard speak through the wines. When you learn that Suzi and Wayne are viticulturalists at heart then their commitment to hand-off winemaking makes plenty of sense.

Smallfry have been certified organic and biodynamic since 2014 and they boast some of the most beautiful label artwork in the Barossa (in our humble opinion). You can catch Wayne and Suzi their Cellar Door in Angaston. Make sure you contact them to arrange a tasting, as their Cellar Door is open by appointment, although we hear they’re planning to be open more frequently in the near future. Check them out - It’s definitely worth it.

Flaxman Wines

I often find myself saying that one of the great things about the Barossa is that everywhere is a fifteen minute drive from everywhere and that comes in handy when you want to get off the beaten track but not spend your whole day driving. A visit to Flaxman Wines takes you to Flaxman Valley - a gorgeous hidden corner of the Barossa and home to some of the most beautiful scenery, especially in the cooler months when it’s lush and green, and the low clouds shroud the landscape in soft mist.

Tucked away up here is Flaxman Wines’ Cellar Door - a beautifully renovated old building (Colin used to be a builder in a past life and the property shows a genuine craftman’s touch) offering wine tastings, generous and thoughtful local tasting platters and Col’s legendary long lunches. You’ll be greeted by Gus - Cellar Door Manager of the four-legged kind and most likely be coerced into a game of catch before the Riesling hits the table. Colin and Fiona’s wines are elegant, delicious and generous - and they make a straight Mataro, for those fans of this beautiful re-emergent grape variety. It’s well worth the fifteen minute drive; even more so if you stay for lunch.

Brockenchack

While you’re up that way, take (another) slight detour and seek out Brockenchack Wines. It’s no secret that at Krondorf Creek Farm we love beautiful old stone cottages and Brockenchack’s Cellar Door is a great example of a sympathetic, loving restoration which brings an old building back to life. Trevor is a great host - charismatic, funny, genuinely engaging and madly in love with his property and his wines. It shows - genuine, exuberant enthusiasm might not be cool these days but we love Trevor’s passion for his property, his family and his range of cool climate wines. Wine people often talk about their ‘Ah Ha!’ wines and for me, one of them happens to be the Hare Hunter Pinot Noir from Brockenchack Wines. I absolutely love it.

Ballycroft Vineyards and Cellars

Ballycroft’s tagline is “Small Winemaker, Big Wines” and they certainly deliver on that promise. Joe and Sue have a patch of land in the beautiful village of Greenock and their vines are planted in the stony, sloping block right next to the Cellar Door. The harsh terrain produces glorious wines - big, bold, rich and generous reds are coaxed from the small berries that grow under these difficult conditions, so much so that they’re very well known for their Small Berry Shiraz.

In a break from historic stone buildings, Joe and Sue have recently completed the build on a brand new, purpose-built winery and cellar door tasting area. It’s modern, industrial and open plan, meaning you can see the winery in action during different phases of the year and learn about the art of winemaking from Joe who boasts over 25 vintages in some of the Barossa’s most renown cellars. We highly recommend a visit to their Cellar Door. Allow plenty of time to chat - Joe is a champion talker (and coming from me, that’s really saying something) and passionate about all things Barossa. You’ll have a ball.

PS - while you’re in Greenock, may we recommend that you drop into The Greenock - it’s a classic country pub, family owned and a genuine hub for the community. And the pies are fanastic!

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So there you have it. Our pick of the Barossa’s smallest producers and cellar doors. We know there are plenty more - who would you add to the list?