4 Days in the Barossa...

4 Days in the Barossa...

Lemon Pudding with Blueberry Compote ~ Recipe here

Above: Toursim South Australia's recent (beautiful) TV advert

All above photos taken @ HUTTON VALE CELLAR DOOR ~ Link here

BAROSSA HERITAGE PORK ~ Link here and here


Rhubarb & Cinnamon Cake ~ Recipe here




(Note ~ this recipe is not on WKA, rather it's a publicity shot for Ferment Asian.



HENTLEY FARM ~ Link here




2 weeks ago I travelled to South Australia for the first time in my 7.5 years living in the land Down Under. I had always heard lovely things about Adelaide ~ 'city of churches' and all that, but I heard even better things about The Barossa Valley, which is one of the main wine producing areas of SA (the others being; Clare Valley and McLaren Vale) and it has been an area I have had great intentions of traveling to for years, so when my producer Sophie told me she had booked me for a 4 day photo job via Fairfax for Tourism South Australia, I was thrilled!

I flew out on a Sunday afternoon with Jason ~ a Creative Director at Fairfax and we enjoyed a quick 2 hour, bump-free flights from Sydney. We arrived in Adelaide, grabbed a hire car and made the easy 1 hour 15 minutes or so drive northeast towards the Barossa, arriving around 8.30pm.

I was hired to shoot a series of photos for an set of advertorials being run in June by Fairfax Media in the weekend news paper and food related supplement. We were off to meet and document 11 passionate artisan food and wine producers in the Barossa. Some of which were themselves ~ or have their properties featured in a new advertising campaign to promote the area.

Recently Tourism South Australia (SATC ~ yes I immediately thought of 'another' abbreviation when I saw this first on print) has been on a big push to promote this area and via some massively talented people, they have just produced an beautiful TV advert (see above or here) to be shown around the country and in particular Sydney and Melbourne. It is based around the concept that what makes the Barossa a standout by way of its glorious robust wines and artisan produce ~ is the unique earth and clay which makes up the foundation of the Barossa, it's all about the earth and its people who make this area so unique.

When I saw the ad, I fell in love. I loved its rawness; its ruggedness; its elegance and its stylishly alternative approach. It's different to all other Australian tourism ads gone before it (think Skippy and Bondi Beach - sun, surf and sand *yawn* - it's actually not always hot here and I've never seen a kangaroo unless Ive been super lucky and go up super early in the countryside in the middle of nowhere...). To be fair, Tourism Victoria has come close with its Yarra Valley Adverts and general Melbourne advertising, but this SATC Barossa advert is a standout for me. It's gutsy and honest, ballsy and unique. I applaude SATC for taking a leap onto a more creative and original path.

It is not a million miles away from the aesthetic in which I shoot food and my subjects ~ aka in a real and natural state, so I was immediately drawn into the ad, and in turn the Barossa. As dreadfully corny as it sounds, I felt an immediate connection to the area. I didn't see the advert until the morning of the first day of shooting but I could straight away feel an amazing atmosphere to the area when watching the piece. Had I not been in the Barossa upon seeing it for the first time ~ rather lazing on my sofa at home in front of the telly, I would totally want to take a trip to the area. It had me hooked the minute I saw that gorgeously laid out, messy table under the tree and that chicken darting across the screen... that glistening fruit tart being served with bits falling off it...

In fairness coming to the Barossa ~ or any wine region in the winter months when there are no leaves or grapes on the vines isn't quite as interesting as in the warmer months but initially and honestly, when we were driving to the first job on the first day, I commented I didn't really see that much of a difference between the Barossa and the other main wine making regions on the east coast of Aus ~ aka the Yarra Valley in Victoria (90km east of Melbourne) and the Hunter Valley (120km north of Sydney) ~ . Note: I have yet to visit the seemingly incredibly beautiful Margaret River in Western Australia (270km south of Perth). I was a little confused as to what everyone was rambling on to me over the years about 'what a standout the Barossa was'?! However, as the day went on and we travelled around the area, I started to notice the sheer abundance of rows upon rows of vineyards and incredibly beautiful quaint houses and cottages, pretty villages, rolling hills. I started to see the wood for the trees and I felt really chuffed to be there and relished the idea I had this opportunity to shoot it's passionate food producers.

I was blown away as the days went by at just how pretty the area is. Its stunningly attractive old houses with their oh-so-very-Aussie wrap-around verandahs and sandstone brick fronts, the quaint little towns such as:

Tanunda ~ a lively, vibrant town ~ one of the largest in the area. This would be the place I would stay close enough to when I return to the Barossa so you can easily take advantage at night of the great local restaurants and bars, minus a car to get from A to B. A tip: there are also some excellent prop sourcing shops here which do not cost the earth like so many in Sydney ~ in particular Pioneer Antiques which was a superb find, jam-pack with amazing vintage prop finds in every nook and cranny and the lady who runs it was so very lovely. God only knows how she actually finds anything in the place but she knew exactly where everything was, much to my delight as I went bananas picking out gorgeous old forks, spoons, knives and all things perfect for creating lovely foodie photos.

Enroute to this antique store I stumbled across a fab homewares store called Alabaster. Really, this store was divine! I could have stayed in it all day. Gorgeous, simple clothes made with natural fabrics and textiles and the most incredible array of locally (and overseas) produced ceramics, stationery, jewelery, fabrics and just generally all things very desirable for your home. I bought a stunning old throw for my sofa which has totally transformed the sitting room and a beautiful porcelain plate from these guys.

In Tanunda you'll find the following wineries:

Peter Lehmann Wines Langmeil Richmond Grove Lambert Estate and Chateau Tanunda

The other town I spent a bit of time in was: Angaston ~ where the above Barossa Cheese Company and proud producers of Australia's Best Bacon: Shultz Butchers were they smoke their bacon on premise around the back of the main shop. This was my first time shooting a smokehouse, and whilst very fun, also very smelly! ~ a tip: not a day to wear your best mohair jumper to shoot in...*slaps forehead*

Angaston is also home to the Barossa Cheese Company (pictured above) which is run by the beautiful and very down-to-earth Victoria and right next door is Casacarbone Cooking School which is run by the very lovely husband and wife team; Fiona and Matteo who met in 2005 whilst Matteo was in Australia on a working holiday visa. Fiona followed him back to Italy in 2006 and for 5 years they travelled throughout Italy, France and Spain on weekends and holidays seeking out small producers of wine and food and catching up with friends (almost all producers themselves) along the way.

Matteo was born and raised in Forli, Emilia Romagna in the north of Italy. (Brilliantly he gave me some great tips for my stay in Bologna!) You can read more about this couple and their cooking school here. I think it would make for a wonderful, fun afternoon taking a class here if you are in the area. I know next time I go, I will book myself and Mick in and take some snaps for the blog of the class. I was fortunate enough to try Matteo's ragu and fresh pasta on the shoot and OMG ~ it was heaven! Perfectly cooked sauce, perfectly thin, fresh home made pasta. *drool*

You can discover all the towns in the Barossa here and this site is an excellent resource when planning a trip to the area.

Other stops along the way included, quite possibly one of the most AMAZING properties I have ever had the great fortune to find myself in. Hutton Vale Cellar Door was jaw-dropping for me. Literally I walked in and almost fell over. It was the type of property I would only hope to find myself in a dream from a photographer-perspective. I totally adored it.. so much so, I managed to once in my life somehow totally switch off from the reality I was probably being followed around the property as I took photos, by 100's of set of eyes belonging most probably to lots of very large Australian spiders, who no doubt took residence in the massive, vast ceiling beams and nooks and crannies of this wonderfully old, dusty, visually arresting, beautiful property.. Initially I thought it was a house, but discovered it is in fact a cellar door and the owners; Jan and John live in a (apparently equally stunning) property a minute or two from Hutton Vale. That's next on my list...

Run by one of the most hospitable couples I have met yet, Jan and John are 6th generation owners of Hutton Vale which is located in the beautiful Eden Valley. Originally founded in 1843, now some considerable years later, John and his wife Jan continue to run Hutton Vale with passion and a nurturing approach, all for the pleasures of premium produce. Their children, Suzi, Cait and Stuart, are the adult 7th generation, turning their hands to different tasks to shore up a positive future for Hutton Vale.

Not only do Jan and John run a cellar door from this location, they also rear home grown lamb and in the last decade have begun to share their grazing pursuits with local restaurants and visitors to the Barossa Farmer’s Market. It is a small scale operation in an endeavor to keep a high quality. Keeping a no stress philosophy in livestock is of the greatest importance and which means low stocking rates, careful handling and respect for every action in the process of a living animal to portioned lamb. All of Hutton Vales lambs are born on farm and grazed on natural pasture. In addition to their lamb, Hutton Vale also produces a range of chutneys and preserves all sourced from their own grown vegetables at the farm and are handmade in small batches and available at selected retailers and cellar doors.

Our shoot at Hutton Vale took place in mid-late afternoon and when I had taken the shots I needed and videos/interviews had taken place, we were all invited by Jan to enjoy the amazing lamb she had cooked for the shoot along with her superb chutneys, local cheeses and bread. John had a very brilliant knack of magically producing bottle after bottle of his excellent Hutton Vale Shiraz and Grenache Mataro. (Note: the Shiraz in particular was a winner for me and I no doubt win a few brownie points with my father-in-law if I produce a bottle or two of this wine when I am next visiting in Melbourne). A cosy outside fire was lit and we all sat outside a big table, under a vine canopy and spent a 2 or 3 hours chatting and laughing and generally mopping up Jan and Johns warm, inviting and wonderfully unexpected, random hospitality. It's an evening I'll remember for some time.

What really struck me as inspirational about the Barossa, is it's people. With every single producer I met, I was bowled-over by their warmth and friendliness. They have an enormous passion for what they do and are staunchly protective of limiting the food and produce which is supplied to the Barossa's restaurants/bars and shops, to locally produced fare and it's done so to a very high quality. You will visit a supermarket in a larger town like Tanunda or such and find it stocked full of locally produced food. The residents and suppliers have rejected the much larger commercial food companies ~ such as the infamous yellow arches ~ from setting up shop in their Barossa. It's admirable how much they protect and love their environment and want to support each other, and in turn have such dedication for producing excellent quality food and wine.

Some links worth checking out:

The Louise ~ a beautiful, modern 5 star hotel and its restaurant; Appelation Alabaster ~ a gorgeous clothing and design/interior store in Tanunda (I could have spend half the day in there) Barossa Farmers Market ~ every Saturday ~ I have heard this if fab! Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage ~ stunning self-contained, boutique cottage (will be my next pick during my next stay in the Barossa) Kingsford Homestead ~ another boutique, super stylist homestead-style hotel, worth checking out. they also have a seperate cottage for two if you want something a little more romantic and self-contained. and just to remind you once again, a really useful site: Barrosa.com ~ all the info you will need in one site online

Lastly, what can I say but HOW cute are those piggies????!! :-) Hands down, my favourite shoot of the 4 days from a ridiculously adorable 'I-want-to-sneak-one-home-in-my-camera-bag' point-of-view; was photographing and meeting Michael Wohlstadt of Barossa Heritage Pork and all his crazy cute little Berkshire piggies.. We shot this location second last and I didn't want to leave! Especially when they all come running up to you oinking away :)

Michael was, like all the other producers before him, unbelievably hospitable and welcoming and I really enjoyed meeting him (and his entourage of super sweet and cake loving dogs!). He provided us with samples of his free-range pork and a mouth-watering cake ~ see recipe here, then he took us all down to meet his little black and white and pink superstars. They were utterly adorable and sadly you do tend to forget at the time they might have been off to meet their maker in a few weeks :( But Michael's attitude to pig farming is fantastic, his pigs are fed mainly on a milk and barley diet, they had loads and loads of room to run around, roll in the mud, oink away merrily and generally go bananas sticking their snouts in the dirt and all just seemed very happy, (non-stinky) little piggies :)

One last cute pig for good measure...

Ok so it would a be just a tad unfair to feature a cheese producer in this above photo story and not give you my recipe for my New York-Style Mocha Hazelnut Cheesecake which was featured in last month's Delicious Magazine . It received fantastic feedback and lots of thumbs up reviews so am posting it here for you all to try out for yourselves. I have to say I loved this recipe when I tested it before the shoot, it's rich yet light and perfect for a weekend dinner party or afternoon lunch get-together with family, friends etc...

New York-Style Mocha Hazelnut Cheesecake ~ Recipe here

All above images © Katie Quinn Davies 2013