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Historic Hills hotel set to re-open

The Forager

In this week’s column: the Adelaide Hills hotel that could revive a small town, Gorgeous Festival cancelled, a local foodie recognised for her dedication to promoting SA restaurants, and upcoming food and wine events to enjoy.

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Uraidla Hotel reimagined

The Adelaide Hills town of Uraidla is set to once again become a food and wine destination, thanks to the vision of Stirling couple Ed and Julie Peter.

The Peters recently revived the Crafers Hotel with extensive renovations and a food and wine offering that has attracted a strong clientele of locals and people from the plains. Now they intend to breathe new life into the Uraidla Hotel, which has been closed for a number of years.

They are in the process of purchasing the 1880s building from The Fassina Hotel Group and say the deal should be done by the end of this week.

“We want to bring a new lease of life to the pub,” says Ed. “We will keep the old bones, just like we have done at The Crafers, initially focussing on getting the front bar and kitchen up and running while we renovate the rest of the pub room by room.

“The Uraidla was renovated a little bit during the 1920s and 1930s, so we want to preserve some of those Art Deco features. The only thing we’re adding will be a glass conservatory that will offer views across the oval.”

The Peters have also garnered the interest of “a world-class chef who is tired of working in a big city and wants to cook local”.

“The food will be more ‘River Cottage’ than ‘chi-chi’,” says Ed. “There will be no lobster foam; ingredients will be sourced from the hotel’s immediate vicinity.”

In addition to moving the bottle shop into one of three vacant premises next door, the Peters are working with winemakers from the Basket Range region to create a collective cellar door. They also plan to bring in an expert from France to help establish a brewery and distillery in the adjacent former squash courts using the abundance of strawberries, cherries, pears and apples that are grown nearby.

While local orchards and market gardens still operate in the Uraidla region, several small businesses have closed in the past few years, prompting the community to create Imagine Uraidla, an organisation designed to help reinvigorate the town.

Imagine Uraidla member and local resident Tom Feinle-Bisset says the news of the hotel’s reopening has inspired the community, with talk at a recent meeting of other new businesses being created in response to the plans.  There is hope the town will once again attract visitors as it did in the 1980s and 1990s, when The Aristologist restaurant was in operation and the Uraidla Hotel was well known for its award-winning food and wine.

“As a representative of Imagine Uraidla, I can say that the idea of the Uraidla Hotel being developed as family pub that makes the most of the site overlooking the oval has been embraced wholeheartedly by the community,” says Feinle-Bisset.

“It will provide part of the essential heart of the town and a stopover point for people travelling through.”

Gorgeous Festival cancelled

Organisers have announced the cancellation of this year’s Gorgeous Festival celebration of food, wine and music due to poor early ticket sales.

The event at Penny’s Hill Winery was to have been headlined by singer Kate Miller-Heidke. A key planned event was the first Gorgeous Table dinner – a shared feast created by South Australian chefs Karena Armstrong (Salopian Inn), Peter Reschke (d’Arry’s Verandah), Tom Boden (Ellen Street Restaurant, Maxwell’s Winery), Paul Baker (Botanic Gardens Restaurant), Phil Whitmarsh (Daniel O’Connell) and Stewart Wesson (The Flinders Street Project).

Read more about the festival’s cancellation here.

SA’s ‘biggest foodie’

Adelaide woman Laura Groves made the shortlist for Zomato’s “Australia’s Biggest Foodie” title after submitting more than 600 restaurant reviews and pictures in the past year.

Formerly known as Urbanspoon, Zomato is a restaurant information service which operates in 22 countries and features user reviews and ratings.

The shortlist consisted of five people, with Groves ranking as the top foodie in South Australia, despite being previously unaware of the title.

“I didn’t really expect it because it only came up last week but it’s pretty exciting,” she says.

Groves does all her reviewing around a full-time job.

“I work in the CBD so that makes it pretty easy to get one meal in, especially at lunch,” she says. “It can be pretty expensive but I think Adelaide is pretty well priced, especially around Chinatown, which is probably my favourite place.

“I guess we’re pretty lucky because in Adelaide you don’t need to go very far to get some good food.”

Reviewing started as a way for Groves to keep track of her own experiences, but she says it also contributes to the community.

“It helps a lot of people to know where to go but people do like to share bad experiences more than positive ones.

“If there are people reviewing consistently and they can give some positive feedback as well, it gets people excited for new places or places they may not have heard of before.”

Zomato Australia and New Zealand manager Kate Parker says Grove’s achievement is significant. She believes “shared experience influences others on how they dine out”.

“It’s massive. She really exemplifies the engagement that we see across Australia and what it really means to be a foodie in Adelaide and across the country,” Parker says.

Zomato announced Australia’s Biggest Foodie over the weekend, with Brisbane’s Ronnie Lui taking out the title with more than 500 reviews and 3000 photos submitted.

Joshua Dickson

What’s on?

The Great Food Rescue Race – November 6
OzHarvest and Santos will this Friday run the inaugural Great Food Rescue Race – a fun food and food-rescue themed foot race to help reduce food waste and feed the hungry and homeless in Adelaide. Registered teams will compete in a series of challenges across the CBD while celebrating Adelaide’s food culture and raising funds to help OzHarvest rescue and deliver more nutritious food to the community. The race starts at Victoria Square at 2pm. Registration is $50 per person. For every team registering, OzHarvest can deliver an additional 500 meals.

Vegan Festival Adelaide – November 7
As well as offering more than 80 vegan food stalls and entertainment, the Vegan Festival aims to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits associated with the vegan lifestyle. The Vegan Festival will run on Saturday from 10am to 8pm in Victoria Square.

Beer and Bubbles – November 7
This new boutique beer and sparkling laneway event in the East End on Saturday will showcase more than 50 local craft beers, South Australian sparklings and a selection of international champagnes with tastings, street food and entertainment between 1pm and 6pm. Tickets are $35 per person. Bookings can be made here.

Langhorne Creek out of the barrel – November 7 and 8
This weekend Langhorne Creek will hold its annual springtime tasting event for new and special-release wines which are otherwise unavailable for tasting. Experience wine bottling at Angas Plains Wines, a wine and cheese-pairing masterclass at The Winehouse, food and wine and music at Bleasdale Wines, a pop-up tasting of Temple Bruer Organic Wine at the Langhorne Creek Memorial Hall and much more. See the full program here.

Meet the Author – Matthew Evans – November 12
Join Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans at Deviation Road Winery in the Adelaide Hills as he chats about life in Tassie and his new book, Summer on Fat Pig Farm, with seasonal food by Stirling’s The Locavore restaurant and Deviation Road bubbles. Tickets are $65 per person and $120 for couples. See InDaily‘s interview with Evans here.

La Dolce Vita – November 15
Celebrate the Italian lifestyle at a special long lunch event at Longview Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills with selected wines and a seafood menu designed by The Caterers. La Dolce Vita will be hosted by local personality Cosi and feature an auction by Michael Pratt and other fundraising activities in support of six South Australian charities. Tickets are $135 per person.

Meet the Author – Annabel Crabb – November 16
Join journalist and TV personality Annabel Crabb, of ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet, at Deviation Road Winery in the Adelaide Hills as she discusses her new book Special Delivery. Tickets are $15 and include a drink on arrival and nibbles. See InDaily‘s recent story on Crabb’s Adelaide Fringe appearance next year here.

Picnic at Marble Hill – November 22
Tickets are now on sale for this one-day festival of artisan wine, food and music from the cool heart of the Adelaide Hills. A group of Adelaide Hills wineries and cider makers will showcase their drops alongside a range of local food producers against the stunning backdrop of the historic Marble Hill ruins. Proceeds go to the Cora Barclay Centre for deaf and hearing-impaired children, the Basket Range Primary School and the Cherryville CFS. Tickets are $15 for adults. More information here.

News, tips and information?

The Forager would love to hear about your news, events and suggestions. Please contact us at editorial@solsticemedia.com.au.

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