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d'Arenberg's puzzle, Hills' top wines

The Forager

In this week’s column: Building begins on McLaren Vale wine region’s latest attraction, the Convention Centre’s big push for SA produce, best Adelaide Hills wines, hot food heroes for Willunga Farmers’ Market, fishing for charity and the city’s smallest bar.

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A giant cube for the Fleurieu

Construction has begun on d’Arenberg winery’s five-storey, architect-designed glass cube overlooking the Willunga Hills, the original cellar door and d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant.

Surrounded by vineyards, The Cube will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including tasting rooms, bars, another restaurant and offices at the family-owned winery.

The idea to build The Cube came from fourth-generation family member and winemaker Chester Osborn.

“I’ve always considered winemaking to be a puzzle that needs to be put together, a complex combination of geographical elements like soil and geology, viticulture, blending and balance,” explains Osborn.

“This building is yet another puzzle to solve; the external patterns join together for a seamless solution, and ideally, all elements of wine should do the same.

“The names of our wines are also a puzzle to work out.”

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The Cube under construction. Photo: supplied

Osborn believes The Cube will become an architectural icon for the Fleurieu Peninsula.

“We have one of the busiest cellar doors in McLaren Vale, which often reaches maximum capacity, so people aren’t given the ideal experience when they visit.

“Research by wine and tourism industries agree on the need for more tourist drawcards, providing interesting experiences for visitors, and this is our response.”

d’Arenberg received a $2 million State Government Regional Development Fund grant to assist with building The Cube.

Like the Rubik’s Cube, the top two levels are turned askew from the rest of the building; there is also a “fallen block” in the carpark.

Knowing where your food comes from

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Local smallgoods at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Photo: supplied

Gavin Robertson has just bought 500kg of beef, 30kg of onions, 60 punnets of mushrooms and a tonne of potatoes to make a very large beef bourguignon. And all the ingredients are locally grown.

Robertson is executive chef at the Adelaide Convention Centre and that beef bourguignon is just one of the dishes on the Soils and Seasons menu that will feed 1000 guests at a single function this week. He regularly caters for three functions a day, feeding up to 3000 people in one sitting.

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Executive chef Gavin Robertson plates up his signature lamb dish with some of the kitchen team. Photo: supplied

On the weekend, he did more than 17,000 plates. And if all of those guests read the menu, which lists the source of its hero ingredients, that’s a lot of people who will know where their food came from .

Robertson started at the Convention Centre in May this year, embracing the Soils and Seasons commitment to sourcing 98 per cent of all produce from within South Australia and officially launching it last week.

Originally from the region of Fife in Scotland, he has worked all over the world cooking for five-star hotels, resorts and conference centres, but it was the multi-million-dollar expansion of the Convention Centre and the challenge of catering for even larger numbers, coupled with its groundbreaking approach to food, that attracted him to the job.

“It’s not mass-produced convention centre food,” says Robertson. “We don’t pre-plate things; all the ingredients are fresh and the dishes are cooked to order.”

It takes up to 65 kitchen staff per night to pull that off. And he says there’s also a challenge in sourcing the necessary quantities of particular ingredients from some of the smaller local producers.

“I speak to my suppliers in great depth about it,” says Robertson. “We talk about what kind of lead times they need to supply us with a specific product.

“It’s about building the relationship, and that ongoing commitment can make a massive difference to any business.”

Robertson says his favourite ingredient is SA lamb. His signature dish is Murraylands lamb saddle, spinach puree, beetroot, potatoes, trussed cherry tomatoes and black garlic – you can’t get more South Australian than that.

Best Adelaide Hills wines

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Adelaide Hills vineyards. Photo: Adelaide Hills Wine Region

Balhannah winery Shaw + Smith topped the 2015 Adelaide Hills Wine Show entries last week, winning Best Wine of the Show.

The 2014 Shaw + Smith Shiraz was described by chairman of judges Dan Buckle as a “finessed, stylish wine made with a gentle hand”.

Buckle said there were also other exciting red wines at this year’s wine show, including the “delicious and generous” 2015 Murdoch Hill The Surrey Pinot Meunier, which won the trophy for the Best Red Wine Other Classes, and the “wonderfully fresh blackcurrant-laden” 2013 Nova Vita Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which was awarded the trophy for Best Cabernet Family or Blend.

Having judged five consecutive Adelaide Hills Wine Shows, Buckle, who is chief winemaker at Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley, said the Adelaide Hills was a wine region to watch.

“It is one of Australia’s most progressive and dynamic regions, and with such diversity of soils and micro-climates it is now challenging itself, from being one of the world’s great sparkling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc regions to a place where some of our most distinctive red wines are being made, especially Shiraz.”

The full list of Adelaide Hills Wine Show medal winners can be found here.

Hot new food for Willunga Farmers’ Market

Ban DAnsie Small Town Huckster

Small Town Huckster burger producer Ben Dansie.

Ready-to-eat food produced using local ingredients is now being offered each week at the Willunga Farmers’ Market to encourage shoppers to relax and enjoy the ambience of the market.

Three Fleurieu Peninsula-based food producers – Small Town Huckster, Little Acre Foods and Farm House Crepes – are now providing hot food at the market to add more variety to the breakfasts offered by Bush Pepper Catering.

“By offering a variety of choice to our shoppers we aim to see more shoppers stopping to relax with family and friends to enjoy the vibrancy of the market,” says WFM chairperson Pip Forester.

“The supply of hot food will still be dependent upon the WFM criteria for trade, with a minimum of 70 per cent local ingredient content, with produce either grown by the supplier or sourced from the Fleurieu.”

Gourmet burger producer Small Town Huckster is offering fillings such as Wistow Springs pork schnitzel with creamy Ashbourne Valley apple slaw; free-range tandoori-spiced chicken with minted yoghurt, chunky tomato and fresh salad; and seasonal vegan veggi rosti with smoked onion jam, mixed greens, mayo and carrot and whole-mustard-seed salad.

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Little Acre Foods sous vide egg on brioche with gin-cured KI kingfish. Photo: supplied

Little Acre Foods last week offered sous vide egg on brioche with Kangaroo Island gin-cured Hiramasa kingfish, pickled breakfast radish, avocado and “a smattering of 4.30am hollandaise”, and a 12-hour brisket toastie with Indian pickle.

And Farm House Crepes is selling fillings of slow-cooked beef, mushroom and caramelised onion; chicken, bacon and leeks in béchamel sauce; spinach and three-cheese mornay; and ham, cheese, tomato and chives.

Catch of the day

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A recent Seasonal Seachange auction at the Safcol fish market. Photo: supplied

The local cooperative of prawn fishermen have donated 20kg of cooked prawns to the December Seasonal Seachange auction.

Seasonal Seachange is an initiative of the Wildcatch Fisheries SA, a collective of local fisherman who give back to the community by making the first box of seasonal produce available for sale at a monthly auction at Safcol Central Fish Market in Mile End. The proceeds of the auction go to charity.

“This year we have raised $6000 for Variety through the auctions,” says Franca Romeo of Wildcatch.

SEAsonal SEEchange Auction 6 30/09/2015Some video footage of the SEAsonal SEEchange auction today — at SAFCOL Central Fish Market

Posted by Wildcatch Fisheries SA Inc on Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Seasonal Seachange is also about making consumers aware of the seasonality of seafood and how it affects price.

“Seafood prices can fluctuate between $5 and $10 per kilo due to seasonality,” explains Romeo. “When some species are not in season, you can’t get them at all, and then we turn to imported product and we’re trying to move away from that.

“SA and Australia has some of the best seafood in the world so we’re trying to encourage people to look at an alternative species that is in season.

“Generally, the winning bidder at the Seasonal Seachange auction is a seafood retailer who also receives a banner and information for their customers about that particular species, where it’s from, how it’s caught, and how to cook it, but anyone is welcome to come along to the auctions and have a go.”

The December Seasonal Seachange auction begins at 7am on December 23 at the Safcol Central Fish Market, 54-58 London Road, Mile End.

Pink Moon Saloon – CityMag

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Pink Moon Saloon takes up a small space on Leigh Street. Photo: Andre Castellucci

With its unique aesthetic, tightly-curated bar list and strong dining menu, new Leigh Street tiny bar Pink Moon Saloon is unlike anything the city has seen before.

Unlike many small bar venues, Pink Moon’s food is equally as important as its drinks. Serving all day from 11.30am, the kitchen will be turning out slow-cooked meats and vegetables, pickled and smoked goods and serving them in a simple style.

See more here.

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Slow rustic food at Pink Moon Saloon. Photo: Andre Castellucci

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