By Alissa Jenkins
South Australia is widely regarded as the nation’s food bowl, home to a smorgasbord of crops, orchards, farms and vineyards. It should come as no surprise that the state also excels in cooking schools. Showcasing some of South Australia’s best produce, presented by some of its most hospitable food enthusiasts, these five culinary experiences are sure to sate any travelling foodie.
Looking right at home in the world-renowned Barossa wine region, Casa Carboni doubles as a cooking school and wine bar. In an exposed brick building in the heart of Angaston, 80 kilometres north east of Adelaide, the establishment has been a labour of love for owners Fiona and Matteo Carboni, who moved to the region from Parma in northern Italy in 2011. It’s a celebration of ingredients from Barossa farmers markets, traditional Italian cuisine and European wine. After a hands-on class learning classic recipes, guests are treated to a long table lunch (featuring dishes made in class), matched with impressive wines from the bar. Buon appetito.
Photo: Sven Kovac
Sticky Rice Cooking School
A spicy, steamy, feast for the senses, the Sticky Rice Cooking School is 20 kilometres east of Adelaide in Stirling, in the Adelaide Hills. Hosted by various masters of Asian cuisine (local and from interstate), classes range from Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Indian to occasionally Moroccan and Spanish. After a four-hour class of chopping and stir-frying, expect a sumptuous banquet-style feast, complimented by Adelaide Hills wines. To maximise the experience, stay overnight at the school’s award-winning accommodation. The three villas are contemporary, luxurious and inspired by different corners of Asia. Breakfast is included.
Photo: Sticky Rice Cooking School
Adelaide Central Market Tour
The best way to experience the famed Adelaide Central Market is on an interactive walking tour. Hosted by local food experts, these morning tours run for two to three hours and take guests to some of the market’s most interesting stalls, steeped in over 140 years of history. You’ll meet many producers and sample a multicultural array of delicacies. Tours run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Photo: Ian Routledge
Woodside Cheese Wrights
A producer of award-winning artisan cheeses since 1994, Woodside Cheese Wrights hosts intimate cheesemaking classes for diehard fromage fans. In a rustic cellar door in the Adelaide Hills, 40 kilometres east of the Adelaide CBD, classes are run by manager and head cheesemaker Kris Lloyd, who explains the process step by step. As well as learning the tricks of the trade and a selection of recipes, you’ll take home your spoils in a Woodside Cheese Wrights cooler bag. After the lesson, enjoy a generous cheese platter showcasing Woodside’s finest produce, accompanied by local wine. While you’re there, browse the cellar door gallery, which exhibits an impressive range of works by local artists.
Photo: Mike Haines
Maggie Beer Farm Shop
No cooking school countdown would be complete without mentioning Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in the Barossa town of Nuriootpa, 75 kilometres north of Adelaide. At 2pm every day in the farm’s charming store, free 25-minute cooking demonstrations highlight the versatility of verjuice (essentially the juice of unripe grapes), a cornerstone of Beer’s home-style cooking. Afterwards, pick up a picnic basket lunch from the Farm Shop, wander around the leafy dam that it overlooks and enjoy the picturesque country setting in style, with gourmet treats.
Photo: Sven Kovac
Port Lincoln Seafood Cooking School
Savour the flavours of the Eyre Peninsula – Australia’s seafood frontier – at the Port Lincoln Seafood Cooking School. Here you can join a seafood cooking demonstration learning from skilled guest chefs or try a hands-on cooking class were you’ll be coached in preparing seafood in a variety of forms. At the end of both classes you’ll have the opportunity to sit down and enjoy your creations, paired with complimentary wines from the local wineries. You’ll leave with recipe cards in hands so you can easily whip up the dishes at home.
Photo: The Fresh Fish Place
Virgin Australia flies to Adelaide from all major Australian cities. Most major hire car companies are located at Adelaide Airport.