For the last two weeks, Good Food Producer Harriet Ells and I have been traveling around South Australia with a group of journalists. It’s part of Tasting Australia, a food and wine showcase. Many of you might be wondering what this trip is like overall. Well there’s a whole world that’s happening to us that isn’t reflected in the pics of food and drink and beautiful places and that’s what’s happening on the bus. Yes, on the bus.
Harriet and I are part of a group of media that were invited to So. Australia for Tasting Australia. So we’re “on the bus” figuaratively and sometimes literally with about 15-25 jounalists, photographers, authors, and chefs from Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Singapore, China….you get the picture. What happens “on the bus” is really smart conversation punctuated with moments of hilarity, all of us sharing the beauty and craziness of a forced march of eating and drinking in some of the most spectacular landscape South Australia has to offer.
Each day is so packed with culinary/wine vignettes that it’s hard to grasp that in one day we…took a small plane to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, got on a bus (yes a real one), went to a B and B Homestead (Stranraer Homestead) where we had breakfast and wandered amidst the sheep. Back on the bus across the island, stopping to see a koala up a tree and get involved with a lot of angry ants.
Next stop, Seal Bay to see sea lions. Amazing lovely sea lions are much prettier than ours as they fight and frolick on the beach.
Then to a LifeTime Private Retreats, a home built on the cliffs of the ocean as a retreat for travelers. We tasted olives, olive oil (some just pressed Friday), fresh seafood..really fresh, wine (not me), and lobster flavored macadamia nuts, then a short walk along the beach to a pastoral spot near rolling hills where a lunch was set up al fresco. Well, under a tent because of the intermittent rain. More wine (which means the level of hilarity is constantly rising) and the best grilled squid I’ve ever had. Sweet, crisp chunks skewered with fresh lemon myrtle leaves. There was grilled fish fillets, I’m still too full to remember what kind, potato salad and a warm toss of native spinach with local sheep’s feta. Dessert, yes dessert was a cakey brownie topped with cream and perfect mulberries, and…..the last fresh figs of the season from a tree so massive it’s a kind of house you can walk into. The figs were drizzed with the local honey which is complex flavors of caramel, salt and pepper. The honey comes from the Ligurian Bees of Kangaroo Island, a sanctuary for these honeymakers.
I havn’t even gotten to the best part of the day – we checked into what I’m calling God’s Hotel: Southern Ocean Lodge. To say the pictures don’t do it justice is an understatement. The design of the space is as if John Lautner paired with a Dwell like architect to create the perfect high end retreat on the Ocean. The view overlooks the Southern Ocean, which separates us from Antarctica. Of course I ran into a couple of Angeli regulars at the bar here last night. Very strange.
We were back on the bus the next day, heading to the Fleurieu Peninsula. And, yes, there is singing on the bus. The Brits especially are very jolly singers.