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Celeb travel: Kate Ritchie does Adelaide and the Barossa

I’ve done a few interviews over the years, answered a few questions. My most embarrassing moment? Worst on-screen kiss? Any guilty pleasures? Answers usually tend to focus on my teenage years (for obvious reasons) but when it comes to guilty pleasures, there is nothing teenage about my response and it has never waivered from cheese and wine. Thanks to my trip to South Australia that’s not going to change any time soon!

Kate Ritchie - Barossa Valley (36) GENERAL MEDIASlipping into holiday modeMy husband, Stuart and I fly into Adelaide on a Sunday morning, collect our car and head straight into town for brunch at The Store. Poached eggs (to rival his own apparently!) for him and bircher muesli for me, all in aid of lining the tummy for our afternoon of wine tasting.

From there we cruise North. Me at the wheel, him playing his usual role of ‘driving instructor’ and in no time we are on the open road surrounded by the most lush fields popping with incredible splashes of yellow canola, heading for the Barossa!

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Hello wine time!
First stop is the Barossa’s most historic winery, Seppeltsfield. There is a real air of that history on our approach to the property. The roads are lined with palms all standing to attention, there’s even a mausoleum (!) and with 100 year old Para Vintage Tawny on offer it’s obvious this place has been around longer than most.

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Nigel, our tour guide, speaks so proudly of the Grand Dame of wineries and then shares some of the most delicious fortified wines I have ever tasted, in a very cool (in temperature and in vibe) tasting room. We even get to ‘Taste Your Birth Year’. Stuart points out that mine, 1978, displays some similar characteristics to me, one of which is ‘well rounded’. Cheeky! But I’d like to stick with ‘more mature and plenty of depth’ which thankfully, for him, he also acknowledges!

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Back in the car, we venture up the road to Murray Street Vineyards for a chat about the importance of oak (which I now know is much more than just housing the vino!) and some serious wine tasting. We share the most indulgent cheese platter (OMG! Best pate ever!) and watch the sun set over the vines.

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Home away from home
The only downside to all that cheese and wine AND romance is that it’s not until dark that we arrive at our home for the night, the Barossa Pavilions. After a quick change of clothes, it’s time for a heart warming meal at the historic restaurant, 1918 Bistro & Grill followed by a well deserved 10 hour sleep. Yes, really!

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The view of the sunrise from our lodge, next morning is heavenly. So is the spa bath and the bacon and eggs we eat on the balcony.

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Let there be (more) wine
Day two begins with a ‘Make Your Own Blend Experience’ at the Penfolds cellar door. It feels more like a science class (but fun) and swiftly turns into a competition between Stuart and I about whose blend will be best. Stuart wins hands down but I certainly don’t tell him that!

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You can’t visit the Barossa without dropping into Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop where lunch is a rustic cassoulet and a much needed cappuccino. From there we drop into Alabaster Barossa on the main street of Tanunda and discuss what the afternoon might hold.

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We had continued to hear good things about a ‘Hentley Farm’ so decide to stop in there and we are not disappointed. The historic buildings feel more like a chic inner city wine bar but without the arrogance or attitude and next time we’re back in the Barossa we’ll be adding lunch at the restaurant to our itinerary, for sure.

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Awesome Adelaide
It’s a quick drive back into Adelaide, a smooth check- in to the Clarion Hotel Soho and a stroll to Chianti Classico for dinner. I start with a Bellini which our waiter says is a ‘good choice’ but it turns out so is everything else on the menu! I order the anchovies then the rabbit (amazing) and finish by sharing the dessert plate. By now it’s late and it’s time to pay the bill and roll home!

Day three is also ‘going home day’ unfortunately. We begin with a superb coffee at Lucia’s in the Adelaide Central Markets and wander around what is obviously an Adelaide institution. The best produce you’ll find anywhere, of every description, all under the one roof. If Sydney had something like it I’d quite possibly live there!

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Hot tip: Next trip I’ll be popping an excursion to the markets to the top of the itinerary and packing a gourmet food goodie bag for the following days.

After stumbling across a quirky antiques store we rush off to a 1pm lunch booking at Press* in Waymouth Street and guess what? Indulge, yet again! Oysters, sweetbreads, kingfish and lamb. Oh, and I should mention a glass (or two) of South Australian Rose.

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It’s the latter that leaves us almost missing our flight (we’ll have to try harder next time) and passing out on the plane back to Sydney: dreaming of all those guilty pleasures, the hours on the treadmill ahead and a return trip in the making.

Kate and Stuart travelled to South Australia as guests of South Australia Tourism and lastminute.com.au.

 




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