South Australia’s blessed landscape and climate combined with centuries of hard work has created a food industry renowned nationally and internationally. Seafood pioneer Hagen Stehr, culinary icon Maggie Beer and dedicated innovators like Peter Gago are among the state’s key players.
Traditional snacks and drinks are among the most popular take-home souvenirs from South Australia. A few of the most sought-after include Tim-Tam biscuits, smooth Haigh’s chocolate and Vegemite.
1. Barossa Shiraz
The Barossa region is renowned for its big bold and brawny Shiraz wines. But there’s a lot more to the wine here than meets the eye. The region is home to key grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, a dark fruited and gamey variety that’s often blended with Shiraz. Barossa is also dotted with vineyards that grow other key varieties, like Mataro (Mourvedre) and Grenache.
The Barossa Valley stretches north-east from Adelaide, and has warm grape-growing areas on the valley floor and cooler meso-climates up higher on the hills. It’s the ideal growing area for grapes with a high alcohol level that will shine through the warmer climate.
This is why Barossa is famous for its big red wines, especially Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. But it’s also a great place to discover wines of a more delicate and softer style. For instance, the softer and more elegant Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache wines will showcase a range of fresh fruits with hints of spice and savory herbs.
One of the great things about South Australian wines is that there’s something for everyone, even if you don’t have a high budget. By volume, the Riverland GI produces the vast majority of the state’s wine and is a great place to find delicious wines at a very affordable price.
The winemakers in the Barossa have been working hard to move away from the full throttle, dense and dark wines of the past into styles that are more refined, nuanced and balanced. The region’s future looks bright as it continues to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible with its wines.
2. Port Willunga Pistachios
The current gin craze has certainly brought out the best in local distillers. Enjoy South Australian gins like Settlers Gin’s Juniper 3 Ways with citrus notes, or the subtle piney flavours of McLaren Vale’s Juniper distilled three ways. Pair with savoury treats like Two Hills and A Creek’s smoked Kalamata olives, or with quality handmade artisan produce from the Adelaide Hills – such as Fiaje’s fig chutney, pear & ginger jam and chilli jam. Morish salted pistachios from Port Willunga are also included.
3. Haigh’s Chocolate Frog
South Australia is a state with a lot to offer, not only in terms of food and wine but also the landscape. It has lush green hills dotted with family-owned farms and boutique vineyards, pristine beaches with white powdery sand, and thick inland bushland brimming with native wildlife, from iconic marsupials like kangaroos to rare reptiles that are exclusive to a small part of the world.
Aside from the frog cakes, you can try other delicious sweet treats in this beautiful part of Australia. The state’s chocolate makers are some of the best in the country, including Haigh’s, which has been making chocolate since 1915. Haigh’s is one of the only remaining bean-to-bar specialists in the world, transforming sustainably sourced cocoa beans into a range of Easter and everyday chocolate products.
Another favorite dessert in South Australia is Golden North ice cream. This artisanal ice cream started in the town of Laura in South Australia’s mid-north region back in 1923, and they are still making it to this day in the same way that they did then. Their ice cream is creamy and smooth, with a rich milky flavor that comes from using locally grown pasteurised dairy. They are also proudly palm oil free, doing their part to help the environment.
The culture in South Australia is similar to the culture found in most of the rest of the country, with people loving a relaxed and outdoor lifestyle. Sport plays an important role in the state’s culture, with Australian Rules football and cricket being particularly popular. The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power are the two teams that compete in the Australian Rules Football League, and rivalry between the fans is a big part of the experience.
4. Royal Adelaide Show
The Royal Adelaide Show is all about bringing the country to city, and educating people on the importance of South Australia’s primary industries. The Show has been running since 1840 and is one of the oldest agricultural shows in Australia.
The state’s fertile soil has allowed farmers to grow a number of delicious homegrown treats, including world-class wines, fresh seafood and top-notch local produce. In fact, South Australia’s restaurants have become renowned for their gourmet menus that feature local ingredients.
But the local food scene is not limited to the capital of Adelaide, and many towns and cities across the state have become known for their thriving eateries and gourmet cuisine. From the Barossa Valley to the Fleurieu Peninsula, there are plenty of places to try mouth-watering local produce.
In addition to delicious food and wine, South Australia is also home to some spectacular scenery. Vast swathes of ochre outback are interspersed with pristine beaches and enticing water activities, while lush countryside hills provide a backdrop for family-owned vineyards and boutique wineries. You can also travel inland to find stunning mountain ranges, as well as dense bushland populated with unique wildlife and marsupials.
The Royal Adelaide Show is a great place to take the whole family. The program is jam-packed with entertainment to keep everyone happy and interested, from children’s performers to celebrity chefs and musical acts. The BankSA Stage at the Atrium offers free family entertainment daily from 10:30am until 9:45pm, featuring a mix of fun and energetic performances from Eloise Green, The Hula Queen, the SAPOL Band and more. Don’t forget to catch the daily Street Parade, led by the famous Royal Adelaide Show mascot Wheaty!
5. The Adelaide Market
One of the largest undercover markets in Australia, the Adelaide Markets are a hub of local food and culture. Open since 1869, it has evolved into a place where you can find everything from the freshest seafood straight off the boats to locally-made cheese and the cheapest fruit and vegetables in town. While you browse the stalls stacked with mouth-watering morsels, be sure to stop by The Grind @ Central, an institution of the Market since the 1960’s selling fair-trade organic coffee and tea blends. They also sell a range of coffee and tea accessories including Nespresso machines, as well as a full range of reusable glass pods.
The Adelaide Market is also home to a wide variety of family-owned and operated shops, many of which are multigenerational and have been in operation for decades. Among the more prominent are Con’s Fine Foods, which has been in business since 1959 and is a popular stop on a shopper’s list for their artisan meat and cheese products. Another market favorite is The Bread Bar, which specializes in making their own fresh bread and has an impressive array of different loaves.
South Australia is a thriving state, with a strong economy, booming industries, and an exciting cultural scene. It’s also known for its rich natural resources, with vast swathes of ochre outback and stunning island beaches. It’s also the birthplace of three Nobel laureates, including physicist William Lawrence Bragg and pathologists Howard Florey and Robin Warren.