Archive | March, 2011

Raise Your Glass: The McLaren Vale

21 Mar

Cellar Door – widely used in the English language to exemplify a term that is beautiful in phonaesthetics (sound) but without regard for semantics (meaning).” – how.. odd. After witlessly repeating the word to myself in varying intonations (all strangely British), I arrive at the conclusion that the World Wide Web is sadly mistaken.

Here in South Australia, the word “cellar door” is more than a pretty roll-off-the-tongue. It is, in definition, where one goes to sample wines from a specific wine-making establishment. It is the representation of a winery – the face, if you will.

On a particular sun-splashed afternoon, we took to the McLaren Vale, one of the jewels of SA’s wine regions. Just short of an hour’s drive south of Adelaide – we escape the drab monotony of the city and find ourselves amongst some of the most established vines in Australia. It’s nearly harvest season – a carpet of green. Our taste buds can wait no more..

Maximus Wines

Only 2 years on since releasing the label, this spruicy boutique winery is already churning out some lip-smacking fare. I returned after sampling their Tempranillo a while back, a restrained yet prominent ovation of fresh berries and floral notes. We made our way through three whites and seven reds – mulling the characteristic vein of elegance/playful wit that flowed similarly throughout. Their wines are priced with incredibly good value. Pulling out a carton seems almost feasible.

The sweeping views from this hilltop cellar door was breathtaking to say the least. In my mind, the word  “potential” is written all over their walls.

Note: The Maximus Cellar Door is only open every weekend (11am-4pm), but if you ring up beforehand, you may be able to secure a tasting with the amiable Rowland Short sometime throughout the week.

Pertaringa Wines

We made a quick stop at Pertaringa and picked our way through their collection; all of which held beautiful florals, whilst displaying hints of character and depth. Like dating a brainy blond. I particularly fancied the shirazs. Inky, dignified, yet not overbearing. Many take to their sweets and fortifieds, which I agree, are rather enjoyable.

Samuels Gorge

Undisputedly one of the quirkiest, quaintest cellar doors ever put together. Dusty islands of antique machinery, sideboards formed from wood and metal scraps, and sensitive touches of old knick-knacks make for an endearing setting. Unfortunately, they only had two whites and a single red available for tasting. Drops have sold out quite quickly we were told. But those that we did try (the whites) were crisp and clean. Simple, and ready for food.

Perhaps we may return when their new lot comes out in the coming months.

In essence, it was a visitation of humble heroes. There is nothing more satisfying than discovering a boutique label that produces mind-boggling work. Whilst the McLaren Vale has its share of  grand household names (d’Arenberg remains  a favourite) we never tire of exploring the craft of small, passionate makers.

For together, they make South Australian wines great.

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This Just In – The Mac Factory

15 Mar

Clockwise from top-left: Pine+Lime, Tea+Toast, Mandarin+Mango, Pistachio, Nutella

Hot off the press, out of the markets, and onto one of Adelaide’s most frequented eating precincts –  is The Mac Factory. At just 4 weeks old, this Hutt Street newcomer is already receiving a steady stream of inquisitive customers.

Bread, biscuits and other sweet morsels dot the surfaces of this squeaky new nest, perched atop the local post office. Make your journey up the stairs and over the quirky “grass” landing  and you’ll find that macarons are the order of the day. These home-made gems are made externally by creator Silvana Agostino and delivered to the shop daily to satisfy the constant flow of peckish buyers. Demand often overwhelms supply, and flavours do run out very quickly. However, loyal customers are often quite happy to wait around till the next delivery of macarons fill the shelves.

Looks – A psychedelic splash of colours. Slight rustic “home-made” look.  Glossy sheen on the crack. Texture – only the slightest resistance from the shell as one bites into the cushion of almond meal. Pleasantly soft. FlavourPine+Lime and Mandarin+Mango are refreshingly fruity (once you get past the luminous yellow and green hues of Pine+Lime), yet Mandarin+Mango with its sweet tropical hit was the preferred child. Some may find the lime flavouring used in the filling a touch artificial-tasting (we prefer if flavours are created using the raw ingredient itself), but others may be none too concerned. Nutella tasted as one would expect, the familiar hum of hazelnutty chocolate. Pistachio was impressive and held the essence of actual pistachios in its rich buttercream filling. But the real head turner of the pack was Tea+Toast: a pocket-sized reminiscence of breakfast, think heavily buttered toastie paired with smoky tea. A winner by miles.

One gets the impression that The Mac is currently firing on all cylinders to keep up with the grand response served up by the Adelaide community. But if they can pull through, then there’s little doubt we’ve got a new favourite on our hands. There is only one word to sum up The Mac Factory – promising.

Note* Head up to The Mac Factory this Sunday 20th March 2011 – we’ve been informed that the in-house cook book corner (The Book Nook) will be launched showcasing macaron reading materials to commemorate Macaron Day. Fingers crossed that more flavours will be on offer as well (though we suspect The Mac has something special planned for the day).

The Mac Factory
Upstairs
190 Hutt St
Adelaide 5000 SA
(08) 8223 3887
OPENING TIMES: Thursday to Sunday 9am-9pm (Saturdays till 4pm)

Oodles of Noodles – Bun Vermicelli

5 Mar

Picture a world without beef pho, a world deprived of sugar cane prawns – one can’t even begin to fathom the travesty!

It is indeed to our good fortune that Vietnamese food has found its way to Adelaide and resided in the form of a homey restaurant/take-away joint in Fullarton.

This cheap n ‘ cheery eatery changed hands some time ago, but standards have remained unchanged. Locals flock to Bun Vermicelli for their fill of pho (rice noodle soup), bun (salad vermicelli bowls), rice dishes, stir-fried noodles, cold rolls and barbequed quail (huzzah!). The space in itself is a small-ish abode, clean, without airs and graces.

The only downside of Bun is the absence of household Viet drinks (e.g. soursop/avocado smoothies, filter coffee). But regulars hardly seem to mind as the food itself creates enough of a pull.

Described as the best Viet food in this part of town, it is easy to sense why. Fresh. Simple. No-fuss. It’s everything you’d want after trudging home from a tiresome day of work. Rock up in flip-flops and settle into a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup, allowing the healing broth to nurse thy wounds. The flavour of the soup itself is very delicate compared to many others I’ve had, with hints of meaty-sweetness. The bun vermicelli noodles tossed in crushed peanuts, crisp greens and savoury sugarcane prawn balls was refreshingly urged with a sweet and tangy dressing.  More please.

So, are there better Viet foodspots in Adelaide? Perhaps. But that’s not gonna stop me from coming back.

Bun Vermicelli
Shop 4/389 Fullarton Road
Fullarton, 5063
(08) 8373 7771

Bun Vermicelli on Urbanspoon

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