This article is brought to you by Chris Ringland.
Consider yourself a foodie? These are five memorable drinking and dining experiences around Australia you must do.
Savour a shiraz from century-old vines
Shiraz and the Barossa are inextricably linked, with the region boasting vines dating back to the 1840s; these are some of the world’s oldest shiraz vines, after the pest phylloxera wiped out vineyards throughout Europe in the late-19th century. “It’s an amazing accident that shiraz happened to be planted in South Australia,” says winemaker Chris Ringland. “They had a choice of every variety and these guys, in the mid-1800s, cottoned on to growing shiraz, which is so well adapted to the SA climate.” Ringland’s own Stone Chimney Creek Road vineyard has shiraz vines that were planted in 1910. Why are these old vines so special? Having withstood the test of time, they’re in harmony with their surroundings and less susceptible to the vicissitude of the seasons. They have low yields but the grapes have an intensity of flavour that helps to produce a wine that will be remembered.
Enjoy some of the world’s best oysters at the source
National parks and a pristine coastline surround Coffin Bay on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. There’s no better way to take in the beauty than from the 1802 Oyster Bar + Bistro. Named for the year Matthew Flinders sailed into Coffin Bay, you’ll find the view almost unchanged from when he explored the region. The only way to get a fresher oyster than 1802 serves is to head out on a tasting tour with Pure Coffin Bay Oysters and try an oyster shucked the moment it’s plucked from its bed.
Get a taste of Tasmania
Tasmania has a growing reputation among whisky aficionados for producing single malts that can hold their own among the world’s best. Not convinced? Decide for yourself with a visit to Bruny Island House of Whisky, where you can sample whiskies from distilleries all over the state. If you’re travelling with children – or don’t drink the good drop – the Bruny Island Cheese Co.’s “cellar door” might be more your pace. Owned and operated by Nick Haddow, it produces some of Australia’s finest artisan cheeses.
Explore truffle country
The highly prized European black truffle has found an unlikely home in Manjimup, three hours south of Perth. Visit The Truffle & Wine Co. during winter and you can join a truffle hunt as trained dogs track down the rare Périgord truffle (Tuber melanosporum). If you can’t make a hunt, there’s always lunch at The Truffle Kitchen. Dishes are given oomph with ingredients such as truffle mustard, truffle oil, truffle salt, truffle honey and shaved truffle. Basically, there’s a lot of truffle. The Truffle & Wine Co. sells fresh truffles between seven and 30 grams each for $2500 per kilogram. And no, we haven’t forgotten a decimal point.
Learn the secrets of an ancient land
When you’re travelling in remote Australia, find the time to take a tour run by the local Indigenous people that includes an introduction to bush food. It will open your eyes to how people have survived in what looks like – to Western eyes – a barren and unforgiving environment. It will also give you valuable insight into the deep and abiding relationship Indigenous Australians have with the land they have lived on for tens of thousands of years.