Writer for Good Food, Gourmet Traveller and
Australia’s Wine Business Magazine
August. What a time to visit the Fleurieu Peninsula.
As a food and wine writer and former dairy farm kid, I spend my days exploring Australian wine regions and food bowls in search of stories. I love them all for their individual landscapes, quirky characters, rich history, and tasty creations. The Fleurieu Peninsula, however, has a special place in my heart and is the place I choose to call home.
I live on a small farm, located between McLaren Vale’s rolling Ranges and the Adelaide Hills. It straddles the lands of the Kaurna and the Peramangk People – the traditional owners of the land and the original storytellers.
What is this South Australian patch of land so special? Maybe it’s the sea breeze that greets people when they wake up in the likes of Victor Harbor, Sellicks Beach, Maslin Beach and Port Willunga. It could be the jigsaw of vineyards that change hues with the seasons, or the sunsets that kiss the coastal horizon each night. For me, it’s the friendly wave from a farmer as they roll by in their tractor and the grin from Willunga Farmers Market stallholders as they hand over lovingly grown fresh produce. It’s the wine in the glass at local cellar doors and the food on the plate at much-loved cafes and restaurants; of which the Fleurieu has some of the best in the country. Trust me, I’ve searched far and wide.
The Fleurieu Peninsula is a wonderful, progressive place but it’s our history that keeps us grounded.
The number of cellar doors is dizzying and eclectic. From sensitively restored old buildings and barns, to modern feats of architecture. It is a patchwork of regions at the forefront of biodiversity, environmental awareness, thoughtful farming, and forward-thinking winemaking.
There’s no better time to visit than August. That’s when our food and wine producers and venues really stretch their imagination and let their creations shine.
The Fleurieu Food Festival is a veritable feast for the senses. More than 40+ events explode across the Fleurieu this month. Each event puts a spotlight on the salt of the earth growers who tend the land and waters to produce a bounty. From long lunches in winery and cellar door settings, to twilight festivals, paddock-to-plate feasts, picnics at historic estates, cooking experiences, and masterclasses spanning gin tasting to preserving. There’s even a strawberry fair with a Kuitpo Forest view. Intimate dinners, family-friendly afternoons… there’s something for everyone and every budget.
I don’t know about you, but I’m clearing my diary to make sure I make space to include as many as possible.
A lot of work goes in to planning a 31-day festival program like this. Thank you to the organisers and all the businesses opening their doors, kitchens and hearts to us during August. Heartfelt gratitude also goes to the visitors going the distance to visit us. The region is richer for it.
Perhaps wine has something to do with it, but the welcome here is as warm as it gets. Enjoy the Fleurieu Food Festival conviviality – it really is something special.