10 Amazing Food & Wine Experiences in Barossa Valley & Adelaide Hills

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If you’re a wine connoisseur, then you’ll already know that The Barossa Valley births some of Australia’s finest wines.

Globally recognized brands such as Jacob’s Creek have their vineyards and wineries here, and if you’re looking for high-profile food and wine experiences in Australia, then you’d need to look no further than The Barossa.

A view of a barossa vineyards from helicopter
Steingarten Vineyard

Visiting the Barossa Valley wineries and cellar doors in South Australia showed me just how much goes into making a bottle of wine and how important flavor profiles are when pairing wines with food.

Simply picking a red with steak and white with fish is not enough, as we learned on a wine tasting experience in The Barossa.

If you’re looking to learn about the food and wine in The Barossa, or go on a food and wine experiences, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below are some of our top food and wine experiences to enjoy in the Barossa and surrounding Adelaide regions.

Best Food and Wine Experiences In The Barossa Valley

oysters and wine on a table

Before we move on, let me say that Adelaide and its surrounds is known to be the food bowl region of South Australia.

I reckon you can bump that up to Australia. It’s exceptional and I always love returning to Adelaide for that reason alone.

South Australians eat so much good local food, which is great for diet, economy and environment. Ra Ra Radelaide!

1. Rubys Organic Cafe, Adelaide Hills

  • Hours: 7.30am – 3.00pm daily
  • Address: Shop 3/29 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling SA 5152

We loved this small cafe in Stirling, one of the prettiest villages in the Adelaide Hills.

It was a wet and windy night, the rain dripped down the window and orange and red leaves danced around outside in the wind.

Rubys Organic Cafe has an ethos of clean, organic eating. The food is fresh and using only the best local produce around.

Our meal set a high standard for the Barossa and Adelaide Hills region.

They have healthy vegan and gluten free options, and their coffees are fantastic. We also appreciate the portion sizes are appropriate.

2. Jacob’s Creek Cooking Class

a couple doing a cooking class together at jacobs creek winery

One of the best food and wine experiences you can have, is a cooking class at one of the world’s most renowned wineries. It’s one of the top things to do in the Barossa!

The cooking school is located in the Jacob’s Creek organic garden, full of produce, in the original position of Anne Jacob’s garden (sister of William Jacob after whom the famous creek was named), which she tended to when the cottage was first built in 1837.

I loved knowing we were spending time in a place full of rich history and the views out across the vines that run beside the actual Jacob’s Creek and across to the sandstone building that is currently being reconstructed to be the new tasting home of St Hugo wines.

garden at jacobs creek winery
people cooking food in a garden

It wasn’t the history that made the tears prick, it was the passion and enthusiasm of Genevieve, our chef, and what she’s created because of that; sustainability, wholesome organic food mixed with a lot of love that goes straight from garden to plate.

This is what I love so much about South Australia. They care deeply about food and keeping it local and good for the body and for the economy.

Genevieve started the garden in 2012; it’s thriving and supplies almost all of the required produce for the kitchen in the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre and Heritage Vineyard.

We walked amongst quince and olive trees, pulled out artichokes and herbs for our lunch, and snacked on flowers and plants such as society garlic (garlic flavour without the bad breath).

close up of plants in a garden

I don’t think there is anything that excites me more in life than to see people creating amazing things from their own passion and love. It has such a positive impact.

Genevieve was a primary school teacher, until one day deciding to step into the world of food, without any formal training.

She seized the opportunity to learn from some of the best chefs like Neil Perry and created a career based on her passion that has taken her to kitchens in Sydney, Malaysia, Indonesia and now the Barossa.

Genevieve threw us an apron and a recipe, and using some of the ingredients from the garden we started cooking.

Ruth, our lovely host, poured us a glass of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. I usually struggle to drink one glass of sparkling wine, but this was so delicious I couldn’t resist.

What mother does not want a kitchen like this? Outdoor kit

woman holding drinks and wearing an apron

chen with beautiful views, a poppadom snack in one hand and a glass of bubbly in the other AND no kids running at your feet!

What was even more amazing was how much Craig got into it! He usually steers clear of the kitchen committing serious faux pas like making pasta with ketchup sauce instead of passata.

Genevieve taught him a few tricks like rapidly cutting up veg, making your own paste with a mortar and pestle, and cooking a piece of salmon with presentation side down first.

man cooking outside

Not only do you get to pick the food from the garden, and then cook it, you get to eat it in the old servants quarters of Jacob’s Estate Cottage, with matching wine from Jacob’s Creek.

The fire was burning and the day, although slightly chilly, put on its splendour for us with blue skies and the autumn colours.

The cooking class was a fabulous experience that any small group can have when they visit Jacob’s Creek, but it must be booked in advance.

You can book at the Jacob’s Creek Visitors Centre, or you can book your class online here.

3. Woodside Cheese Wrights, Adelaide Hills

block of cheese with herbs and flowers ont op
  • Hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm daily
  • Address: 22 Henry St, Woodside, SA 5244,

I don’t think there’s a better way to kick-start your wine experience in the Barossa than sitting down to a cheese tasting session.

The cheeses we tasted at Woodside Cheese Wrights were some of the most unique and innovative cheeses I’ve ever eaten.

Woodside is more than just good cheese, it’s an interesting story of Kris Lloyd who fell into cheese making.

She decided to introduce cheese tasting as an add on to her family’s vineyard and took over Woodside Cheeses to resurrect it’s crumbling status.

One day, her cheese makers went to a conference and she was left to make the cheese. She dove right into the whey and curd and discovered a new passion.

Since then she’s been experimenting and making unusual artisan cheese that stands head and shoulders above everyone else.

Even her labels speak innovation – no cheesy moo cows to be found.

Kris has been told over again that the cheese she wanted to make couldn’t be done.

It’s that defiant spirit that can be found in cheeses like the award-winning Monet, a goat’s cheese with organic flowers on top; Goat on a hot tin Roof, Chevre with Chilli, Saltbush, Native Pepperberry and crushed Tanami Apples; raw milk cheese (she’s one of the only cheese makers licensed in Australia to do this; and a wide variety of buffalo milk cheeses (and they’re more innovative than just buffalo mozzarella.

Kris likes to use local ingredients for her cheeses, including indigenous plants like lemon myrtle and bush tomato. Before we left, Kris told us her best tip – enjoy your cheeses with a glass of bubbly. It’s the perfect match.

4. Star of Greece, Port Willunga

Star of Greece Restaurant on cliff overlooking Port Willunga,
  • Hours: 12.00pm – 3.00pm Sunday – Wednesday, 12.00pm – 9.00pm Thursday – Saturday
  • Address: 1 Esplanade, Port Willunga SA 5173

Every person we spoke to about visiting the Star of Greece on the cliffs of Port Willunga told us how much we’d like it.

We started with Braised Port Willunga olives, and I had Kangaroo Island King George whiting, watermelon & mint salad, gribiche, hand cut chips, and Craig had Kangaroo Island salt & pepper squid, chipotle mayo, watermelon and mint salad, lime.

The food was fresh and local, and contemporary versions of some of Australia’s favourite traditional dishes. And watching dolphins swim in the calm waters below made this lunch date in Barossa turn more into a bucket list moment.

calamari olives on table

For the healthy coffee lovers, the owner will soon be making coffees with homemade almond milk, which tempts me to return!

Reserve a table here, or eat mid-week because word on the street is that it gets very busy.

5. Jacob’s Creek Food & Wine Masterclass and Two Course Lunch

I think everyone needs a friend like James.

James is the Jacob’s Creek sommelier and after our experience with him in the food & wine sensory experience (see below), we tried to convince him to start his own app to give recommendations on wines when you are out and about.

The 2.5 hour Masterclass is held in the Jacobs Creek visitor Centre and if you can peel your eyes away from the stunning 350 year old gum tree that forms part of the panoramic view from the windows, you’re sure to learn a lot about wine from James.

wine glasses on a table

He’s a wealth of knowledge about how to correctly pair it with food. This experience taught me that I know nothing about wine and how much more I can enjoy a meal if I choose wines to match.

I now know that salmon is best paired with chardonnay, although you do have to consider how the salmon is cooked as sometimes another wine may suit the cooking style or sauce flavours better.

Chardonnay is making a classy comeback. Chardonnay is the wine maker’s playground and is where their creative flair can emerge, which is why you can get so many different styles and tastes.

food on a table

We also learned that Riesling is more for the formulaic wine makers. It can only be produced in certain circumstances and must not be played with.

We must tell you about the Double Barrel Shiraz, which is only made at Jacob’s Creek and took them three years to perfect.

The Shiraz is first matured in traditional wine oak barrels and then finished in a Scotch whiskey barrel. Whiskey barrels are charred on the inside and so give back a richer, deeper and smoother flavour.

We loved it and I think was possibly my favourite wine, which is actually a hard thing to decide on because I loved so many.

bottle of wine and glasses on a table

I could write a post called “52 things I learned about wine thanks to James”. I want him on speed dial so every dinner party meal now will be superb.

The class is followed by a two course lunch consisting of main course and dessert. It was wonderful to eat another meal with produce that came direct from Genevieve’s’ fabulous garden.

different types of food on a plate


6. Melba’s Chocolates, Adelaide Hills

Melba's Chocolates, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
  • Hours: 9.00 am – 4.30pm daily
  • Address: Melba’s Chocolates is located next door to Woodside Cheeses, 22 Henry St, Woodside, SA 5244

Melba’s Chocolates was born in 1981 by Graeme and Joy Foristal in a small wash house behind their Adelaide Restaurant, ‘Melba’s’.

They soon saw the demand for a bigger space and brought the derelict premises they reside now in 1990, which is not derelict now, of course, but houses a thriving family business.

There are plenty of samplings to be had in the factory and we even got to roll our sleeves up and make a bunch of chocolate snow cones for our girls.

Of course we had to bring them back a bag of chocolate. They sneak out of their room at 6am in the morning to try and pinch them from the fridge.

I don’t have a strong sweet tooth, but I myself was sneaking out at 6am to steal the chocolate-coated cherries and raspberries.

7. Mt Lofty Summit Cafe, Adelaide Hills

view of adeliade from Mt Lofty Summit,
Mt Lofty, Adelaide Hills
  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Address: 266 Mount Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers SA 5152

We highly recommend walking to the Mt Lofty Summit Cafe, where you can burn off some energy and have a delicious lunch on Adelaide’s highest peak with views over the Adelaide Hills and across to the city.

On a good day you can see all the way out to the ocean. We did not have a good day. In fact we could not see anything at the summit, but imagination is all you need.

If you do get a clear day, this could be your view.

Our lunch was delicious and our experience here was another indication to me that Adelaide people could possibly top the nicest people in the world list.

The soup we had for entree was delicious and perfect for warming up the body after the cool walk up.

8. Jacob’s Creek Wine and Food Sensory Experience

food and wine on table

This 2.5 hour sensory experience at Jacobs Creek is really interesting and fun and takes you on a sensory journey to explore how your five senses affect the way you taste wine.

How could it not be enjoyable sitting down to this. During a tasting you have the option to sip or spit out your wine.

James took us through a selection of Jacob’s Creek wines, which we paired with different types of food so we could see the impact each food had on the taste of the wine.

It enabled us to see which ones worked and which didn’t. We also focused on the smells of the wine and trying to shut off our brain to go with what our gut instinct told us was in the wine.

people talking and sitting at a table

This, and the lunch Masterclass experience, helped me to view wine as something more than just something to throw down with a group of friends, or at 5pm after a long day with the kids. You can actually spend time with the wine experiencing its flavour and the stories that go into making it.

With each new glass of wine variety that we tried we learned a new story about the region, or the history of the area, and even of those who are busy working behind the scenes to take it from grape to glass.

So many great lessons can be learned from wine, right?

The Food and Wine Sensory Experience is held at the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre. You can book your experience online here.

9. Apex Bakery, Barossa Valley

Apex Bakery, Barossa Valley, South Australia
  • Hours: 7.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 2.00pm Saturday, 7.00am – 4.30pm Sunday
  • Address: 1A Elizabeth St, Tanunda SA 5352

Apex Bakery, in the town of Tanunda in the Barossa has been baking bread since 1924.

On passing, it would seem like just another place to get your bread and cakes, but inside lies another story of a family run business, which confidently claims to have the longest running, continuously fired commercial wood oven in Australia!

Slow ferment dough’s/breads and their pies and pasties are some of their specialties – all of which are made from recipes dating back to the 1800’s.

Johnny, our guide on the Barossa Trike Tours, took us inside and as he opened the door explained that on some Friday nights, they throw pizza in the oven and invite the locals down for a night of pizza and wine and conversation. It’s a tradition dating back many years.

As is the bread that Keith Fechner started making when, at 33, he bought the bakery he’d been working at since he was 12. His grandson, Cory took us out the back to look at this oven that never sleeps.

10. Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market
  • Hours: 7.30am – 5.30pm Tuesday, 9.00am – 5.30pm Wednesday, 7.00am – 7.00pm Thursday, 7.00am – 9.00pm Friday, 7.00am – 3.00pm Saturday, Closed Monday and Sunday
  • Address: 44/60 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000

No trip to Adelaide is complete without visiting the 140 year old Adelaide Central Market.

As with all things in this region, there is a real sense of community here.

The markets are filled with stories of local producers like Mario, the Green Grocer who has been selling fruit and veg from his farm for over 35 years; and The Italian Cafe, Lucina Italiana, which has been owned by three generations of a post-war immigrant family for 55 years .

greek vendor at Adelaide Central Market

We also highly recommend you take a tour of the Adelaide Central Markets with Mark Gleeson the owner of Providore, who is extremely passionate about sharing the markets and the stories of the people who make it so great.

Oh yeah, he makes pretty great chocolate as well, which you get to taste.

Final Thoughts

people talking and laughing
Genevieve, Me and Ruth

So there you have it, those are our top 10 food and wine experiences in the Barossa, and as you can see, there’s a lot of great places to ignite your taste buds here.

By the way, did you know there are over 51,000 varieties of grapes, and only 100 of them are grown in Australia? We’ll never grow out of new wines to taste!

Also, unlike France and other traditional wine making countries, Australia has no strict rules for how wine should be made, which means we have room for innovation.

That’s why our wines have been so well-received around the world.

We hope this guide helped you pick out a few places to ignite your culinary senses and gave you some ideas for where to learn about the region’s world-class food and wine!

More South Australia Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for your trip to South Australia? Here are some other guides that may be useful to you…

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Would you like to visit the Barossa Valley? Which food or wine activity would you like to do most? Share with us in the comments below!

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