Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Barossa Valley – Saturday & Sunday, May 24 & 25, 2014,

By noon yesterday (Saturday) we arrived in Hahndorf, the oldest German settlement in Australia, after crossing the foothills northeast of Adelaide. Hahndorf was a cute little village for tourist – shops of all sorts. We met our new hosts at the Old Mill Restaurant, transferred luggage and said goodbye to our lovely host from Adelaide. All of our hosts on this trip have been so gracious, showing us the best of their area.   

We had lunch at the Old Mill with our new hosts. We were warned that plenty of food awaited us during the evening hours so we opted for a light lunch.  After popping in and out of a few shops, we left with our host for the Barossa Valley.  It is continually referred to as “the Barossa”.  The Barossa Valley is most known for its wines, but there are also fruits grown in this area.  All of the old churches are lovely old German Lutheran buildings.

The German Village of Hahndorf  

Before I go any further I must tell you about our hostess. She chose us to stay with them because she read in our Bio that we lived in Holland and Cal taught at the American School of The Hague.  She as a child lived in Holland.  Since her Mum was Aussie she wanted the children to attend the British School in The Hague, but it had reached its capacity of students, so her and her siblings attended the American School.  She started attending ASH the year that we left, and was there for 3 years. This was during her upper primary and middle school years, while Cal taught at the High School. So our time did not overlap, but we had plenty to talk about regarding life in Holland.  We both had such positive experiences.

But back to the Barossa - Our hosts are part of a tennis group that meets every Saturday at a winery to play doubles tennis.  The tennis courts are set among the vineyards, a beautiful setting.  After an afternoon of playing tennis and chatting, everyone gathers in one of the tasting rooms to nibble on lovely items each player has brought.  Last night, including us, 17 people were there. It was a wonderful group of people.  We tasted several wines and the appetizers were special – these women are wonderful cooks.  This was enough food for the evening, but this was just the beginning!
How is this for a perfect setting for tennis

After Tennis Desert

Local wine

We drove to our hosts home, a charming older home that has been updated.  After tasting more wine, we sat down to a dinner of Beef Wellington.  Everything was done to perfection, and we ended with another beautiful pavlova dessert. 

Our wonderful Host Home

Stained Glass Windows in their home

Dinner with our host and friend

OH!! That Incredible Pavlova
I am writing this Sunday morning after a light breakfast of tea/coffee and toast.  By noon we are off to a Sunday noon BBQ.
We have seen many stone cottage style homes in the Adelaide area, and now we are staying in one.  Our hosts have done a great job decorating this cottage. They have kept a lot of the old character of the house, such as the stained glass windows.   The lots on which these houses stand, are very narrow, so you add to the rear of the cottage if you need to expand your home.  This one also has a lovely rock style garden on the hill behind the house.  We have hit the jackpot again by having great hosts. 

Back again… We just returned from the BBQ and a short drive though “The Valley”.  Attending the BBQ were people from 3 different Rotary Clubs, friends, and even a couple from the local Lion’s Club. The location was at a cottage in the country – the BBQ was in the back garden area which had lots of native plants.  The weather made it a lovely day.
The BBQ began with plenty of wine and great cheese. When the grill was fired up, 4 meats were prepared, plus there were salads, damper and more wine. 

Sunday BBQ

Our Chefs

Our Host and Frienda at the BBQ

Preparing the Damper

The BBQ Host with is Damper
Damper is a simple bread, baked in cast iron pots by the campfire – The pot is first heated in the hot coals, the dough is then placed inside, it is covered with the lid before hot coals are placed on the lid – damper bakes in 10 minutes.  It has a wonderful crust and it is very tender on the inside!  The original recipes have no leavening, but when soda was available they used it, thus it is really a type of soda bread (now most recipes call for self-rising flour).  It was delicious.  Damper was a staple for those living on the frontier, and for stockman moving their herds. It is a perfect complement for campfire stews on the trail and now at BBQ’s.  They gave us a real country BBQ – yes, our hair smells of smoke, but who cares! 

After the BBQ we drove around the valley, and to the Seppeltsfield winery.  This is one of the oldest wineries in the valley.  The grounds of the winery are lovely.  It has been a lovely day and the weather was perfect.  We are now back at the house, relaxing, before a pasta dinner with our wonderful.
Palm Tree lined Road near the Winery

Ornate Country Lutheran Church

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