While the concept of ‘slow food’ is beginning to gain nationwide momentum, real food is the new buzz word of the Limestone Coast.
Think lobster delivered fresh from the southern ocean with tails flapping. Tender lamb free of chemicals and antibiotics, tomatoes which actually taste like tomatoes, and herbs picked by the handful, with a fragrance that lingers... On the Limestone Coast, it’s all about living “The Good Life” - and the delicacies are ready and waiting to be savoured either fresh from the farm gate, or from the paddock (or craypot) to the plate.
If time is precious, head to one of the regular Farmers Markets, where producers from across the Limestone Coast peddle everything from fresh yabbies, to succulent rabbit and seafood chowder. Most outlets offer the opportunity to “try before you buy”. For dates and venues, consult the Real Food Directory or ask at Visitor Information centres.
Alternatively, you can take your tastebuds on a journey of their own, experiencing such regional delights as Coorong Mullet at Meningie, rock lobster at Kingston, freshly roasted Mahalia Coffee at Robe, and Emu Mettwurst at Avenue Range.
Then there’s organic apple products at Kalangadoo Organic, extra virgin olive oils at Coonawarra’s Karitsa Estate, and pick-your-own herbs in Penola’s Petticoat Lane. Eat your heart out!
Of course, no meal is complete without the right wine – and finding it won’t be a problem. With a reputation for producing consistent quality and premium wines, the local wine industry is as diverse as it is large.
A total of 13,000 hectares of land is under vine, with the region responsible for 20% of Australia’s premium wine production, and 10% of the national grape crush.
Essentially, it can be divided into four different wine regions, including Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson and Coonawarra, which is arguably the jewel in the crown.
Taking its name from the Aboriginal word “honeysuckle”, Coonawarra was founded more than a century ago by Scottish pastoralist John Riddoch. Its famous strip of limestone-based terra rossa soil has given rise to many of the nation's finest drops, and samples can be savoured at 23 cellar doors – all within 10 minutes drive of one another. Each contains its own captivating stories, stunning architecture, and irresistible flavours.
Between Kingston and Robe, the Mount Benson Region produces elegant sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.
South of Keith, Padthaway is noted for its spicy shiraz, but is also a classic chardonnay region, while in the gently undulating hills just south of Naracoorte, the burgeoning Wrattonbully is developing a reputation for producing quality wines.