Barossa Valley - famous for its great wine, hundred of acres of grape vines, stunning scenery, reowned produce but this time around we went during August - so rather bare grape vines, crisp and cold weather but not too overly windy.
Barossa is Just a quick hour drive north east Adelaide and for all the foodies out there, you can't go to the Barossa and not visit the famous Maggie Beer's farm shop in Nuriootpa. You might ask, who an earth is Maggie Beer? She is a well respected Australian cook who left school at the age of 14 and had no formal training as a chef. Beer is also a food writer and has appeared on numerous of cooking shows like Master Chef and she's also someone who is a strong believer in quality and freshness. I would describe her cooking style as old school, rustic, wholesome, amazing food with a touch of flair!
Beer's farm shop isn't just a farm shop in name. Visitors are free to wander around and explore the farm. There are outdoor seating area's available for their customers to enjoy overlooking an aqua coloured lake side, home to countless turtles and a huge variety of birdlife.
Just to set an expectation to our readers, the shop is small and cosy. I know this may bring up a controversial topic where I have read internet reviewers say the shop is very commercialised and products are sold under the brand name. Would you hate me if I thought differently?
The farm shop is where it all started for Maggie and her husband, Colin Beer, farming pheasants 20 plus years ago. As you walk into the store, her staff makes you feel welcomed and are more than happy explain to you the setting of the shop and essentially how it all started. If you have visited here especially on a weekend you would know tourist bus after tourist bus arrive on a fairly regular basis, however it is known that Maggie has not interest in expanding the shop as she always wants every person who visits to feel a real sense of hospitality and wishes to keep it as is whilst maintaining the customer service. #respect.
At a quick glance, you would notice nearly each product displayed in the store is accompanied with a sample. The 'try before you buy' is the exact meaning of what it is at the Maggie Beer store is all about, they are generous, as the staff are always replenishing the samples to ensure all customers have a chance to taste and enjoy Maggie's complete food range. From fig jams, to wine, to pheasant pate to taste, they really make sure you'll know exactly what you're getting yourself into. Without a doubt we were one very happy customer and in fact we made small dents on our credit card from purchasing a few different goodies to bring back home - if most of them even made it home, that is.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Maggie herself but to our surprise they hold a free daily delicious and tasty cooking demonstration at 2pm. Again, after the demo you are able to test the local produce using Maggie Beer products. Before you ask, no, it is not Maggie's home kitchen. This fully functional kitchen is used for the Australian TV show "The Cook and the Chef", so essentially, it's every aspiring chefs dream!
As we were walking out of the shop, I was very indeed inspired. I wanted to rush home and cook up a storm while sipping on the non-alcoholic bubbles we just brought, bake an amazing chocolate brownie and drizzle with the MB dark chocolate vino cotto caramel sauce, and roast a whole pheasant for dinner....ok, maybe not the pheasant but at least a chicken!
- Go there around lunch time so you can enjoy the cooking show @ 2pm.
- Bring a cooler bag if you plan in buying the cold goodies (they do have it for sale for a small cost if you don't have one handy, or forgot).
- Avoid weekends where possible
- Don't go there hangry as the lunch menu is very limited
- Try their $2 chocolate brownie - tiny portion but you won't regret it!
- For those interested and don't want to waste your hand luggage allowance, you can purchase a good selection of Maggie's products in fine grocers/supermarket across Australia.
Before signing off, there is a little embarrasing secret no one knows about me...10 years ago when there was a craze at the supermarket shelves on this "Maggie Beer ice cream", I literally thought the brand that made "Maggie noodles" made beer flavoured ice cream *blush*
Maggie Beer Farm Shop
Location: 50 Pheasant Farm Road Nuriootpa SA 535l
Opening hours: Everyday 10:30am - 5pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Next story: Birds eye view of the Barossa....
Author: D Lusher