McLaren Vale & Onkaparinga Blog

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McLaren Vale Restaurants Inspired By Their Gardens And Local Produce

Garden Grown and Farm Foraged. Treat your taste buds across the McLaren Vale Wine Region at restaurants, cafes or cellar doors. Locally grown and farm-fresh produce define the region’s passionate and internationally acclaimed food community.

McLaren Vale boasts a world-class wine culture, but the vibrant food community is also something very special. Local produce is a proud feature on menus throughout the region – whether purchased from the Willunga Farmers Market, sourced direct from growers, or plucked from their very own restaurant gardens.

Tom Reid, head chef at Coriole is spoilt for choice when planning seasonal lunch dishes at the winery restaurant. “We buy most of our fruit and vegetables from local market producers – it’s so fresh and vibrant” he says.

Tom also picks from the restaurant’s dedicated garden. The impressive patch of greenery, located near the cellar door, provides fresh ingredients for dishes such as his personal favourite: estate grown Jerusalem artichoke with marsh saltbush, cured egg yolk and Adelaide Hills porcini.

“It brings together some of my favourite past times – gardening, eating Jerusalem artichokes (probably one of my favourite winter vegetables) and foraging in the wild for mushrooms.”

Tom has shared his family favourite Chicken Noodle Soup recipe for you to make at home.

Across the Vale, Karena Armstrong, head chef at The Salopian Inn, also values locally grown produce and the sense of community it encourages. The restaurant’s menu is driven by what is available in its own garden, located on Karena’s private property, minutes away. It even features a beehive!

“The garden is such a rewarding project,” she says. “The hive has flourished, the garden is loving it, and our zucchini flower crop was huge. The honey was one of the proudest moments I’ve had at The Salopian. You could taste all the flowers of our garden and the trees I have at home.”

“What we have really enjoyed since starting the garden is confidence to try new crops.” Okra (commonly referred to as ladies’ fingers and part of the mallow family) was a huge hit this summer. “I know how lucky the visitors are who eat in our region. Real, fresh and seasonal food is abundant; it’s a great culture we have built as a cooking community.”

Restaurants and producers of the region are inspired by their gardens. “We love it and have immense pride in telling our customers the story of the food on their plate.”

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