Winter in the Barossa……. open fires, red wine and delicious, warming produce.
Look, there’s no two ways around this. It gets really cold here in Winter. Especially in Angaston. Luckily we have lashings of red wine and hefty schlucks of port to get us through the day until dinner is served.
With the strong German influence of preserving the best of the Autumn’s bountiful harvest, winter isn’t a time of scarcity in the Barossa. It’s a time for popping open jars of rich red tomato paste to flavour stews and casseroles, of tart cucumber pickles on thick slices of ham and chewy whole grain bread, of smokey small goods, of fragrant berry jams on toast in the morning… the list goes on. The hard work of the Harvest season is reflected in the warm, hearty dinners of winter which start earlier and earlier as the nights draw in.
But it’s not all about meaty stews. The citrus trees of the Barossa swing into full production during the colder months – there’s nothing quite as cheery as all those bright, zesty oranges peeking out through dark green foliage. Most of the established properties have an orange tree or two down the back corner and for those who don’t there’s plenty to be – ahem – foraged from the neighbour’s place.
Winter was also traditionally the time of year for Pig Day, when a family or two would gather together to kill and process a pig, specially fattened on the excesses of Autumn and the particularly rich, creamy milk produced by the abundant winter grass. (Well, produced by the cow that eats the grass…..!) Obviously council regulations aren’t what they used to be so unfortunately this practice is dying out. The ethos of frugality and respect for the animal is alive and well however at the Farmers Market where you can source any manner of cuts of meat, including offal, and also in the cooking schools around the region such as Mark McNamara’s Food Luddite Cooking School without Walls where his smallgoods class is sure to expand your mind if not your belt.
Speaking of the Farmers Market, in winter keep a special eye out for……
Brussels Sprouts – delicious fried off with butter, speck and nutmeg!
Carrots, parsnips, turnips, celeriac
Spuds of all varieties
Leafy greens such as silverbeet, spinach and chard
New season olive oil – a world away from the rancid supermarket stuff
All manner of zesty, delicious citrus including oranges, mandarines, grapefruit and lemons
Pears, apples and other pome fruits
And if you’re in the mood to DIY your vitamin supply, get those seed catalogues out and start dreaming of warmer weather!
Now, I’m off to hunt down one of those aforementioned glasses of red! Happy winter eating 🙂