Apparently, not knowing Maggie Beer is a mortal sin, at least based on my Aussie colleagues’ reaction when I said I didn’t know her. In my defense, cooking is not in the list of my acquired skills, at least not yet. One thing is for sure though, after my Adelaide trip, there is no way I could ever forget Maggie Beer.
Maggie Beer is a famous Australian chef, author, restaurant owner, and food manufacturer. She lives in Barossa Valley where she owns a farm called, Maggie’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa. You have probably seen her on TV as guest on Master Chef Australia and as one of the judges of The Great Australian Bake Off. They say that Maggie didn’t have any formal training as a chef, yet she is so good at cooking she’s been quite successful in her career for over five decades now.
One of the bonding activities that my manager organized for our team is a lunch out at her farm, which is an hour drive from our office in Adelaide. The place has a shop, a restaurant, and a lodging place and it sits by the lake where you can see some turtles swimming.
The Farm Shop
The Farm Shop is where one can find Maggie Beer’s products such as food and cooking ingredients, wine, kitchenware, and cookbooks. This is the only place in Australia where you can sample every food product that they make. I took the encouragement to heart and tasted just about every jam that I could. I was completely taken by their jam, jellies and glazes, specifically the Burnt fig jam (Aud 9.95). It’s a dark-colored, thick concoction that is not overly sweet and very delicious. I didn’t even think you could make a jam out of a fig until this trip. I kept coming to it and I think I might have overdone it because my boss took notice and ended up buying me a jar (thanks boss).
The Farm Shop has a café as well and I almost bought me a cup until I remembered that our next point of agenda is wine tasting. I feared I might end up upsetting my stomach, so I decided against it.
The Farm Eatery
The most exciting part of the farm visit, of course, is having a sumptuous lunch at The Farm Eatery. This place is operated by Maggie’s youngest daughter, Elli with the help of Chef Tim Bourke. This restaurant doubles as an experience center where people can join cooking classes or gin-making sessions.
I ordered Fried free-range chicken with pickled cucumber and ranch sauce (Aud 36), one of the most expensive mains on the menu but worth every penny. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when they served it to me because when I saw the food that my colleague ordered (and it looked so appetizing, see photo on the right), I kinda regretted ordering this chicken dish. Then I started eating it and it was like the world stopped turning; it was absolutely marvelous. The chicken is so tender and it went so well with the creamy ranch sauce. I wish I knew how to make this so I could replicate it back home; it was simply unforgettable.
The Orchard House
For people who want to experience old fashion hospitality or in need of a quick getaway from the busy life, they can book a stay at The Orchard House. It’s a bed and breakfast accommodation with two bedrooms, a fully furnished kitchen, a barbecue area, and a garden. We were not able to see this part of the farm, but I’ve seen it on the website, and it looks so beautiful I’d love to stay there when I have a chance.
If there is a remote possibility you are able to visit Barossa Valley, do not miss the chance of dining in at Maggie Beer Farm. I promise you, that long drive is worth it.