Fleurieu cookbook a feast for foodies

McLaren Vale foodie Rojina McDonald fell in love with the culinary delights of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula simply by growing up in the food and wine region.

Adopted from Sri Lanka as a baby, she was raised on an olive grove between McLaren Vale and Willunga, and remembers jumping the neighbour’s fence as a child with her sister to fill their pockets with pistachio nuts.

Now the baking queen and self-publishing entrepreneur has taken her passion for the Fleurieu’s food scene and poured it into her first book, Faces and Food of the Fleurieu.

Launched recently, the coffee table cookbook profiles 80 restaurants, cafés and producers across 29 towns on the Fleurieu, helping to shed light on the region’s gastronomic delights.

Written by local writer Heather Millar and illustrated with photographs by Josie Withers, the book tells the story of each business owner and shares recipes featuring local produce and signature ingredients.

The duck a l’orange dish by Ryan Callaghan of Au Pair Restaurant in Willunga.

“What makes the Fleurieu is the food and wine, a good quality olive oil, the produce, the vegetables grown throughout the region, and the agricultural industry as a whole,” Rojina says.

Among those featured include The Salopian Inn with its steamed tofu and Asian greens dish, d’Arry’s Verandah with a Yuzu-cured tuna with smashed cucumber, the Willunga Farmer’s Market with lemon, almond and ricotta cake, and Coorong Wild Seafood with a pan-fried Coorong mullet and buttered potato, kale and capers recipe.

Faces and Food of the Fleurieu has received praise from Australian cooking royalty Maggie Beer, local author Heather England and leading winemaker Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga, and is already available in 60 places across the Fleurieu, as well as book stores, visitor information centres and airports.

Rojina came to appreciate the Fleurieu’s food sector as a teenager when she worked weekends at the McLaren Vale Continental Deli and Café (now Mullygrub).

She says customers would line up out the door, waiting for their fix of fresh, regional produce. She remembers the cream blobs formed on top of Alexandrina Milk while making coffee and the smell of the freshly baked bread delivered to the deli by Andy Clappis from Italian restaurant Our Place at Willunga Hill.

Katelijne Van Cauteren of Three Monkeys café in Willunga features in the book.

“The deli was one of those proper continental delis where everything was local including the bread, cheeses, milks, condiments and preserves, sandwiches, cakes and home-cooked lunches,” Rojina says.

“I worked there for four years and still to this day people say to me, ‘Hey! You’re the girl from the deli!’ and I still recognise their faces too. That really taught me about how important and special regional produce is.”

Rojina then went onto work at a number of other local cafés, restaurants and in retail before hitting hard times and being diagnosed with anxiety.

To reset her mental health and wellbeing, she spent time at home and began baking cupcakes. It started with a batch of 20, then word got out and the orders started pouring in.

“I started baking 20 a week, then 150, then 200 a week out of my little kitchen in McLaren Vale. I was delivering them to my sister’s florist, the hospital and businesses in the main street,” Rojina says.

“I did that for about two years and was dubbed the cupcake queen and awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the McLaren Vale Business Association.

“That’s when I got back into food and it really helped with my anxiety, I think something like that has to happen to push you in the right direction.”

Rojina switched her mindset and adopted the power of positive thinking, becoming inspired by best-selling self-help book The Secret, which she says has changed her life.

Among her personal goals was meeting Maggie Beer, winning a scholarship at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and writing for a food magazine – all of which she would later achieve.

In 2013 she set off for Le Cordon Bleu in London to complete a certificate in basic patisserie and that’s when the idea for a cookbook featuring the Fleurieu’s food producers was born.

“I met all these people from around the world and I was trying to explain to them where I was from. I thought if only there was a coffee table book that showcased the beautiful beaches, the food and the stories of the Fleurieu,” Rojina says.

She kept the book idea in the back of her mind and returned to Australia before life took over and she welcomed her first child, Orion.

Rojina McDonald grew up always appreciating fresh produce from the Fleurieu region.

In 2016 Rojina had settled into motherhood and was working part-time when she decided it was time to reignite the cookbook idea. So she set about gathering local support, started her own company Soul Publishing and got local food businesses to fill the pages.

A successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year raised $16,000 to push pre-orders and help cover printing costs.

The 29-year-old says orders for Faces and Food of the Fleurieu have been tumbling in, giving her the confidence to plan for a second edition in early 2019, this time profiling the region’s beer, wine and spirits.

“It will showcase 40 prominent wineries, breweries and distilleries and will tell their stories,” she says.

“Many of McLaren Vale’s wineries have been around for years and handed down through generations. We want to complement these stories with beautiful photography, brewery tips and gin recipes.”

For more information on Faces and Food of the Fleurieu, visit the website.

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More jobs as Canadian battery maker flicks the switch in SA

Up to 200 new jobs will be created over the next three years as a Canadian energy storage firms invests in South Australia’s booming battery sector.

Eguana Technologies will invest $12 million in assembling and manufacturing its cutting edge Evolve home energy storage system in Adelaide.

The global innovator is the latest company to invest in the state’s battery sector, with German energy storage giant Sonnen and Chinese battery manufacturer Alpha-ESS also establishing an SA presence.

The three companies are approved suppliers under the state’s Home Battery Scheme that allows 40,000 households to access up to $6000 in subsidies and low-interest loans to pay for the installation of home batteries and solar.

Until December 31, households can purchase subsidised batteries from Sonnen, Alpha-ESS or Eguana Technologies. Under an agreement with the State Government, the priority period awards system providers who install batteries manufactured or assembled here in SA.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway says he’s pleased to welcome Eguana as the latest international company to invest in SA and commit to manufacturing and assembling their batteries in Adelaide.

“Based in Calgary, Eguana Technologies designs and manufactures high performance residential and commercial storage systems, so to be able to bring their skills and technology to SA is a significant win,” he says.

“Since we announced the Home Battery Scheme, we’ve had fantastic global leaders such as Eguana knocking on our door to be a part of the largest rollout of home batteries in the world.”

Eguana has 20 years of experience in delivering grid edge power electronics for fuel cells, photovoltaics and batteries from its manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America.

Eguana Technologies chief technology officer Brent Harris says the announcement confirms SA as a world leader in the use of solar and battery technology.

“The requirement for smart batteries is the first of its kind and the Evolve product was designed to support sophisticated programs that go beyond basic backup power and reducing consumption,” he says.

“We have already begun establishing our manufacturing capabilities in SA and look forward to providing choice to SA energy storage customers.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Vintage-inspired food truck a mini delight for KI beachgoers

‘Coffee at sunrise and cocktails at sunset’ – that’s the motto of Kangaroo Island foodie Em Woskett, owner of pop-up food truck Mini De Lights.

The pop-up cocktail bar, kitchen and beer garden is fast gaining popularity with KI locals and visitors to the stunning Emu Bay beach, one of the island’s most popular swimming spots.

The vintage-inspired food van is one of Kangaroo Island’s first licensed food trucks, joining a growing fleet of pop up vendors helping to push the region’s profile for being one of the state’s leading food and wine destinations.

Mini De Lights serves bite-sized street food, coffee, cocktails and desserts. Its summer menu includes honey popcorn chicken with spicy slaw, prawn, ginger and carrot balls with wasabi mayo, as well as all-day breakfast granola, zucchini fritters, and eggs Benedict with prosciutto.

The Mini De Lights popcorn chicken.

Em says sourcing local produce, beer, wine and spirits is essential to the small business which rolled onto the food truck scene in February this year.

“I’ve been using local cheese and family farms down the road supply the pork and lamb, we use Fleurieu Milk and our coffee is from a local coffee roaster,” she says.

“Our cocktails are made from Kangaroo Island Spirits, and we have False Cape Wines, The Islander Estate, Bay of Shoals and Kangaroo Island Brewery beers on offer.

“As local businesses, we try to promote one another, that is our bread and butter. If you don’t have local support you’re standing on your own. We are all passionate about the region and we want to see each other succeed.”

Mini De Lights joins a small fleet of other food trucks operating at various events and locations across the island, and Em says they each have a knack for creative thinking and a passion for food.

The arrival of the Mini De Lights food truck marks the first time in more than a decade that swimmers have been able to access food and beverages at Emu Bay, with a nearby kiosk closing some time ago.

“Emu Bay is a beautiful beach, 70% of the houses are holiday rentals so it’s full of people in the holiday periods, but there is nothing here on the beach front,” Em says.

“The pop-up concept was always an idea I’d loved because there are no boundaries and you can play around with what you serve and how you serve it.”

Mini De Lights has also popped up at local businesses and catered for special events. From December 1 and throughout summer it will open seven days a week at Emu Bay from 7am–7pm.

Originally from Adelaide, Em has spent most of her working life in hospitality in Australia and overseas.

Em Woskett is the woman behind Mini De Lights.

She spent time in New Zealand and London before returning to Adelaide and heading for Kangaroo Island, taking on the role of restaurant manager at Southern Ocean Lodge.

It was during her time at the luxurious boutique hotel that she fell in love with the island’s produce, and also met a local stone mason, who is now her partner.

She says Kangaroo Island is growing its reputation as a premier food and wine destination and that locals and visitors are “spoilt for choice” with culinary offerings and landscapes to explore.

“It’s taken some time for Kangaroo Island to have its time in the light, and it’s just starting to get there,” she says.

“It’s almost like a hidden treasure, we have so much to showcase, the coastlines, the wildlife, once you cast your eye around there is so much choice, we are spoilt rotten.

“The island’s charm is that it’s untouched. It’s simple, yet so beautiful.”

Header photo courtesy of The Islander.

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Multi-regional blend shines in push for more women in wine

The annual Australian Women in Wine Awards – announced on November 16, with South Australian winners including Sarah Marquis (Mollydooker Wines), Kate Goodman (Penley Estate) and Nicole Pitman (Kingston Estate) – don’t just celebrate achievement.

The organisation hopes it can provide a beacon of inspiration for more women to join the wine industry and achieve outstanding results.

This has become a significant issue; women comprise less than 10% of the Australian wine industry, with numbers dipping further in viticulture. Representation of women in leadership and senior roles is even smaller.

To help rectify this imbalance, Australian Women In Wine Awards aims to start a scholarship that supports young women undergoing tertiary wine education – and a unique style of SA shiraz is being created as this endeavour’s major fundraising platform.

The Wine Creators’ Project recently came together in a rustic vineyard shed at Irvine Wines in the Barossa’s picturesque Eden Valley.

Three revered female winemakers from different regions – Sue Hodder from Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga in McLaren Vale and Rebekah Richardson of Irvine Wines – sat around a wine blending bench, mulling over the possibilities for their historic project that involves only females. This included winemaker Emma Norbiato of the Barossa’s Calabria Family Wines supplying one quarter of the wine to be blended, right through to graphic designers Denomination that created the wine label.

Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga, left, Sue Hodder of Wynns Coonawarra Estate, and Rebekah Richardson of Irvine Wines.

Each winemaker donated an elite barrel of 2018 shiraz to the project and they were determined to create a bold and unique wine from the resulting blend.

“We didn’t just want to make a typically pretty wine; that would be such a boring, cliché statement about female winemaking,” says Sue Hodder.

“We’re happy to step far beyond what we’d usually do in our own wineries to celebrate a true collaboration of ideas.”

Indeed, the challenge of producing a multi-regional blend from the one grape variety represented a first for each of the winemakers.

They agreed on a very elegant and excitingly modern blend, with enticing aromas of violets and bright plum but also striking mid-palate plushness and generosity. In addition to its attractive juiciness, the shiraz has great flavour length thanks to ripe tannins and crisp acidity.

“A great multi-region blend is a proven Australian tradition, yet it’s not something that any of us have had the opportunity to do before,” says Rebekah Richardson. “This really has been an exciting exercise.”

The wine will be aged in the Barossa Valley, in older oak barrels so the fruit quality speaks rather than winemaking artifice. The limited release of 500 dozen bottles will be launched in April 2019 – coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Australian women gaining the right to vote.

With SA being the first state to give women the vote in 1894, the winemakers think it entirely appropriate that a forthright modern women’s organisation should produce a distinctive SA shiraz to embrace the spirit of the occasion.

The blending session in Eden Valley.

The Wine Creators’ Project provides a lightning rod for positive change in the Australian wine industry. “We want to promote the development of career opportunities for women in the wine industry, to show what is possible and what can be achieved,” says Corrina Wright.

“The wine industry is – and it certainly needs to be – in a state of transition, but we’re still not seeing the numbers of women coming out of wine and viticulture courses at university.

“Anecdotally, we know that large amounts of women drop out of the wine industry because they try to juggle too much, especially when they start families, because the path to advancement seems out of reach. This organisation wants to show them there is a better way.”

Sue Hodder adds that larger community concerns fit into this picture. “Beyond the wine industry, we’re worried about the future of rural Australia generally,” she says.

“Where is our next generation of rural workers going to come from? I reckon the Australian Women in Wine offer a pretty good solution. Get a whole lot of young women out there taking up opportunities in regional vineyards and wineries, and a whole lot of interested young men will surely follow.”

Outstanding women winemakers are also being promoted in leading Adelaide venues, with Level One at Electra House continuing its series of Women in Wine dinners by featuring the Wrattonbully region on Thursday November 22 – with Jane Richards of Eight at the Gate, Susie Harris of Land of Tomorrow, and Sue Bell of Bellwether Wines – and the McLaren Vale region on Wednesday December 12, with Corrina Wright from Oliver’s Taranga, Vanessa Altman from Switch Wines, and Gill Gordon-Smith of Fall from Grace.

At these dinners, each winemaker matches one of their wines to a course from Level One’s modern Asian menu, followed by a discussion with the winemakers about their work. More details and tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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8 beer gardens you have to sit in this summer

The sun is out, the days are getting longer, and did someone say beer garden?

We went in search of the perfect South Australian outdoor oasis, and we found heaps! Here are eight of the best.

Cathedral Hotel – North Adelaide

Have you been searching for a beautiful heritage listed North Adelaide bar with a renovated rooftop? The search is over! The Cathedral took out SA’s Best Pub Burger in the 2016 SA Pub Burger Challenge, so you can be sure the classic pub fare won’t disappoint.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the beef burger and a glass of Jim Barry Watervale Riesling (Clare Valley).

The sun sets over Adelaide from the Cathedral rooftop garden. Image: Cathedral Hotel via Instagram.

The Cathedral Hotel knows burgers. Image: Cathedral Hotel via Instagram.

Hotel Elliot – Port Elliot

Heading to Middleton for a surf? Or perhaps a beachside getaway is calling your name. Either way, this well-frequented local pub located in picturesque Port Elliot has everything you want, with a sensational beer garden to boot.

A  five-minute stroll from Horseshoe Bay and a short walk to whale spotting favourite Freeman Lookout, you can also catch the Cockle Train or Steam Ranger with the Port Elliot Railway Station situated just outside the hotel.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Coopers Ale battered garfish fillets, served with the Elliot salad, chips and house aioli. Pair with a Coopers Pale Ale of course!

The Hotel Elliot beer garden is waiting for you! Image: Hotel Elliot via Instagram.

Fish and chips on the Fleurieu at Hotel Elliot. Image: Hotel Elliot via Instagram.

The Republic – Norwood

Built in 1880, the Republic Hotel has undergone extensive renovations with sleek results. This beer garden is perfect for a Saturday arvo with the girls after shopping your new summer look on The Parade.

Here’s their bar menu, we recommend the charcuterie board with cured meats, SA olives, cornichons and ciabatta, and pair with an Espresso Martini (or three).

The only thing better than an espresso martini is three espresso martinis. Image: Republic Norwood via Instagram.

Some of the local produce on offer at Republic Norwood. Image: Republic Hotel via Instagram.

Bridgewater Inn – Bridgewater

Only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide, the Bridgewater Inn is the perfect Adelaide Hills escape. Nestled among lush greenery, relax in the garden with unrivalled views of Cox’s Creek.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Cox chicken breast schnitzel (500g) with one of their signature toppings such as parmigiana (napolitana sauce, cheese and ham),  Mexican (smashed avocado, bacon, jalapeno, sour cream),  Kilpatrick (bacon, Worcestershire sauce and cheese) or garlic prawns in a cream sauce. Match with a Rockford Alicante Bouchet rosé (Barossa Valley), you know it’s a good idea.

Just in case you didn’t know you were in the Adelaide Hills. Image: Bridgewater Inn via Facebook.

These mega schnitzels will make a return visitor out of you, that’s a promise. Image: Bridgewater Inn via Facebook.

The Edinburgh Hotel – Mitcham

Ask anyone in the foothills of Southern Adelaide if they know The Ed, and not only will they know it, they’re probably sitting in its garden as you speak.

The famed Ed garden (renowned colloquially as one of Adelaide’s best) is bordered by pergolas, vines and lush gardens. The fellas love it here (and so do the kids).

Here’s their menu, we recommend The Ed signature flatbreads with heirloom and semi-dried tomato salsa with buffalo mozzarella, basil and pine nut pesto and smoked salmon with capers, feta, avocado, rocket and fresh lemon. Pair with a refreshing local gin and tonic served with citrus.

A family friendly atmosphere that will have you settling in from day to night. Image: The Edinburgh Hotel website.

What’s more refreshing in summer than a gin and tonic? It’s ok, we’ll wait. Image: The Ed via Instagram.

The Feathers Hotel – Burnside 

They won Best Beer Garden in Australia in 2017. Enough said.

Here’s their Terrace menu, we recommend any of the sociable plates, especially where cheese is involved. Match with a Howard Vineyard “Clover” sparkling wine (Adelaide Hills) and welcome, you’ve arrived in paradise.

Weekend goals. Image: supplied.

You had us at sociable plates. Image: supplied.

Parkside Hotel – Parkside

It’s impossible not to salute the Parkside Hotel at how different it is from it’s former state. The recently renovated venue is turning heads as one of the main hangs for South Aussies this coming summer.

And not only is there current beer garden greatness, there is also future beer garden greatness to come! A family friendly outdoor area (separate from main beer garden) on its way with completion due in the next couple of days. There is also another outdoor area which is in the construction phase, due for opening in the coming months.

So make sure you check it out.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the prawn and heirloom tomato pizza with SA king prawns, chilli, rocket and basil paired with an Aperol Spritz.

Your summer hideaway in bustling Parkside. Image: supplied.

What’s a pizza between friends? Image: Parkside Hotel via Facebook.

Port Admiral Hotel – Port Adelaide

This Port Adelaide pub, with its nautical vibes and bustling atmosphere, is quickly gaining a reputation as a bucket list must-see.

Adelaide’s oldest building (established in 1849 on Black Diamond Corner), the Port Admiral is a tip-of-the-hat to SA history and it’s really, really cool.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Port Admiral fried chicken wings (500g or 1kg) with buffalo, Thai, sweet and sour or barbecue dressing. Pair with an Applewood Distillery whiskey or a Port Local house brew – a collaboration between the Port Admiral and Pirate Life.

The Port Admiral Hotel, Adelaide’s oldest building. Image: Port Admiral Hotel website.

Warning: these wings are addictive. Image: Port Admiral Hotel via Instagram.

Header image features The Feathers Hotel.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Windmill Theatre one of SA’s best exports

Local theatre company Windmill Theatre Co looks set to continue its march onto the world stage in 2019, building on its success as one of South Australia’s best creative exports.

Windmill, founded in 2002, creates quirky, funny, thought provoking theatre for children and families. Some of the best known shows include Grug, Pinocchio and Big Bad Wolf.

Following a recent period of growth and expansion, the company has now positioned itself as one of the most innovative and in-demand theatre companies in the world, touring productions nationally and internationally, including to New York, China, Canada and New Zealand.

December will see a new pinnacle for the company when hit musical Rumpelstiltskin plays at Europe’s largest centre for the arts, the Southbank Centre in London.

Elena Carapetis, left, Alirio Zavarce, Matt Crook and Michaela Burger in ‘Rumpelstiltskin’. Photo by Shane Reid.

“That’s a really big deal for us,” says Rose Myers, Windmill’s artistic director, who directed and co-wrote the show.

”We’re taking a company of 20 people over and we will be there for a month in the heart of London.

“It’s a co-production with the State Theatre Company which premiered in Adelaide a couple of years ago. It is a big thrill to take that on the road.”

Taking great SA productions out to the world is not just about playing to bigger audiences, it’s about building cultural ties and artistic networks overseas that feed back into the state, says Rose, who has been at the helm since 2009.

“Touring is important because we make the work and there is a lot of investment poured into it,” she says. “SA is a small state and we have a small audience, but you get into a market place like China or America where the audience is huge and you are amortising your investment and generating employment for our artists and that helps keep great artists here in SA because they know they can make a living here.

Paul Capsis, left, and Ezra Juanta on stage. Photo by Shane Reid.

“It’s also just great cultural diplomacy. We’re trying to make trade links with China and this is all about cultural exchange and taking pieces of Australia over there and sharing culture which is really important.”

Over the last 16 years Windmill has done 59 regional, national and international tours taking in 247 cities across 28 countries and five continents. So far this year the company has already toured Scotland and NZ and is at the tail end of a regional stint with a 14-town, 18-week tour of Big Bad Wolf.

Beep, a production for under fives which premiered in 2017, is currently on a nine-week, five-city tour of mainland China and returns to Adelaide for the DreamBIG Children’s Festival next May, before heading to Sydney next July and Western Australia later in 2019.

Antoine Jelk, left, Kialea Nadine Williams and Ezra Juanta star in ‘Beep’. Photo by Shane Reid.

A new production in the 2019 season is Baba Yaga (ages 7+), a co-production with Scotland’s Imaginate Festival, which will have its premiere at the 2019 Adelaide Festival, following a sold out season at the 2018 Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.

The story is a new take on an old Russian folktale and has been co-created by Rose Myers, Scottish theatre maker Shona Reppe and Christine Johnston, of Kransky Sisters fame, who also plays the lead role. The show will tour in China, Ireland and England next year.

Windmill’s 2019 season also sees the return of the award-winning production Girl Asleep (ages 14+) which was first presented at the Adelaide Festival in 2014 as part of a trilogy that included Fugitive and School Dance.

Imaginate and Windmill Theatre’s ‘Baba Yaga’. Photo by Rob McDougall.

The production went on to be developed into a film, premiering at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival and going on to achieve critical acclaim globally, screening in 114 cities across 21 countries, and winning numerous awards.

“It’s a coming of age show set in 1970s,” Rose explains. ”It’s very funny and loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. It stars a lot of great SA actors such as Ellen Steele and Amber McMahon who’s brilliant.

“There’s a lot of interest because a people have seen the movie and kids are now studying the movie at school.”

The success of Girl Asleep resulted in the company announcing the launch of Windmill Pictures in 2017, a new arm of the company dedicated to developing screen projects from its live theatre repertoire.

Rose says SA is the perfect place to create great film works.

Ellen Steele in ‘Girl Asleep’. Photo by Shane Reid.

Girl Asleep was supported by a great initiative called The Hive, through Amanda Duthie and Katrina Sedgwick at the Adelaide Film Festival,” she says. “It’s just all about innovation and I feel like in some of the bigger states you wouldn’t get that opportunity.

“This has opened up whole other dialogues and whole other ways we can generate more content and industries in Adelaide. That film was very successful and now we are exploring more film production opportunities and ways to bring more money into SA in that industry.”

Rose says it’s a privilege to be part of the team at Windmill as the company continues to be driven to make great works for young people.

“It’s always a joy for me,” she says. “I was in the audience watching Big Bad Wolf in Darling Harbour and I realised I never get sick of watching an audience get excited by the work.”

Header image features Christine Johnston in Baba Yaga. Photo by Rob McDougall.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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12 ways to choose SA in Rundle Mall this Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving and with the festive season officially upon us, it’s time to do the rounds and buy something special for our loved ones.

There’s no better time to choose local than the lead up to Christmas, and with Adelaide’s premier shopping precinct launching its festive decorations last week, Rundle Mall is set to sparkle.

So give back to SA this Christmas by supporting local businesses in Rundle Mall when embarking on your Christmas gift hunt. When you choose SA you’re supporting local families, jobs and the future of our small businesses.

Here are 12 ways to choose SA in Rundle Mall before the big man in red visits at Christmas.

1. Go nuts at Charlesworth

This long-standing family business has been around in SA since 1934. The fresh nuts are cooked on site and a number of nut, dried fruit, chocolate and confectionery gift baskets, boxes and platters are sure to be a winner around the table on Christmas Day. Charlesworth also have bake-at-home packs of Christmas cake, muffins, pudding and continental panforté.

2. Indulge at Haigh’s

Australia’s oldest family-owned chocolate company is a must-visit every year, because what is Christmas without something a little special? Located on the historic Beehive Corner, Haigh’s Chocolates has an extensive Christmas collection of boxed and loose choccies and truffles, advent calendars, gift tins, chocolate filled stockings, bon bons and hampers. Editor’s note: one can’t go by the devilishly moreish berrychocs and the dark ginger chocolate bars.

3. Buy something you won’t find elsewhere

Regent Arcade gift shop Have you met Charlie is full of wares made by independent artists and makers from around the world, with many of them from SA. You’ll find gifts by local makers Ettie Ink, Kindred Self, One Seed, Tea 4 Two and more. While many of the wares will delight the ladies, you’ll also find gifts for blokes, babies and the home.

4. Visit Australia’s largest speciality hat shop

Adelaide Hatters has been around for more than 25 years and is the largest hat shop in the country, spread across two floors in Adelaide Arcade. The store stocks a number of classic hat brands as well as hard-to-find speciality items. Whether it’s a funky sunhat, stunning headpiece, or a stylish cap – there’s a hat for every occasion, as they say.

5. Discover ‘every bear that ever there was’

Located in Regent Arcade, The Teddy Bear Shop has been home to Australia’s largest range of bears for almost 30 years. You’ll find rare collector bears and popular classics that make a memorable gift for little ones of friends or family members. Discover your inner child while browsing the bears big and small.

6. Check out the local produce window display

Take a wander along the mall and you’ll notice a dozen different window displays scattered throughout, each one individually crafted with a different theme. Behind one of the windows is a beautiful festival table setting featuring SA produce such as Haigh’s, Woodside Cheese Wrights, Riverland citrus fruit and Charlesworth Nuts. We won’t give the secret away on the other 11 displays, check them out for yourself!

What’s behind the beautiful local produce window display.

7. Get party season ready at BNKR

Find a knock-out party dress at BNKR, home to labels produced by Adelaide-based Australian Fashion Labels, including C/MEO Collective, Finders Keepers, Keepsake and The Fifth Label. You’ll find stand out and versatile pieces that are on-trend, but most importantly, designed here in Adelaide.

8. Choose chocolates almost too good to eat

Just Bliss Chocolates are hand-painted, delicate creations boxed up beautifully and will make a perfect gift for the luxurious chocolate lover. The store stocks chocolate pralines, truffles, rocky road, chocolate blocks and chocolate spoons, as well as complete gift boxes. Flavours include gin and tonic, Barossa shiraz, whiskey caramel, espresso martini!

9. Buy bath bombs so delicious you’ll wanna eat ’em

Oh Deer Sugar in Regent Arcade is the non-edible bakery handcrafting food for the skin. Launched by “two vegan girls” Sharni and Nikki, these bath products replicate our favourite desserts, waffles, chocolate blocks, and Turkish delights in the form of bath bombs and body scrubs. The Christmas range is inspired Christmas favourites including gingerbread men, candy canes, and even The Grinch! All products are vegan, ingredients ethically source and packaging recyclable.

A giant gingerbread bath bomb.

10. Brew a tea from T BAR

Know someone mad about tea? We bet that at T BAR, you’ll find them a tea they’ve never tried. T BAR stocks 120 blends and varieties sourced from all over the world including loose leaf black teas, beautiful green teas, herbal teas and white teas. T BAR was co-founded by Peggy Veloudos in 1991 and was Adelaide’s first tea salon.

11. Find your beauty fix 

Hebe & Co in Regent Arcade is a skin care store with a range of cruelty free and vegan products, many of them SA and Australian made. You’ll find organic body wash with scents of mandarin, patchouli, geranium and cedarwood, bright liquid to matte lipsticks, breathable nail polishes, natural perfumes and makeup palettes.

Editor’s note: one must treat the hands to Yard Skincare’s hand cream (a favourite is the mandarin and kunzea with maracuja oil) stocked at Hebe & Co. It’s made in the Adelaide Hills from a concentrated blend of antioxidants and plant actives and will satisfy the fussiest of hand cream obsessors!

12. Fill up at Soonta

Kill off the hunger pangs by choosing a local food vendor in the mall, Soonta being a good choice. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the Vietnamese eatery which does a mean banh mi, crunchy salad bowls, delicious noodle and rice bowls and smaller eats such as cold rolls and spring rolls.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Slowing it down in the world of craft

In an industry consumed with fast fashion and big brands, Adelaide shoemaker Matea Gluscevic is proving that slow and sustainable is best when it comes to the world of custom-made creations.

“I can’t really participate in fast fashion or trends because by the time a trend comes and goes, I’m only at the research, development and pattern making stages,” says Matea from her workshop at creative hub The Mill on Angas Street, Adelaide.

“My satisfaction comes from making something that I know will last a long time. I want somebody to be able to have my shoes for ages.”

The 30-year-old designer and maker launched her own shoe brand just over a year ago, with the first order placed by a woman in Portland, Oregon, in the US who had spotted Matea’s shoes on Instagram.

Matea’s workspace at The Mill. Photo by Christopher Arblaster.

Since then Matea’s brand has transitioned through a few name changes and different style directions, from minimalistic and basic block coloured sandals to more futuristic and colourful designs.

Her label underwent a rebrand recently to become Matea Gluscevic Handmade, – in response to Matea’s desire to adopt to a more genuine and sincere style suited to her own personal taste.

The shoes are made to order, taking about three weeks to craft from sustainably sourced materials including wild kangaroo leather, cork and recycled rubber.

The vegetable tanned kangaroo leather is considered more environmentally friendly than typical chrome tanned bovine leather and is sourced from South Australian kangaroo leather tannery Vacel Leather in Adelaide’s north.

“Veg tan leather is made using bark tannins, so it’s better for the environment … I would rather not have too much of a guilty conscience in terms of what I’m doing,” Matea says.

“Even the rubber I use is made from 20% recycled content.”

These custom fit house slippers feature green holographic vinyl, yellow kangaroo leather and a medium density orthopaedic insole.

Matea has been a resident at The Mill for three years, with the first two years of her tenure spent as a sculptor and installation artist.

She brought with her qualifications in shoemaking as well as a Bachelor of Visual Art specialising in sculpture and installation from the University of Adelaide. She even studied a year of dental technology to learn more practical skills with plastering and mould making.

Matea admits that life as an artist can be a tough gig compared to a regular nine-to-five job, and so she works on weekends as a bartender and is also an event manager for a dance party held at an Adelaide nightspot roughly once a month.

Matea’s shoes are made to order and take about three weeks to create. Photo by Michael Papez.

“In terms of being a maker I prefer it here in Adelaide, the environment is better and it feels like a more supportive scene,” she says.

While the life of a craftsperson is usually seen as one spent tucked away in a one-person studio, Matea’s everyday surroundings are quite the opposite.

Although she occupies her own dedicated workspace at The Mill, she’s surrounded by a number of like-minded creators, artists, makers, writers and designers – some emerging, others established.

There’s JamFactory trained jeweller Tanis Blines who shares a studio with her husband John Blines, an artist whose works are entrenched in medical and behavioural science.

Other associate artists include Lisa Penny of Hey Reflect’o, furniture designer Robyn Wood, ceramicist Kate O’Callaghan and tattoo studio XO L’Avant.

Furniture by Peter Fong.

Illustrator and furniture designer Peter Fong has been at The Mill since its establishment in 2013.

Graduating with a visual communications degree at the UniSA, Peter went on to become a freelance illustrator using traditional tools of nibs and ink.

Peter’s portfolio includes wine labels and magazine illustrations and says Adelaide’s close-knit community means he’s rarely had to promote his brand to find work.

He recently pushed the pen to the side to pursue his love for woodwork and furniture design and is preparing to launch his first collection of custom furniture including tables and stools in the near future.

“I mainly use hand tools and try not to use many screws or nails, it’s all joinery,” Peter says.

“I just love building things that last. It makes me happy seeing something down the road and saying ‘yep, it’s still there’.”

A sideboard by Peter Fong.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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Casting carp as a prized fish cuisine

A Murray Mallee fishing and processing business is keen to transform the humble carp’s image from pest to prized eating fish after already successfully casting another runt of the seafood world as a culinary darling.

Tracy Hill, the joint owner of Coorong Wild Seafood with husband Glen, is renowned for her work around the Coorong yelloweye mullet and now believes it’s time to explore carp’s “great eating potential”.

She’s been busy turning the pest fish clogging the nation’s mighty Murray River into fish cakes, sausages and mince with positive feedback at their unique fish cellar door.

Even chefs are being won over, with The Olfactory Inn at Strathalbyn currently serving a char grilled carp belly with a crispy and zesty carp spring roll in its dining room.

“We believe it’s the next big thing, and we’ve formed a corporation with some other fishermen in New South Wales and Victoria calling it a solution for carp across the whole basin,” Tracy says from their Meningie business.

“Now we need to tackle the problem with people’s perception that a pest fish equates to bad taste.

“We’ve discovered carp is really nice to eat, it’s the most eaten farmed fish in the world.”

Tracy and Glen Hill are turning an infamous pest fish into a delicacy.

It’s yet another brave and environmentally friendly plan for the inspiring couple, this year named as one of three finalists in the sustainability category of the South Australian Food Industry Awards, announced on November 23.

Coorong Wild Seafood is also in the running for the Primary Produce Award.

Their business is well recognised for its low-impact approach to fishing for mullet, mulloway and carp in their beautiful coastal wilderness.

Tracy says it’s an honour to be up against two other great local businesses in the sustainability category also helping to contribute to the state’s food industry that generated $17.6 billion in revenue for SA in 2016/2017.

The other two finalists, Ashton Valley Fresh juices and Newman’s Horseradish are examples of food businesses playing a part in SA’s craft food industry.

Ashton Valley Fresh is a juice brand run by Ceravolo Orchards in the Adelaide Hills and is spearheading innovations to reduce its food waste to zero. The juice company is also up for the innovation in food and business excellence titles.

Newman’s Horseradish at Langhorne Creek is in the running for three accolades, the sustainability, business excellence and consumer awards. Brian and Anne Meakins grow their horseradish on the banks of the Bremer River, building their own processing plant in 1992 and now filling up to 4000 jars a week to supply 95% of the SA market.

Coorong Wild Seafood’s story also stretches back to 1990s when Glen bought his first fishing licence and soon realised he was better off processing the catch himself, setting up a facility two years later.

The business sells direct to restaurants, butcher shops and supermarkets while netting a host of awards.

Its world-first environmental management plan received national and international recognition in 1998, with its operations happening partly in the Coorong National Park – a RAMSAR listed wetland of international significance teeming with wildlife.

Then, a few years ago, the humble mullet that is the mainstay of the business turned food royalty.

The charred carp belly, carp spring roll, black sesame and soy, and tempura spring onion dish at The Olfactory Inn.

Coorong Wild Seafood won top prize in the prestigious delicious Produce Award with the judging panel including renowned chefs Matt Moran and Shannon Bennett along with SA kitchen star performer Maggie Beer.

Tracy’s name was also added to the Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community roll of honour in October last year, and she’s just been voted onto the local Coorong council.

She’s particularly vocal about encouraging Australians to “read the labels” and ensure they are eating fish caught sustainably.

The company is keen to spread its wild catch message through running classes at the local school and launching tours and a fish cellar door in 2016.

It also shares its story at a weekly stall run by Trevor Bowden at the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market at Wayville.

This week, Tracy is busy preparing for a coach filled with 48 tourists that Glen will first meet to share stories of fishing and managing the Coorong environment.

When tourists arrives at their Meningie business, they see a filleting demonstration before sampling tasty mullet, carp and mulloway morsels prepared by Tracy and served on their family home’s verandah.

Plans are underway to launch more bespoke tours, kicking off with a Tasting Australia event in SA next April.

“We’re taking people out to the Coorong and we’re going to set a net so they’ll be able to pull their own fish out, then fillet themselves so they can have a sashimi style tasting,” Tracy says.

“Then we’ll cook some up too and then head back to our place with a lunch with local wine.

“I’m just astounded at the opportunities that appear when you are proactive and you put yourself out there and give things a go, it’s amazing what can happen.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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Got a good story? Nominate a story from your region.
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Adelaide Hills apple dynasty growing fresh success

Working with family can have its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but Adelaide Hills food technologist Joyce Ceravolo wouldn’t have it any other way.

The 29-year-old is a fourth-generation family member of Ashton-based fruit growers Ceravolo Orchards, producers of apples, pears, cherries and strawberries.

Studying law and chemical engineering at university, Joyce had ambitions to enter the cosmetics industry and even worked in dairy processing before the call of the family business was something she couldn’t ignore.

She now works alongside her brother Joseph, and together the siblings have taken the reigns of Ceravolo Orchards’ juicing business Ashton Valley Fresh.

The wholesale fresh cider and drinking juice business complements the family’s core operation, Ceravolo Orchards, which has seven growing sites across the Adelaide Hills and a strawberry farm at Myponga, all up employing about 150 people seasonally.

The Ceravolos have been involved in fruit growing and market gardening in the Hills for decades, with Joyce’s great-grandparents migrating from Italy to Australia in the 1950s.

The Ceravolo family of Ashton Valley Fresh and Ceravolo Orchards, from left, siblings Joseph and Joyce and their parents Sandra and Tony. Photo by James Knowler.

Her grandfather can still be spotted on a tractor chugging away in the orchards, while her father Tony and her other brother Ralph rise in the wee hours of the morning to truck wholesale fruit to the South Australian Produce Market in Pooraka.

Together, the Ceravolos run a multi-layered operation, with each generation of the family bringing a different work ethic and fresh ideas to ensure they stay in the game.

“We are all different,” Joyce says. “My grandparents’ generation is the careful, hard-working generation and my dad’s generation learnt to work smart but still thought everyone should work harder. My two brothers and myself very much employ the school of thought that if something can be made computerised or made easier, let’s do that.”

Ashton Valley Fresh was born in 2008 from a desire to expand the business’s portfolio and give local growers better returns on less than perfect fruit.

In 2013 Joyce and Joseph stepped in to run the juicing business with Joyce taking on the role of quality assurance manager, and Joseph becoming production manager.

“Joseph had never worked in food processing before, and I had come from dairy processing, so we both had a very steep learning curve together and it was incredibly challenging for the first two years,” Joyce says.

“But now we work together fantastically and I can’t imagine working with anybody else. We have an amazing synergy, we’re both forward thinkers, we like a fast-paced environment and we like innovation. It’s been really fun.”

Ashton Valley Fresh’s Hills Harvest juices.

The core part of Ashton Valley Fresh is juicing apples for the cider industry, with Hills Cider Company one of its major partners.

Joyce says the bulk juice side of the business continues to grow between 15–30% year on year, depending on the quality of the season.

Ashton Valley Fresh also has its own line of still and sparkling juices, free from added sugars and sold in supermarkets, greengrocers and other specialty retailers.

But it’s not just fruit and juice that keeps the Ceravolos busy.

On December 8 they’ll celebrate the opening of Lot 100, a cellar door, restaurant and function space in Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.

The combined production facility and visitor experience is a collaboration between Ashton Valley Fresh and three fellow local businesses, Hills Cider Company, Adelaide Hills Distillery and Mismatch Brewing Company.

“The benefit of joining with those companies is that we’re going to have a real paddock-to-plate experience there,” Joyce says.

“People are going to be able to see apples on the trees, the distillery processing the waste product from those apples, and see Mismatch brewing beer from our strawberry juice. Essentially it will give people that immersive experience so they can understand why their food costs what it does, why they should pay a premium price and why SA is an amazing place to do those things.”

This year is momentous for another important reason, Joyce is expecting her first child in December, and the Ceravolos are also in the running for a number of SA Food Industry Awards, announced on November 23.

Joyce is nominated for the Next Generation Award and her father Tony is up for the Leader Award. Ashton Valley Fresh is also in the running for the Business Excellence Award, Innovation in Food Award and the Sustainability Award.

Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer says Joyce is a great example of an emerging leader who has strong support from her family.

“Joyce has taken on leadership positions with the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA and has recently joined the Food SA board so not only is she experiencing leadership in the family business, she is doing so industry wide,” she says.

The Ceravolo family in their Ashton orchard. Photo by Tricia Watkinson.

Catherine says strong leadership is critical for business and the state’s economy.

“The SA food and beverage industry is largely made up of privately, often family owned businesses so it is critical to have strong leadership from within these businesses to in turn support business and the state’s economy to grow,” she says.

Regardless of the outcome of the awards night, Joyce is confident about her place in the state’s food industry, and the prosperity of the sector as a whole.

“This can be an unpopular opinion, but I think the food industry is without a doubt the sexiest industry in SA,” she says.

“Food is one of the most fast-paced, forward thinking industries … a lot of people talk about defence and how innovative that is, but food is 10 times more innovative from where I sit.

“There are so many jobs for a wide range of people. There is room for those who like science, technology, hands-on production roles, and we need people who can work with computers and design programs to make our businesses more efficient.

“We want to make sure we keep attracting creative and committed young people. If you lack that commitment and passion, this isn’t the industry for you because you’re feeding people, you’re giving people what they put into their bodies, which is a huge responsibility.

“I’m very passionate about this subject in case you can’t tell!”

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