We thought we were just going to eat our way through Australia when the amazing folks at Tourism Australia, Air New Zealand and Go Mighty, offered us an experience to die for. There were many questions that floated in our bewildered heads as to why were were invited to visit the food and wine regions of Australia. First of all, we didn’t know that there was Australia’s incredible local food culture and second, what did we do to deserve the invite? For what-ever reasons why we were some of the lucky ones, we certainly didn’t want to disappoint. So, we literally, ate and drank every 2-3 hours because we wouldn’t want our gracious hosts to be disappointed. We’re respectful that way. Ha! ha! and yum.
Visiting Australia was beyond just a food and wine experience, it was a lesson in humility, understanding more about how we are so truly connected as a world community and pursing what you truly love.
These lesson didn’t come from what was on the plate that was shared with us, nor did it lie in the glasses of wine that we drank. But rather, it was lessons from the people that made this food, who made it by hand and who made it with such devotion. And it wasn’t just about making food, but pursing each ingredients, each process and the philosophy of why food is so important to these farmers, wine-makers, craftsman, chefs and purveyors.
Is this exaggerating to say that our freaking minds were blown with inspirations? You decide. But what we can truly say is that our brains went……boom!
It was the stories of these local folks that made us realize how much we, in America and a world away, have so much in common. Listening to why they did what they did and why they loved their food craft so much was like listening to a family member speak. Regardless of where we grew up and how far apart we are, all our food inspirations and passions parallel along the same universe: we all love food for how it connects us and we will pursue it with utmost abandon.
We shared images and stories of our eating adventures on Go Mighty. We hope to share more stories later on our blog here because the list of wonderful food people is endless. So much to share, and never enough time to jot it all down.
In the meantime, we’ve made a video story about the Barossa Valley for you to get a glimpse of one of the food stories there, and head on over to Go Mighty for the rest of our Australian stories!
- You’ll love Otto and Elena Dal Zotto just as much as we did. The patriarchs of proseco wine in King Valley.
- Our pasta cooking class and 4 courses of pasta for lunch at Casa Carboni, Barossa Valley.
- Are you drinking Shir-azzz? Shir-ozzz? or Syrah? A mighty culinary wine journey, Barossa Valley.
- Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, Barossa Valley.
- Hahndorf Hills Winery and Chocolate/Wine Pairing. A match made in heaven.
- Pizza and Beer with Outlaw Ned Kelly, Beechworth.
- Provenance Restaurant with Chef Michael Ryan, Beechworth.
- It’s all smoke and gelato, the nitrogen kind in Fitzroy.
- Dinner on top of the world at Vue Du Monde, Melbourne.
- Surprise find and shopping: handmade ceramics by Anne Fleming in Dunkeld.
- Driving on the left side in Australia. Without dying.
- Finding Great Coffee and feeling at home in Adelaide.
- Seeing Australia as the cockie flies.
Throughout our stay, Tourism Australia connected us to what makes Australia so unique, the people. These local folks really are representative to the spirit, love and energy of what makes Australian food culture so amazing. One of the first special accommodations they set us up with was at Abbosford Country house in the Barossa Valley, South Austrlia.
This ricotta pancake recipe is inspired by our incredible morning breakfasts during our stay in the Barossa Valley at Abbotsford Country House. Julian and Jane Maul left their busy corporate lives to pursue their dream of running a small country house and accommodations. They cooked for us in their kitchen, made morning coffee for us and took care of us like we were members of their own family. Their hospitality was one example of how warm, welcoming and nurturing the Australian people are.
Here’s a video sharing the story of Abbotsford Country house and their love of the Barossa Valley, their home.
This video and Julian’s words are a reminder of pursing what you love and not being afraid to try, regardless of failure.
It’s this resonating theme that keeps our communities focused, inspired and driven. And how about you and your plans for 2014? Take some chances, why don’t ‘cha. Write down your goals and just give it a try. Just do it.
Biggest thanks to everyone in Australia who fed us with your food and shared bits of your life with us. We’re thankful for you.
diane and todd
Ricotta Pancakes (Hotcakes)
Yield: Serves about 4
Total Time: 20 min
Adapted from Nigella Lawson and inspired from our morning breakfasts with Jane and Julian of Abbotsford Country House in Barossa Valley, South Australia.
- 2/3 cup (100g) flour
- 2 tablespoons (30g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (250g) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (separated)
- zest from one large lemon
- butter or clean tasting oil for cooking pancakes
- jam of choice or fresh berries partially crushed
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together for 20 seconds by hand to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, vanilla extract, egg yolks, and lemon zest and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture. Beat the egg whites until they are a fine foam (this is quick work even by hand), and then fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto the skillet and cook each side for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Serve with jam or fresh berries.
If the ricotta is firmer, briefly stir it smooth before mixing with the other wet ingredients to help minimize clumps.
We'll often use two spatulas coming in from opposite directions for the first side's pancake flip in order to keep it from sliding around the pan and to make it easier to get one spatula fully under the pancake.