Outback Road Trip via the Fleurieu Peninsula.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore heading off into the outback, another bountiful district led us astray. It first announced its beauty with its flowering fields of canola, quickly followed by unfenced acres of orange groves and distant orchards of pink flowering stone fruit. The Riverland district of South Australia is blessed with good soil and irrigation water from the Murray. There are also more camping opportunities in this district as the bushland surrounding the Murray is a declared reserve, with large sandy banks and steep white cliffs.

Other distractions include historic towns, such as Strathalbyn, with well-preserved stone buildings dating from the 1850s, well-tended parks,  dramatic churches, antique shops and cafes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We obtained more supplies for our illusive outback trip : a large Kent pumpkin and a five kilo string of blood oranges, which juice so colourfully :’vampire’ juice. Roadside farmers’ stalls are numerous¬†and economical. ¬†

Heading down further into the Fleurieu Peninsula, agricultural plenty gave way to other forms of oral fixation in the name of good restaurants.

Highly recommended is the award-winning Victory Hotel overlooking Sellicks beach. The menu here is excellent and the seafood local and fresh. I ordered half a dozen Coffin Bay oysters, which came with red wine jelly, an excellent foil to the salty sea hit. They were so good, I immediately ordered another six. ($25.00 a dozen).

Fresh briny oysters at the Victory Hotel
Fresh briny oysters at the Victory Hotel, Sellicks Beach, Saouth Australia

These were followed by¬†Myponga Beach salt and pepper squid, (e $15/ m$25.50 ) as fresh as a daisy; I was in fishy heaven and would happily have remained at this hotel for a few days to¬†eat my way through the menu. If you are travelling in the district, don’t miss this place.

A tangle of locally caught squid, simply fried. It's all about the freshness here.
A tangle of locally caught squid, simply fried. It’s all about the freshness here.

Nearby in Port Elliott, the Flying Fish Cafe does a roaring trade.  Situated directly on the sandy beach, the views are worth the slight detour. The cafe is divided into two sections, the fish and chippery and the a` la carte restaurant. The fish is fresh and well prepared. It was a Tuesday lunch time and the place was jumping.

The Flying Fish Cafe, Port Elliot, South Australia
The Flying Fish Cafe, Port Elliot, South Australia
Grilled Red Snapper, roasted sweet potatos, cherry tomatoes, balsamic.
Pan fried red snapper, roasted sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, balsamic, around $30.00

We didn’t make it to the nearby Star of Greece Restaurant in Port Willunga, and it’s probably just as well since our slight detour into the Fleurieu was taking much longer than we envisaged.

Due to the temptations offered along the way, the outback was becoming a place of myth and legend.

 

 

Sunraysia Farmers’ Market, Mildura and Italianit√†

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You don’t have to look far to find Italianit√† in Mildura and the surrounding district, Sunraysia. Many of you may know of the famous restaurateur from Mildura,¬†Stefano de Piero, not only noted for his fine cuisine at the Grand Hotel some years ago, but also through his series, ‘A Gondola on the Murray’ and various cookbooks. Not so many know about the thousands of¬†¬†Italo -Australiani who contribute to the farming community around the district. ¬†Although first generation Italians now make up less that 2% of the population, second and third generation Italo- Australiani make up a significant proportion of the population and have contributed much to the town, its culture, agriculture and the arts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A quick tour around the Sunraysia Farmers’ Market, held every first and third Saturday of the month, will provide you with some irresistible provisions for touring the district. An important consideration, when buying fruit and vegetables, is to take into account any State border crossings. As Mildura sits in Victoria, close to South Australia and New South Wales, quarantine laws demand that one must forfeit most fruit and vegetables on entering another State.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is enforced by officials upon entering South Australia and through signage and the voluntary depositing of goods on entering¬†Victoria and New South Wales. The borders can be confusing upon entering/leaving the Sunraysia district which seems to have some extraordinary quarantine lines within Victoria itself. It’s all about protecting South Australia and the Sunraysia district from fruit-fly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some demographics from a past census will show that 353,000 Italian migrants arrived in Australia in the post war period, from 1948 through to 1970. Most of the Italian born are now aged over 60. They have kept alive many of the farming traditions learnt from pre-war times and this is particularly evident in preserving techniques and salame making.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wine industry in the Sunraysia district makes up 80% of all Victorian wine grape production. The highways linking Mildura with Swan Hill are lined with farms selling wine, olive oil, citrus fruits, avocados and vegetables. If you haven’t had a chance to visit the farmers’ market, there are plenty of roadside stalls with honesty boxes selling all kinds¬†of fresh produce, on both sides of the Murray river in each state.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA