Readers are perhaps a little weary of my endless praise of the Vintage Festival in the Barossa Valley. Just to show you that it’s not all flashy lunches and endless drinking (though that does make up a considerable part of my itinerary), today I’m going to tell you about two very different markets in the Barossa that are only on once every two years, when the Festival is on.
Yalumba Harvest Market
This market’s all about the best of the Barossa producers coming together to sell their meals and products in the beautifully manicured grounds of Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family owned winery. The idea is to come early, stay late. We’re always there not long after the gates open to grab a possie for the day. Most years we sit on the lawn opposite the cellar door, under one of the big trees but this year, the weather was looking decidedly inclement so we grabbed some tables and chairs nears the coffee cart and there we stayed. We should have known better as it turned into another glorious Barossa autumn day and the locals arrived at a leisurely pace, shuffling up the drive and onto the common.
It’s important to plan your day. Get in early, grab and spot and do a quick tour of the stalls. It’s never too early to have your first knackwurst or buy some cheese for later on. After you return to your friends, it’s time to decide on what you’ll be drinking from the Yalumba selection (no BYO). Glass or bottle? White or Red? Once you’re set with some food and wine, you can relax and listen to the easy stylings of the band and singers who entertain all day.
There’s an opportunity to visit the cellar door, take a tour of the cooperage in an enormous barn, still on site and, if you’ve been quick enough and have the pennies, take a cooking class and lunch with a celeb – this year, the delightful Poh Ling Yeow. The main focus of market day is relaxation, family and friends. There’s grass for the kids to run around on, plenty of space to spread out, shuttle buses to the Angaston Town Day for those who want to fit it all in and good coffee available for designated drivers. Oh, and did I mention the food? Must be time to buy some goat curry and perhaps a glass of white.
What: Yalumba Harvest Market
When: Tuesday & Wednesday of the Barossa Vintage Festival
Where: 40 Eden Valley Rd, Angaston SA 5353 – plenty of free parking on site
Tips: Bring a blanket to sit on or, if it’s nippy when you arrive, to wrap around yourself. Bring a couple of spare plates and a knife to split meals and goodies so you get more variety for your $.
The what? The Ziegenmarkt (rolls pleasingly off the tongue doesn’t it?) is the Goat Market, held in the township of Tanunda as a pre-cursor to the Town Day. The Ziegenmarkt is held in Goat Square (ziegen means goat in German), a short wander from the main street. There’s scant information about the history of the Ziegenmarkt but it’s safe to assume that at some time in the recent past, it was the location for animal trading and auctions in this firmly agricultural region.
This market is all about community and the region’s Germanic heritage. Community groups and schools run stalls selling home made products and local specialties as part of their fundraising efforts. People dress up in ‘ye olde fashioned’ outfits of a bygone era and there’s quite a bit of ancient farm equipment scattered about with old timers giving demos. Apart from your usual breakfast kransky (those Germans love their sausage), there are two big drawcards for me. The first is the absolutely delicious and addictive Rote Grütze. Rote Grütze is a sago based dessert using fresh juice squeezed out of all of those lovely, lovely Barossa Shiraz grapes. The sago is simmered with cinnamon and sugar, chilled and finished with a pour of fresh cream, it is a local specialty that you can only get at market stalls or need to make yourself. This year, I bought Rote Grütze from a very proud stall holder who had won some ribbons at the Tanunda Show a few weeks previous. Yes, Rote Grütze has its own category. Even more interesting were the two 60+ year old women who were sledging her and giving her a hard time about being a newcomer to the Valley. ‘So you’ve finally learned how to cook the traditional foods properly then’, said one. ‘I won ribbons for Rote Grütze and Yeast Cake’, said the stall holder. ‘Did you? There mustn’t have been a strong field this year’, said the other. I bought my Rote Grütze and left them to it. Sadly, there’s no photo of this biennial treat as I ate it too quickly but you can make it using Barossa legend, Maggie Beer’s recipe in ‘Maggie’s Table’.
When: Always on the morning of Tanunda Town Day during the Barossa Vintage Festival
Where: Goat Square (off John St), Tanunda SA 5352 – plenty of parking in surrounding streets
Tips: Vino Cotto from Domain Day Winery, bring small change to bid at the auction.
So there you have it, just two of the many markets that are part of the Barossa Vintage Festival. Both distinct and both a regular fixture on my calendar.