Fleurieu Peninsula

Candyland returns to McLaren Vale for enchanting affair in secret garden

A magical dessert degustation called Candyland | The Secret Garden is being held at McLaren Vale’s Tipsy Hill Estate this March.

In the picturesque McLaren Vale’s Tipsy Hill Estate, something magical is happening this March, and it goes by the name of Candyland | The Secret Garden.

This unique dessert degustation event is set to enchant guests with a treasure chest of house-made sweets, an array of flavours crafted from estate-grown produce, and a setting that is just as awe-inspiring as the menu itself.

Head Chef Connor Bishop is the creative mastermind behind Candyland.

“Following the first event we did, we always knew we would call this series Candyland. A dessert degustation is such a unique experience and something that’s rarely seen on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The first one was Willy Wonka-inspired, and we fully booked out both seatings and even added on a third to cater to the demand,” Conner tells Glam Adelaide.

The popularity of the inaugural Candyland event paved the way for future iterations, each with its distinct theme to keep things fresh and exciting.

“Ever since I’ve been in the industry, I’ve been fixated on desserts. The Candyland event, or dessert degustation in general, has always been an idea in the back of my mind but I hadn’t had the opportunity to bring it to fruition. When I came to Bec Hardy Wines, it was the perfect opportunity to launch something special like Candyland,” Head Chef Connor Bishop says.

This time around, Candyland is taking things to new heights by hosting the event at Tipsy Hill Estate, a hidden gem in McLaren Vale known for its stunning 360-degree views of vineyards and gardens.

“It’s the perfect spot for special events. If the weather is on our side, you’ll be set up under a beautiful arbour with a long table underneath. Upon arrival, you’ll be presented with a treasure chest containing a treasure map that showcases the menu. There will be titles only, so that it’s a secret of what’s in each course, unlocking the secrets of the garden,” Connor says.

The Candyland event promises a seven-course dessert degustation where each dish takes centre stage with produce grown on the estate.

“For example, we have mulberries from Lot 94, and there’s a beautiful rose bush at Tipsy Hill Estate, which we’ve based the dish ‘A Kiss from a Rose’ on. This reflects our commitment to presenting unique and seasonal offerings,” Connor says.

The Candyland menu promises to be a journey through the seasons, featuring courses such as “Berry Nice,” “A Bee’s Bounty,” “The Enchanting Citrus,” and more. Each dish is inspired by the changing seasons, showcasing spring’s freshness, summer’s vibrancy, autumn’s richness, and winter’s warmth.

Connor Bishop’s culinary prowess has not gone unnoticed, The Kitchen at Bec Hardy recently received Two Hats and 14 points in the 2024 Good Food Guide Chef Hat Awards, making them one of the top 15 venues in South Australia and one of only 6 venues to be recognised in McLaren Vale, ranked joint 3rd.

The Tipsy Hill Estate itself is a botanical marvel, offering visitors a captivating experience amidst a 2.5-acre garden, expertly designed and planted two decades ago. Surrounded by vineyards on all sides, the garden boasts imaginative plantings and the bold use of colour, providing a stunning backdrop for the Candyland event.

If you can’t get to the Candyland event but want to see the magic of The Tipsy Hill Estate for yourself, it also hosts other fabulous experiences such its private dining and premium picnics which are a dream for special occasions.

Candyland | The Secret Garden
Where: 309 Blewitt Springs Rd, Blewitt Springs SA 5171
When: Saturday 2nd March 2024, 12pm-1:30pm OR 2:30-4pm
Price: $80pp
Book: Click here

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