Masterchef favourite and culinary genius Laura Sharrad recently took a trip to Riverland to discover all things fine wine, food and local produce. While Laura’s skills are regularly splashed across Adelaide’s small bar scene at Nido and Fugazzi, the talented chef decided to branch out and explore the flavours of one of South Australia’s finest produce destinations.
“I had never been to the Riverland before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away by the amount of diverse produce, wines and offerings the Riverland had on offer,” Laura said.
“The producers are so passionate about what they do and you can taste the difference!”
“The Riverland honestly has it all, produce, passionate people, incredible accommodation, wines, beer, gin, camping spots, best local pubs and all things water sports.”
While the Riverland has always been known for its unmistakable place as Australia’s fruit bowl with magnificent stretches of Murray River scenery framed by green and orange citrus orchards – what’s becoming more well-known is the incredible value-added foods, sensational restaurant experiences, award-winning gin, five-star luxury accommodation and sought after rare varietal wines.
Laura’s top five is as follows:
Twenty Third Street Distillery, 23rd Street Renmark
The iconic distillery in the heart of Renmark got a nod from Laura in her top 5 destinations, particularly Twenty Third’s Blood Orange Gin. The citrus explosion is perfectly balanced by the juniper, cinnamon myrtle and other botanicals to awaken your senses. Recline on the lush green lawns as you enjoy this brilliant spirit with a dash of soda or on the rocks.
You can find Twenty Third Street Distillery on (you guessed it) Twenty Third Street, Renmark. The distillery is open from 10 am onwards, seven days a week.
Historic Overland Corner Hotel, 205 Coach Road Overland Corner
With enthusiastic new owners, the Historic Overland Corner Hotel is a hidden gem amongst the gum trees just waiting to be discovered by Riverland visitors and homebodies alike.
Laura’s favourite on the menu is the waygu beef schnitzel, a classic pub staple that can be washed down with many of the Overland brewed beers on tap.
Find the Historic Overland Corner Hotel at 205 Coach Roach, Overland Corner Wednesday through to Sunday from 11 am till late.
Cucina 837 at Salena Estate Wines, 837 Bookpurnong Road Bookpurnong
On the forefront of Salena Estate’s expansive vineyard property lies their stunning cellar door and contemporary restaurant – an idyllic place to stop for lunch as you cruise around the Riverland.
Laura’s favourite is the antipasto platter, starring a selection of artisan meats, cheese and Italian delicacies and brimming with fresh focaccia. The Cucina also serves an array of wood-fired pizzas, delectable pasta and crowd-favourites of calamari and scotch fillet.
Relax outside and enjoy a glass (or two) of the winery’s latest drops, dabble in a game of Finska and embark on a fine-dining experience in the contemporary restaurant.
You can find Salena Estate at 837 Bookpurnong Road from 9 am onwards on weekdays or 10 am Saturday and 11 am Sunday.
Illalangi, 12915 Sturt Highway Waikerie
This gourmet gem is home to an array of mouth-watering Riverland produce, brimming with pantry goods like caramelised balsamic vinegar, chutneys and dried fruit.
Laura’s favourite is Illalangi’s extra virgin olive oil produced from the olives grown in the hills surrounding the Murray River. The oil is perfect for wok and pan-frying your next dish as well as drizzling over salads and crusty bread thanks to its fresh and mild flavour notes.
You can find Illalangi at 12915 Sturt Highway, Waikerie, Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and from midday on Friday.
Arrosto Coffee, 152 18th Street Renmark
Nothing can beat a good cup of coffee, right? Arrosto Coffee in Renmark is your one-stop shop for all things coffee in the Riverland.
Laura’s favourite includes the Columbian Blend beans and Arrosto’s famous cold drip coffee – the perfect addition to your DIY ice coffees and at home espresso martini’s. Situated within an old firehouse, Arrosto’s is brimming with character, providing Riverland goers a unique spot to enjoy a cup of steaming coffee or refreshing chilled beverage.
You can find Arrosto Coffee on 18th Street, Renmark, with the multi-award-winning coffee cellar door open seven days a week from 7 am Monday to Saturday and 8 am on Sundays.
However, Laura couldn’t quite squeeze the best of the Riverland down into just five picks! Notable mentions go to the Riverland Wine Centre’s exceptional variety of wines, the Salena Estate Limoncello Spritz cocktail, and the Illalangi takeaway grazing platter filled with local Riverland produce.
Discover more about new ways to experience the Riverland here.