Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Eating local in Adelaide

OK, so I’m homesick and missing my girlfriends and my cats, but there are upsides to life in sunny (very, today, stupidly hot) Adelaide. One of them is the food – the quality, the range, and the smug knowledge that I can indulge in lots of things which in Manchester would be guilt-laden exotica. I can slurp down avocados knowing that here they count as ‘local produce’ and don’t have to be checked for Israeli or air-freight labels. The lemon in my G&T comes about 20 feet from the end of the garden. My carton of soy milk proudly proclaims that it’s made from organic Australian soya – no bulldozed Brazilian rainforest or genetically manipulated US beans here. Who needs to buy wine imported from Chile or South Africa when we’re within a day-trip distance from the joys of the Barossa and Clare Valleys or McLaren Vale? (and when there’s a centre in town devoted to telling you all about it…) And a truly fabulous, vibrant market with everything from gourmet Tasmanian cheeses to Vietnamese snacks is about a mile and a half away in the city centre.

The climate of the nearby Adelaide Hills is also very favourable to growing luscious fruits. That meant that, just before Christmas, husband, mother-in-law and I spent a delightful afternoon at Forest Range PYO Cherry farm, a newly-minted Adelaide ritual which involves a nausea-inducing drive into the Hills just outside the city to load up on this most lush (and at home eyewateringly expensive) of fruit. By the time we’d staggered back to Unley we were laden with them; we bagged them up as Christmas gifts, we served them in bowls amongst the nibble on Christmas morning, and the seasonal Pavlova (the stand-in for heavy Christmas cakes here, and the subject of verbal warfare over whether it’s an Australian or New Zealand creation) was topped with about half a pound of fat cherries. Heavenly. And now we have the Crush local produce festival in the Adelaide Hills to look forward to at the end of the month…

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