Food is a religion in South Australia. The region’s gastronomic delicacies are a big reason Kiwis are heading to the state in record numbers.

To showcase what sets South Australian cuisine apart, here are three foodie experiences you’re not likely to find anywhere else – from sourcing food in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens with top chef Paul Baker to the best cheese toastie in the world.

Foraging in the Botanic Gardens

Each morning Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens Restaurant head chef Paul Baker can be found searching the gardens for ingredients he’ll use in his dishes that day.

“It’s a luxury having access to fresh vegetables and herbs to use every day, but it also inspires my food and the dishes we create at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant,” he says.

While the menu changes regularly the Paroo kangaroo fillet, ox tail tortellino, red cabbage, smoked potato, hibiscus, and centella offers a delicious indication of what to expect.

He says the restaurants ever-changing seasonal menu is well-balanced, innovative and features ethically farmed and sustainable South Australian produce.

“We also place huge importance on minimising food wastage so the restaurant’s garden to plate philosophy works on multiple levels.”

Milking it

At Udder Delights in the Adelaide Hills it’s not so much the food, but cheese, that is a religion.

The Truffle Cheddar Toastie takes the humble toasted cheese sandwich to a mouth-watering new level. Between two “rustic” slices of bread the toastie has lashings of Udder Delights’ seasoned butter, matured cheddar, truffle parmesan, and truffle salt with mini balsamic onions on the side.

The toastie is an example of why it’s worth a trip to the cheese factory and cellar door alone.

But if you’re happy with your own home-made cheese toastie, then Udder Delights also have a wide-ranging menu, including a Ploughman’s board or its take on classic Swiss specialty, Cheese Fondue.

Udder Delights, which produce a wide range of artisan cow and goat milk cheese products from its factory in Lobethal, is always looking for ways to make better cheeses. With this in mind they have dug into the side of a hill on site to create an underground storage tunnel with the optimum temperature for developing and maturing its cheeses.

Maxwell’s mushroom cave

A magical tunnel of a different sort provides a Subterranean dining experience at Maxwell Wines in McLaren Vale.

Carved out 100 years ago, and reaching 50m underground, Maxwell’s Lime Cave was traditionally used to grow mushrooms. These days the winery use it as a special dining space – and have recently started using it again to grow shitake and portobello mushrooms which are used in dishes on its menu.

The cave is hidden away behind the winery, and it’s hardly visible. But walk through the creaky doors of the tool shed and you are transported into an intimate and fairy tale-like chamber

Maxwell provides an experimental yet delicious food offering across various dining areas along with a diverse range of experiences – from exploring the Lime Cave and the winery’s beehives to tasting mead and dining picnic-style in the maze field.

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