As I sort and pack away the Christmas decorations for another year, it’s a good time to reflect on our first Barossa Christmas, which also marked the first Christmas in many years that we weren’t overseas, packing to go overseas, having a baby or working. This meant I had loads of time to really enjoy the lead up rather than getting super stressed. That said, I still scaled back my somewhat ambitious plans. But Christmas was everything it was meant to be – a lovely time to enjoy the company of family and friends.
Time with family and friends was definitely the highlight of our Christmas. We got to catch up with a good friend we hadn’t seen in over 3 years who lives in Hong Kong. He’s one of my oldest friends and probably the first person I ever met from the Barossa. He might have moved away 20 years ago, but still visits alot so we’re looking forward to catching up more often.
We also had a fabulous visit from my best friend and bridesmaid who now lives in the UK with her husband and 2 children. It was fabulous to see the kids all playing together like they had never been apart. Not surprising, a trip to the UK is now high on the boys’ wish lists – also influenced by the realisation that Paddington Station was a REAL train station! (If you haven’t seen it, the new Paddington movie is fabulous).
It was great having Mum here for her second visit and having my sister, brother-in-law and their girls come to the Barossa for the first time. The house was crazy, crowded, messy and so full of laughter! We ate well, drank lots of great wine, delighted in the kids having a “sleepover” every night (complete with a bedtime story from my brother-in-law) and showing them around the Barossa.
Christmas Eve was definitely a highlight. Once the kids were finally asleep, the five grown ups were busy little elves. I sewed a Santa sack to replace my niece’s which was missing, there was cooking, wrapping and finally the all important delivery of presents. We watched the carols from Melbourne, laughed, drank and stayed up way to late (especially knowing little people would wake early).
Christmas Day was fabulous. The early wake-up call was worth it watching the excitement on the faces of 4 children aged 1.5 to 6 as they discovered what was inside their Santa sacks – and opened other presents. My favourite comment had to be from our 4 year old, who exclaimed so sincerely on seeing his Santa sack – “Santa has been so kind”.
Christmas lunch was fabulous and relaxed. We’d enjoyed our brilliant ham from Michael at Barossa Heritage Pork on Christmas Eve, so we had a great breakfast. Mid-morning, the first of the bubbles were opened to enjoy with scallops wrapped in Schultz bacon – which was one of my Dad’s only cooking specialties. Lunch was a 7kg turkey, which I cooked. Thanks to a Maggie Beer recipe and the advice of using 2 oven bags, my first turkey cooking experience was stress free and delicious. It went very nicely with bacon wrapped stuffing rolls and duck fat potatoes from Donna Hay, some more veg and of course a sparkling shiraz from Peter Lehmann. Our raspberry, white chocolate and nougat “pudding” was amazing (and easy) and our simplified version of a Black Forrest Cake (a choc brownie with fresh cherries covered in cream and grated chocolate) as requested by the 6 year old birthday boy was a big hit!
The rest of the holiday was a lovely mix of showing the family around the Barossa, which included the following highlights:
- Showing my sister and brother-in-law around the Twilight Farmer’s Market – such a lovely Christmas vibe
- Lunch at St Hallett – the duck platter is a must when visiting and the magnum of Riesling we took home for dinner that night was pretty good too!
- A visit to Seppeltsfield for a tasting (love that the kids get raspberry cordial while the grown-ups taste) and a Barossa Roasters coffee on the lawn
- Tennis on the lawns at Jacob’s Creek – visited so we could buy a bottle of Barossa Pearl to remind Mum of the 60s – although turns out she was only allowed to drink the Lindemans version as that’s where her uncle worked
- Another visit to Artisans of the Barossa where we enjoyed a bottle of Riesling (Sons of Eden Freya – new favourite) while the kids played cricket and totem tennis on the lawn. This could seriously be my favourite new summer hang-out
- My first visit to Mengler’s Hill on a blue sky day. That view will always remind me of our early days here in the winter and it is even more stunning on a gorgeous day
- Visiting Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop and not only seeing lots turtles but the most amazing display by one of the peacocks
- Of course, there was loads of time just relaxing and enjoying each others company, reading, building Lego, playing on the triple water slide and scooting in the backyard. All in all a perfect Barossa Christmas.
What were your Christmas highlights?