Highlights of our first Barossa Christmas

Santa in a tree, Tanunda December 2014
Santa in a tree, Tanunda December 2014

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.

Christmas baking with kids
Christmas baking with kids
My first attempt at making mince pies (apart from the Careme Pastry) - recipe from Gourmet Traveller December 2014 - Delicious!
My first attempt at making mince pies (apart from the Careme Pastry) – recipe from Gourmet Traveller December 2014 – Delicious!

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.

Baked french cheese and French wine from a friend of ours making wine in Burgundy - a festive treat
Baked french cheese and French wine from a friend of ours making wine in Burgundy – a festive treat

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).

Fabulous ham from Barossa Heritage Pork at the Barossa Farmer's Market
Fabulous ham from Barossa Heritage Pork at the Barossa Farmer’s Market

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”.

Santa has been!
Santa has been!

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!

My sister and I - dresses from Milk & Thistle
My sister and I – dresses from Milk & Thistle
Simon carving the turkey
Simon carving the turkey
Simon pouring Peter Lehmann Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz
Simon pouring Peter Lehmann Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz
Raspberry, nougat and white chocolate ice-cream pudding - recipe from Women's Weekly December 2014
Raspberry, nougat and white chocolate ice-cream pudding – recipe from Women’s Weekly December 2014
Christmas  lunch table ready to go - with place cards made by the boys
Christmas lunch table ready to go – with place cards made by the boys

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

    Beautiful Gnadenfrei Church on the way to Seppeltsfield
    Beautiful Gnadenfrei Church on the way to Seppeltsfield
  • 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
    Jacob's Creek Visitor's Centre
    Jacob’s Creek Visitor’s Centre

    Barossa Pearl - Jacob's Creek re-release a 60s classic!
    Barossa Pearl – Jacob’s Creek re-release a 60s classic!
  • 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

    View from the deck at Artisans - great spot for a drink while the kids play on the lawn. Fabulous wines and a great team
    View from the deck at Artisans – great spot for a drink while the kids play on the lawn. Fabulous wines and a great team
  • 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

    Family at Mengler's Hill
    Family at Mengler’s Hill
  • Visiting Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop and not only seeing lots turtles but the most amazing display by one of the peacocks

    We watched for ages as this peacock (name King Fu peacock by the kids) put on a show for us at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop
    We watched for ages as this peacock (named Kung Fu peacock by the kids) put on a show for us at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop
  • 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?

Published by

angepickett

I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s