Arriving for my chocolate tour.
At the wonderful Central Market.
At Penfolds Magill Estate.
December 19, 2006
It was only decided while I was in Cairns that I was going to come to this city. I would be able to easily get to Melbourne from here via the Great
Ocean Road. I didn’t want to waste time so I booked a flight.
I was starting to regret this a bit before leaving the east coast. I had to rush my time going down the coast in order to make it to Brisbane for my
flight. But what was done was done. I had the ticket and I was going to use it.
It wasn’t just the Great Ocean Road that brought me out here. That would only justify the real reason why I was coming. What was the reason? In
Just outside of Adelaide is the famous Barossa Valley. Also outside of Adelaide is the lesser-known McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.
It was great that I had so many things planned in my mind that I was going to be doing out here. There was one little glitch: I hadn’t actually
booked anything yet nor had I even checked availability. I thought this wouldn’t be a problem. I was wrong.
When I got into Adelaide I knew enough to know that I had to book my different outings. Pronto.
I talked a woman into staying after-hours to help me out (after I assured her that I was definitely going to be booking the trips). She was so sweet
and didn’t act like I was any inconvenience to her…though I knew I was.
This was also the point where all of my future plans for the rest of my time in Australia would get turned upside down. This was in large part
because there were no trips available for the Great Ocean Road for when I needed it. Maybe I should have thought about reserving a spot
sooner? Oops. I am a firm believer in that things will always work themselves out. Once again, this theory got proven correct.
Even though I wouldn’t be doing my Great Ocean Road trip during the dates that I intended, I at least secured a spot on a trip. I would be leaving
on Saturday and arriving into Melbourne on Tuesday. December 26th. This meant that I would be on the road on Christmas Day. This was fine
with me. Well, it’s not like I really had much of a choice about it, right? But I was now thinking that maybe it would be nice to not have Christmas
totally shoved down my throat while not having any friends or family to spend the day with. Not only that…how fun would Melbourne have been
anyway considering almost everything would be closed?
These dates for my trip meant that I had three full days in Adelaide. I decided to occupy Day #1 in Adelaide and Day #2 and #3 on wine tasting
outings. Ahhh…plans were being made. It felt good.
December 20, 2006
When a person arrives in Adelaide, they quickly become aware that this city/area revolves around a major theme: food. Could this be more up
The most popular thing I had read about was the Central Market. Sadly, it was a Wednesday this morning so not everything was opened since it
wasn’t a ‘market day’. I at least got a general idea of what it was like. I knew I would be coming back on a day that it would be in full-swing.
There was only one thing I planned prior to arriving in Adelaide. I read about it in a Lonely Planet when I was at a bookstore in Sydney and knew
that I had to do it.
A chocolate factory tour!
When I was in Sydney I discovered an amazing chocolate shop called Haigh’s. When I was looking at a Lonely Planet on Adelaide information it
mentioned that the home-base of this wonderful company was in this city. It also suggested booking tours well in advance. So I did this (you
know priorities are skewed when you think to make a booking for a chocolate tour yet you don’t bother making inquiries about trips that will get
you in your desired Christmas location). When I walked into the shop, I can not even describe the smell. If ever there was a smell I would want to
bottle, this would be it. It was so…well…insanely chocolatey. But a high-quality chocolate smell. Does this even make any sense? Anyway, we
watched the people working in the factory and saw proof that every piece is, in fact, made by hand. Everything. You almost hope the company
doesn’t get too big because gone will be the days where they are placing the little holly leaf individually on each Christmas truffle and wrapping
each Easter egg with foil by hand. There were several kiddies on my tour. The best was when the tour guide (who was quite a kick) asked the kids
why they were on the tour. A boy (who was probably around 11 years old) said ‘for free chocolate’. At this point, his younger sister hit him for
saying that. Too cute and too funny. And it turned out that the boy’s answer was quite correct as the tour guide made us all fess up to that being
the real reason why we all were there.
Now I’ve spent some time volunteering with animals along the way…but I was coming to realize that this would be a place that I would loooooove
to volunteer at. Employees get to partake in the sampling of the goods as long as they aren’t working on the line. Very dangerous. Very
I had to drop off my chocolate purchases back at my hostel. But there was something a bit peculiar about the scene when I got to the hostel.
Maybe it was all of the police cars and news reporters blocking off the area? I asked one of the reporters what was going on. He kind of chuckled
(almost embarrassed to be telling me the reason why he and so many others had their butts parked outside) and told me that a ‘madam’ and her
husband were getting evicted from the building next door to the hostel. Yup, I am living next-door to a brothel for four nights. Well, it gets a bit
better. The husband is trying to prevent the cops from coming in. He had just thrown a fire extinguisher out of the window to try to get them to
go away. Ahhh…so that explained the huge broken window that I was looking at. While it would have been fun to see what these people looked
like (and, for that matter, what else they might throw out of the windows), I still had things I wanted to do in Adelaide and standing around and
waiting would have caused a snag in my plans.
I headed to the main bus office and received the information I was looking for. I was going to hop on Bus #123 to the Penfolds Magill Estate. I
can’t even say how wonderful it felt to be doing something independently. Sans tour. This was a first for me in Australia. The winery was only
fifteen minutes outside of the center of the city. I was the only person in the tasting room. I was given the opportunity to taste about eight
different wines. The one that stood out to me as being really good was the Reserve Pinot. I was able to talk to the guy about Adelaide. According
to him, Adelaide is the food and wine capital of Australia. I’m still not sure if this is just a matter of opinion or if it is an actual fact. He would also
tell me that there are more restaurants per capita here than anywhere else in the world. Once again, a strong statement. But I am not sure of its
validity. I will have to Google that…
I made my way back to the center of Adelaide complete with a buzz. Some things never change, huh?
A little bit later in the day, I took the tram down to the suburb beach town of Glenelg. There is a street that runs perpendicular to the beach that
is the home to many shops and restaurants/cafes. I spent a good few hours out near the beach and stayed until the sun had set.
All in all, I have to say that I am really glad I ended up coming out to Adelaide.
December 21, 2006
Today was dedicated to my wine tasting trip in the Barossa Valley.
Once it was over, I ended up going to dinner with a couple of guys who were on the trip. One was from New York, the other was from Toronto.
They both live in the Bay Area and are getting their MBAs from Stanford. Both of their names were Daniel.
One of the Daniels came complete with a patch on his backpack in the form of a red and white Canadian flag. He was also carrying around a
camera bag that had an identical patch. Now that we were all friends, I could ask him my question. Here’s how the conversation went…
Jen: So… Do you have the Canada patches to say ‘I’m not American’ or to show your Canadian pride?
Daniel: The first one.
J: That’s crap.
D: Well, why do you think so many Americans wear Canadian patches?
J: I know Americans talk about wearing them but I don’t think they actually do. (Pause) Well, why don’t you move back to Canada then? You do
realize that you’re being a hypocrite, right?
D: Yeah, I know.
J: Okay. Just wanted to make sure.
The American Daniel was having a good time with this conversation. I then chose to fess up to Canadian Daniel about something. I told him that
any time I was in a bitchy mood during my travels and people were haggling with me and they would ask where I was from, I would always say
‘Canada’ since there was no way of them knowing the difference. Before it clicked, he thought I was paying his country some sort of compliment.
It wasn’t until I explained that I only claimed to be Canadian when I knew my behavior was less than satisfactory and that I didn’t want it to
reflect poorly on Americans...
Ahhh…my revenge to all of those Canadian patch-wearing people!
December 22, 2006
Before my wine tasting trip today, I headed down to the Central Market. Now this was what it is all about!
It was truly a foodie’s heaven. More produce stalls than I could count. More bakeries than I could count. At least a couple handfuls of gourmet
cheese vendors. Stands with nuts. Stands with sweets. Stands with coffee products. Stands with mushrooms. Florists. Butchers. A yogurt stand
that looked like a gelato shop except for they were all yogurts of the non-frozen variety – each with a different topping. This would be my
breakfast. I ordered half passionfruit/half apples and cinnamon. Unlike any other yogurt I had ever tasted. Absolutely outstanding. I already
know that I am going back to the market tomorrow to get some of this stuff before my Great Ocean Road trip leaves.
Upon getting back from my wine tasting trip, I headed back out to the market. I bought some produce (peacharines, mangos, cherries) for the
next few days and some sushi for dinner. Too many things looked so tempting. Tomorrow morning will be the test. When I go back for my
yogurt breakfast, will I fall victim to the gingerbread cookies, mince fruit tartlets and lentil pies??? I will have to wait to find out…
December 23, 2006
This morning just before I bid adieu to this city, I went to the market and stopped at The Yogurt Shop. I ended up leaving with yogurt in the
flavors of cappuccino and caramel crunch. I am hoping and praying that they have this stuff in Melbourne! My question is why the heck do they
not have these types of places back at home???