Four Seasons Food & Beverage on Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island offers food as it was meant to taste. And it’s at its freshest and most authentic at source, where producers grow, forage, make and package – with an eye for quality and sustainability.
The island’s remote and untamed natural environment has always demanded a self-sufficient lifestyle. The early mixed farms of cattle, sheep and grain, plus kitchen garden, have diversified to a rich array of marron, free-range eggs, heritage free-range pork, figs, lentils, sheep’s milk yoghurt and cheese, freshwater barramundi, olive oil, condiments, and much more. A sample from the clear, clean ocean includes King George Whiting, oysters, abalone, snapper and garfish.
Early settlers learnt about the seasons, making the most of each one, surviving year round. This legacy of ingenuity and seclusion has influenced island food producers to deliver quality and flavour – whether they are fourth generation islanders or newly arrived and inspired.
Kangaroo Island wines, spirits, ciders and ales have a purity and restraint that perfectly matches the region’s artisan food. Each cellar door is a ‘one-off’ and many offer regional food to complement wine tastings and sales.
Restaurants and cafés proudly list Kangaroo Island wine. The island is home to one of the first boutique distilleries in South Australia where fresh botanicals (many locally foraged) enhance handcrafted gin, vodka and liqueurs.The island culture of ‘growing your own’ can make it difficult for visitors to access the region’s fresh produce but, seek and ye shall find – and be rewarded.
Make your first port of call the farmers’ markets – Kangaroo Island Farmers’ Market on the first Sunday at Penneshaw and Kingscote Farmers’ Market on the second and fourth Sundays. Here, growers and producers are eager to tell their story while you sample wares steeped in nearby habitats, climates and soils. Have a coffee and take your time. It’s Kangaroo Island: the pace is languid and the atmosphere social.Open for visiting year-round - some by appointment - are honey outlets, the sheep dairy, several seafood outlets, winery cellar doors, microbreweries and the distillery. The dining is fine, casual or pop-up. Eateries dot the island from Cape Willoughby to Rocky River, Kingscote to Snellings Beach.
Pick up just-bottled jams, chutneys and sauces at the farmers’ markets.Try your hand at ‘squidding’ (fishing for Southern Calamari) from a local jetty.Celebrate the cool nights with a leisurely feast and a bottle of island red. Call at a pop-up food van for island-style ‘fast food’.Book in for a cooking lesson with locally sourced produce.
Experience a storm passing as you stay cosy by a fire, with Nocino walnut liqueur and sticky figs.Get your hands on some just-laid free-range eggs.
Hook some King George Whiting for the barbecue.Pop a sweet treat in your mouth at a farmers’ market.Move your special celebration to the island and have it catered by a local.Visit a winery cellar door for a leisurely tasting.
Visit a honey outlet to try Kangaroo Island’s distinctively complex flavour profile.Tuck into some plump new season oysters at American River, seafood outlets or restaurants.Take home cheeses pressed fresh from sheep’s milk. Chat to producers at the farmers’ markets and sample your heart out.Enjoy new spring lamb at a gourmet gathering.Dollop wild fruit jam on a freshly baked scone.
Make a summer feast of Southern Rock Lobster or Southern Garfish to enjoy on a beach with a bottle of crisp cool-climate island wine.Savour marron at its plumpest and sweetest, perfect for a hot summer’s day.Enjoy fresh oysters with a local gin and tonic.Relish fresh fragrant figs with sheep’s yoghurt for your KI breakfast.Listen for the buzz of bees taking nectar from flowering gums – soon to be honey.Snap up a bottle of new season olive oil at a farmers’ market.