I love a decent sausage. Owing to the fact that most of them take on the traditional ‘lips and arseholes’ composition, I don’t tend to indulge too often. However, one common feature in the multi cultural culinary world that is Australia, is that the Germans seem to do sausage better than anyone. And what better way to delight in said sausage, than one in the form of a giant hotdog?
Hahndorf is one of those towns that everybody knows about, and everybody visits when they’re in the area. The Mt Tamborine of South Australia, it’s the original German village, founded by persecuted Lutherans looking for a fresh start in the mid 1800s.
We’ve been a bit quiet on the exploring front lately. A few weekends have been taken up with interstate trips to see family and hibernating through the winter, watching Tour de France on the couch. Hahndorf has been beckoning since we arrived down here, and finally we caved and decided to head up the hills on Saturday. Forty minutes on the local bus from the city centre (two hours if you’re stuck in a jam after a road accident like us; but it rarely happens so stick to the 40min benchmark), it surprised us just how easy it was to get there. The bus takes you along the main road, past alpaca farms, berry farms and the ubiquitous cellar door. Adelaide Hills is well-known for its white variants: Pinot Gris/Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelhos. Nepenthe Wines is actually off a back road at Hahndorf, but we decided to save it for another time.
It’s just as I remember it. Extremely quaint, with the main part of town spreading out along the main road that takes you through the Adelaide Hills. It was rainy all day, but the wood fires and promise of pork knuckle could warm the coldest of hearts. Hahndorf has two pubs, both of which offer traditional German feasts, including the fabled giant hotdog – complete with bacon, cheese kransky and the classic sauerkraut. As we’ve also discovered since moving here, Hahndorf is like any other destination village in South Australia, with delis out-numbering any other type of store along the high street. Honestly, if a natural disaster struck the entire country tomorrow, it’s safe to say that there is enough dry, canned, pickled, smoked, petrified and frozen food in South Australia alone to last a lifetime. I just hope everyone is okay with olives and smoked herring.
As well as the pubs and the delis, Hahndorf boasts an award-winning puppet shop, a small art gallery, and my favourite: Beerenberg Strawberry Farm. If you want jam, you go to Hahndorf: Beerenberg has been a favourite in condiments for many, many years in my house. Ten minutes after arriving, I had at least four jars of various pickles, jellies and jams, all at wholesale prices. They also have discontinued and special edition lines (the peach jam is to die for: I’m heading back up to stock up on as many jars as I can fit in a bag), and the farm is open for strawberry picking in the summer months.
We only spent a few hours in the town on Saturday. Warm and snugly on a winter’s day, I’d love to see Hahndorf at the height of spring: strawberries, alpacas and jam with scones. Next time we’re up we’ll be heading to Nepenthe and Petaluma for some wine tasting. It’s a place we’ll head to on weekends whenever we’re in the mood for a German feast (or jam), and no doubt one that we’ll be going to whenever visitors are in town. Slightly clichéd and definitely one that is in all guidebooks, Hahndorf is an example of how sometimes the most obvious of choices for sightseeing can still be one of the best.
Wine of the week: Knappstein 2010 Chardonnay – from the Clare Valley, SA
Check out Beerenberg Farm for jam info, recipes and ‘pick your own’ strawberry picking here: http://www.beerenberg.com.au/
Hahndorf’s puppet shop has its own website too! We picked up the Folkmanis Goat from here three years ago on our last trip http://www.hahndorfpuppetshop.com.au/