Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trip to the Barossa Valley

Your reviewer ventured to the Barossa Valley last weekend. The Barossa Valley is Australia's premier wine making district but Merkel was not there for the wine. He was seeing how the district fared when it came to making a good hot chocolate.

Monkey Nut Café, Lyndoch
The Monkey Nut Café is on the property of the Kies Winery. The Monkey Nut name appears on a range of the Kies wines. The building housed the Café, a cellar door sales outlet and a Tea shop.
The hot chocolate is delivered in a tall glass with a handle. The froth is decorated with some cocoa and a swirl of chocolate syrup. The hot chocolate was a Swiss milky style of chocolate. The hot chocolate was $3.70 and was delivered too hot to drink. A squirt of the chocolate syrup had been added to the chocolate making an interesting pattern on the walls of the glass which disappeared while the drink cooled.

Zinfandel Tea Rooms, Tanunda
This Café is a German style eatery serving a small range of German style meats and salads. The venue is split into three rooms and local art adorns the walls. Service is quick and efficient and the hot chocolate cost $3.50 glass mug with handle. The hot chocolate came with a small mountain of froth and sprinkle of cocoa. The drink was too weak and watery.

The Branch, Nuriootpa
The Branch is a converted bank with a large seating area. It provides evening meals as well as lunches and coffees. The atmosphere was pleasant especially as there were musicians performing when your reviewer attended.

The hot chocolate cost $3.70 and came in a generous ceramic mug. This included a bubbly froth and sprinkle of chocolate. The drink was milky and tasted a little of malt much like a Swiss hot chocolate. It was similar to the Monkey Nut hot chocolate but not as rich.
The Branch on Urbanspoon

Jacobs Creek Retreat, Tanunda
This retreat was a great place to stay. It only has a select few guests who stay in rustic cottages. The restaurant is well equipped and open to the public unless it is booked for functions. It runs many functions, particularly weddings because of the beautiful gardens throughout the retreat.

Your reviewer is not sure what this hot chocolate would have cost as it was a part of the accommodation package for the retreat. It was a darker chocolate taste than the earlier Barossa Valley hot chocolates but was too watery. It was served by the friendly waitress in glass and was too hot to hold initially. The drink was topped with a white froth and a sprinkle of chocolate in a line pattern.

Blond Coffee, Angaston
The Blond shop in Angaston is divided into "Blond Coffee" which is the coffee shop and "Blond Store" which sells exotic foods and other goods. It is in the heart of Angaston amongst picturesque buildings and gardens of the town.

The hot chocolate cost $3.50 for a regular cup for $4.80 for a bowl. This was good Belgian-style chocolate and drinking it from a thick ceramic bowl was a delight. The bowl had rubber areas where you could hold it and not get your fingers burnt, although the chocolate was not so hot that this would have been a problem. There was plenty of white froth and a sprink of cocoa on top.

Blond Coffee was the pick of the Barrossa Valley hot chocolates and made the Barrossa trip worthwhile from the hot chocolate point of view. From another point of view a rustic retreat, beautiful scenery, friendly people and frequent wine tasting also gave this trip much appeal.

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