Pangkarra Clare Valley - A Small Fish Frying

Pangkarra Clare Valley - A Small Fish Frying

Lush Fields

I (Camellia) was recently lucky enough to embark upon a producer trip to the Clare Valley care of Clare Valley Cuisine and hosted by Clare Valley Tours.

Our tour group included bloggers, buyers and chefs from Adelaide to Sydney, but we were all there for the same thing: to get a taste of the region and its gastronomic offerings!

I personally had never visited Clare Valley before and many of us who hadn't were under the impression that it was really far away, quote "omg I thought it was like four hours away". In fact, it is really more like one and a half, perhaps two with traffic. Just far enough to feel like an escape and close enough for convenience.

We toured six different producers, visited Terrior Auburn for dinner and were fortunate to stay at the Clare Valley Country Club in some luxurious new apartments (we're talking spa bath people).  But for the sake of my write ups I elected to choose the two places that really stood out to me the most. The first obviously being Pangkarra, and here's why:

Chatting About Crops

I was always under the impression that Pangkarra pasta was gross. My first experience with it was underwhelming and made me very angry (maybe wine was involved). This was due to two things: my love of refined carbs and the deterioration of my pasta cooking skills due to wine consumption.

After rolling past gloriously sunned fields of glowing yellow canola and luscious pigment rich green wheat sprouts we pulled in to a large graveled lot housing enormous silver silos and other impressively large silver things that I don't know the name of. We were met by a lovely young couple who I was please to be informed were the current generation running the farm and Pangkarra label.

Pangkarra Homestead

We were told a little about them, and that they were the fifth generation farm owners. The Pangkarra label actually also only accounts for a very small portion of their farming, which concentrates on growing grain and canola for export and local supply. I found this really interesting as Pangkarra comes across as a very boutique product and it's interesting to remember that there may be much more to small labels than meets the eye.

I don't see this as a bad thing, in fact the main reason I enjoyed this producer so much is because it's really god damn cool to see a young modern couple getting in to large scale agriculture and doing it in such an appealing way. Seeing it gives me an itch to become a farmer, but more like the way that I want to work at Foodland whenever I enter the Frewville branch (that temporary euphoria).

Garlic Flatbread

Pangkarra Penne, Zuchinni, Panchetta, Cream Sauce

Lavosh & Triple Cream Brie

More importantly, we were treated to a delicious lunch at the Pangkarra Homestead. An insanely picturesque setting greeted us and hot flat bread, pasta and salad followed. All made with local ingredients and Pangkarra flour/pasta. It has definitely changed my opinion on the product, and a fun tip I did figure out (the hard way) is that the pasta really does benefit from cooking a little further than the usual refined stuff.

Whole Wheat Grains

The grain that eventually becomes the delicious carbs is harvested then sent to the Laucke flour mill where it is milled 100% whole, (wholegrain) which makes it different from wholemeal (which is just white flour with some ground husks etc, added back in). The flour is then sent to a local italian pasta maker where it is made in to pasta then slowly air dried, giving it it's distinctive colour and texture.

Our wonderful bus driver!

I've been told that the pasta is healthy and doesn't "weigh you down", which may be true but the words are wasted on me (life motto: if I'm not feeling weighed down I haven't eaten enough).

Pangkarra products are available at a number of places around, if you'd like to try them you can't miss the unique earthy colour and rough surface.

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