The elite Relais & Chateaux group features exclusive properties and restaurants across all continents but is still under-exposed in Australia.
Award-winning Barossa Valley winery restaurant Hentley Farm (below) recently became the latest member of the elite Relais & Chateaux hospitality network.
The genre-hopping vineyard dining room is only the second member chosen from South Australia. The other is Appellation restaurant at The Louise, another Barossan culinary superstar.
Established in 1954, Relais & Chateaux consists of 530 of the world's finest hotels and restaurants.
The association's international president, Philippe Gombert, praised the youthful team at Hentley Farm for "creating a leading example of contemporary regional dining" in South Australia and said executive chef Lachlan Colwill's sophisticated menus "meld surprise with a delicious sense of place".
Hentley Farm, which is open for lunch Thursday to Sunday and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, is one of just a dozen Relais & Châteaux properties in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific region, nine of which I am lucky enough to have visited.
The association’s Oceania delegation of members recently announced the publication of Taste of Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific, a guide to travel and culinary excellence across the region.
The 12 Relais & Châteaux members in the region are: Tetsuya’s Restaurant, Guillaume Restaurant, Jonah’s Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Hentley Farm Restaurant and The Louise Barossa Valley/Appellation in Australia; The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Huka Lodge (below), The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Otahuna Lodge and Matakauri Lodge in New Zealand; Dolphin Island in Fiji and Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa in Fiji.
Talking about the new guide, Relais & Châteaux delegate for the region, Jim Carreker of The Louise, said: "It seems that a tour ‘down under’ is on every traveller’s wish list. Our chefs have always naturally sourced locally and evolved their menus to highlight ingredients at the peak of seasonal freshness. Whether it’s seafood from the crystal clear Southern Ocean, vegetables straight from the on-site kitchen garden or beef, fowl and game from a nearby paddock, our restaurants exemplify the vision of Relais & Châteaux to make the world a better place through cuisine and hospitality."
The 52-page guide is available by contacting Relais & Châteaux directly by calling 1300 121 341 in Australia or 0800 540 008 from New Zealand.