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A little taste of Germany
Photos courtesy of (SATC) Adam Bruzzone, Hahndorf Inn, Chris Otto, Ross Williams
In the picturesque Adelaide Hills district of South Australia sits the unique and quirky village of Hahndorf – a little taste of Germany, right here Downunder! Hahndorf prides itself as being “Australia Oldest German Town”. You would be forgiven if you thought you had stepped into a small German village once you arrive, with many of Hahndorf’s original buildings still intact and being used to sell and showcase an eclectic variety of German fare. The main street is lined with exciting eateries, art & craft shops, gift shops and galleries. And of course 2 pubs that will treat you to a real taste of Germany such as the Hahndorf Inn- grab a stein of stout and enjoy the atmosphere.
The first settlers to the area came by the ship ‘Zebra’ to escape religious persecution in 1839. The Captain (Dirk Hahn) was very kind to them so to show their appreciation they named the village after him. The town soon established itself as the food bowl of Adelaide and the settlers would take their produce from Hahndorf by cart to the market in Adelaide and soon wineries began appearing.
As we wandered the main street of this beautiful village it was hard to keep the smile off our faces. Everyone seemed to be so relaxed and enjoying the cultural experience and loving the quirky German-inspired dress, culture and cuisine. There is a great mix of shops in the town centre that showcase the tastes of Germany. Our first stop was Sonnemanns Bakery, just off the main street. Filled with freshly baked treats such as ‘beestings’, black forest cakes and of course traditional salted pretzels. You could sit in the dining area to enjoy a coffee and one of the numerous treats from the cabinet. Step back in time and admire clocks of all kinds that are on display.
After getting those taste buds into gear at the bakery, it’s off to one of the many sweet and lolly shops that Hahndorf is well known for. We saw chocolates getting made at the Melba’s Chocolate Shop and stocked up on South Australia’s favourite treat of ‘Fruit Chocs’ and honeycomb. Check out their website and see why it’s worth a visit- their range is huge and their products are sold all around Australia at various shops and supermarkets so it’s a familiar brand for most people.
Hahndorf Puppet Shop- This shop is floor to ceiling full of puppets of all kinds. There are finger puppets, hand puppets, marionettes (both old and new) theatres and all the accessories needed to keep the puppets looking all brand new. I must admit I was not sure where to look but a puppet that caught my eye was ‘Snow white with the seven dwarfs in her skirt, then you turned her upside down and it was the wicked witch with her red apple’- very clever! I hadn’t seen so many puppets for years, it really brought back memories of my childhood and the kids thought they were great.
Another sweet shop was not too far away, Humbugs of Hahndorf and it didn’t take much convincing for me to pay a visit. We were tempted by a huge range of local and imported sweets including 30 varieties of original Hahndorf Fudge, made locally since 1998 (you absolutely must try this). You will find Dutch Licorice, German Chocolate, imported drinks, sugar free and gluten free sweets and a huge range of Pick-n-Mix sweets and chocolates (just like the good ol’ days). Humbugs of Hahndorf are located in the centre of town opposite the German Arms Hotel, but be warned Humbugs selection of English, European, American and Australian sweets will definitely tempt your sweet tooth so be wary of a tummy ache if you choose to over-indulge! We picked up quite a few gifts to send to our family, because you can never go wrong with chocolate!
With a large range of places offering German cuisine, from pubs that offered ‘metre long’ German hot dogs with authentic sauerkraut, cafes with German inspired snacks and take away shops with traditional German delights. We found a kiosk and bought some German kransky hot dogs with sauerkraut. They were delicious and we washed it down with home-made gelato (yeah, I know not quite German but was still delicious). We truly felt like we were getting a real German experience.
Our last stop during our visit was to the ‘Taste in Hahndorf’ for some snacks to take home. Buying some traditional Mertwurst and a “Chilli Coated Bum Burner” (that’s its name- very hot German salami). We really enjoyed the day out to Hahndorf and the atmosphere of the town. The town is characterised by tree lined streets- we visited in the middle of autumn and the colours of the Elm trees were fantastic.
We suggest grabbing a copy of ‘A Guide to Historic Hahndorf’ from the visitors centre and doing a self-guided tour. The guide highlights the most significant and historic buildings and gives you a great insight the town’s beginnings.
For extra information on Hahndorf, visit the South Australia www.australianexplorer.com/hahndorf.htm