Laura Sharrad's Top 5 New Riverland Tastes


Laura Sharrad knows good taste.


Now recognised as one of Australia’s best young chefs, Laura shot to fame when she served up her phenomenal Italian-inspired dishes to the nation during not one, but two of Channel 10’s Masterchef series.


But she didn’t stop there.


Now, this young entrepreneur is moving into South Australia’s emerging restaurant scene as the owner of both Nido Bar and Pasta and Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room - two five-star, fine-dining, premium food experiences in Adelaide.


So who better to explore the new flavours, tastes, food and drink experiences of the Riverland?



Laura and her Mum Anita were invited to spend three days and two nights (in the luxury riverfront eco-friendly Pike River Villas) during August 2021 – and she’s revealed to us exclusively, what her top 5 tastes are from the trip (to help inspire your next gastronomic expedition with us).


“I had never been to the Riverland before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away by the amount of diverse produce, wines and offerings the Riverland had on offer,” Laura said.


“The producers are so passionate about what they do and you can taste the difference!


While the Riverland has always been known for its unmistakable place as Australia’s fruit bowl with magnificent stretches of Murray River scenery framed by green and orange citrus orchards – what’s becoming more well-known is the incredible value-added foods, sensational restaurant experiences, award-winning gin, five-star luxury accommodation and sought after rare varietal wines.



Places like 23rd Street Distillery, Salena Estate Wines, Pike River Villas, The Frames, Arrosto Coffee, Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, the Riverland Wine Centre, Waikerie Golf and Country Club Villas, the Murray River Queen, Banrock Station, and the Historic Overland Corner Hotel (to name a few) are putting the Riverland on the map for a whole new type of premium taste experience.


The new Riverland looks and tastes completely different to what it was 20 years ago, and we think it’s about time we start sharing this with the rest of the State. So here’s Laura’s take on it all:


Laura’s top 5 new Riverland tastes are:


1. Arrosto Coffee’s Cold Drip and Columbian Blend

2. Salena Estate Wines’ antipasto platter

3. 23rd Street Distillery’s Blood Orange Gin

4. Illalangi’s extra virgin olive oil

5. The Historic Overland Corner Hotel’s wagyu beef schnitzel 



Other notable mentions from Laura also went to the Riverland Wine Centre’s exceptional variety of wines (more than 26 wineries are represented here) – with a favourite taste being the Back Verandah Dr Love’s 2021 Allsorts Petillant Naturel (sparkling rose), the Salena Estate Limoncello Spritz cocktail, and the Illalangi takeaway grazing platter filled with local Riverland produce.


The Riverland honestly has it all, produce, passionate people, incredible accommodation, wines, beer, gin, camping spots, best local pubs and all things water sports,” Laura finished. 



It seems though, that Laura’s not the only one who has fallen in love with the new Riverland tastes of late.


Local tourism operators have consistently reported that visitors who haven’t been here for the last 10-20 years are pleasantly shocked by the changes – whether that be the new regionally-inspired menus, premium dining experiences, scarce varietal wines available that they can’t get in other SA wine regions, or even just the fascination with the friendly people serving them.



For those keen to taste test the Riverland’s new flavours for themselves, we have served up your itinerary on a platter (pun intended) with our new interactive ‘Experience the Source Trail’ and grazing blog.


In the meantime, you can follow @riverlandsouthaustralia on Instagram or Facebook or even check out the new short films made to inspire your next gastronomic-getaway.