Café and flower shop Fleur Social's Laneway Brunch Series is providing a new kind of Barossa experience for this year's Vintage Festival.
Fleur Social wants to make Nuriootpa the brunch capital of the Barossa
Sarah Sharkey and Ryan Remillard opened Fleur Social – a flower shop and café in Nuriootpa – with the local Barossa clientele in mind.
The couple met while Ryan, who is originally from Vancouver, Canada, was backpacking through South Australia, and after more than a decade of travelling back and forth between their respective hometowns, the decision was made to make the Barossa their home.
“One of Sarah’s life goals was to open a flower shop in the Barossa,” Ryan says.
“We figured out maybe a florist isn’t going to work on its own, but… we’d always had this concept in the back of our heads of doing a coffee shop with it.”
Ryan and Sarah could see there was room in the local market for the kind of considered café fare they wanted to offer.
Fleur Social sources “about 90 per cent” of its menu from the Barossa – coffee is sourced from Barossa Coffee Roasters at Seppeltsfield; milk comes from Jersey Fresh Milk from Greenock; “all of our meat from within 20 kilometres, our eggs as well,” Ryan says.
The shop opened in mid-January 2017, and was an immediate hit.
“We opened the door and we actually had a line up out the door and down the laneway for the first eight hours of the first three days of trading. It was insane,” Ryan says.
The café’s brunch fare is the kind of food we take for granted closer to the city – smashed avocado, bruschetta, pancakes, and a list of specialty bagels – and with it, Ryan and Sarah hope will begin to attract a younger demographic to Nuriootpa.
“It’s all stemmed from that one idea of ‘How can we build the Barossa and how can we help make our mark on this region?’” Ryan says.
“What we want to do long term is see the traffic and the visitation to the Barossa more in line with what you’re seeing in the Hills and what you’re seeing in McLaren Vale.”
For this year’s Barossa Vintage Festival, Ryan and Sarah decided to make the most of the increased traffic into the region by putting together the inaugural event of their Laneway Brunch Series: a long-table four-course paired brunch held in the laneway next to Fleur Social.
The event can be read as a statement of intent to offer a better brunching option in the Barossa.
“We want to open the Barossa up, and I think [we can do that] by putting an event on that might appeal to someone in their 30s, or their 40s, or even their 20s, who has that disposable income – that person who wants to go to Melbourne and hang out in Fitzroy and loves street art.”
The brunch is happening on Saturday, 27 April, and will start once the Barossa Vintage Parade passes by Fleur Social. Guests will be welcomed with a coffee-based cocktail as local musician Liam Halford provides the ambience, and local artist Arlon Hall paints in the laneway.
The menu includes a Spanish omelette; chicken waffles (a nod to Ryan’s North American heritage, he says); a ‘deconstructed’ version of one of their bagels, featuring “smoked salmon, beautiful fresh vache curd cheese, capers form a local farm;” and will finish with an ice cream sandwich made from Barossa Ice Cream and a chocolate-sprinkle donut from a local bakery.
Each course will be paired with wine from Rasa Wines – a young Barossa label started by two NSW expats, Emma Welling and Andy Cummins.
“[Ryan and Sarah] are a forward-thinking couple, and, like us, they’re really committed to respecting what has come from the Barossa, but looking to the future, bringing it into a new age,” Emma says of the partnership between Rasa Wines and Fleur Social.
“While we both do completely different things – they make coffee and beautiful flowers, and we make wine – we both have very similar philosophies on what we see as the future of the region.”
The wine pairings will be “non-traditional,” Ryan says, and Emma hints at a never-before-seen release from Rasa at the event.
“We actually put together a little pet nat from this vintage that, all going well, we will serve on the day,” Emma says.
“We’ve never really made one before, but it was this event that spurred us on to do it. We were thinking, ‘What’s delicious with breakfast?’ A bit of fizz is totally what’s delicious with breakfast.”
With so many young businesspeople offering a reconsidered view of what it means to visit the Barossa, what might emerge is a broader Barossan identity.
“There’s certainly a style of younger people coming through, but we wouldn’t be ale to do what we did without the people that’ve come before us,” Emma says.
“We’re super grateful to the Henschkes and the Rockfords, places like Yalumba. They’ve carved the way, and it’s because of them I think small producers have a platform here.”