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Two chefs whose sea change involved a move to South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley are pioneering olive oil icecream.

The cover story in Olivegrower & Processor’s November-December 2007 issue, about olive oil icecream served during Tasting Australia by Clare Valley chefs, has sparked a response from readers wanting the recipe.

Any talk by Clare Valley foodies about their area will inevitably get around to the ‘London Hill’ chefs and their innovations which include olive oil icecream.

Phil Scarles is originally from London, and Amanda Waldron from Broken Hill, hence their place is affectionately referred to as the London Hill.

These two young chefs decided to settle in the Clare Valley in1999, after falling in love with the area when they passed through on a holiday. While Phil had been trained in classical French cuisine, and had worked in some of the most prestigious London establishments, he and Amanda had also developed their own philosophy towards the food that they prepared.

Their aim was to make the London Hill name and brand synonymous with top quality food, prepared from fresh local ingredients in harmony with the ever-changing seasons, and produced in a sustainable fashion. Fortunately for the Clare Valley olive oil producers, Phil and Amanda quickly realized the gem that was right there in their own new backyard, and so Clare Valley extra virgin olive oil became a new passion for them.

In line with their philosophy towards food, Phil and Amanda purchased an old stone schoolhouse and started planting fruit trees to provide for the gourmet produce side of what was, back then, an emerging business. As there were plenty of olive plantations around them, they focused on other fruits like apples, pears, nectarines, apricots, cherries, quinces, lemons, oranges, peaches and greengages.

Phil says adamantly that he likes to know exactly where his ingredients have come from and to be able to guarantee that they are fresh, so the fruit trees were quickly followed by free-range grain-fed chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. As the enterprise has grown these have been supplemented by cattle, sheep and goats, and all these are used by Phil and Amanda in the dishes that they serve.

When Olivegrower & Processor caught up with Phil he was busy milking the Jersey dairy cow that he recently bought to supply the family with fresh milk.

The hard work and innovation of this dynamic pair has really paid off and is reflected in their achievements in a short space of time. Since moving to the Clare Valley in 1999 they have picked up a number of awards that include:

• Best Small Business Award, Regional Tourism Awards 2001 and 2003

By Kent Hallett