Wine Food Farmgate
Wine Food Farmgate is a program recently launched in the Mornington Peninsula region to help visitors discover hidden food and wine spots down the country lanes. They can discover artisan producers, taste a range of produce, meet the growers, connect with hatted chefs and award winning wine makers.
I recently spent a weekend down on the Peninsula with my fellow foodie friends; Haz & Gaz, Taz, Az & Ally and Mish. We were invited down as guests of Q Strategies and the Wine Food Farmgate program. If you want to see all we got up to; check out #winefoodfarmgate on twitter or instagram.
OR; grab a cuppa and settle down for an epic post 🙂
Yabby Lake Vineyard
We started off with lunch at Yabby Lake Vineyard. Founded by the Kirby family (founders of Village Roadshow), Yabby Lake is one of the vineyards in three distinct regions of Victoria, producing single vineyard wines under the Heathcote Estate and Yabby Lake labels.
Make sure you try their award winning 2012 Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir. With the fruit harvested from a single block, it is the first Pinot Noir to win the Jimmy Watson Trophy.
Yabby Lake also have become one of the coffee destinations on the Peninsula, serving Market Lane coffee. They have also partnered with popular Melbourne restaurant, Chin Chin, and there is a dessert featured on the menu you should definitely try.
We started with a selection of entrees chosen by the restaurant, with the overall favourite amongst everyone being the local Dromana mussels. I believe they were caught that day, and you could really taste how fresh they were. We would have had more but they sold out by the time we got around to asking.
For mains, we shared a selection of dishes from the menu and the specials board.
Even though we needed to get going to gather produce for dinner, we couldn’t resist having dessert. Agnes and I decided, when in Rome, you must have a choc-top. It would have been a crime not to have a choc-top at a place that shares the same founders as Village Roadshow!
The Chin Chin dessert was a winner, and the surprise winner was the Greek rice pudding. The cake from the specials board had us wanting more; as soon as Thanh heard figs were involved, he was sold.
We split up into groups, to divide an conqueror some of Mornington Peninsula’s finest food and beverage producers.
Haz & Gaz went off to get meat from Mornington Prime Cuts, and cherries from Red Hill Cherry Farm.
Az & Al sped off in the direction of Main Ridge Dairy and Mock Orchard at Red Hill.
My party car load contained Taz, his friend Adrian, Mish and myself.
Green Olive at Red Hill
On my previous gourmet voyage down to the Peninsula, I stopped off at Green Olive at Red Hill. I was thrilled to be going back, as I had fond memories of the gorgeous grounds, and the incredible range of tasty products on offer.
I was pleased to see Greg O’Donoghue behind the counter upon our arrival, even more pleased that he remembered me from my last trip! He introduced us to Patrick (ex Circa, and a whole range of other fabulous restaurants), who gave us a tour of the farm.
We saw the lambs, the chickens, the giant Pyrenees Mountain dog. The dog is a nocturnal breed, that bonds with the chickens and protects them from foxes and the like at night.
Back in the cafe, we were treated to a chocolate delice. We just wanted a mouthful to taste as we were still so full from lunch. Not only did it look pretty, it tasted divine. You can dine inside, or outside, looking onto the kitchen garden and olive trees.
Patrick talked to us about some dinner ideas, and what we might need. Before too long, we had a bag full of lamb sausages, a bouquet garni freshly plucked from the kitchen garden, olives, condiments and a drink.
2 Macs Farm
I was keen to get down to see Mary at 2 Macs Farm, as she had emailed me the night before enquiring about when we might drop by. She seemed like an absolute delight from the online banter, as was such a gem in real life. She has this energy, and enthusiasm about her that just draws you in, and makes you want to sell up everything, move to a large block of land and start growing everything yourself.
Unfortunately due to the wet Winter, construction of the Farm House Kitchen wasn’t complete on our visit. Mary will be running cooking classes for all ages in the kitchen which has it’s own wood fired oven.
2 Macs Farm prides itself in producing 100% organic produce. Nothing gets wasted here, and if Mary’s enthusiasm for eating the best quality food doesn’t rub off on you, then you are missing out on something!
The Farmhouse was the original house that was built on the block; and with Mary’s husband Billy being quite the builder, not only built the Farmhouse Kitchen, but renovated the Farmhouse. The house is available to rent, and would be great for families or groups of friends who want to stay there, and pick fresh produce, including eggs! We have vowed to go back there on our come back tour 🙂
Mary gave us the tour of her property, from the abundance of broad beans, to the hustle and bustle of the chicken coop. Mary also had a little lamb (hehe), it’s fleece was a white as snow, and true story; everywhere that Mary went, that lamb was sure to go 😛 The poor little lamb was disowned by it’s mother, so Mary and Billy raised the little cutie in their home. You could just see how clingy he was to Mary when we were down at the paddock.
Mary loaded us up with enough produce to feed a small country; cabbages, baby leeks, garlic, lemons, mint, raw honey, beetroot relish, rainbow chard, broad beans and the most coveted item; her raw butter.
Raw Butter is the fatty portion of raw milk. Raw butter provides the missing good and beneficial fats, which are rare in the standard diet. Raw butter from grass pasture fed cows is filled with metabolically available Vitamin A and E, lecithin, antioxidants, selenium, healthy cholesterol, beneficial bacteria, and enzymes. Raw butter contains Factor X: essential for optimal bone, brain, and nervous system development. Organic Pastures butter is made from cold churned raw cream and nothing else, with no salt or colorings added.
This stuff is just incredible. I added copious amounts of it after frying the rainbow chard in some garlic. It was so luscious on bread, and even on it’s own. Everyone should get onto it!
We were lucky enough to be staying at Max’s Retreat, owned by Red Hill Estate. Set off the main road, this house has 4 bedrooms and can comfortably sleep 8 people. Each bedroom with a full ensuite, the property has a kitchen garden, large living and dining area, and fantastic kitchen for a bunch of hungry foodies, wanting to cook up a storm.
The garden is a great way to relax in (if it wasn’t so wet, it would have been!), you can sit on the deck, or sit amongst the bushes.
Once we had all arrived, we started to get a menu going and some food on the go. Thanh was in charge of the BBQ, Gaz made some great sauces, Az made a kickin’ coleslaw (and went in search of much needed bread), Haz & Mish were great kitchen hands, doing a range of things, including podding the broad beans.
I put the lamb sausages from Green Olive in a large oven proof dish, along with the bouqet garni, broad beans, baby leeks, garlic, tomatoes, olives, olive oil in the oven. OMG it was so good, wish I could have eaten more. The broad beans were incredible, and the lamb sausages – fan-freakin-tastic!
We set the large table, opened up the wines, and put on some great old tunes (older than us!) and feasted until we could feast no more! All the food was of top quality, cooked to perfection (cos well, hey, we are good like that! :P) and the night just flew by. We played Scattegories, had a sing along by candlelight, then scurried off to bed before an early morning breakfast.
I think Max’s Retreat is a great place to stay, and it was a real treat to be able to stay there.
Somers General Store
Whilst some were still half asleep in need of coffee, we headed off to Somers General Store. I’d seen Heidi post about this place before, and nearly invited her down to join us. Well, she must have been reading my mind, as before long, her, her hubby and folks were at the end of our table saying hello! They were having a lovely family breakfast there as well!
Coffees were ordered (chai for me :)), and we each picked a dish from the menu. Taz had raved about the corn fritters he had when he was last down there, but unfortunately weren’t on the menu this time around.
Whilst everything sounded amazing, I really wasn’t feeling like having eggs for breakfast. I’m not much of an eggy breakfast person. I settled for the granola and it didn’t disappoint. It was refreshing, filling, and left me feeling like I could easily tackle lots of pizzas at lunch in a few hours time.
The Somers General Store has a lovely coastal vibe about it. It would be a lovely place to sit on a stormy day with a cup of chai and a slice of cake, or on a perfect sunny day, with a milkshake and a brownie. They also sell some lovely homewares, and tid bits. A real gem across the road from the beach.
Darling Park & Bass and Flinders Distillery
Time to kill between breakfast and lunch had us pull into Darling Park Wines. We had been drinking the Rosé the night before, and the distillery had been tweeting us in the lead up to our tweet.
Being one of the drivers, I sat the tastings out, but the rest of the gang who were having a tasting looked to be enjoying themselves. There is also a cafe/restaurant on the premises if you fancy a bite.
Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm
We still had a bit of time to kill, and I refused to go home without a trip to my FAVOURITE strawberry place, Sunnyridge. The strawberries here are some of the sweetest ever, and they stock some awesome cider.
You can pick your own, or pick your own from the fridge 😉 From the fridge is what we did, and I have successfully converted every one. You can buy them at Prahran Market or Thomas Dux too, which I recently found out. Great as I don’t want to have to drive to Main Ridge every time I want strawberries!
A very, very popular spot in Summer.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
The place I was actually most excited about visiting when we first got our itinerary was MPBrew. Excited as I’m rather into my beers these days, and I had sampled a few as part of my #FMFridayBeerClub at work, and been impressed.
Set in the industrial part of Mornington, founder Matt explained that after the Hawks won a grandfinal he decided he was going to start a brewery. Whilst he admits to not brewing the beer himself, head brewer AJ was on site attending to various alarms going off, and quality controlling the batches.
After a brief tour, we each got a tasting paddle. Well, they don’t do things by halves here, we had more beer on the table than at your local pub on grand final day! The looks people were giving us, it was rather ridiciulosy hilarious! If only my work boys had been with me.. and I wasn’t driving… doh!
Beers we sampled:
Pale Ale, Witbier, IPA, Brown Ale
Also two speciality brews on tap: Sorachi Kolsch (Japanese hops in a German style beer), and Imperial Stout. They have an Imperial range, and Simon had brought in the Imperial IPA to work one Friday and man it was potent! I couldn’t finish it due to it’s rather high alcohol content, and I was driving home YET AGAIN!
We ordered a range of woodfired pizzas. Matt explained they wanted food, but food that didn’t require a chef. They formulated the pizza dough to include their Witbier in the dough; something I’m keen to have a go at next time I make pizza.
The pizzas were tasty, and the bases weren’t too thick or thin. We could have ordered another quattro fromage but SOMEONE didn’t want to get off their ass and order it! I’ll definitely be back for more pizza and beer without a doubt!
Every Sunday they have a live band. It’s great to sit outside in the sun and kick back to relax.
For your chance to win one of two:
Family gift vouchers (2 adults + 2 children) at Red Hill Cherry Farm; which allows you to pick and eat off the cherry trees, including a 1kg container of free cherries to take home; all you need to do is leave a comment below.
Vouchers expire on 31st January 2015.
*Competition closes Friday 20th December 2013 at midnight. Prizes will be sent out on Monday 23rd December 2013. Competition is only open to Australian residents.
For more information on Wine Food Farmgate, check out the website: www.winefoodfarmgate.com.au
Check out the other posts by my peeps:
Thanh’s round up
I-Hua’s cherry picking adventures
Winners: Karen & Kathryn
Iron Chef Shellie was a guest of all places except Sunnyridge Strawberry farm and Bass & Flinders Distillery.