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I was very lucky to have been invited along with other bloggers for a weekend away to the Victorian High country. During the colder months there is a crispness in the air while the sun tries to shine through to warm up the day. It’s perfect for walks along the grape vines and eating delicious meals with great friends.
During the getaway we were treated to fantastic meals made with fresh local produce and tasted wines at local family wineries.
Lunch (and our first stop) was at Chrismont wines. It is nestled in the King Valley and is an inspiring destination for all lovers of contemporary wines, authentic Italian food and breathtaking scenery.
We were treated like kings and queens by our hosts, Jo and Arnie Pizzini, the owners. After having a few glasses of wines to taste, our table was ladened with beautifully plated food.
251 Upper King River Road, Cheshunt
03 5729 8220
Our accomodation was at the Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway. We stayed in a 3 bedroom town house with modern facilities. After a long drive and lots of wines consumed, it was great to check into our comfortable accomodation to rest. Well, when I say rest, some of us took naps while others listened to loud music and sang our hearts out.
Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway
29-37 Ryley street, Wangaratta
Tel: 03 5721 8399
That evening we headed out to a local bonfire and drank more local wines. Nothing beats huddling around a toasty bonfire on a cold night. A bonfire is the heart and soul of many communities. Giving the chance to get together and reflect on past and future harvests.
Village Bonfire – High Country Harvest Event
18/16 Byrne St, Moyhu
03 5727 9333
That evening, we were also invited to The High Country Harvest Festival Grand opening dinner that was held in the stunning historic Barn at Brown Brothers Winery. The barn is the very building where the first Brown Brothers wines were first made. Executive chef Douglous Elder created a menu using the high country’s magnificent produce. We were also treated to matching wines to make the night unforgettable.
The dinner room was set up beautifully and elegantly decorated with produce from local farm gates and orchards.
Brown Brothers of Milawa Vineyard
239 Milawa Bobinawarrah Road, Milawa
03 5720 5540
After a great nights sleep on our comfy beds at our accomodation, we headed out for breakfast in Wangaratta. It’s a nice quaint cafe in the heart of his little town, with great views of the river quietly flowing by.
The menu was extensive and the coffee was great! You can see, as usual, we ordered up a feast.
Cafe the PreVue
66-68 Faithfull street, Wangaratta
03 5721 2092
With full tummies, we went off to Walkabout Apiaries. The owner Roger Whitehead began his love for bees and honey at the age of 22. This small farm gate offers up amazing local honey, beeswax candles, honey, pear and ginger cordial and Whitehead’s mead.
1531 Snow Road, Milawa
Tel: 03 5727 3468
As if we didn’t get enough food for our ever growing tummies, we headed out to Oxley to a family winery called Sam Miranda Winery. Sam is part of the 3rd generation of a familythat’s been making wines in Australia since the 1930’s. Sam has been making wines on the current site since 1997. Where possible, they source local produce within 50km of the cellar door to show case the flavours of North East Victoria on their menu.
Sam Miranda Winery
1019 Snow Road, Oxley
03 5727 3888
What a bunch of good looking people Here we are with the head chef of Sam Miranda Winery, Chef Michael White.
I would to thank rural city of Wangaratta for hosting me for the weekend. Also like to make a special mention to the lovely hosts of the cellar doors, farmgates, cafes and wineries where we were treated fantastically by the owners. It was an unforgettable experience. It was an honour to have been introduced to the local wineries and produce. I think the highlight for me was when Ross Brown personally invited us to his secret family cellar at Brown Brothers. An experience I will never forget.
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I love sticky date pudding. It’s my safety net dessert on a restaurant menu. When I go out for dinner, I check out the dessert menu first. I look for the sticky date or something similar first. It’s my back up plan. If I don’t see a dessert that appeals to me, I go to my back up… the sticky date.
I found a recipe that turns the sticky date pudding into a baked tart. Serving it with toffee sauce and ice cream makes it a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t love a good sticky date?!
For the pastry:
- 150g chopped butter
- 190g plain flour
- 1tbs light brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp chilled water
For the filling:
- 240g pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
- 150ml milk
- 1tsp bicarb of soda
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 100g plain flour
- 2 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbs golden syrup
- 100g brown sugar
For the toffee sauce:
- 200g brown sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 250ml thickened cream
- In a food processor, combine the flour, butter and sugar. Pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the yolk and water until it forms a dough (add more water if needed).
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30mins.
- Meanwhile, start the filling. In a saucepan over medium heat, place the dates and milk. Bring to just below boiling point, then remove from heat. Stir in the bicarb of soda, then stand for 30 mins or until dates have softened.
- Lightly grease a 36cm x 12cm loose bottom rectangle tart tin.
- Roll out the dough to 5mm thickness. Ease into the tart tin and trim the edges. Chill for another 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180degC (160degC fan). Blind bake the tart shell with weights for 8-10 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for a further 3-5 minutes until golden and dry.
- Reduce the oven to 160degC (140degC fan)
- Place the dates and milk in a food processor with the vanilla and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the flour, eggs, golden syrup and brown sugar until just combined. Set aside.
- For the toffee sauce, place all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Pour 1/3 cup of the toffee sauce into the tart shell, then spread the date mixture on top.
- Bake for 20-25mins until just set. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Serve warm, sliced with the remaining toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.