High Country Harvest

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.

Chrismont wines

251 Upper King River Road, Cheshunt

03 5729 8220

http://www.chrismont.com.au



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

http://www.Wangarattagateway.com.au

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

Moyhu Hotel

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

http://www.brownbrothers.com.au

After the gala dinner, we felt very special as were invited to the secret family cellar by owner Mr Ross Brown and his daughter Caroline. 

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

http://www.cafevue.com.au


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.

Walkabout Apiaries 

1531 Snow Road, Milawa

Tel: 03 5727 3468

Walkaboutapiaries.com.au

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

http://www.Sammiranda.com.au

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.

Cherrie

Merricks Creek Winery

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Sipping a glass Chardonnay on a warm Summers day. Blue sky as far as the eye can see. Sitting next to Hubby on his birthday weekend, enjoying a child free day to relax and unwind from the busy week.

We spent the afternoon at Merricks Creek Winery. A family run winery.  After two decades of wine making, they have set up their own cellar door.  We sit on low casual seating with ample of cushions to make it feel homely. I instantly love the open space and the beautiful view of the vineyard.

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We chat with Peter, the owner.  He tells us that his wife is in the kitchen, his son is the front of house staff that also greeted us when we arrived and his daughter was the lovely lady that first contacted me to invite us to check out their newly open cellar door.  They offer Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Close and just last year made their first Chardonnay.  It’s a family run business.  I love that!

The day we visited, they had only opened a couple of weeks before, however a lot of people have already found them.

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They offer a variety of share plates ($11 and $15) which are generous portions.  All their ingredients are fresh and are of great quality.  I can taste it with every bite. Hubby and I thoroughly enjoy the share platters

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Rare eye fillet, caper vinaigrette and ciabatta

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Crispy thins with pistachio, hazelnut, fetta, mint

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20 month aged Italian prosciutto di Parma, Shaw river buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with ciabatta

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White chocolate mousse mini pots with fresh passion fruit

They are open every day up till January 31st, then only weekends after that.

44 Merricks rd, (corner of Yal Yal rd)

Merricks

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James and I dined with compliments of Merricks Creek Winery

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Eating out: Coco & Thyme

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Lately, I have not been eating out for the purpose of reviewing. However when I was asked to check out a friend’s new cafe in Fitzroy, I just had to. I am really interested in checking out cafes that are popping up all over Melbourne. It seems there is a new one that opens up everyday.

To succeed, you need to not only serve great food, have fantastic service but to also have a unique concept.

Coco and Thyme in North Fitzroy, hits all points.  I met Carol, the co-owner of Coco & Thyme.  Not only is she such a lovely woman, she is passionate about food.  After chatting with her, I got the sense that her passion stems from family.   A few members of her family is in the hospitality industry.  So owning her own cafe is in her blood.  Their concept is easy. Pure, wholesome food that can be made gluten free and vegan.  Nothing gets onto the menu without her approval.

I took the family along to try out their menu. Having already checked out their menu, I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

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To start off we ordered drinks. I already knew I wanted to try the Coffee Thyme. Wow! This was a amazing. Loved it. It’s a shot of espresso blended with avocado, coconut milk and condensed milk. I could’ve had 5 glasses of that. And because I needed more caffeine, I also had a single origin cold drip coffee served over ice. It slow drips for 20 hours .  Hubby had  blend of banana, mango, Almond milk and honey. Thomas had a freshly made apple juice and Deanna had Watermelon, cucumber and mint. Refreshing.

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St. Benny. Pulled ham hock, egg and apple cider hollandaise sitting on crumbed potato choux. I’m a sucker for eggs Benedict. The eggs were poached beautifully, and the hollandaise was light and velvety at the same time. The winning component though was the potato choux. Why have I not have deep fried crumbed potato in my eggs benny before?!

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Hubby ordered the meatball cupcake. I think the name alone was what made him order it. It’s wagyu and veal meatball with mash icing served with broccolini, broad beans, snow peas and bois boudran. Hubby said the meatball was moist and tender and the vegetables was fresh and was just cooked so they still had their crunch.

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Coco and Thyme also cater for kids. That’s a winner in my books.

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Thomas ordered the brekkie Jaffel. Scrambled eggs, bacon and tomato sauce. It was served with pretzels.  To be honest anything with bacon gets Thomas’ two thumbs up. It was perfect portioning for him.

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For Deanna, she ordered the mini wagyu burger and fries. She scoffed it down within minutes which meant that she enjoyed it.

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We also ordered the mini pancakes and ice cream for the kids to share. This is the mini! The normal sized one was a stack of pancakes with fairy floss.  The table next to us ordered it and we gawked at it as the server walked passed.
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The cafe was light (a food blogger’s dream), airy and spacious. I can see customers coming here after a hectic morning of Christmas shopping for a break.  When I visited, they were in the process of doing up the back room making it into a private function area. Perfect for birthdays or Christmas parties.

Friends or not, I totally recommend you visit Coco & Thyme.  Food is delicious. The staff are cheery and its family friendly.

 

Coco & Thyme

203 St.Georges road

North Fitzroy

 

The Moore Family ate their meal with compliments of Coco&Thyme

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

My Easter 2015. Time spent with Family

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Easter 2015.

Easter this year, like most years, is spent with family.  During the Easter season, I am most thankful for the family and my friends around me.  Most of my days are focused on work and duties on being a wife and a mother.  I am constantly busy planning our days and weeks ahead that sometimes it is hard to live in the present.

This year, I spent 5 days focused on what is important.  My Family.  I love to have my table laden with food that has been prepared with love.

Here is how I spent my last few days🙂

Good Friday is always spent at my Mother in law’s home.  We are always well fed.  But for some reason (mostly due to the consumption of (numerous) glasses of wine) I forgot to take photos of the delicious roasted salmon and barbecued vegetables we ate.

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For dinner I had my #luxbitefamily over for a pot luck dinner.  Nothing can go wrong with a bunch of foodies and chefs over for dinner.

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We had a feast.  It is very rare that we are all able to get together for a meal.

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I baked my Easter Hummingbird cake.  It’s moist and light.  I love this cake and I’m happy to say that it went down a treat with my co-workers.

On Easter Saturday, the day was warm and the sun was shinning.  A perfect day for a drive with Hubby, Kiddies and my parents.  We took a day trip along the Victorian coast to Torquay.

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Easter Sunday.

My dear friend, Hilda, whom I have known for many years, came over with her family for lunch.  We used to work together back in my corporate days. We have kept in touch after I left and we are still so close.  So close that she became Thomas’ God mother.  Along with my parents, we enjoyed lunch together.

I was lucky to have received a pack from Murray Valley Pork.  I roasted up a pork shoulder that was boned and rolled.  The skin came out super crispy and the meat was so tender and moist.  My tip to achieve this is to pump up the heat of your oven to 220degC for the first 20 mins to get the crackling going then turn the heat down to 180 and cook for 20mins for every 500g of the pork.

 

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Dessert was meringue nests with cream and strawberries.  I have to say the meringues came out really well.  I used Mary Berry’s recipe this time round and I think it turned out to be the best I’ve made.  Hilda also brought some of Phillippa’s hot cross buns and crepe cakes from Mille & B.

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Easter Monday.

easter13Family time at Nature Play at Royal Park.  We discovered this park a couple weeks back. It’s a great park for all ages of children.  There is also a wet area for hot days.  But on this day, we kept ourselves dry.

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The Simnel Cake I baked for Hubby.  I don’t eat fruit cake and marzipan so it’s all for him.

Tuesday.

I had the day off so we went out for breakfast and a movie.

We try to eat locally to support great businesses in our area.  Unfortunately, there are not many in our area but when we do find a good one, supporting them is important so they survive.

Before heading off to watch a family movie, we had breaky at a local cafe, Red Beetle. Cafe.  Their food is honest and hearty.  It is affordable and will warm up your tummy.

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I am happy to have spent days with my family to create happy memories.  These days are precious.

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

Eating out with kids AND a Giveaway

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You must know by now that I have two small children.  I know, I probably go on about them in my blog, but this one is especially for them.  Hubby and I love eating out. I especially love it when we go out as a family. Taking our children out for a meal is a great way for them to learn about different cuisines. It gives the kids a chance to experience different food and they can make up their own minds on what they like and don’t like.

As a family, we were given the opportunity to try out a couple of kid-friendly places in the inner north suburbs.  We don’t live there but like to venture out to cafes and restaurants.  In the past we have enjoyed meals at various places and we love to return over and over again.

To celebrate all things inner north, a Facebook page has been set up where you can click “like” to keep up to date with events and festivals.  Head on over to their page for your chance to win the Ultimate Northside Experience valued at $4000!  Check it out for more details.

One place that was a must try was breakfast at the Auction Rooms in North Mellbourne.  This place has a great breakfast menu for both adults and children.  The staff are friendly and the food is tasty and beautifully presented.

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 Hubby really enjoyed the crumbed black pudding with tomatillo salsa and pickled pine mushrooms whilst I ate the tasty gammon ham steaks, spinach pancakes and poached eggs.

 The kids enjoyed poached eggs on sourdough and a bruleed french toast.  The french toast was to die for and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.  The servings were quite big for the children but mummy and daddy didn’t mind helping them out at all😉

Another go-to place for children in the inner north is Shocolate.  All kids love chocolate.  This cafe is located on the corner of Johnston & Brunswick streets, Fitzroy.  Their glass display of éclairs and macarons looked gorgeous and they have a great kids menu.  The cafe is intimate making it very family friendly and the service was happy and cheerful.

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Look at the smiles on their chocolate covered faces.Shocolate5

 We “inhaled” their fantastic iced chocolate, the kids ate crispy and crunchy dessert (chocolate ice cream with crisp pearls – cereal balls in chocolate) and the shocolate éclair.

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My tips on eating out with small children:

  • I like to check out the menu before heading out to the restaurant to make sure it’s kid friendly.  Also, if you have picky children or children with allergies, this will also aide on deciding if the cafe/restaurant menu is suitable for your family.
  • I like to have wet wipes every time we go out to eat.  Little hands tend to get very sticky, very quickly.
  • Keep the kids occupied while waiting for their meals.  I like to bring along pencils and paper or digital devices to keep them busy before their meals come.  There’s nothing worse than having hungry AND bored children.
  • If you need high chairs, I suggest you give the cafe a quick call before heading out there as not all supply them.  Some are also not pram friendly so keep that in mind if you need to have the pram with you.
  • Try visiting places you may not usually go. This will help expand your kid’s palettes.

I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog to win a $50 voucher for 400 Gradi,  an Italian Pizzeria located in East Brunswick featuring wood fired pizzas and a Neapolitan menu.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me which cafe or restaurant in the inner north you frequent and why.  Get on it now!!

This giveaway ends Midnight 27th April and is only open to readers who are able to dine in at the restaurant in East Brunswick.  Please share by tweeting or facebooking.  Good Luck! 

My family dined at Shocolate and Auction rooms courtesy of Keep Left PR, Hockingstuart and Live North.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Lots of Pizza eating during the Melbourne Pizza Festival 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Melbourne Pizza Festival is on right now.  For more information, read about it here.

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend a couple of events.  I was also honoured to have met the Pizza Festival Director, Matteo Rubbettino.  Matteo created this festival because he wanted Australians to experience the variations of pizzas from different regions and to showcase the pizza makers that create their pizzas with passion and skill.

I attended my first event at Feldman’s in Fitzroy where Chef Andrea Caroli, works his magic on creating delectable pizzas.  Along with Jason Pitt looking after us, my pizza experience at Feldman’s was a memorable one.

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Hubby and I enjoyed 2 pizza’s  at Feldman’s.  One was the Bocconcini,  gorgonzola, semi dried figs, prosciutto.  This pizza is one of their more popular ones.  The sweetness of the figs counteracts the saltiness of the prosciutto and gorgonzola.  It was fantastic.

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Also tried the Tomato, fior di latte, italian sausage, mushroom, smoked scarmoza.  I’ve never had fior di latte (mozzarella made from cow) or scarmoza cheese before, so I had to try this one.  It, too was tasty.  I’m glad we made the right choices.

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Our second Pizza festival event was at Za-Za’s in Richmond.  Za-Za’s is a trattoria in true casalinga style: warm and welcoming, expressive and passionate, with plentiful food and excellent coffee.  The service is friendly and personal.  Morena Miceli likes to make sure her customers are well fed and happy when they leave.  This time hubby and I decided to take the kiddies along as they too, love pizza and we knew they would enjoy the true taste of pizza served at Za-Za’s.  And, of course, they did.

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We tried The Bufalina Pizza, which  has Italian tomato salsa, local buffalo mozzarella by Giorgio Linguanti of That’s Amore Cheese, basil & E.V.O Oil  It was light and fresh.  There was plenty of sauce and cheese.

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We also tried the Pucinella Pizza, which was amazing.  It is half Margherita & half Calzone filled with leg ham &  Fior di Latte.  The ham in the calzone was amazing and full of flavour.

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I’m glad we attended events of the Pizza Festival.  It gave us the opportunity to try authentic pizzas at amazing restaurants.

If you want to attend events, you still have time.  The festival will come to a close this Sunday 30th June 2013 where a closing event will be held.  You can purchase tickets to attend.  It’s $25 for all-you-can-eat pizza.  Now that’s a deal!  Check out their website here to find out how to get your hands on these tickets.

I attended the 2 events courtesy of Kathryn from Keepleft PR and Matteo of Pizza Festival.

Buon Appetito,

Cherrie

Eco Burger from Lord of the Fries

All Melbournians have heard of Lord of the fries. And all have an opinion of them. Like it them or not, they have become a Melbourne icon. Lord of the Fries are a Melbourne based chain that pride themselves on providing fast food made with locally sourced ingredients. All of the menu is vegetarian and there are also, gluten free, vegan, halal and kosher options.

I was invited to try their new burger called the Eco burger. It is the classic 100% vegetarian faux meat LOTF pattie with Beetroot Darwin sauce and Mozerella cheese. To be honest, I've never been one to go out of my way to eat a vegetarian burger but I found this burger really tasty and worthy of the drive to their Chapel street store. As a meat lover, there's no fooling me that the patty is not meat but none the less, it was perfect as a vegetarian option. So a vegetarian or not, I think people need to try out this new burger because it's that good.

Of course, no trip to Lord of the fries is complete without an order of their chips. We ordered the Large box ($6.95) with the African sauce (extra $2) which is their Belgian mayo plus ketchup plus onions. Super tasty and they were very crispy.

I tried the new Eco burgers courtesy of Keep Left PR Agency and Lord of the Fries.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie