Another long weekend looming large on the horizon? You bet your life. And where we will be? At Mornignton Peninsula’s Winter Wine Weekend, that’s where.
In preparation for the three-day festival over the Queen’s Birthday weekend (9-11 June), we hot-footed it down to Red Hill and caught up with Tony of Foxey’s Hangout to find out more about this year’s new foodie initiative and meet a few of the chefs who will be serving up dishes from their local restaurants.
More than 13,00 people armed with wine glasses and a thirst for the region’s local drop descended on the Red Hill Showgrounds last year for the festival launch, and more than 50 wineries came together to keep the masses happily imbibing.
This year, the Saturday event is going to be bigger and better than ever with the addition of nine restaurants (five of which have been awarded the hallowed Chef’s Hat) serving plates of food. Entry tickets include two entree-sized dishes and more are available to purchase.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a sneak preview of some of the locally sourced, seasonal offerings gracing the menu, including Montalto head chef Barry Davis’ ragu of wild mushroom with baked polenta (made with organic buckwheat flour – incredibly light yet creamy) and taleggio cheese, matched with the winery’s 2010 pinot noir.
Actually, it wasn’t the first time we feasted on foraged mushrooms that day. Paringa Estate’s recently appointed head chef Julian Hills took us mushroom-hunting that morning and we came back with a basket brimming with pine mushrooms and slippery jacks. On 9 June this accomplished outfit will be serving rabbit and pine mushroom rotolo with a thyme beurre noisette.
We had a great time chatting to Barry and Andy Doughton of The Long Table (his dish is Flinders mussel and house-smoked pork belly chowder with rustic bread) and found the texture combinations and seafood/pork mix of his Winter Wine Weekend offering to be entirely consistent with the great meal we enjoyed back in March.
Plump mussels soak in a creamy broth with unctuous chunks of gelatinous pork – the ultimate comfort food.
Ten Minutes by Tractor offered up warm almond tart with rhubarb puree, caramelised pears, cinnamon double cream. Served with Foxey’s Hangout late harvest pinot gris.
And then we really died and went to heaven – a cheese feast from the peninsula’s award-winning dairies. Red Hill Cheese and Main Ridge. The camembert/brie-style from Red Hill was especially delicious with 2008 Main Ridge Estate chardonnay.
With ingredients this good and such a proliferation of such great local talent, serving food at the Winter Wine Weekend is a no-brainer. So what are you waiting for? Pre-book tickets for $55 each ($45 for designated drivers) and head to Red Hill Showgrounds on Saturday 9 June between 11am-4pm.
There are also tasting sessions and food and wine matching seminars throughout the day. We have our eye on the shiraz and spare ribs event at $5 per person – bargain.
Get in quick – pre-booking close 1 June – visit www.mpva.com.au